What value do founders have to any online business? According to Deadline Hollywood Daily, MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson are asking News Corp to hand over $50million over two years for both to stay at MySpace, a pay rate of $12.5million each per year. On top of that both are alleged to be asking for $15million to “invest in internet companies”.
To put that in perspective, IBM chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano took home US$17.9 million in compensation in 2006; Chip Goodyear, the CEO of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company made $6.5million in the same year. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, CEO Eric Schmidt and Apple CEO Steve Jobs all have salaries of $1 per year, although all 4 benefit from dividends from stock held.
The report goes on to claim that News Corp has countered with a $15million offer, or $3.75 million each per year.
Are DeWolfe and Anderson worth the money? On the surface the request would seem absurd. This is not to belittle their contribution to the success of MySpace, but to ask for a pay rate that would make virtually everyone in Web 2.0 blush reeks of pure unadulterated greed. Both have already profited greatly from selling MySpace and are already wealthy as a result; if they no longer retain ownership so as to benefit on an ongoing basis directly from the site (like Jobs and the Google team) they have no one to blame other than themselves.