Thanks to technology, one in eight people you directly or indirectly know are more familiar of your everyday habits than eight years ago.
Since Friday, approximately nine hundred million people can look anticipate sharing more than just thoughts with friends and friends of friends.
Up for grab: a global share of slices derived from Facebook’s total revenues of $3.8 billion (2011) – an operating profit of $1.5 billion.
(Nearly as much money US businesses lose every year from employees looking at Facebook).
Unsurprisingly, the talk throughout Facebook’s sophisticated online network was fringed with more than just a hint of excitement.
Misspelt, albeit heartfelt, rumours of forthcoming riches beyond even what Simon Cowell could bestow on one woman and her dog, were widespread.
Hope sprung everywhere.
The news held promise that within days, people with tagged friends of friends in places like Greece, could be sent more than Instagrams – instant PayPal cash – to rescue them from the clutches of austerity.
Mark Z rings NAZDAQ’s bell
Come the hour, trading began the on the all-computer driven NASDAQ stock exchange. Facebook was set to trade 460 million shares.
A hoodie-wearing Mr Zuckerberg gave a merry wave to his new circle (excluding Google Circle of course) of pals.
Facebook’s stock opened around $43, then slid to under $39, after pricing on Thursday at $38 a share.
Friday’s orders flooded in. Within thirty seconds, some 82 million shares had traded. NASDAQ’s overwhelmed computers were unable to cope.
NASDAQ – Silicon Valley’s brand name stock exchange delayed the official stock opening by some thirty minutes. (Not a great start for a business where time is literally money).
From its offer price of $38, Facebook eventually closed at $38.23.
(In terms of profundity, the ménage à trois between passionate man, potent money and silently vibrating processing machine, was turning out to feel more like a fleeting acquaintance, than early signs of a meaningful relationship).
This was not the first time in recent past that NASDAQ made headlines – for the wrong reasons. According to US Press, In March, there was a major flaw in the intended IPO of BATS Global Markets Inc. (A Kansas-based company that competes with NASDAQ Stock Market and the New York Stock Exchange).
BATS tried to list its stock on its own trading systems, but bottlenecks prevented the stock from ever opening for trading. The company cancelled its IPO.
My people are better than yours
According to counsellors in these things, blame lay firmly with the machine.
At one of NASDAQ’s competitors- the New York Stock Exchange – computers run the numbers, but humans provide the backup. If computers plod or crack , real people keep the trading going.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Keith Bliss from Cuttone & Co., explained human trading system on the NYSE.
“There is no redundancy inside their (the NASDAQ) market so they’re solely dependent on the computers being able to handle…what’s happening not only inside of the market, but also inside an IPO. Down here on the New York Stock Exchange, we have redundant systems and the redundant systems are the human-based traders who can have an open outcry auction market. If the systems go down, we can get the stock open and get orders into the market, they can execute them and can give you a report immediately.”
Keep your friends close
Next time you are on Facebook, wincing at someone picking his or her nose, or pulling a face, smile an endearing grin. After all, when the microchips are down, 900 million people recognise a genuine friend with promise when they see one.
Read the new novel:
The Brand Messiah