Facebook Friday!


It’s a gloriously sunny morning here in London – its may be baltic outside (I think we’re hovering somewhere around the one degree mark), but it’s a beautiful day; the air’s clear, the sun’s shining – a perfect morning for sipping hot coffee outside Gav’s (our local coffee stall), watching the  steam roll off our cups and indulging in a bit of Friday chatter about our current hot topic of the day, Facebook.

You can’t move in our industry at the moment – or in the press in general for that matter – for chat about the Facebook IPO. It’s a more or less constant stream of articles, blog posts, opinions, comments, projections and tweets on what’s promised to be the biggest technology stock-market float in history. So we thought we’d put in our two cents.

The numbers are astronomical. $5bn the first initial stock offering in the US. $100bn estimated maximum market cap.  $23.5bn Mark Zuckerberg’s estimated potential wealth on paper. And with the numbers comes a fascinating first time peek into the company’s finances – revealed to have generated $1bn net income in 2011.

So the questions we’ve been banding around Gav’s this morning has been just what are they going to do with $5bn? Will they follow a Google path and snap up companies left, right and centre to expand their online control and spread their risk? Can we anticipate the continued expansion of Facebook’s integration to nearly every aspect of our social lives (as everything from our entertainment, buying behaviours, business initiatives and social lives continue to drift into the Facebook umbrella)? And how long is it before this vertical integration leads to a real backlash from users? Finally of course, how is this IPO actually going to affect us and our privacy (let’s not forget monetization is all about the data)?

Lots of questions. Lots of conjecture. Lots of ‘we’ll just have to wait and see’. This is probably one of the most fascinating turning points in this history of technology companies – not least because it directly affects over 845 million of us worldwide. Ultimately from the standpoint of the group gifting team here at Shareagift, though we have a whole bunch of reservations, we think it’s an incredibly exciting time for the industry. Yes, there will inevitably be criticisms and concerns, but harking back to the numbers – here’s some we raise our eyebrows at and take our hats off to:

(only) 7 years old – Facebook’s age (dated to the official LLC formation of thefacebook.com in April 2004)

30% – the share of ownership of the company by Facebook employees

88% – the increase in revenue generated from 2010 to 2011

100x – the multiplication of annual earnings to valuation

843 million – the number of users returning to the site daily. Every single day.

Zuckerberg said in the filing on Wednesday, “We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.” Well, to that we say, “You’ve sure as hell made the money – now we’re just intensely curious to see how you make the service better”.

Sources and further reading: City A.M.The Guardian Technology BlogThe Huffington Post

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