Friday, January 27, 2012

Facebook goes public. Someone gets poked.

It's sorta-official: Facebook might file papers for its long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) as early as next Wednesday. The "sorta" part is because Facebook hasn't actually announced it. The Wall Street Journal is reporting this, citing an anonymous source. In journalistic parlance, it's "a person familiar with the matter." Which could mean the janitor who cleans Mark Zuckerberg's office, his pool guy, a disgruntled former employee, or his mother who simply wants him to call her more often than he does.

Whoever this "person familiar with the matter" is, he/she has touched off a firestorm of coverage. The big number could fall between a $75 billion and $100 billion valuation, with the company aiming to raise some $10 billion from the offering. This would make it larger than the GDP of some small-ish nations. Or some larger ones with banking, um, issues (Greece, consider yourself poked.) And around the same size as McDonald's (grease?)

Sure, at this point it's all speculation and hearsay. But the Journal's been pretty bang on in the past, and if all this plays out, the monster deal will significantly change the way we view social media. Why? Because the little baby once used to find hot dates on an Ivy League campus is all grown up, and most of us these days are only too happy to immerse our lives in a growing wave of services we once dismissed as trivial.

$100 billion is anything but trivial. And as Google panic-spends its way to parity, it's clear the social media future is Facebook's to lose.

Game on.

Your turn: Facebook...good or evil? Why/why not?


Cloudia said...

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