Facebook Files for IPO, Bitch!

As expected, Menlo Park-based Social Network, Facebook, has filed its S-1 form ahead of an Initial Public Offering in April.

You can see the full form here, there are some interesting facts presented:

  • As of Dec 31st 2011, Facebook had 845 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs).
  • As of Dec 31st 2011, Facebook had 483 million Daily Active Users (DAUs).
  • As of Dec 31st 2011, Facebook had 425 million MAUs using Facebook mobile products.
  • Users generated an average fo 2.7 billion Likes and Comments per day.
  • Users upload 250 million photos per day.
  • Revenues were $3.7bn in 2011, $1.97bn in 2010 and $777m in 2009. Each MAU is worth $4.39 in revenue.
  • Net income was $668m in 2011, $372m in 2010 and $122m in 2009.
  • The business has $6.66bn in assets (and $1.4bn in liabilities).


But it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. The S-1 also summarised the greatest risks to the organisation:

  • “The loss of advertisers, or reduction in spending by advertisers with Facebook, could seriously harm our business”
  • “Competition presents an ongoing threat to the sucess of our business” – They couldn’t be talking about Google+ could they?
  • “Growth in use of Facebook through our mobile products, where we do not currently display ads” – that’s probably code for “expect ads on your mobile device soon!”
  • “The loss of Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl K. Sandberg, or other key personnel could harm our business”. I’ve just sat through “True Grit” so my perspective is temporarily skewed, but does that sound a bit dark to anyone else?
  • “We anticipate that we will expend substantial funds in connection with tax withholding and remittance obligations related to the initial settlement of our restricted stock units (RSUs) approximately six months following our initial public offering” – Umm, so they have six months to sink or swim. If things go bad for them, we could be devoid of Facebook by Christmas? That’s a worrying thought. How am I going to find new LOLCATS?


Some other curiosities:

  • Zynga (Farmville, Cityville, etc) accounted for 12% of Facebook’s revenue!
  • The “Our History” page is presented as a Facebook Timeline (page 53).
  • There is a soon-to-be-famous “Letter from Mark Zuckerberg” on page 81 which starts: “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.”
  • Mark Zuckerberg will exercise his option to purchase 120 million Class B shares and will convert an undisclosed number of those into Class A common stock when they’re sold off at the IPO. (Class B shares are worth 10 votes, class A are worth 1 vote).
  • It appears that the IPO will involve offering only 6.66% of Facebook to the public (117 million Class A shares vs. 1.76 billion Class B shares). Although I only got a B in GCSE Business Studies. Somebody with an MBA please feel free to correct me in the (ahem, Facebook) comments at the bottom of this article…
  • It cost Facebook $573,000 to register the S-1 form with the SEC.
  • There is no mention of Eduardo Saverin in the list of Owners.
  • There is no mention of the Winklevoss Twins anywhere in the filing.

Facebook Filing for $100bn IPO This Week

Facebook IPO
Zuck proves he's not a one-trick pony. He also does a mean Robot.

Various sources are reporting that Social Network supergiant, Facebook, will file for an Initial Public Offering next week.

Wall St. Journal (WSJ), the BBC, and others suggest that shares will be offered to raise $10 billion, and valuing the company at a cool $100bn. Compare that to Google’s 2004 IPO which saw them raise $1.9bn.

At last (public) count, Facebook has 750 million active users. By “active”, they mean users that have logged in within the past 30 days. Compare that to Google who claim 90 million “registered” users, but wont say how many of those log in each month, and have also made Google+ registration mandatory for Over-18s. Which doesn’t seem fair. But enough whinging about the Mountain View Chocolate Factory.

A $100bn valuation means each user (the “product”, in any advertisement-driven web business) is worth $133.33 to the Menlo Park, California, based social network.

