Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some Perspective about the Twitter IPO

Some thoughts about all the love Twitter is feeling.
The big news this week is the initial public offering of Twitter on the New York Stock exchange.  Every entrepreneur dreams of the moment when their hard work and effort pays off and they are swimming in stock options and cash.  It crosses my mind from time to time.  This week, I want to provide a little perspective to those wild fantasies that IPO’s create.

An IPO or huge success is as American as apple pie.  A person creates a product everyone wants and then receives a huge payday.  What most people do not see are the countless hours perfecting that product.  People do not see the sales calls ending in frustration.  Finally, it is difficult convey the loneliness and solitude it takes to build a good product.  It is always easier to show the big pay day rather than the long slog it took to get to that payday.  I am not looking for a big payday.  I would like to be able to have my own business but living like Tony Stark with my own computer assistant seems a little far-fetched for me.  

It should also be evident that all the frenzy regarding Twitter is more heat than light.  According to the filing with the SEC, Twitter is still struggling to generate advertising revenue. It is one of those products which people use but cannot seem to make money; sounds like a fishy investment to me.  This does not mean that Twitter will not figure it out but currently people look like they are investing in the promise of profits rather than actual profits.

This situation reminds me of the good-old days of the Dot.com bubble where any company with .com in its name created a gold rush on the stock market.  Companies with spurious business models and the ability to burn through cash lit up the stock market.  What these companies were, according to Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, were falling watermelons where everyone made money until they hit the pavement.  Those forced to clean up the mess were individual investors.  It was a giddy and stupid time.  I am glad I lived through it because it flavored my approach to business for the better.  I still keep a Pets.com sock puppet to remind me of that era’s excess.

I got into business not for the wealth and fame but because I want to work for myself.  I want to help other business people make money and put people to work.  We think that our new Tony fleet management software is a great tool to provide risk management and regulatory compliance to small business.  We also think Sully 2.0 is the right tool to help your business manage inventory and bills of lading.  Contact us today and we will show you.

I am very happy for the owners and investors in Twitter’s IPO but I won’t be toasting them any time soon.  I will save that for my own big milestone when I can go professional.

Until next time.