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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

#Facebook and the New Frontier


As we all should have heard by now, Facebook is going public. If you are not sure what that means, pieces or “shares” of the company can be bought and sold on the open stock market by anyone in the world – hopefully for a profit. The valuation – amount of money a company is estimated to be worth when it hits the stock market – has been speculated to be as high as $100 Billion dollars. Needless to say, that’s a lot of money folks. People all across the globe believe in Mr. Zuckerberg‘s vision of creating a more “connected” world. He is certainly doing that at an unprecedented pace that will truthfully, never be matched again in our lifetime – perhaps in any lifetime. The advertising revenues have grown exponentially, and this could be the biggest initial public offering a private company’s stock in the history of our modern capitalist society.

Still, it could be stated that Facebook’s entire business model is based off of perception, or what investors would called “perceived ROI” – return on investment. This means basically the business model that has been making a few people lots of money over a very short period of time, may not give the shareholders the same type of return over a long period of time. Without a subscription price model, Facebook’s business could eventually regress and see a decline in revenue sales dollars and ultimately profits, because what is to stop some other Zuckerberg from coming up with another new innovative way of sharing information and connecting the world over the next 10 to 20 years – a model that could redefine the way we seek out and digest products and services as consumers just as Facebook has done?

Facebook will be best served to mimic the success of some of it’s peers in regards to overcoming the pending plateau of their business model growth – an issue that all businesses face at some point. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and even Google, have stepped outside of their traditional business models to pursue the frontier that technology consumers seem to always embrace – hardware. The success of the Kindle, the Nook, and Google’s newly developing hardware platform that will support seamless integration between Android and Motorola phones architecture is an idea Facebook should consider exploiting. Imagine a Facebook Tablet, one that supports it’s own browser and apps designed to integrate with your current Facebook account and applications. We already know Facebook has millions of applications. We can read the news on Facebook, chat with friends, video conference, play poker – what else could be next? A Facebook tablet would provide the revenue dollars and profit margin to support the advertising income from the company’s original business model as the transition through an IPO and into the next decade continues. It would also help cut into the profits of companies who are making millions of dollars indirectly, because of Facebook. Imagine if Facebook was unavailable on the iPhone, Android, Kindle, or Nook, and only available on a 6.5 inch Quad-Core powered tablet that would compete with all of the devices above as far as media content, apps, and communication capability. The Facebook Faithful might consider a switch, and the companies mentioned above to some degree, would have to play ball to satisfy the new desires of the consumer.

Some of you may say, “the next decade? 2012 just started!” What you must understand, is that when your company is private, you can follow whatever timeline you see fit to a certain extent. But when your company is owned by the public, institutional investors, private equity firms and the like, you have a lot more questions to answer in regards to where the company is going, where is the vision taking us, and why should we keep our money around during that process.

What to do about Yahoo!


Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...

Some of you may have been reading about Yahoo! in recent weeks. C0-founder Jerry Yang stepped down, citing he wants “to pursue other interests”. That isn’t too unreasonable. He is worth over $1 Billion dollars in a down global economy, and he is a smart guy, so getting into other things after being with a company for 17 years should be allowed. But how has he left that company to fair for itself?

It seems the greatest gift Mr. Yang gave to Yahoo! in recent memory has been his departure. Often battle-worn CEOs stay around their companies for too long, and can lose the fresh, innovative and dynamic fervor that launched them into Fortune 500 power and in this case, “Internet Immortality”. He certainly gets credit for being one of the main creators of the world’s first major, monetized and profitable internet search directory – that’s what they were called in 1999. Though, it can also be stated that his rejection of a $50 Billion offer from Microsoft was a tad, ridiculous. It is documented that he was adamantly opposed to the takeover bid, but might that have been something good for the shareholders? (Yes)

In the capitalist society that we live in, as a CEO, you have got to have the awareness that time is of the essence, windows of opportunity come and go faster than new designs for Intel chips, and when a company comes around offering to double your price, and leave all of those invested with a overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and certainty that they made the right decision to invest, it is your job to make it happen! Funny thing is, Mr. Yang stated that he is “enthusiastic” that Yahoo! will be guided into an “exciting and successful future”. Do you think he realizes that if they return to their massive market share of the early 2000s, that his successor will probably just pull a dump and run himself? Perhaps he left because he knows the sale of his internet love-child was inevitable.

Honestly, in the world of Tech Business, mergers and acquisitions happen more often than in Finance. If the price plummets anymore, any number of companies with better balance sheets and more cash stand to make a solid claim for a stake – or all – of Yahoo! before it fades into the archives of Wikipedia. Microsoft, Google, even Amazon, Ebay, or perhaps Facebook, are all headed by pretty smart executives who could easily make good use of Yahoo! and it’s assets and market share, though it may be minimal at this point. And if it’s pennies on the dollar, anything could happen. 3 months ago, it was reported that Microsoft might be bringing another proposal to the table, and Mr. Yang will not be seated for dinner.