Explaining Southern California's economy

FAQ: Why Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be just like TV

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters. The company announced third quarter 2012 earnings today.

Facebook's adjusted net income has been on the loss column, but losses have slowed.

Meanwhile, Facebook's headcount has remained modest, even as it's acquired a billion users.


Facebook has announced third quarter earnings, and they beat what Wall Street was expecting. Analysts were looking for 11 cents a share and they got 12. Jump back! That penny is adjusted to a 2-cent loss once proper accounting protocols are followed. But a beat is indeed a beat. And as you can see in the first chart in the slide show above, Facebook lost less - on a GAAP-adjusted basis, a lot less - than it did last quarter. 

The next chart is even more interesting. As you can see, Facebook has acquired a billion users worldwide (not all of them active, however) with a headcount of just 4,331 employees. If you divide Facebook's quarterly revenue of $1.26 billion by total users, you get a per-user worth of $1.26. 

Viewed another way, every employee at Facebook is worth 230,894 users — or $290,926 in revenue. Now, you could argue that a lot of Facebook employees are costing the company more than $291,926, because they're getting stock. But you also have to consider that although Facebook pays its well, not that many of them make nearly $300,000 per quarter, or $1.2 million per year.

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California's fading 'Facebook Effect'

Facebook Sets IPO Price At 38 Dollars A Share

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A poster is seen below a message board that is announcing Facebook's IPO price in Times Square on May 17 in New York City. The stock is now trading well below its $38 open.

I'm getting to this a bit later than planned, but that's okay, because Facebook's share price hasn't done much but go down, down, down for the past few weeks. Observers are even beginning to ask a once un-askable question: Should CEO Mark Zuckerberg be replaced?

Facebook has rallied a bit this morning, recovering from an all-time post-IPO low of $18.75. The company is currently in the throes of the slow-motion end of it's "lockup" period — through next year, early investors and Facebook employees will be able to sell shares in the firm. 

The state of California is facing a gigantic budget deficit and has been counting on revenue from the sale of those shares — which are taxed as capital gains — to ease some of the pain. Prior to the Facebook IPO, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LOA) said that California could anticipate a revenue windfall related to investors and employees cashing out. 

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Facebook's big day may not really be so big

Facebook Debuts As Public Company With Initial Public Offering On NASDAQ Exchange

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Facebook will report earnings for the first time ever tomorrow.

It's not the IPO big day, which turned out to be a total FAIL! day. Rather, it's Facebook's first quarterly earnings report as a public company, due to arrive tomorrow. 

This is from AP by way of Boston.com:

Though there’s a lot riding on its second-quarter earnings report — Wall Street analysts aren’t expecting big surprises. Why? Facebook effectively warned investors before its IPO that Wall Street’s expectations were too high. In a filing issued a week before its IPO, Facebook said its mobile users are growing at a faster pace than the number of ads on its mobile platform.

As a result of that disclosure and others, many analysts reduced their estimates for Facebook’s projected revenue and earnings.

On average, analysts are expecting Facebook to post earnings of 12 cents per share on revenue of $1.16 billion, according to a poll by FactSet. In all of 2011, it had net income of $1 billion and revenue of $3.71 billion, according to regulatory filings.

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Facebook v. SpaceX

SpaceX

The Dragon capsule, developed and built by Hawthorne-based SpaceX. On Saturday, it will be launched in the first-ever private mission to service the International Space Station.

Just for the sake of argument, let's say Facebook's highly touted IPO was a flop, priced at $38 a share and closing just 23 cents above that figure. There's another California company that's staging a big event this weekend, and it has nothing to do with Wall Street. 

It may wind up being remembered for far longer.

On Saturday, before dawn at the Kennedy Space Flight center in Florida, the L.A.-area's own SpaceX will launch a rocket tipped with a capsule designed to perform an experimental service mission for the International Space Station. This marks the first time a private company will perform a mission traditionally handled by NASA or a state-run space agency. 

From the Christian Science Monitor:

For NASA, the mission represents the first test of its new stance as a customer for launch services to low-Earth orbit. No longer is it the organization sitting in the driver's seat from rocket design through launch to landing. Once the Falcon 9 leaves the pad, control of the mission shifts to SpaceX's command center at its Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters. Only when Dragon closes in on the space station will NASA have thumbs-up or thumbs-down say in the test flight's next steps.

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Facebook wants to make everyone do everything for free...for Facebook

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters. The company is planning an IPO for May 18.

If you'd like to hear no end of dime-store philosophy and quasi-futurist blah-blah about our glorious networked future, then you really need to watch the video that Facebook produced for its IPO roadshow. It's designed to get investors excited, so bear that it mind while you watch tight t-shirt Mark Zuckerberg and his merry soon-to-be-millionaires hacker band outline a world in which billions of people spend considerable chunks of time providing Facebook with immense amounts of free content and labor in exchange for having their activities sold to advertisers.

I've conducted some informal surveys about this issue — the free-labor-and-content-being-turned-into-$100-billion thing — and found that, for the most part, people who use Facebook either haven't given that question any thought or don't care. They may be acting out of their economic self-interest, but the counterargument I generally get is that Facebook produces a product that they love and can't avoid using. 

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