What America’s Second Richest Entrepreneur Under 40 Wants You to Know

December 12, 2016, 5:50 PM UTC
Photograph by Getty Images

At 32, Dustin Moskovitz is already many times richer than most of us will be in our lifetimes.

The Florida native who helped his college buddy Mark Zuckerberg transform Facebook into a $340 billion behemoth was named by Forbes on Monday as America’s second richest entrepreneur under age 40. His net worth is estimated at $9.6 billion.

Zuckerberg ranked No. 1 with a net worth of $50 billion.

Moskovitz left Facebook in 2008 to launch Asana, an enterprise project management tool. Still, he owes most of his wealth to an estimated 3% stake in Facebook, where he has an agreement that allows Zuckerberg to vote his shares, according to Forbes.

Moskovitz participated in a live chat on Product Hunt last week where he shared some of his best advice for entrepreneurs. (The Burning Man enthusiast was noticeably quiet about his thoughts on President-elect Donald Trump: back in September, he pledged $20 million to several Democratic groups in an effort to keep Trump out of office.)

Here are some of our favorite takeaways from his live chat.

On whether you need a master’s degree to start a business

Moskovitz says that if your goal is to become an entrepreneur, it’s best to gain experience by working at a company that’s “providing great value to the world.” Companies in that category have an apolitical environment, a culture that emphasizes feedback and reflect, and strong mentorship opportunities, according to a blog post he wrote last year.

As for whether you need a master’s degree, his response was simple: “I don’t even have a bachelor’s degree, so certainly a master’s is not required in general for being an entrepreneur.”

Moskovitz dropped out of Harvard University to continue building Facebook.

Related: First-Time Tech Founder On Starting a Company: ‘You Will Feel Incompetent’

On knowing ‘nothing’ when starting Facebook

When it comes to learning, Moskovitz says he “knew more or less nothing at the beginning.”

“Though I was generally proficient with computers, I wasn’t really a programmer and literally took intro to computer science (CS50) the semester before we started Facebook. Mostly I learned by reading Mark’s code, trial and error, and by searching for answers to questions that were coming up for me,” he said.

As for his management skills, that was something that had to be learned through hands-on experience: “I often tell new managers that they shouldn’t assume they can learn the relevant skills the same way they have acquired technical skills (e.g. by reading and training) — it really takes experience.”

Related: Former Y Combinator Partner Garry Tan on What Too Many Startups Get Wrong

On the strangely shaped massage device he swears by

Moskovitz says it’s important to take care of your health and focus on mindfulness, either through meditation or keeping a daily journal. He also recommends something called the Body Back Buddy, a large, S-shaped self-massage tool that works the neck and back. It retails for $30.