As of this writing, the world is abuzz with the expected Facebook IPO. The number $100 billion is being floated and passed around (probably by those who stand to benefit from a big IPO), and whether real or wild speculation, that’s a number that gives one cause to pause.
This is beginning to feel like Déjà vu all over again (thanks, Yogi Berra), much like that fascinating period in the late ‘90’s when stratospheric valuations were applied to firms that had no products, no earnings and sometimes no revenues. That was a heady time, when the laws of nature, physics and finance were seemingly supplanted by the value of eyeballs and business models that had no substance or staying power.
Unlike many of the great dot-com flameouts, Facebook has a lot going for it, including near world-domination of the social media scene and reportedly, good and growing revenues for advertising. Throw in some alleged profits and it certainly sounds like the law of gravity has not been eliminated…just eased a bit.
I’m certain I will raise the ire of the many who now view Facebook as an important part of their lives (disclosure: I’m a Facebook misanthrope), however, I can’t quite comprehend the valuation for the value proposition.
The proliferation of this medium is fascinating and not to be ignored, but it doesn’t fundamentally change much of anything as it relates to how companies run their businesses. It does offer incremental opportunities for communication, connecting and monitoring, but I don’t think most firms in most industries are rethinking their business models and value chain activities based on Facebook.
While my crystal ball is notoriously cloudy when it comes to prognosticating on stocks, I know enough to steer clear of numbers where a reasonable person cannot connect the fundamentals to the price. Of course, many years ago, I met a guy named Howard and had a strong cup of coffee and failed to see that this would ever catch on. After all, good coffee at the time was weak and cheap.
For a more cogent view of why this doesn’t makes sense, be sure and check out the article on Forbes: Four Reasons Why Facebook’s IPO is Irrelevant.
And for those who have a strong defense of the game-changing, we should all rethink our business models impact of Facebook, I’m looking forward to your thoughts.