Twitter's going public: Who cares?
Unless you work on Wall Street, news of Twitter’s IPO probably did little to pique your interest. Executives and financiers make a lot of money when companies go public, but regular folks don’t benefit that much.
A public offering can alter the course of a young company—the obligation to make money for shareholders is a powerful force. Until Twitter’s user experience radically changes, the IPO doesn’t mean much for the average Twitter user. But there are a few groups of people who do (and probably should) care. A lot.
If you work at Twitter and own a stake in the company, sit back and watch the cash roll in. Gold iPhones (made of real gold), Uber rides everywhere you go, bathtubs full of $100 bills...yeah. That's happening.
Many people stand to make a lot of money from Twitter’s IPO. Investors who get in on the ground floor while the social and mobile advertising revolution is still in its infancy could be swept into a river of cash…or sucked into the undertow should the whole thing go awry.
The world’s largest social network knows a rival when it sees one. Twitter is vying for social supremacy with innovations at every turn, while Facebook is struggling to keep pace. Hashtags, trending topics, embedded posts, and short social videos have become the dominant shorthand for social media, but it took Facebook months—sometimes years— to catch up.
Twitter’s real test is going public. Facebook’s IPO was an infamous train wreck—the company’s stock slid to half of its initial $38 offering price before rebounding a year later. CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered a few IPO tips to Twitter, but it looks like Facebook’s competitor didn’t need the advice. Instead of publicly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twitter filed confidentially a few months ago to give itself some time to prepare without the intense scrutiny Facebook faced.
Facebook should be peering around the corner to see if Twitter’s IPO goes off without a hitch—and then prepare to compete for mobile ad dollars.
San Francisco residents
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the enigmatic former mayor of San Francisco, issued a cryptic tweet when news of Twitter’s IPO broke: “And the impact on SF housing market is….”
The tweet was quickly taken down, but Newsom was clearly noting what’s on the horizon: Housing price hikes, and lots of them. San Francisco rents are already sky-high, but with newly minted Twitter millionaires running around, those intense bidding wars will only escalate. Hey, there’s always Oakland. (Sorry, Oakland.)
Not so much. More ads are coming, but everyone knew that. Twitter has been steadily ramping up its ad products and analytics. Expect that to continue. Will Twitter dramatically change course to satisfy shareholders? Unlikely. If a redesigned Twitter app for iOS 7 is the biggest change we can expect from post-IPO Twitter, well, that’s not too shabby.