The Facebook roadshow came to Silicon Valley yesterday, with a lunch about 8 miles from the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Bloomberg’s Douglas MacMillan and Mark Milian report.The lunch was at the Crowne Plaza. About 200 people were there. They served chicken salad. Mark Zuckerberg was there–in a grey t-shirt (no cultural warfare over his dressing choices this time).
Zuckerberg was hammered with questions about mobile–specifically, the company’s ability to make money on the tiny screens that are increasingly popular with Facebook users.
According to Alistair Barr at Reuters, Zuckerberg also said his top priority for this year was building a Facebook mobile application that doesn’t suck.
So it’s clear that investors are focused on the mobile issue, which is a real one.
Zuckerberg was also asked if the Instagram purchase was rash.
He said no.
(And he’s right about that. Spending 1% of the company for a company that has built the perfect mobile application–one that threatens Facebook’s core photo business–makes sense.)
On another topic, transcripts of these meetings should be released publicly. The idea that there is a “level playing field” for all investors is, of course, ridiculous–you weren’t invited to a Facebook roadshow lunch, were you?–but the fact that there can even be a pretense of such a thing when some investors get to meet privately with management is almost farcical.
You can often learn more about key issues from a CEO’s facial expression than from a 100-page SEC document, so as long as private meetings are allowed, the playing field will never be level. But at the very least, small investors should be able to hear exactly what questions were asked and what the answers were.
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