Authored by Christiane Montuori on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Add the first comment!
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Would the uprising in Egypt have happened if Facebook didn’t exist? Probably not. Facebook failing an impossibility? Don’t be so sure.
If Facebook were to go public today it’s estimated value would be $75-125 billion, largely due to its recent success in securing external financing. The red flag: Facebook’s revenue is only estimated at $2 billion. Imagine a scenario, post-IPO, where an overblown stock price and huge debt guaranteed by that inflated value lead to a precipitous drop in Facebook’s stock price. Down comes Facebook, along with the house of cards we’ve all built around it.
Sound familiar? It’s the same pattern we saw in the housing bubble, when lots of ordinary people were left with worthless paper or houses under water.
The bursting of the Facebook bubble would make it more difficult to, among other things, bring down Egyptian dictatorships. Using Facebook, protesters in Egypt are exercising leadership without authority. They are changing their country without any formal authority to do so. Seizing upon the ripeness of similar events in Tunisia, they are deploying key strategies and techniques for leading from the bottom: coalition building, subterfuge, heat generation, direct engagement, and focusing media and public attention.
In our hunger for a piece of the Facebook IPO pie, are we willing to jeopardize its long-term viability as a platform for millions of others to take down their own dictators? If not, how about inviting a few Facebook friends to start a protest of their own? How could such an action actually make a difference? Hosni Mubarak is probably asking himself that same question.
- Eric Martin