Gongol.com Archives: February 2012
Brian Gongol

February 2, 2012

Business and Finance Facebook wants to raise $5 billion in an IPO
Among the most interesting take-aways from the filing is that Mark Zuckerberg will have enough voting power to do whatever he wants with the company. The filing says, "As a result of voting agreements with certain stockholders, together with the shares he holds, Mark Zuckerberg, our founder, Chairman, and CEO, will be able to exercise voting rights with respect to [...] a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock following our initial public offering. As a result, Mr. Zuckerberg has the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval". So if you have questions about his judgment -- and there is good reason to have those -- you might want to think twice about becoming what is, essentially, a limited partner in his company. Also amusing was this warning: "Likewise, we have a number of current employees whose equity awards are fully vested and shortly after the completion of our initial public offering will be entitled to receive substantial amounts of our capital stock. As a result, it may be difficult for us to continue to retain and motivate these employees, and this wealth could affect their decisions about whether or not they continue to work for us." True, and a little foreboding. Now, one can't blame Zuckerberg for structuring the company the way he has -- retaining a huge share of the Class B stock, each share of which has ten times the voting power of the Class A stock that will be sold in the market -- nor would it be fair to deny that Facebook has become a very popular tool that brings a lot of happiness to people all over the world. But as an investment, it's extraordinarily risky. All of the meaningful control in the company is vested in one person, who then has to get lots of decisions right -- because there's no environment in which competition is more nimble and more fierce than in online services. The stock will probably be very hot upon its IPO, but at some point it will cool, and any bets on how it will perform can only be categorized as speculation, not investment.

News Would Wales try to leave the UK?
With Scotland likely to vote in the next two years on a plan to divorce itself from England, there's a chance Wales could do the same thing. This raises an interesting question: If one were to re-draw the world's political maps based upon what made sense, rather than on historical precedent, what would change? There is, for instance, no really good reason why the United States hasn't added new territory in the last half-century. Not through force, mind you, but through voluntary accession. We should have a giant "Welcome" sign hanging out to say that any city, province, state, region, or country that meets a certain set of eligibility requirements is welcome to accede into the USA. Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution says it: "New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union". Aren't there likely some places around the world where the locals would rather have the protection of the American military, the stability of the American government, and free-trade access to the entire American economy, rather than what they presently have? And as long as they're entering debt-free, with a commitment to the rule of law, republican government, and free enterprise, wouldn't new states be even better than the same number of new individual immigrants? In the UK and the United States alike, we're already bending the rules to make it easier for wealthy people to move in -- why not extend the principle a bit and welcome entire territories?

News Iran's government misinterprets the Arab Spring...badly

News The top five regrets of the dying

Weather and Disasters Ferry sinks off Papua New Guinea
The number of missing is unknown -- and quite unknown, at that. It could be smaller than a dozen, and it could be greater than 100.

News Michigan tests the next generation of police cruisers
With old stand-by choices like the Chevy Caprice and the Ford Crown Victoria gone, they're having to look to a whole new range of vehicles

Iowa Traffic deaths in Iowa hit more than half-century low

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