(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)
By Rob Cox
NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg will soon return from his Italian honeymoon to face troops coping with the company’s busted initial public offering. The near-30 percent plunge in the stock from its debut price, along with the resulting media and regulatory scrutiny, has tarnished the company’s reputation and equated a firm built to accomplish a social mission with the greed of Wall Street. His message to employees should be humble, clear and ambitious at the same time. Using Zuckerberg’s own pre-IPO words, Breakingviews has penned a sample memo ahead of a likely real one that it wouldn’t be surprising to see turn up in the media next week.
Dear Fellow Hackers:
I know it has been a tough couple of weeks for all of you. Our debut in the public markets has been difficult. But as you all know, done is better than perfect. What matters most now is that we focus on building the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries.
As I have said from the start, we’ve always cared primarily about our social mission, the services we’re building and the people who use them. So it may be some time before the stock market recognizes and appreciates the different approach we have taken as a public company. Simply put: We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.
We believe this will allow us to create the most value for our shareholders and partners over the long term. This in turn will enable us to keep attracting the best people and building more great services. To do this, we must deliver, financially and otherwise, on the promises we have made to provide the best social experience imaginable to our nearly 1 billion users and the best advertising platform to businesses around the world.
Though we have become a public company, we will not change the way we do things. Most great people care primarily about building and being a part of great things, but they also want to make money. Through the process of building a team, as well as a developer community, advertising market and investor base, I have developed a deep appreciation for how building a strong company with a strong economic engine and strong growth can be the best way to align many people to solve important problems.
So I ask all of you to redouble your commitment to making the world more open and connected by focusing on impact, moving fast, being bold, being open and building social value. By focusing on these core values and ambitions, I am confident that great financial success for you and all of our new and existing shareholders will follow.
Editing by Jeffrey Goldfarb and Martin Langfield