That seems a little steep, and goes beyond the adage of “a penny for your thoughts [and likes and photos]”, which would in fact value Facebook at a mere $7.5m…

In 2010, documents leaked by that darling of the US financial industry, Goldman Sachs, quoted revenues for the first 9 months of 2010 of $1.2bn and profits of $355m. That doesn’t really add up to a $100bn value.


The Real Story

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and COO, Sheryl Sandberg, both say that the reason for the IPO is to properly remunerate their engineers and staff who have been given stock options, however, this is not the entire story.

Facebook has been through several phases of private investor recruitment. The rules in the US clearly state that once you reach 500 private investors, it is time to float on the public stock market.

It is very likely that Facebook has reached this milestone, or is very near to doing so shortly, so the choice has been taken out of their hands.

Apple Releases 2012 Q1 Results

Apple LogoApple have just released their 2012 1st Quarter results. You might want to sit down for this…

Back in July I reported on Apple’s 2011 Q3 results. They were very good. Back in October, I completely forgot to report on Apple’s Q4 results, which saw revenues get diluted because people were waiting around for the “Big Announcement”, which ended up being the iPhone 4S, yet also saw record Mac and iPad sales. That quarter was also when the world was shaken by the loss of Mr Steven Paul Jobs.

Today, Cupertino has released their 2012 Q1 figures. Here are the headlines and a nifty graph I knocked up in a few minutes of intimate statsmaking with Excel:

  • Quarterly revenues were $46.33bn up from $28.27bn
  • Quarterly net profit were $13.06bn up from $6.62bn
  • 37.04 million iPhones sold, up from 17.07 million
  • 15.43 million iPads sold, up from 6.62 million
  • 5.2 million Macs sold, up from 4.89 million


Now lets see how this compares with the prior two quarters:

Apple Results 2012 Q1

That’s not a bad show. Christmas has given Apple record figures all round.

Well done, new CEO Tim Cook. Steve would have been proud!

Google (Customer Services) Is Evil

Back in July I signed up for Google AdSense so I could earn a little cash to go towards hosting my little corner of the Interwebz. After a week or so of looking at a “your account is under review” page, I suddenly got an error saying I had been disapproved. Then I joined countless others in Google customer services HELL.


Disapproved Adsense Account

Read that – “An AdSense account does not exist for the login”, and yet the only way to fix it is by going to the Adsense Home page. Unremarkably, clicking on the “Back to Adsense Home” link returns you back to this page. Well done Google. *patronising pat on the head*

You end up literally going round in circles with no guidance, no advice, nothing at all.


Rich, What about the “Adsense Help Center”?

Well, that’s not very helpful, actually. They say:


Adsense Help Forums

There are two major problems here:

  1. Like many others, I never received an email. There is no way of asking for this to be re-sent.
  2. Even if I had an email explaining the problems, I am unable to sign in to my account to fix them!!!!



But There’s an Account Cancellation Form You Can Fill In To Delete Your Account!

A-ha! I know! I filled that in, but got the following totally feckless reply by email:


Account Cancellation Reply

The line which says “you can resubmit it after making necessary changes by following the instructions” and gives a URL actually links you to the Help Centre article shown above. Let me remind you:

  1. Like many others, I never received an email. There is no way of asking for this to be re-sent.
  2. Even if I had an email explaining the problems, I am unable to sign in to my account to fix them!!!!


Cheekily, they then sent me a “Customer Satisfaction Survey”…


Google Satisfaction Survey

I’ll leave it to your imagination the level of expletive superfluousness I sunk to in the “Any other comments?” textbox.


Well I’m Having No Problems. Are you not just being stupid?

That is a great question, and I’m glad your AdSense experience is smooth.

But no. I am only one of many people who have suffered from Google Adsense’s lack of customer support. The main issues are:


It is a total clusterfuck of incompetence.

I am very much enjoying watching Google getting hammered by Twitter, EPIC and hopefully the FTC. They not only consider themselves above privacy laws, but also above having to sort out messes their own crappy systems have created which are really frustrating their customers.


