One Percent Problems

What Does It Feel Like to Be on Facebook’s Secret ‘Nouveau Riche 250′ List?

Answering the inevitable Quora question.
 What Does It Feel Like to Be on Facebooks Secret Nouveau Riche 250 List?

Dave Morin’s modest marriage proposal in the Maldives (Photo: Gawker)

Over the weekend, Nick Bilton gave lie to the feel-good myth propagated by Mark Zuckerberg’s founder letter–namely that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs aren’t in it for the face-melting wealth. (Apparently, some people truly believe startups decide to sell 25 percent more stock three days before an IPO to make the world a better place.) In The New York Times, however, Mr. Bilton argues that while some moguls, like the rare Mr. Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, genuinely weigh product over profit, many are just faking it until they make it (very, very big).

As one example of the tenor of conversation that happens behind modest Menlo Park doors, Mr. Bilton points to a clandestine group of early Facebook employees who prefer to compare spending habits with like-minded multi-millionaires:

“At Facebook, the first 250 employees are on a highly secret list called TNR250, for The Nouveau Riche 250. They discuss things they plan to buy when they sell their hundreds of millions of dollars in stock: boats, planes, artwork, even an island. (To be fair, philanthropy is also discussed.)”

Naturally, inquiring minds inside the bubble turned to Quora, the Q&A platform cofounded by Facebook alums, to ask about the group, referencing Mr. Bilton’s article. Although the user who posted the question merely wondered if the list really existed, one savvy anonymous responder, claiming to be a Facebook employee, anticipated Quora’s favorite query: how does X feel?

Wrote the respondent:

“Yeah, I’m an early FB employee and on that list.  It’s pretty spammy and often filled with solicitations for angel investing, philanthropy, etc, which is sort of exactly what you’d expect.  Not quite the yacht lounge we were told it would be.”

Pobrecito early Facebookers, can’t even get some good yacht talk going. Times like this, really makes you appreciate the candor of one Captain Larry Ellison.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com