The Zuck

The day everyone has been waiting for is coming. Facebook’s $11.8 billion initial public offering will make Mark Zuckerberg, who is only 27 years old, one of the world’s richest men, apart from one of the most influential. The social network he created when he was just 19 is today one of the most valuable companies in the US and the world.

The IPO will be the biggest of any Internet company ever since Google’s in 2004, and could raise up to $10 billion. The price per share will likely be somewhere around $28-35 dollars. The final price will be set the night before the day it begins trading, probably May 18th. He has announced he plans to sell 30.2 million shares, which would net him around $1 billion. He will be richer than Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, if the company prices at the top of its range.

In the end, Facebook will trade in the Nasdaq, which also lists companies like Apple and Google. Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange compete fiercely over listings. Although the NYSE continues to lead in the number and value of company debuts, this deal gives Nasdaq one of the most coveted deals ever and is an important win because it increases its reputation as being the exchange of choice for technology companies. It opened an office in Silicon Valley 20 years ago.

Today it is clear that Facebook is by far the world’s most succesful social network. Not only has it become popular for staying connected with friends and family, it has also given all of us a voice to express ourselves and has taught us that we are all brands. It has transformed the way we socialize and the way we receive information.

Revolutions taking place today -from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Wall Street movement- owe a great deal to Facebook, which has enabled people to communicate with each other, even when official and mass media were censuring the events and the news.

Mark Zuckerberg -The Zuck- has resisted taking his company public for years, obssessed with building something authentic, which would be both very personal and also appealing for millions of people everywhere -more than 900 million today- across all cultures, from Harvard to Tahrir Square. He has also aggresively innovated, being famous for introducing new products quickly. In doing so he has become a visionary, without even setting out to become one.

Zuckerberg will still retain about 57 percent of the voting power after the offering, making sure that Facebook will remain as much his as ours when it goes public.  

-To read the original article in PDF: The Zuck.

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Google Art Project

Google employees are famously allowed to use up to 20% of their company time to pursue special projects not related to what they normally do at Google. That’s about one day per week. Art Project is one such initiative. It makes use of Google technology to help museums make their art more accesible, and not only to people who already visit museums or specialists, but to an unimaginable number of people who otherwise might never have the opportunity to travel or visit and see the real museums. Think people with physical disabilities, children in some forgotten little village somewhere in Africa, etc.

With Art Project you have more than 1,000 works of art at your fingertips. Some of the works were photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution or “gigapixel” photo-capturing technology. Each of these images contains around 7 billion pixels (around 1,000 times more detailed than your average digital camera) and a specially-built “microscope view” uses Picasa to deliver these images at amazingly high resolution. And to enable you to also “visit” the museums, a Google team had to build a special vehicle called the “trolley”, to take 360º images of the galleries, which were then stitched together and mapped to their location, permitting smooth navigation of almost 400 rooms. In other words, Street View, but indoors.

You can visit 17 of the world’s most famous art museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA in New York, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Tate Britain & The National Gallery in London, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Each museum was able to chose the number of galleries, artwork and information they wanted to include.

With the “Create an Artwork Collection” feature, you can save specific views of any of the artworks and build your own personalized collection. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole collection can then be shared with friends, family or on the web.

(To see the original article, published in Jan 2011, in PDF: Google Art Project)