In Conclusion

Apart from Android development, which is the best thing ever, Fuck You, Google.

Great Customer Experience: Ebuyer

Ebuyer Ice Scraper
Ebuyer - Delivering Technology and Winter Safety!

I’m the first to complain when a business treats me badly. But I’m also the first to sing the praises of a company who have given me a good experience. This Christmas, online technology box-mover, eBuyer have really impressed me…

I ordered a new graphics card one Monday night in early December and I wasn’t in any rush so chose the free 5-day delivery option. It arrived on Thursday morning with a little gift (right); a bright orange, heavy-duty plastic ice scraper. This was genius, considering a very cold spell had just started.

The graphics card (a fairly budget AMD/ATi Radeon HD 5770, as recommended by Tom’s Hardware) was very well packed, nestling in a psychiatric ward safe-room of enormous air bags and a good cardboard box. I’ve had damaged equipment arrive from other retailers due to insufficient protection in transit so this was a relief.

The card, it turned out, was not as good as eBuyer’s service so far. Within half an hour of installing it, my PC had crashed badly several times. I’d never seen a Blue-Screen Of Death (BSOD) before on Windows 7, but sure enough, I was getting them every few minutes now. “SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION”, “MEMORY_MANAGEMENT”, they said.

Now it was time to see how eBuyer handles returns during the manic Christmas period.

I used their “Online Returns” system on their website. I put in some details (most of the form was pre-filled with information because they knew I was returning a recent order) and then submitted the request. Immediately I got a message saying the return had been “deferred to managers” and I had to phone a number to progress the return.

Uh-oh. Had the wheels fallen off my eBuyer Great Experience wagon?

No. They explained in plain and simple English on their website that sometimes companies (such as AMD/ATi) want to deal with problems direct with their customers, especially technical problems, so that people receive a consistent experience. That makes a lot of sense, while unburdening the box shifters like eBuyer from unnecessary customer service hassles. However, when I called the number, they clarified some of the problems I was reporting and said they wouldn’t need to refer me to the manufacturers. They organised a courier for me and sent an email with a link in it so I can pick the best pick up time for me. I choose the next day (17th December), between 9am and 6pm. At 10am the box was picked up and on the 23rd I got an email notification saying it had arrived at eBuyer’s Howden, Yorkshire HQ.

I didn’t expect anything quickly as I indulged in some festive spirit and expected the eBuyer staff to do the same. Yesterday (29th December) I got an another alert saying they had tested the graphics card and found it to be faulty. They had refunded all of my money.

Every step of the way, eBuyer:

  • Kept me in the loop
  • Gave me all the information I needed, when I needed it, in plain English
  • Notified me by the most appropriate method – email, which follows me around on my PCs, laptops and phones.

It was a brilliant display of how to look after your customer. I am a delighted camper and have ordered a new card through eBuyer today.

Ferrari Rediscovers Its Design Mojo

Jeremy Clarkson once said on Top Gear, “when Ferrari’s F1 cars are doing dreadful, their road cars are brilliant,” or words to that effect. If the reverse is also true, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are in for another disappointing year.


Ferrari’s F40 was an amazing piece of engineering built at a time when performance and speed were the only things that mattered. The F50 was a total flop, but one that I adored; it had a style so of its age that makes it an all-time classic (that, perhaps, only I like :)).

The F60 wasn’t actually called the F60, annoyingly for bloggers who are trying to show a bit of evolution in a manufacturer’s range. The F60 was called the “Enzo”. And it was brilliant in every way. Except for the fact that I hated its looks.

Images have surfaced online of the next car in the F-range, presumably called the F70?

Ferrari F70
It is said to weigh no more than 1,000kg (2200lb) and thanks to a twin-turbo V8 engine with over 700bhp it will have a top speed of more than 230mph and a 0-60mph time under 3 seconds.

It’s out in September 2012 for £750,000.


