A few problems with Facebook


I'm (clearly) not a stock market analyst or Wall Street Whiz (if I was that smart, how come I'm not rich?), but I have to say, some of the stuff that's coming out about the Facebook IPO makes this social media company that lives on its users' content and that's been portrayed as the company of the future look an awful lot like some rotten companies of the past. Sfist has an overview here.

Gawker is particularly harsh:

And the fallout from the most hyped IPO in history bursts not just the illusion that Facebook is actually worth $100 billion, but the idea that Facebook is different than any other corporation hell-bent on making as much money as possible for a handful of very wealthy people ... For a company which Mark Zuckerberg boasted in a letter to investors "was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission," Facebook sure as hell acted like a company in helping to enrich insiders at the expense of public investors.

The way IPO's often work is no secret -- the underwriters try to create a furor of hype around the company so that the early investors (the pals of those underwriters) get in at a low price that soars quickly so they make a nice neat profit. In this case, that only worked for the folks who bought early and sold very fast.

Now Facebook and the underwriters are getting sued, and corporate lawyers will be getting rich (note to Facebook's counsel: Get paid in cash, not stock).

But the Facebook employees who got stock as part of the IPO will still be pretty rich, and they'll still be driving up real-estate prices in the Bay Area, and my trolls will still be telling me I hate and envy success. (Or maybe I measure success in ways that don't include personal wealth.)

At any rate, a lot of investors lost money on this deal, but Mark Zuckerberg won't miss any meals.