How Facebook's IPO will change your life
(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Since I live in Silicon Valley, spent decades in the high-tech industry, and was involved in two initial public offerings, you might think I'm immune to all the Facebook IPO hype.
Nope, not even a little. In fact, I live for it.
Sure, I worked with the high-powered bankers, analysts and lawyers. I did all the due diligence, S-1 drafting, and planning meetings for an IPO's "roadshow." I had skin in the game. It was all very exciting and nerve-racking.
While those days are pretty much behind me now, I still get into this sort of thing for two very good reasons. First, high-tech is in my blood; guess it always will be. Second, everyone wants to read about it.
So today I'm going to tell you everything you need to know about Mark Zuckerberg's baby and the blessed event expected to take place on Friday. Whether you're a Facebook employee, one of its billion or so users, a potential investor just kicking the company's tires, or anyone else for that matter, this is exactly how your life will change when everybody's favorite social network goes public. Hope you "like" it.
Facebook employees. A lot of you will get rich. Just not today. Instead, you get to hold your breath and watch your blood pressure go through the roof for the next 3-6 months until the "lockup" period for selling shares is over. And don't expect to get any work done during that time, either. After that, it's business as usual... except for the new BMW.
Facebook executives. If you've been involved in the company's due diligence, S-1, and roadshow process leading up to the IPO, then your life's been a living hell. Today, it ends. And so begins a new hell: being an executive in a public company. No matter. You'll have enough dough to buy all the happiness you need from now on. But you'll never want to see another lawyer or wordsmith another SEC document again as long as you live.
Venture capitalists and other private Facebook investors. Some of you are now billionaires, at least on paper. Some of you already were. Whatever. We're all jealous. Don't spend it all in one place.
Underwriting bankers. It isn't like the old days, is it, guys? Take 1.1 percent of $100 million and divide it, what, 30 ways? Is that really it? You are so not partying like it's 1999.
Institutional investors. So Zuck wore a hoodie during Facebook's recent roadshow and didn't even bother showing up in Boston. He has no respect for you. Whatever. Just take your piece of the pie, hedge your bets as usual, and call it a day.
Retail investors. Look, the dot-com bubble popped in 2000 -- along with the millennial bug and the AOL-Time Warner (TWX) merger. You can't make money flipping stocks, so don't bother. If you want to own Facebook for the long-term, either because you "like" the company or as a diversification strategy, relax and wait until the dust settles. You can buy some shares in a week or two. Yes, it'll still be there. There's no rush. Really.
The media. Let's see, the "hot searches" on Google Trends lists "Facebook IPO" right behind "America's Got Talent," "Howard Stern," and "flesh-eating bacteria." Soak up all that Google goodness, oh ye faithful flock of bloggers, punditocrats, and journalists. Ironic that Facebook news depends on Google search. But then, doesn't everything?
The rest of Silicon Valley. To all the VCs, attorneys, realtors, construction workers, design consultants, and everyone else who will most certainly benefit indirectly from Facebook's coming out party, Zuck says "You're welcome."
Advertisers and anyone else involved in the ever-growing Facebook economy. Just another day of sunshine. Enjoy it. And be happy you've even got a business to advertise.
Facebook users. Wake up, hit the shower, get dressed, eat something, go to work, come home, grab a beer, eat dinner, post something on your timeline, upload some photos, search for old girlfriends, watch TV, go to bed. Nothing's changed.
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