Tag Archives: facebook
The Financial Gamble that was the Facebook IPO
You’re probably aware of the recent Facebook IPO. I sit writing this midway through the second day of trading. It’s down nearly 10% from the IPO price. Yikes!
I’ve been very public about my feeling that Facebook was overvalued. $100+ billion for a business that has such small (proportional) revenue doesn’t make sense. This is the internet, and assuming that Facebook has time to grow into a behemoth that will justify that valuation ignores the history of the internet. The internet is still new, and there’s always something better around the corner. After all, Facebook dethroned MySpace, which everyone assumed was the be-all, end-all of social. It will happen to Facebook, someday.
We’re in a time when Facebook is facing backlash, in part due to its’ size. There’s always a curse associated with being the big player in an industry. It seems that human beings always want to root for the underdog, and Facebook is certainly not an underdog. Now that they’re public, it will be interesting to see if they can react as quickly as they have in the past. Sure, Mark Zuckerberg maintains a controlling stake in the company, but he now has investors and a board of directors to answer to.
Some have speculated that we’re in another “bubble” of overvalued tech stocks, much as in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, I’m one of them. I’m afraid that things will change dramatically as of Facebook’s first earnings report. At such a large valuation, Facebook will be under great pressure – and great expectations – to start making money. A public company of their size won’t be able to ramp up the revenue as quickly as a small, private one could. I’m afraid this will leave many investors disappointed. This disappointment may drag down the whole sector. It could hurt the entire economy.
If there’s anything rosy in this it’s that I’m not a licensed or accredited anything when it comes to investing. I might be wrong, and part of me hopes I am. Either way, it will be exciting to watch what happens with Facebook over the next three to six months.
Don’t Trust Your Data with Just Anyone
I can assume that if you are reading this, you have an account on Facebook. Around 2/3 of Americans have accounts with Facebook and some have declared it the king of social networking, invulnerable to attack from any challenger. Well, Google has decided to take a stab at Facebook’s dominance, having recently rolled out a social service called Google+. This isn’t a review, but it’s a great time to talk about the pain that comes from changing services.
You probably use a different email address now than you did when you first got onto the Internet. It’s a great example of how things change. Maybe someday you’ll want to change from Facebook to Google +. That’s why I advocate keeping copies of everything you upload to a site—be it Facebook, Flickr, etc., on your computer. You could perform regular backups of your data on these sites, for those that let you, but I suggest something even easier–your data should live on your computer.
Here’s an example. When I take pictures that I want to upload somewhere, say, Facebook, I first copy them to a folder on my computer. I have nearly every photo I’ve ever taken. If Facebook somehow loses those photos, it’s inconvenient but not catastrophic. I do the same thing with the blog posts I write. I have greater control over my computer than I do over someone else’s website.
And by doing so, if I ever decide to leave Facebook and upload all of my photos to Google+, I can. I firmly believe that people should have the option to do what they want with their data, but as soon as you give someone else the only copy, you lose that right.
It’s critical that you maintain copies and backups of everything you do and create, so long as it’s important. I deal with people every week that have an inadequate backup, or even retention, strategy. You can only control your own computer(s), so make sure that you’re not pretending that the rest of the world is responsible for maintaining your stuff. It’s not that hard, so don’t make excuses.