The Great Debate UK
Who wouldn’t want to have been an early investor in Facebook? The graffiti artist who spray painted the walls of Facebook HQ decided to take stock rather than a paycheck and will be $150 million dollars richer as a result.
Facebook is one of the biggest ever IPOs in the U.S. and at the end of last week it even managed to knock Greece out of the headlines and was credited with boosting market sentiment.
The IPO road-show generated larger than expected demand for FB stock, which was met by willing Facebook employees and investors eager to sell. The hype didn’t end there; the stock price was priced higher than expected at $38 per share, valuing the company at $104bn! No wonder Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has renounced U.S. citizenship to sell his Facebook stake and avoid capital gains tax. But the vast bulk of analysis in the lead up to the sale has been Facebook negative: it doesn’t have a sustainable business model, it doesn’t generate enough cash per user (approx. $5 per year, per user), too many insiders are too eager to sell, the price will crash…
But if there are so many reasons to sell, why are people queuing up to fill their boots with red hot Facebook stock? I think the reason is Zuckerberg, and investors in Facebook are chasing his next great idea. The first thing he could turn his attention to is marketing and advertising. After saying that advertising isn’t cool (or maybe that was Jesse Eisenberg in the film The Social Network…) it’s wrong to write Zuckerberg off as a sell-out now that ad revenue will most likely be FB’s largest source of cash flow.
from Paul Smalera:
Lately Internet users in the U.S. have been worried about censorship, copyright legalities and data privacy. Between Twitter’s new censorship policy, the global protests over SOPA/PIPA and ACTA and the outrage over Apple’s iOS allowing apps like Path to access the address book without prior approval, these fears have certainly seemed warranted. But we should also remember that Internet users around the world face far more insidious limitations and intrusions on their Internet usage -- practices, in fact, that would horrify the average American.
Sadly, most of the rest of the world has come to accept censorship as a necessary evil. Although I recently argued that Twitter’s censorship policy at least had the benefit of transparency, it’s still an unfortunate cost of doing global business for a company born and bred with the freedoms of the United States, and founded by tech pioneers whose opportunities and creativity stem directly from our Constitution. Yet by the standards of dictatorial regimes, Internet users in countries like China, Syria and Iran should consider themselves lucky if Twitter’s relatively modest censorship program actually keeps those countries’ governments from shutting down the service. As we are seeing around the world, chances are, unfortunately, it won’t.
from Paul Smalera:
Facebook shouldn't pay its users. Its users should pay to own Facebook.
“Facebook was not originally created to be a company,” founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his letter to investors announcing the IPO of his already hugely successful and profitable company. “It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.”
Facebook has succeeded wildly, despite internal admonitions that its “journey” is only 1 percent finished. Journalists have latched onto Zuckerberg’s statement that Facebook wants to “rewire” the way the world works. In a world of thousands of self-anointed “social media experts,” only Zuckerberg can claim to have basically invented what the world thinks of as social media. He has etched himself into the timeline of human innovation.
from Business Traveller:
That’s when the fun starts, says the boss of a new social network for business travellers. But how is Whenthemeetingsover.com carving a niche among the Goliaths of social networking?
Socially you’re likely long-entrenched in Facebook; reserving LinkedIn to connect with a larger professional network. You probably also dip into user-generated TripAdvisor for opinion overload on restaurants and hotels; the well-organised among you might use the travel-planning and itinerary sharing networks Dopplr or Tripit, and be eyeing up the just-launched Gtrot.
from Reuters Investigates:
Yinka Adegoke delves into what happened at Myspace in his special report today: "How News Corp got lost in Myspace."
Weak technology, management in-fighting and a rival called Facebook led to the rapid decline of the once dominant social network.
from Chrystia Freeland:
The uprising in Egypt has provoked the familiar “realism-versus-idealism” foreign policy debate in many Western capitals, as diplomats and politicians struggle to balance their ideological sympathy for the protesters against fears of chaos and the threat of a future anti-Western and anti-Israel policy from Cairo if the people do win.
What we have paid less attention to is that the demonstrations have forced some of the world’s hottest technology companies to engage in a very similar debate. The conclusions these technorati end up drawing may be as significant as the verdicts of Western governments. This new intellectual battleground is a further sign that in the age of the Internet and the global economy, foreign policy doesn’t belong just to professionals or to states any more.
Goldman Sachs' old-school Facebook deal brings a new set of challenges. The bank is raising up to $1.5 billion from clients to invest in the social network while putting in $450 million itself. Like Morgan Stanley's reported deal with online coupon service Groupon, it looks like classic merchant banking. With hot firms in the driver's seat, however, the banks could find themselves in for a wild ride.
Internet darlings, with their growth, profitability and cash, face little pressure to go public yet still have some use for what a fundraising can provide. So instead of an IPO, they rely on so-called D-rounds. This allows them to raise money at favorable valuations for internal use, while buying stock back from employees or early-round investors who want to cash out.
By Robert Cyran and Rob Cox
Facebook may at last become a real, rather than virtual, money spinner in 2011. The social network doesn't need capital to grow, but expectations from backers and employees for an IPO are too high for founder Mark Zuckerberg to ignore. There's just one challenge: trading in Facebook's unlisted shares values the website at more than $40 billion. Getting to that number requires some astonishing growth assumptions.
That's not to say it's impossible for Facebook to attain a public market value at least as big as its current implied worth. Facebook is both valuable and becoming more so. It has more than 500 million users and it's adding thousands by the minute. But rarely has a private company attracted such a large -- and relatively liquid -- financial status as Facebook.
2010 is a great time for the web. Innovation is thriving as new services and content flourish on smartphones and laptops, thanks in good part to industry leaders like Apple and Facebook.
But according to Tim Berners-Lee, - often called “ the father of the web” - the open and democratic structure of the web is threatened by sinister forces trying to redesign the web in ways that make it more closed for their own personal gain. These enemies of the web don't just include totalitarian governments. They include industry leaders like Apple and Facebook.
BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward branded “the most hated man in America” may be surprised to find himself cast in the role of victim by a growing clan of web-based supporters on Facebook.
One such group ‘Support BP’ calls itself the defender of an “undeservedly harassed institution” and seeks to show that the public opprobrium BP faces over its now 60-day-old Gulf of Mexico oil spill is not universal.