The social media market used to be fun to watch. A palpable excitement pervaded it, as rapid growth turned the likes of Facebook, Twitter and many others into household names. Enormous venture capital deals were cut – not that the recipients need the money. It looks like many were taking periodic cash-outs instead of having to wait for the big day.
Facebook employees are about to find out what turned their boss on about a billion dollars. The company is looking to unload around $1 billion in employee-owned stock, as the worker bees who have sacrificed cash for years look for a bit of upside. And, Facebook is doing it in style.
The social media company is looking to help its devoted employees cash out of some shares at a valuation of $60 billion … that’s “cool” 60 times over. It’s also a 20 percent jump over the company’s previous valuation of $50 billion.
I attended with IR magazine, where I am now the group marketing director. Look closely at the photo and video: I’m the baldest guy on the left.
Okay, file this under WTF, zOMG and STFU. Deloitte, the top-shelf global professional services firm, is taking a big step and opening an office in Baghdad. Yes, that one – the one in Iraq.
The office will open in Q1 2011. According to Iraqi Directory, the firm is also “working on an add-on acquisition to grow its Middle Eastern presence.” That is pretty wild. I used to complain about gigs in Tennessee and Nebraska. I don’t think I could wrap my head around this one.
It’s pretty clear that this isn’t a road to riches. Traditional publications don’t pay hefty salaries, and it’s difficult to break into them. Freelance writing provides some opportunities for a solid living, if you know how to manage your personal business effectively, but you have to work at it. Starting your own business seems to be the only way to hit it big, but this isn’t exactly news. It’s one of the few ways one can generate real wealth. For writers, however, even this angle may be inherently constrained.
Two recent news stories got my attention and made me think about this.
Peter Kafka’s latest article over on AllThingsD (a must-read for me) caught my attention quickly. He found that the amount of investment cash flowing into “pure play” Twitter startups fell to $10.4 million for the June 2009-to-May 2010 period … from $21.6 million the previous year. The 52 percent year-over-year decline probably feels like a shock to the system, but it looks like there are some clear drivers for this change.
Kafka cites the natural ebb and flow of venture capital deals, as well as Twitter’s rush to fill gaps in its services. The latter, to me, is a no-brainer, as I remember trying to keep up with it. During last spring’s Chirp conference, Twitter announced a number of new measures that rounded out its product set. Of course, it came at the expense – whether Twitter wanted to admit it or not – of the many companies that had arisen as a result of the market opportunities created by Twitter’s gaps.
There’s always an awkward moment when you’re out for dinner with other people and the check arrives. Do you split it? How? Are the circumstances such that someone should pick up the whole thing? Frankly, I find nothing more irritating than this post-dining kabuki, especially when there’s some would-be accountant who wants to carve the whole thing up in bizarre and annoying ways. You can avoid this problem with a simple game: credit card roulette.
Seriously, someone’s been munching on a shitload of paste. In Q2 2010, 44 more magazines launched than in 2010. This means two things (1) people have more money than they did last year and (2) they have no clue what the fuck to do with it. The former makes sense, given that in Q2 2009, we were still reeling from the September 2008 financial crisis. So, it would make sense that, as we turn the corner, there’s more money floating around … and it’s looking for a home.
And the latter? Yeah, fools and their money and such.
I don’t know what would possess someone to launch a dead-tree edition in this (or any) market. Look for the giant flushing sound in a few quarters. It will be those new magazines getting pushed through the plumbing.
Private company valuations on SecondMarket (and other similar “exchanges”) make for great blog fodder, but I’m not sure I buy into the hype. The latest result for Facebook is a $25 billion valuation … for a company that celebrated being cash flow positive a year ago and has yet to turn a profit.
Queue the sock puppets and launch a black rocket. It’s 1999 all over again.
Let’s compare it to the actual values of public companies like AOL ($2.3 billion) and Yahoo! ($21 billion), as reported by TechCrunch today. Facebook at $25 billion without any real liquidity? I’m having trouble stomaching that one. Of course, I’m something of a skeptic, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.