599 v2.0

The Ferrari 599 is also a brilliant car. Let’s face it, a bad Ferrari is rare. However, the Maranello boys and girls haven’t been resting on their laurels with this car. The second version will be unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow in March 2012.

Images appearing online show headlights based on the 458 Italia, a grille similar to that on the 612 Scaglietti and vertically-stacked exhausts like those on the California (one of those rare bad Fezzas) but overall a very 599 shape.

The engine is alleged to be Ferrari’s 6.3-litre V12 from the new “FF”.


612 Scaglietti v2.0

Not satisfied with improving the already-brilliant 599, the rather cool 612 Scaglietti is also rumoured to be getting a redesign. So far this is the only picture I can find but I’ll add more info as it becomes available.

Shock News: Being a Dick Isn’t Good for Business

When a guy (Dave) emailed Ocean Marketing for an update on his order for the “Avenger” game controller, he was met with abuse and condescention.


“We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on.”

“im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else.”


Dave took exception (quite rightly) and then CC’d in Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade fame.

Mike challenged Ocean Marketing’s Paul Christoforo’s attitude and said he wouldn’t be welcome at the popular PAX gaming convention he organised every year.

Not quite understanding who he was talking to, Paul went on the offensive again, dropping names of people he “knew”.


“I’m born and raised in Boston I know the people who run the city inside and out watch the way you talk to people you never know who they know it’s a small industry and everyone knows everyone. Your acting like a douchbag not that it matters pax east pax west , e3 , CES , Gamer Con , SSXW ,Comic Con, Germany I’m all over the place. If we want to be there we will be there with industry badges or with a booth you think I can’t team up with turtle beach , Callibur or Koy Christmas , I can’t get Kevin Kelly to pull some strings or G4 , Paul Eibler Ex CEO of take 2 ,  Rich Larocco Konami , Cliff Blizinski Epic who were working with on a gears version , Activision who were working with on a MW3 and Spider man Bundle , The Convention Center Owners themselves , Mayor of Boston come on Bud you run a show that’s all you do and lease a center in Cities you have no pull in its all about who you know not what you do.”


At this point, Mike decides to drop his trump card onto the table:


“I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular.”


From there, it becomes a penis-sizing competition and Mike wins. In fact, it doesn’t just end with Mike pushing Paul’s face into the digital mud, Mike posts the whole shooting match on his exceedingly good, and popular website:



The Aftermath

And that was the end of it? Not quite. It was just the start.

Ocean Marketing’s Facebook Wall is now a hive of targeted abuse. Paul says he has had over 7,000 emails from people showing their disgust at how he has treated his customer. One poster said:


“Part of me wants to feel bad for your girlfriend and your baby. But I was raised to live by a rule wherein you treat others as you want to be treated. That is to say, unless you want to be treated poorly, don’t be a giant douchebag. You did this to yourself, and to your family. It’s not our fault, or Penny-Arcade’s fault, or consumer Dave’s fault. You did this, and it isn’t us you should be apologizing to – internet douchebag bullies are the same everywhere, and we’ll deal with you one way or another – but your girlfriend and your child. Your business is effectively dead and your reputation in tatters. You ought to be thinking long and hard about how you’re going to support them. You can be a deadbeat on the internet all you like, but please don’t be a deadbeat dad. Please try to change, for the sake of your child.

Someone who’s actually really effing pleased that you got what was coming to you. Justice is beautiful.”


Ocean Finance is no longer a distributor of the Avenger controller. Its creator, David Kotkin, said:


“We apologize for our poor representation from Ocean Marketing. We wanted to give Paul a chance. He was rough around the edges, but he had drive and enthusiasm. However his behavior was unprovoked, unnecessary, and unforgivable. We are no longer represented by Ocean Marketing.”


But there is a positive side to Paul’s self-destruction of his [Anti-] PR company. He has become the Internet’s latest meme.


SEE YOU AT PAX EAST - I'll be the one without the booth


Many thanks to @_MarkNorris for the heads up on this story.