Congratulations, Facebook team

Last Friday marked one of the biggest moments in this generation’s tech investments: Facebook IPO.

People will argue whether it’s a bubble or not; only time will tell. But what is a fact, is that Facebook – so far – is one of the biggest success stories of our times.

– The third biggest IPO ever (after VISA and General Motors)
– The largest tech IPO ever
– The largest IPO ever by an 8 year old company

Add to that, Facebook has a very interesting business model in the making as ”Facebook is now a platform for everything”; and the case can be made for Facebook’s P/E ratio and beyond.

Anyway, Friday’s numbers are so amazing, they are worth really looking at. NY Times’ Dealbook has done a great visualization on them. See the full version here.

A glimpse in history (from Businessweek) should serve as inspiration for future entreprenurs. 

Young Entrepreneurs

Face-Forward Startup

Mark Zuckerberg

Palo Alto, Calif.
Founded: 2004
Age: 21

In the spring of 2004, Zuckerberg didn’t know he was hatching a hot social-networking startup. He just thought Harvard should have an online directory of students. His first attempt landed him in hot water with the administration — he ranked all students’ ID photos based on attractiveness. His second try made him a Silicon Valley wheeler and dealer.

Selling banner ads to make money, the Facebook connects students with one another. Originally, Zuckerberg fretted over the $85 a month it cost to run. Today, Facebook has raised more than $13 million from Silicon Valley names like PayPal founder Peter Thiel and Accel Partners.

Zuckerberg needn’t worry about getting brushed aside in favor of seasoned management — the gutsy Harvard dropout negotiated a contract with investors that left him in control as long as he wants.

Lesson learned:
“Do what you think is right, not what other people tell you is right. People have strong opinions about the way to do stuff. It’s really good to listen and learn from the world, but when you’re making something, it’s coming from you.”

The team. Year one.

Congratulations, Facebook team

Strategy in the creative economy

Facebook is one of the companies we follow closely. As a leader in the social space and one of the success stories of our generation, many executive teams and aspiring leaders can learn from it.

This NY Times article reveals how Facebook is buying talent to drive its strategy. In the creative economy; ideas, talent and innovation drive strategy. Not the other way around. Recommended.

BTW; notice the speed…how long does a M&A process typically take at your firm?

Strategy in the creative economy

Researching news clippings for teaching creative strategic thinking

“In strategic thinking, we have learned that there is no such thing as a mature industry: there is only an industry to which imagination has yet to be applied”
– Steven Denning

I’m researching material for my upcoming strategy class. This spring I also run several executive education programs where strategic management is part of the program. The goal: teach students at all levels more creative strategic thinking.I have excellent books and great case studies, but I am looking for recent, up-to-date material they will recognize. Apple, Amazon, Facebook are easy pickings for good case studies. As are Nokia, Kodak and Sony for the worse stories.The search for the best material is still on-going. So far, I’m reading through this selection… (still on-going)

David Brooks: Competitiveness Vs Creativity: GE vs Apple

How To Succeed Like Apple and Amazon

Strategy Is The Antidote To Complexity, Killer Of Today’s Best Companies

Apple’s inevitable path to a post-PC era

Apple=Sony: Brace For The Coming Post-Steve Jobs Decline

Apple = Sony? Don’t You Believe It

Here’s Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years

Also worth looking into are these posts on the creative economy and how to teach it.

The Creative Monopoly

Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup—Stanford, Spring 2012 (PayPal founder, early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, now teaching at Stanford)

Five Days to Change the World – The Columbia Lean LaunchPad Class

And a few on Nokia…

Nokia: Demand Still Falling, The Worst Is Still To Come

Nokia loses mobile top spot. What does it have left?

Footnote, also adding this one…
Be Your Own Bank: Bitcoin Wallet for Apple


The Great Tech War (you need to read this)

When we talk about innovation, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google tend to come up. If you want to read one article on the subject this year, this should be it.

To understand Facebook’s, Amazon’s, Google’s or Amazon’s strategic ploys; then this is the article for you. Amazing read.

Here’s just a handful of the comments on Fast Company’s site.

Chris Eckelkamp Yesterday 09:50 PM
Fantastic article! You have encompassed the single most interesting tech discussion of our time.
I just love the work put into it. Thank you so much for this piece.

Mike Hope Yesterday 08:40 AM
Great article Farhad, although I agree with Wansai… Microsoft shouldn’t be discounted! Apart from this I believe that this is an award winning article!!

David Politis 10/17/2011 06:03 PM
This is arguably the most insightful article of 2011 on what might be considered cross-border wars in the high-tech industry. Very well thought out, researched and written. A great job, Farhad. This is another example of why I continue to subscribe to Fast Company magazine and why I believe it is one of the top media properties in the world.

The Great Tech War (you need to read this)