The Sharing of Facebook
We are now less than one week away from what is quite possible the largest technology IPO in history, as one of the quickest growing companies of the century – Facebook- is preparing to announce the price of shares. To cement this approaching milestone, the first round of meetings has taken place between potential investors and the executive team of Facebook.
The trio of powerful individuals – Mark Zuckerberg (CEO), Sheryl Sandberg, and David Ebersman – that is the executive staff of Facebook chose to sneak into a side entrance to the hotel Sheraton early Monday afternoon. Following this quiet entrance the group then fielded the questions of some 400 investors during a 25 minute period inside a crowded hotel ballroom.
Despite Facebook outlining their expected share value inside of a recent Securities and Exchange Commission many investors believe that Facebook will be pricing their IPO above their stated prices. (Which were between $28-$35 / share).
Questions from the Floor
Zuckerberg and crew answered around a dozen questions from investors while inside the ballroom, with a few of the questions rising to the forefront of importance. One the hardest questions to emerge from the crowd was asking how will Facebook turn a profit on their mobile product, to which Zuckerberg admitted to having a problem tracking the numbers of. With the admittance of having issue tracking the sudden growth of the mobile department and difficulty in tracking the number of users in their base, the question of profit from this venture remains unanswered.
A second question to warrant a note of mention – something even non-investors have been found asking- was to ask whether or not Facebook plans to do any other large acquisitions such as the recent $1billion price-tag of Instagram. Zuckerberg answered this directly by saying that that individual purchase was a unique one and will likely not happen again.
The focus of the investors then moved to the current business, and recent slump thereof, of Facebook and posed questions regarding Zuckerbergs current plan of business. Mark said they will continue to perform with iteration, in a method that he is calling “The Hacker Way” of doing business, which he outlined in his IPO letter; an excerpt of which follows:
“Hackers try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once. To support this, we have built a testing framework that at any given time can try out thousands of versions of Facebook. We have the words “Done is better than perfect” painted on our walls to remind ourselves to always keep shipping. “
Zuckerberg used the companies first attempt at a ‘daily deals’ site as an example of failed iteration at work, and says despite the first attempt failing the company is still working on a deals site that can be more likely to come to fruition. Alongside explaining this previous failure, Zuckerberg fielded a question chasing after answers about why the company slumped this first quarter of 2012, but was unable to provide an answer as to way. Even after consulting with his co-workers all he was able to provide as an explanation was “seasonality.”
The meeting dwindled and closed with a brief reiteration of the digital road show that Facebook has been producing while politely refusing to discuss aspects of the private road shows due to regulatory rules.