Waking up billions poorer, Silicon Valley's elite lose some paper wealth

The stock market’s April roller-coaster ride has taken its toll on one group: Silicon Valley’s 23 richest are $11 billion less rich, reports Bloomberg.

So far this year, Twitter has dropped 34 percent. Amazon is down 18 percent. As Bloomberg points out, on April 4, the Nasdaq 100 Index fell the most it ever has fallen in the past two years.

Stomaching these ups and downs is part of being the head of a public tech company. As investors run up share prices, tech billionaires must tell themselves it’s mostly meaningless, paper wealth. What’s a billion here, a billion there.

But does that light-hearted attitude extend to a big selloff? When does a downturn start to hurt, cut into plans, begin to influence business strategy?

Most tech billionaires are still doing just fine, thanks. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg lost nearly $2 billion but is still worth $26 billion. Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates lost $1 billion but he’s still the world’s richest person with $78.9 billion.

Would a 10 percent cut into a person’s wealth get their attention? Dave Duffield, the co-chief executive of Workday, would know. He saw more than a 10 percent drop in his net worth, making him the tech billionaire who has lost the most. He’s still worth $6.7 billion, reports Bloomberg.

Above: The day of Facebook’s IPO in 2012. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (188 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.