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Will Facebook Really Create 1,000 Millionaires?

Facebook’s IPO has set new records for wealth hyperbole.

It’s  the “best investment ever!” It’s the biggest liquidity event ever! It’s about to unleash a new wealth wave in America! It’s a boon to wealth managers and Palo Alto realtors. It’s going to solve California’s budget problems, help fix our education system and feed the poor in Africa.

But the most widely repeated superlative about the Facebook IPO is that it will create “1,000 overnight millionaires.”

This is impossible to know, of course. But the phrase “1,000 millionaires” appears to have magical – if not factual — significance in Silicon Valley.

Tech IPO watchers might recall Google’s IPO in 2004. Press reports at the time said the IPO “created more than 1,000 paper millionaires,” including a chef and a masseuse. That statistic was often attributed to “estimates,” though it was never clear where those estimates came from.

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