I promised myself I wouldn’t write about Facebook today, given the company’s announcement of an initial public offering on Wednesday, but let’s face it – I often lie to myself. I didn’t want to deal with the topic because by now, just about everyone and their brother has chipped in. I laid out my thoughts on a Facebook IPO nearly a year ago, so check that out if you’re interested. Otherwise, the New York Times and Wired have you covered.
That said, I do wonder about a couple of things. Mainly, if the company is going to raise $5 billion through the share offering, where is that money going to go? I’m sure a long line of pundits will have some ideas, but here are nine things I think Facebook will do with that giant wad of dough. Why nine? Because I couldn’t think of 10.
9. Build a base on the moon. I joked about it on Twitter, but I’m serious. Facebook has more than 800 million users on the planet today, which begs the question: how much of a serviceable audience remains to be acquired? Surely not all seven billion humans will want to be on the site, so Facebook needs to start thinking about new offices on new frontiers. Like, the final frontier…
8. Medical science. Well, maybe space isn’t really the final frontier. Think of how many new users Facebook could add… if it could bring the dead back to life! The company could spend all that money on a mini-Manhattan Project dedicated to resurrection technology. I can’t wait to “poke” Napoleon and Jimi Hendrix.
7. Fund a new franchise of movies. Think about it: The Social Network 2: Zuck Strikes Back. Brett Ratner directs the sequel to the Oscar-winning David Fincher film, wherein Mark Zuckerberg is depicted not as a vengeful nerd, but as a swashbuckling, happy-go-lucky action star who gets the babe at the end (Chris Tucker co-stars). Trent Reznor is brought back to helm an upbeat remix of the Mariah Carey’s Hero. Subsequent sequels have Zuck square off against other villainous Silicon Valley tycoons – The Social Network 5, for example, features a duel to the death with Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It takes place at Facebook Moon Base Alpha, of course.
6. Facebook clothing. To keep people from defecting to whatever newer and better social networking service that eventually comes along, Facebook will issue gold- and diamond-encrusted hooded sweatshirts to each and every member.
5. Hush money. You have to believe that five-billion sheckels can buy a lot of silence from the world’s privacy commissioners. And if Facebook can’t buy off the likes of Jennifer Stoddart, there are quite a few people out there that can arrange some “accidents.”
4. Buy the farm. Facebook executives are going to buy an awful lot of sheep and barns in Farmville. Or whatever the hell it is that you spend money on in that annoying game (I’ve obviously never played).
3. Communications. The company will now have enough money to deliver a personal singing telegram to every single user who complains about privacy violations, telling them to “go %$#@” themselves.
2. Start its own internet. To get around all those measly privacy issues – not to mention whiners like Google complaining about how closed its website is – Facebook will build and launch its own internet, then move all of its users onto it. It will do this with free CDs in the mail that offer the first month free… oh wait, that sounds a lot like AOL, and we all know how that turned out.
1. Improve the experience. Eighty-seven redesigns. And that’s just in 2012.