Well, that was embarrassing.
What is it about Facebook Inc. (FB)
It's as if Mark Zuckerberg is having the ultimate nerd's revenge: He's humiliating all of us and taking our money in the process.
The worst part is that we keep coming back for more.
After six weeks of escalating warnings about valuation, profit, revenue, and strategy, Facebook did to Wall Street what it's been doing to those of us foolish enough to use its product: it pantsed us.
And if you think you've avoided this party's hangover, check the next quarterly statement from your mutual fund or 401(k) and see how much of the stock your well-paid fund manager bought. That's the nice thing about diversified portfolios: We all look a little stupid.
Of course, it's one thing for us, the unwashed masses, to get snookered. It's quite another for Wall Street egos to get whacked. But there was Morgan Stanley (MS),
Then there was the Nasdaq OMX Group, also smugly satisfied at having stiff-armed the New York Stock Exchange by landing one of the top five IPOs of all time. Nasdaq chief Bob Greifeld went from opening trading to a 90-plus-minute delay, to utter confusion to apologies and unfilled orders at the close of the session. Read more about Nasdaq's problems.
"Not our finest hour," he said, in the understatement of a career.
Those spared from buying Facebook above $40 because of a trading glitch might be the only ones who disagree with him.
Indeed, the only ones who look smart are Zuckerberg and Facebook's management and financial backers. Almost all of them sold out at a price that, at $38 a share, was nearly 10% to 15% higher than the original price expectations.
It's irritating to know those geeks made off with the cash of regular Joes. It's infuriating realizing Bono and his Elevation Partners may have made $1.5 billion.
There were few regular people who made fortunes on Facebook. Its private placement and exclusive club made certain that Zuckerberg and his backers decided who would get rich and when.
In many ways, it's not so much unlike Facebook itself. We thrust everything of ours out there: photos, thoughts, our likes and dislikes. We share everything of ours, and what's the best we can come up with? A hundred or so friends, most of whom miss our updates, ignore them or make stupid comments on them. It's as if we've devalued our own lives so others can make jokes of them.
At the end of a Facebook session, we feel an anticlimax. We hope for contact and more often than not get silence. We exploit our own privacy to our friends, advertisers, strangers. We rarely, if ever, make that connection that's worth the investment of putting so much of ourselves out there.
In the end, it's clear Facebook's was the rare initial public offering in the markets that catered to that same kind of person, an exclusive sort of investor: the sucker.
Sorry, there was no excuse for not seeing this one coming from the parking lot outside your broker's office.
The only surprise was that the social-networking company sputtered and ultimately stumbled so quickly.
But now that we're three trading days into Facebook's life as a public company and the stock has lost roughly 10% of its value. It's a familiar feeling, isn't it?
Does anyone want to share? Hello?