Facebook, Why Go Public?

“Egg and my face, were in alignment” – This hilarious line by Moss from ‘The IT Crowd’ was the first thing I thought of when I heard about Facebook’s flop on the stock market.

Despite its shares losing almost 50% of their value from the IPO in May, Mr Zuckerberg stated that Facebook was and is as strong as ever. Fair point, with regards to market share and all that jazz Mark’s right, Facebook are still on top, so maybe this is just a little bump in the road.

2 things I don’t understand about this whole scenario: Firstly, why Facebook went public and subsequently posted itself on the stock exchange. Then secondly, why when it didn’t go as planned did the haters rise up and slate them for it? And there was a lot of slating. I was also going to ask why it is that Mr Zuckerberg decided to position the company at such a high price on the exchange. But it didn’t take a lot of thought to reach a reasonable answer: purely and simply, he was a bit naïve.

Mark Zuckerberg has been called a lot of things I’m sure, but I think naïve is the word that best describes him at this point. He’s obviously enjoying the success Facebook has brought him and perhaps he’s become a little drunk on the ego boost. This is the only reason I can come up with as to why the IPO was (arguably) ridiculously too high. This is a new venture for the company, and with a majority stake he’s obviously going to have the last say in everything, so his inexperience here let him down. Not to worry though, I’m sure Facebook will be just fine (I’ve probably just jinxed it).

So back to the other thing I don’t understand. Hang on; there are an awful lot of things I don’t understand… So back to the other thing I don’t understand about this whole Facebook thingy. There, that’s better.

Let’s rewind a second. So Facebook is going strong. They’re on top of the social media world and their blue homepage has probably burned into the screens of a lot of laptops. Imagine they’re just taking a stroll down the street. They’ve dodged a few attacks from one very persistent and angry bird, but after realising they share the same colour logo they’ve decided to co-exist. Google+ is nibbling at their ankles a bit but not really getting anywhere. And Tumblr has just seemed to keep its distance. So Facebook is the king of the jungle, so to speak. And Mr Z must be feeling like The Man.

Then why oh why change anything? Surely you don’t change a winning formula? I understand that as a market leader you can’t get complacent and you need to stay innovative and up-to-date, but I don’t think Facebook really needed to go public at all. With that said I think they would have been better off keeping their settings to ‘private’ (sorry).

Going back to the “why did everyone slate Facebook for it” thing, I guess people think it’s been coming for a while, and so are finally getting to say “I told you so!” and “the bubble’s burst!”. Meh, I think Mark knows his mistake, and he’s sure to learn and move on. If Facebook did somehow collapse completely, I bet those same “I told you so!” haters would gloat for a while, and then after the dust has settled, hop onto their computer and sit there on their browser homepage for a little while, not knowing quite what to do, whilst longingly staring at the faded blue background on their screen…

Joe Topliffe


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