#ipo

A public listing has never been our goal. It is one important strategy and vehicle for fulfilling our mission. It is a gas station along the road to the future. But Aliren should be conscious that, lying behind the massive allure of the capital market, there is unparalleled ruthlessness and pressure. In this market, only a small number of outstanding enterprises can maintain a gallop.
Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba, in his letter to employees (Aliren) following the company’s IPO prospectus. The whole thing is a great read.

Dan Primack:

Twitter itself obviously wanted a bit of price pop for PR and employee morale purposes, but here’s something else employees could be thinking about today: Had Twitter priced at $45.10 per share and used the extra proceeds to give out holiday bonuses, it would have worked out to more than $580,000 per employee. How’s your morale feel now?

It is interesting that Facebook maximized the amount of money it made by going public, and it was viewed as a “failure”. While Twitter clearly left a ton of money on the table, and that’s viewed as a “success”.

This is a case where perception is reality. But let’s be clear, the real winners today are the same ones who were the real losers of the Facebook IPO: the bankers.

Brad Feld on why Twitter’s confidential S-1 filing is a good thing (for them):

Under the new rules you do all of this work to get to a final filing in confidence. You make it public three weeks before you go on the roadshow. You make all the documents public, but the only one that really matters is the final one. The sausage got made in private and now you are ready to go public. All the expected articles come out. Everyone dissects all the data. But you are ready for this since you are now ready to go public.

Mark Cuban argues that Andrew Ross Sorkin’s piece on Facebook’s IPO was well, stupid. It’s probably not surprising that I largely agree since I wrote something similar over three months ago (which itself was riffing off of Joe Nocera’s NYT op-ed, which was one of the first smart things I had read on the IPO). 

A lot has happened over those past three months — namely, Facebook’s stock has fallen quite a bit more. It’s fallen so much, in fact, that I did something I haven’t done in years: I bought a public stock. Once Facebook fell below $20, I made the plunge.

But I’m not looking to make a quick buck. Those people who were — including Cuban — got screwed. But as Cuban notes, that was was their own fault (or the fault of their portfolio managers). I’m thinking long-term. I believe Facebook will ultimately be a very good investment for precisely the reason that some people are so up in arms: the company is not about optimizing from a stock perspective, it’s about optimizing itself from a product perspective. If successful, I think the latter will ultimately boost the former. See also: Apple. 

Yes, they’re taking some steps to help with the stock market situation. But ultimately, I still believe the company largely doesn’t give a shit. And I think that’s a good thing. Focus on what matters. The product.

Fathoming Facebook

Amidst my snark, there are a few high level things about Facebook’s numbers that I find interesting.

First:

Second:

Third:

Fourth:

I certainly don’t love everything about Facebook, but there’s no denying that it’s an impressive company — one of the most impressive ever built. You have to respect the fact that they have no fear when it comes to completely changing their product on the fly. Most companies would not have the balls to do half of what Facebook has done over the past few years from a position of power. That alone is why I’ve been bullish on Facebook for a long time. 

Obviously, the entire Internet is creaming itself over S-1 filing right now. But I actually don’t think it’s unjustified. When you consider the Google numbers listed above, it’s exciting to think that we’re entering a new era of growth and prosperity for technology companies. It’s exciting not just for Facebook, but for everyone in this space.

The cynics will say these good times won’t last. And they’ll ultimately be right because well, nothing lasts forever. But as the Internet and technology in general continues to be intertwined into the lives of every person on this planet, I can’t help but think this is all just the start of something that we can’t even fathom right now. 

The most interesting part:

By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph — a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.

Which reads suspiciously like: “Dear Google, suck it.”

Wait wait wait!!! But but but!! Ponzi scheme! Should have sold to Google!

Yeah.

Groupon just went public with a market cap now 3x what Google was offering them. We’ll see if the good times last — now that they’re public, they’re going to have to show real growth in the numbers — but it’s pretty clear that either way, Groupon did the right thing in not taking that deal. 

Good for them.