Thursday, August 16, 2012

Facebook lockup ends. World shudders.

Okay, so the world isn't going to grind to a halt because Facebook insiders are allowed, as of today, to sell their shares (up until now, they were banned from doing so to prevent an imbalance in the market caused by hordes of employees and senior executives suddenly dumping their shares on the market.)

There are valid reasons for all of this, of course, and I'm sure some Wall Street wizard would be more than happy to walk us all through the financial intricacies of Facebook's initial public offering and the significance of the end of the lockup period.

But here's the thing: All of that is horsepoop. All that matters here is that Facebook has significantly underperformed leading up to, during and following its IPO. The company has repeatedly failed to convince investors that it's the real deal, that it actually has a realistic plan to convert all of that massive hype that initially had the company valued at $100 billion into long-term revenue generation and growth. Instead, it ticks off consumers and everyone else with privacy and data stewardship policies that align rather nicely with Brezhnev-era Soviet politics (thanks, Zuck, for constantly changing my settings on my behalf. Great fun finding out why everything I read is suddenly visible to the world.) And it introduces online gambling - poker, slots and probably horse racing with whips before long - in the UK because clearly the world needs more online gambling.

It's a company that is so spectacularly undeserving of merit on so many levels that it's a wonder it's been able to even sustain its currently lame share valuation ($21.20 as of market close yesterday, down from the $38 strike price at IPO.) I simply don't see the kind of maturity here that justifies the company's continued dominance of the space five years out. By then, something better will come along, and the 955 million subscribers - including the huge swaths of fake users, disgruntled users and just plain apathetic ones - will happily shift away from the time sucking walled garden that is Facebook to something that's a little more respectful of who they are and what they need out of a social media platform.

I just don't think Facebook has the culture to be that social media provider of record for the rest of us. The clock is ticking, and lockup period or no lockup period, Facebook's future looks bleak from where I sit. The only thing that changes today is a bunch of folks get to cash in - which means they'll be more focused on their own bottom line that on their jobs. And the vortex continues to spin faster...

Your turn: Thoughts on Facebook?

4 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Your turn: Thoughts on Facebook?

It is a Tool of SATAN!
~

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I think it is a tool of STAN.

Rita said...

Have never been a fan of Facebook. I only have a profile so that I can keep up with my extensive family that insist on using it instead of our private family blog. It would not be missed by me if it disappeared this very minute.

H said...

I've resisted joining Facebook and now you have given me even more reason to do so. I'll just wait it out and see what the next great social network is. Thanks for the post and your informed thoughts!