Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been making the rounds this week in preparation for the social media company’s IPO on Wall Street on May 18. Facebook’s valuation is $100 billion, the highest ever for an internet company.
As the New York Times’ Bits blog noted on May 9, Facebook has amended its public offering prospectus six times, with the latest amendment about its being currently unable to “directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products.” While the number of users who access Facebook via a mobile device is quickly growing (488 million users accessed Facebook via a mobile device in March), the company has not been able to increase the number of ads delivered at the same rate. Facebook is growing, but not in such a way as to keep generating the revenue it so far has.
This significant, albeit rather technical, point has not been the focus of discussion about Facebook’s IPO road show.
Said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter (who has rated Facebook’s stock to “outperform”) about Zuckerberg’s not suiting up in, well, a suit to make his Wall Street debut, as quoted by Bloomberg’s Mark Milian:
“Mark and his signature hoodie: He’s actually showing investors he doesn’t care that much; he’s going to be him. I think that’s a mark of immaturity. I think that he has to realize he’s bringing investors in as a new constituency right now, and I think he’s got to show them the respect that they deserve because he’s asking them for their money.”
CNET’s Jim Kerstetter sums up the response of many to Pachter’s hoodie hostility:
…let’s not take this whole “Wall Street is the engine of the economy and should be paid its due respect” thing too far. Without getting into the hard-to-pin-blame real estate disaster of the last decade, we can say the financial sector has shed 459,400 jobs over the last four years, according to a recent analysis of Labor Department statistics by The Business Journals (hat tip to The Huffington Post). And they’re not done. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the big Wall Street banks are getting ready to shed more jobs over the next few months.
Pachter has gone on to elaborate about why Zuckerberg showing up on Wall Street in the wardrobe staple of the majority of teenage/college/20-something males is being seen as decidedly uncouth:
“When he shows up with a hoodie, and it’s really not done in Wall Street investor presentations, I think he’s saying, ‘I don’t care, I’m going through the motions, I don’t want to be here. I’d rather be back in Palo Alto writing code.’ That’s fine. If that’s what he needs to be creative, more power to him… He should wear whatever he wants, but not when he’s asking for money.
“He wouldn’t go to a wedding in hoodie. Maybe he would, but he shouldn’t. He wouldn’t go to church in a hoodie. I mean you shouldn’t. You just show the institution respect and I think he didn’t show respect on Wall Street.”
It could be pointed out that Facebook has achieved a few things that your typical Wall Street company hasn’t (mobilizing citizens in authoritative regimes to protest and challenge oppressive governments).
Photo by Crunchies2009
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