Monday, April 9, 2012

Thoughts on Facebook (pre-IPO)

This could be expanded. There's something to be said about how social media websites function as firms and the nature of their outputs.

Some general observations: 
  • Facebook's "product" (access to the social network) is only as valuable as the number of users. And each user has his or her own unique social group. So in a bizarre way, the product is fine tuned to very specific interconnected sub-markets

  • There is a far amount written about Facebook's app economy. Some is here and here. Facebook is spending less on R&D, relying on outside developers. In the second link, it says Facebook is mimicking Apple's R&D model. The payoffs may not be as valuable for a company that is not producing replicable goods.

  • The new products that analysts keep talking about never actually leave the website. All new innovations (thus far) have remained on the profiles. Is there a diminishing marginal return for this pattern?
Overall it will be an interesting year for Facebook. There will be plenty of IPO analysis to go around, and I'm sure many anxious investors will it's much more valuable than it actually is. 

Here is the full S-1 S.E.C. registration form.

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