I'm simply stunned at this morning's spoo-fest on the Nasdaq.
Let's start with the (severely) negative -- the hubris of Zuckerberg. Tradition is that when you go public you come to the exchange and push the (symbolic) button. Why? Because it is the exchange that brings you the ability to peddle your stock to the public and makes a market in it. You are the star on their stage, not the other way around.
Today was a change in that. Zukerberg did his "thing" in California. That tells me everything I need to know about what Zuckerberg believes about the order of the universe when it comes to being a public company. He believes the world revolves around him.
The market is larger than anyone one person, company or even nation.
On a fundamental company basis this is a firm that admits that basically nobody clicks their ads. So what is someone buying? "Exposure"?
I'm not a bull on this one -- at all. And the dynamic in a public company is a very different thing than a private company. It will shift how things are done out there because it has to. Disclosure requirements, internal deliberations that are no longer Zuckerberg's alone and more.
There are, and will be, many people who will simply buy this based on what is almost-certain to be a monstrous opening pop (we'll find out in about an hour.) I did not get an allocation but if I had I would be selling at the market on the opening print.
There's nothing here that I can point to that says this firm is an actual paradigm change or some "new and wonderful thing" that we will all look back at ten years from now and say "Oh wow, that was like Google when it began."
I don't buy it. I don't believe the company will ever be relevant in the advertising space and what's worse, it's utterly dependent on the most-faddish people around -- kids and very young adults. The platform has become bloated and gotten much slower to the point that it's very noticeable both on my desktop and (most-importantly) mobile.
I expect Facebook will eventually have some sort of internal debate on selling not advertising but your behavior, likeness and other materials to pretty much anyone who wants it. That's come up before in virtually every customer-facing application of this general sort. And there have been plenty of noises made over the years that the "old privacy models" no longer apply.
I believe those who take this position are going to be proved wrong, and if Facebook makes the mistake of trying to monetize that data, and I expect they will, you can set the timer on their corporate life to "minutes" the first time someone has an adverse insurance or other financial decision made against them predicated on what Facebook sold off on your online behavior.
They don't always ring a bell at the top, but that this IPO went into a market that was horrifyingly bad and sold down hard all day with a hideous close, simply tells you this is just another shiny penny and if you go for it the steamroller will run you over.
Best of luck today folks.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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