Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 18, 2013

Around Town

THE HYPOCRITICAL OATH? ... For a guy who made his multi-billion-dollar fortune getting people to share some of their most intimate details online, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg sure is concerned about his own privacy. Zuckerberg raised more than a few eyebrows at the beginning of the month when the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that he had spent more than $30 million to buy three of the four houses that border his Crescent Park home — an outrageous sum even by Palo Alto standards. Some speculated that he would use property ownership to construct a massive compound to live in, but fears of a Palo Alto Xanadu were allayed last week, when an unnamed source close to the deals told the Mercury News that Zuckerberg had bought the properties to lease them back to the families who live there already. It turns out that a developer who bought a next-door house was going to build a huge home and market it as "the house next to Mark Zuckerberg," according to the mystery source. By owning the properties near his house, Zuckerberg can control how they're bought and how they're marketed. For that, he's gotten plenty of ribbing in the media, who point out the irony that Facebook this month announced that users could not shield themselves from Facebook's Graph Search, which allows people to search for others based on where their personal information fits. But then again, the famous CEO has been the subject of at least one real-world stalker and had to get a restraining order against the obsessed man.

THE BOTTOM LINE ... A pair of announcements related to Stanford's Graduate School of Business is drawing some attention to the brainy business building. A Forbes report found that Stanford MBA holders have the highest return on investment for their degree nationwide. The report found that Stanford MBAs see an average five-year financial gain of $99,700 from their degree, giving them a median salary of $221,000 when they were five years out. Harvard, the previous winner, has fallen to No. 3 with an average five-year return on investment of $79,600. Ready to sign up? Not so fast. Although Stanford may be the most cost efficient, it's picky — only 7 percent of applicants make it into the school — and even if the return on investment is the highest, the $117,960 in tuition may be hard to stomach. In case the stakes (or returns) weren't high enough, the university also announced that it would be implementing a three-year "joint program" with Stanford's well-regarded Computer Science Department that allows applicants to get an MBA and an M.S. in computer science at the same time. It's not Stanford's only joint program. The Computer Science Department offers one other joint degree, a J.D./M.S. with the Stanford Law School.

A-FLU-ENT COMMUNITY ... Palo Altans plan ahead, even when it comes to catching the flu. Palo Alto Medical Foundation announced the number of vaccines it's administered have shot up, even before flu season starts. It's calling it a "robust start" and has already administered 25,000 shots in the first two weeks of its clinics. Medical teams are poking 2,700 people with needles every day around the Bay Area. "Numbers of people getting the vaccine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation may be up slightly, possibly related to the harsh flu season we had last year as well as interest in the new quadrivalent flu vaccines" (which protect against four flu strains), said Dr. Charles Weiss, chair of PAMF's infectious-diseases committee. "We are not anticipating any shortage of supply and will continue to receive shipments of vaccine throughout the flu season."

PATCH DISPATCHED? ... The Palo Alto forecast for AOL's Patch just got a bit patchier. The news company's CEO Bud Rosenthal released a memo saying Patch will no longer staff bureaus outside its 14 "designated market areas" — Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Hartford, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Unstaffed Patches will no longer have editors, Rosenthal wrote. But users of Patch, which brands itself as a platform for "community-specific news" will "continue to receive daily posts from our central publishing team."

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