Washington Post staff writer Hayley Tsukayama reports that after a week on the road, “naysayers are certainly coming out of the woodwork, highlighting problems with the company’s future plans that range from the way it handles privacy to the way it doesn’t handle mobile users.”
“ Most of the chatter is focused on whether Facebook really has a sustainable business model moving forward. There have been some serious flags raised, by Facebook’s own admission, about how the company is managing the shift to mobile. This goes beyond Facebook saying that it essentially has no mobile strategy in the requisite “sky-is-falling” risks section of its S-1. (All companies sound scary based on their risks — Zynga, for example, notes that it is located near an earthquake fault zone.)
Potential Facebook investors probably cringed when reading comScore’s latest report, which indicated that mobile Facebook users spend way more time with the mobile site than on the desktop. That means that Facebook is losing money, since it doesn’t run its display ads on its mobile site.
Analysts have also raised questions about chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and whether he has the, ahem, maturity to run a company. Zuckerberg will have 57 percent of voting shares after the initial public offering, meaning that the company is essentially his to control. The young executive — who turned 28 on Monday — didn’t endear himself to staunch business types when he showed up at the Facebook road show in his signature hoodie. At least one analyst, Michael Pachter of Wedbush, told Bloomberg that Zuckerberg’s wardrobe was a ’mark of immaturity.’”
The Associated Press focused on Zuckerberg’s age: 28. “Does age matter?” the news service asked. The AP pointed out that “is exactly half the age of the average S&P 500 CEO, according to executive search firm Spencer Stuart.”
“As part of Facebook’s pre-IPO “road show” last week, Zuckerberg visited several venerable East Coast financial institutions wearing his signature hoodie. While Silicon Valley insiders defended his fashion choice, others saw it as a sign of immaturity. Was it, as some speculated, a sign of a rebellious 20-something acting out?
For Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, Zuckerberg’s attitude and attire symbolizes “a level of aloofness to stakeholders.”
‘He seems very customer focused and very employee focused. I am not sure he cares about anyone else. ... If he’s going to go public, he has to answer to shareholders,’ Pachter says. ‘That’s why Google hired Eric Schmidt. That’s why Steve Jobs was ultimately forced out of Apple.’”
On the other hand, David Fickling and Shraysi Tandon of Bloomberg reported that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave a thumbs-up to the Facebook IPO: “’I would invest in Facebook,’ Wozniak said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Sydney. ‘I don’t care what the opening price is.’”