Facebook’s SEC Registration Statement: Zuckerberg’s LetterBy: Shawn Hess - April 24, 2012
For the quarter ending March 31st and for the upcoming initial public offering, Facebook has filed a registration state with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) outlining everything financial and otherwise about Facebook you could ever want to know. No, it’s not action-packed or even fun to read, but it does contain some interesting details I would like to share with you.
Lets take a look at what Mark Zuckerberg reports as Facebook’s core values:
Focus on Impact: If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems. It sounds simple, but we think most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.
Move Fast: Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. However, as most companies grow, they slow down too much because they’re more afraid of making mistakes than they are of losing opportunities by moving too slowly. We have a saying: “Move fast and break things.” The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough.
Be Bold: Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.
Be Open: We believe that a more open world is a better world because people with more information can make better decisions and have a greater impact. That goes for running our company as well. We work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information as possible about every part of the company so they can make the best decisions and have the greatest impact.
Build Social Value: Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.
Zuckerberg also included a letter in his SEC Registration Statement:
Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.
We think it’s important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do. I will try to outline our approach in this letter.
At Facebook, we’re inspired by technologies that have revolutionized how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television — by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice. They encouraged progress. They changed the way society was organized. They brought us closer together.
Today, our society has reached another tipping point. We live at a moment when the majority of people in the world have access to the internet or mobile phones — the raw tools necessary to start sharing what they’re thinking, feeling and doing with whomever they want. Facebook aspires to build the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries.
There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on.
More about the Letter:
The letter goes into great detail, more than we can address here, but I can tell you that Zuckerberg speaks about his vision for the company and the motivations behind what they do everyday to keep people connected and enhance their user experience on the platform.
The brief rundown of his statements highlights three core areas which include; how people connect to business and the economy, how we connect to each other, and how people relate to their government and social institutions. So again, at their core he reasserts Facebook is about bringing people together and enhancing that experience.
Facebook’s Mission Statement (more from Zuckerberg’s letter):
As I said above, Facebook was not originally founded to be a company. We’ve always cared primarily about our social mission, the services we’re building and the people who use them. This is a different approach for a public company to take, so I want to explain why I think it works.
I started off by writing the first version of Facebook myself because it was something I wanted to exist. Since then, most of the ideas and code that have gone into Facebook have come from the great people we’ve attracted to our team.
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 — and also building a developer community, advertising market and investor base — I’ve 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.
Simply put: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.
And we think this is a good way to build something. These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits.
By focusing on our mission and building great services, we believe we will create the most value for our shareholders and partners over the long term — and this in turn will enable us to keep attracting the best people and building more great services. We don’t wake up in the morning with the primary goal of making money, but we understand that the best way to achieve our mission is to build a strong and valuable company.
This is how we think about our IPO as well. We’re going public for our employees and our investors. We made a commitment to them when we gave them equity that we’d work hard to make it worth a lot and make it liquid, and this IPO is fulfilling our commitment. As we become a public company, we’re making a similar commitment to our new investors and we will work just as hard to fulfill it.
There’s much more to Facebook’s registration Statement:
Like I said before, their registration statement is an overview of everything Facebook, financial and otherwise. So if you plan on investing in Facebook, you should try to navigate through the document which I will link to again here. If you’re not an investor, but just merely a user or fan of the site, it is still worth taking a look at. I’ll leave you with the following statement from Mark Zuckerberg:
“People connect with Facebook to connect with people. We believe that we are at the forefront of enabling faster, easier and richer communication between people around the world.”