Facebook has submitted its S-1 Form to the SEC, beginning its road to an IPO.
LinkedIn, Groupon and Zynga made their first stock available 3-6 months after filing their S-1 forms. The time is spent by regulators evaluating the statements made in the form, and the banks underwriting the issue finding buyers for the stock - which is unlikely to be difficult.
The form also confirmed some information already provided informally by Facebook, proved some estimates true or false and provided the first real insight into many parts of the secretive company:
Facebook's 2011 net income was $1 billion, on revenues of $3.7bn, and has paid or set aside $1.7bn in or for corporate taxes over the last two years. It currently has 845 million monthly active users, and is aiming to connect all 2 billion Internet users - a moving target. Currently, its penetration ranges from 80% in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela to 0% in China. One particularly interesting statistic was the amount of Facebook revenue directly contribute by Zynga - 12%, up on the previous two years.
Mark Zuckerberg's salary in 2011 was $483,333, with a $220.500 bonus. The next best-paid employee, COO Sheryl Sandberg, was paid $295,833, with $86,133 bonus and $30.5 million in stock awards. As of 2013, Zuckerberg's salary will drop to $1.
In his accompanying letter
, Zuckerberg laid out the principles of Facebook's organzation, describing it as "The Hacker Way":
the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.
This hacker way and its five core principles - Focus on Impact, Move Fast, Be Bold, Be Open and Build Social Value - are already being contrasted with Stephen Levy's "Hacker Ethic
", with its focus on freedom of information and sharing, with discussion on how they might interact.
Regular Facebook users might see little change in their day-to-day experience, although the IPO filing did reveal that Facebook plans to introduce sponsored posts into users' mobile timelines. Whether this will lead to the same impact on usage as Beacon and Timeline remains to be seen.
Although largely textual, the IPO filing did contain, introducing its table of content, an iconic representation of friendships connecting cities created by Paul Butler