Wall Street has a funny way of getting to the bottom of things. When billions of dollars are on the line and experienced investors (i.e. those burned in previous dot com bubbles) are asked to pony up real cash, it’s amazing how fast hard truths surface. Facebook went public this month. And the event was a clash of cultures.
The first culture: Silicon Valley, where wild-eyed optimists believe anything is possible. Just come up with a brilliant idea. Ship it. Scale it. Then monetize it. But how? Don’t worry about that. We’ve got eyeballs. Just give us some money and we’ll all get rich.
The second culture: Wall Street, where hard-nose realists don’t believe anything but numbers and facts. Have a money-making idea? Prove it. If you can, we’ll invest, and we’ll all get rich.
The problem with Facebook’s IPO is that they couldn’t prove it.
If the Facebook IPO did anything, it was to shatter the illusion that Facebook can easily monetize users. In fact, it demonstrated the opposite. So now the strategy appears to be: Copy Google and hope for the best.