Dear Wall Street Guys: Mark Zuckerberg Is Trolling You. Get Over It. Love, Me.
Say what you like about Mark Zuckerberg, he’s not stupid and he’s not a Wall Street type of guy.
This is important for a lot of reasons this week. Mostly its important because, in case you lived under a rock and hadn’t heard yet, Facebook is tanking as a publicly-traded company. And everyone wants to know why.
The coverage of this is mostly happening in publications like Bloomberg and Business Weekly. Most Americans know what an “IPO” is, at least enough to know that they don’t want to hear any more about this boring-ass business news and could we talk about something else now please, so it doesn’t really have a lot of purchase in the general public interest. But it is big news for people who wear suits and yell on their cell phones a lot.
And here is the thing those people still seem to be missing: this billion-dollar company everyone just invested in is run by a guy who does not think the way they do.
Facebook’s success story is actually fairly rare in business: it was a product that people genuinely wanted from the word “go.” The challenge was figuring out how to make money off that desire, rather than creating useless crap and figuring out how to generate desire (which is more the standard model). Advertising is Facebook’s revenue source, not part of its business expenses.
Creating something like that requires a certain instinct for the intangibles of human desire. Stock analysts and investors, by and large, do not like intangibles. They don’t graph neatly and you can’t do math to them.
Facebook’s stock price is plummeting as we speak. This is supposed to be a bad thing. But I wonder if the people reporting it as a bad thing have stopped to consider whether the man with the plan — the man who is already one of the 30 richest people in the world; who literally could not conceive of a need for more money and who does not keep score with money the way they do — actually gives a fuck.
Because I suspect he does not.
Entrepreneurs, by nature, like to try new things and keep moving on. Facebook is much more interesting at this point to the people who keep score with money than it is to the innovators and designers that built it. It is not at all inconceivable that the majority of this newly-public company’s executive staff don’t actually care how the IPO goes, and might have even gone so far as to make it deliberately confusing and uncertain for people who do still care about the company’s worth on paper.
You sort of have to wonder how they missed that really fundamental fact when they were investing millions of dollars of their clients’ money.