Explaining Southern California's economy

Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg agree: Facebook is TV

Reality Rocks Expo - Day 1

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Reality Rocks

Mark Cuban speaks in Los Angeles. He blogs about what he really thinks of Facebook.

Last month, I wrote about how Facebook, even in the eyes of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is becoming a new sort of television: Social TV.

Now Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has backed up that idea, at his blog, with a post titled "What I Really Think About Facebook." (Hey, don't hold back!) It's not clear, however, that he's keeping up with what's on Zuckerberg's mind:

[W]e spend more than 26 minutes per day on FB. As this study said, FB is an alternative to boredom. FB is far more like TV than it is Google Search

FB is what it is. It's a time waster. That’s not to say we don’t engage, we do. We click, share and comment because it’s mindless and easy.  But for some reason FB doesn’t seem to want to accept that its best purpose in life is as a huge time suck platform that we use to keep up with friends, interests and stuff. I think that they are over-thinking what their network is all about .

Being a time suck that people enjoy is a good thing. There is a comfort in turning on the TV and having it work without any thought required. It’s easy. It is the best  five-hour on average per day alternative to boredom.

Read More...

Facebook earnings: The postgame analysis

Facebook Sets IPO Price At 38 Dollars A Share

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook got crushed in trading after its first earnings report since its IPO.

Facebook's IPO was a disaster and its first-ever earnings report didn't really make the situation much better. The company basically met Wall Street's modest expectations, but nonetheless the core executive team — CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and COO David Ebersman — didn't clam investors fears about the company's future. And so it was crushed in after hours trading and was knocked down more than 10 percent in trading today.

When the dust cleared, Facebook, which IPO'd at more than a $100-billion market cap, was a company with just north of a $50-billion market cap.

Ouch!

I went on "AirTalk" with guest host David Lazarus to talk about Facebook's recent misfortunes. Listen up and tell me what you think. Is Facebook with us for long haul? Or has the slide toward irrelevance begun? If the latter, then this company could be the biggest Internet economy bust of all time. 

Read More...

Facebook's earnings call: The Storify treatment

Facebook Sets IPO Price At 38 Dollars A Share

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook's first earnings report wasn't disappointing. But a big question about its mobile growth prospects is dogging the company.

Facebook reported earnings for the first time today as a public company and, as expected, it mostly met Wall Street's expectations, earning $0.12 per share. But that didn't matter much, as the stock still got crushed in after-hours trading, diving well below its $38/share IPO offering price. How could this be, on a day when the markets rallied on news that the European Central Bank will — wink, wink — not allow the euro to fail, according ECB President Mario Draghi?

I listened to Facebook's earnings call, which feature CEO mark Zuckerberg in additional to COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman — he of the botched IPO — in speaking roles. The focus of the call was mobile, mobile, mobile. Facebook has almost a billion PC users and half a billion mobile users. And it's to this latter group that Wall Street is now looking for growth. Unfortunately, Facebook just isn't there yet on developing an ad platform for the mobile environment. And it may not get there for a while. 

Read More...

Facebook v. SpaceX, Part III: Meltdown and splashdown

NASA-SpaceX

NASA TV

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is having a much better few weeks than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is honeymooning in Italy while Facebook's stock heads ever-southward, a week and half after its disappointing IPO — possibly the most disappointing big IPO in U.S. business history.

Meanwhile, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is sitting in a control room in Hawthorne, Calif., tweeting away as his space exploration startup caps the best two weeks for the U.S. and space since Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to visit space in 1961.

Facebook meltdowns while SpaceX splashes down! You can't beat the symmetry for these two California companies. (For what it's worth, Facebook should be OK. A $60 billion market-cap company is nothing to sneeze at.)

So SpaceX's Dragon capsule did indeed successfully detach from the International Space Station, survive atmospheric re-entry, deploy chutes, and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja earlier today. As of 11:34 a.m. Pacific Time, it "looks good," according to Musk. So it hasn't sunk. It isn't on the barge yet, to head back to port.

Read More...

Facebook v. SpaceX, Part II: The agony and the ecstasy

SpaceX-Launch

SpaceX

Blast off! Hawthorne-based SpaceX has had a very good week.

Last week, I wrote about how two California companies — Facebook and SpaceX — were experiencing big events. Facebook of course was staging its long anticipated IPO, immediately after which its CEO staged his own private big event, a marriage to longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan. SpaceX was expected to launch the first mission by a private company to service the International Space Station. That didn't happen over the weekend, but it took place on Tuesday. SpaceX's CEO has been married twice already, so celebratory nuptials weren't on his agenda.

Of the two big events, you'd have expected Facebook's IPO to be more-or-less hassle-free, as it minted numerous billionaires and millionaires. Meanwhile, SpaceX was shooting rockets into space. Millions of things could have gone wrong.

The way things actually turned out is a study in contrast. Astonishing contrast.

Read More...