On Wednesday, Facebook filed S-1 documents disclosing the company's plan to seek $5 billion ahead of an initial public offering, which could place the company's value as high as $100 billion.
The filing was chockfull of previously unknown details about Facebook's finances. For example, we now know that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a private plane at his disposal and spends almost $100,000 per year on estate and financial planning.
But that's far from all! The massive document contains a trove of details that will delight stat-seekers for hours.
Read on for a roundup of the best writing with the most interesting tidbits from Facebook's S-1.
Quora: What Are The Most Notable Aspects Of Facebook's S-1?
According to Quora user Justin Stone, one of the most notable aspects of the S-1 filing is the notably low base salaries for Facebook executives. He also points out that Google is mentioned seven times more than Twitter in Facebook's S-1, and he notes that only a few of Facebook execs' family members have been employed at Facebook.
Randi Zuckerberg's compensation was required to be disclosed, and so too the daughter of board member Don Graham. No other immediate family members of executives/directors are or have been employed there.
The New York Times: From Founders to Decorators, Facebook Riches
The Times reveals that Facebook's IPO will make one artist very rich:
The graffiti artist who took Facebook stock instead of cash for painting the walls of the social networks first headquarters made a smart bet. The shares owned by the artist, David Choe, are expected to be worth upward of $200 million when Facebook stock trades publicly later this year.
AboveTheCrowd.com: Why Facebook Clearly Belongs In The 10X Revenue Club
Bill Gurley shows why Facebook is a shoe-in for the exclusive "10X Revenue Club" and warms hearts by revealing that Facebook doesn't try to dodge its full tax burden.
"Warren Buffet's secretary would be happy," Gurley writes, "Facebook's tax rate is already north of 40%. Other multi-national companies typically have found a way to reduce this. Facebook is paying full-boat."
Forbes enlisted speech decoder James Pennebaker to analyze the word choices in Zuckerberg's 45-paragraph letter to investors. From Pennebaker's breakdown of the letter:
Zuckerberg's word use "suggests someone who is driven by very high rates of need for achievement" but low rates for building wealth or social affiliation, Pennebaker concludes. "Most of the Zuckerberg letter is emotionally distant," the researcher adds. "There are very few personal pronouns (which typically signal an emotional cognition to other humans) and virtually no I-words except for a couple of paragraphs in the middle of the letter." Emotive words such as "happy" or "sad" are rare, too.
The Huffington Post: Facebook Investors: Who's Making Mint Off Facebook IPO
The Huffington Post writes that COO Sheryl Sandberg was the most highly compensated Facebook executive in 2011 and reveals that the "world's youngest billionaire," Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, owns 7.6 percent of the company.
Wired's Tim Carmody predicts what Facebook will do with its cash and gets to the heart of why Zuck may have founded Facebook.
"I think that if theres anything Zucks truly passionate about, it's this: that there's something broken about how we hide and mask ourselves with other people, and that our lives would be better if we were more open," Carmody writes. "He's had to learn over time how quickly to accelerate those principles and give people time to adjust."
Want to see the 9 biggest threats to Facebook's success as outlined in its S-1 filing? Check out the slideshow below.
Perhaps the most eye-popping risk listed in the S-1 is the idea that Mark Zuckerberg's bad decision-making could lead to a decline in company value. Along with "users fleeing" and "decline in advertising revenue," the following was listed as a major risk factor: Our CEO has control over key decision making as a result of his control of a majority of our voting stock. Zuckerberg owns 58 percent of Facebook stock, which means that he "has the ability to control the outcome of matters" that come before stockholders. Furthermore: As a stockholder, even a controlling stockholder, Mr. Zuckerberg is entitled to vote his shares, and shares over which he has voting control as a result of voting agreements, in his own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders generally. Should stockholders fear the man who controls the company they hold stock in?
According to the filing: If we fail to retain existing users or add new users, or if our users decrease their level of engagement with Facebook, our revenue, financial results, and business may be significantly harmed. Just ask Rupert Murdoch and MySpace what happens to a site's value when all of the users flock elsewhere. One thing that happens: Advertising revenue drops (as noted in the S-1), and given that 85 percent of Facebook's revenue came from advertising in 2011, a loss of visitors would (obviously) doom Facebook.com. Zuck and co. better hope those rumors of a mass teenage exodus from Facebook to Twitter are untrue.
From the S-1: Unfavorable media coverage could negatively affect our business. Facebook has seen its share of negative media coverage, especially due to privacy concerns and controversial design overhauls; if the media narrative becomes too overwhelmingly negative, Facebook fears that users may be turned off and may run away.
Facebook doesn't currently display ads on its mobile properties, which means that it is not making much revenue from its iPhone and Android apps. This also means that if there is a wireless revolution that sees members visiting Facebook via smartphone and tablet devices more often than desktop and laptop units, Facebook's ad revenue could decrease significantly. Since Facebook's annual ad revenue has never been lower than 85 percent, the company would find itself with a major cash-flow problem. Or, as Facebook puts it: [I]f users continue to increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, our revenue and financial results may be negatively affected.
"Our business is highly competitive," reads the S-1. "Competition presents an ongoing threat to the success of our business." Having successfully toppled MySpace and Friendster, Facebook knows what kind of a threat upstarts represent. And Facebook goes so far as to list, by name, the social networks it's watching: We compete broadly with Google's social networking offerings, including Google+, and also with other, largely regional, social networks that have strong positions in particular countries, including Cyworld in Korea, Mixi in Japan, Orkut (owned by Google) in Brazil and India, and vKontakte in Russia. You might be snickering at the idea that Google+ is legitimate competition for Facebook, but Facebook doesn't seem to be laughing or buying into the eulogies for G+ that have already been written. Having just passed 100 million users (according to unofficial stats), perhaps Google+ really is a threat.
Perhaps written by Facebook's Tea Party contingent, Facebook sees government over-regulation as a threat to its growth and success. Facebook lists Iran, Syria and North Korea as examples of countries where government has already stifled its business: It is possible that governments of one or more countries may seek to censor content available on Facebook in their country, restrict access to Facebook from their country entirely, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of Facebook in their country for an extended period of time or indefinitely. Facebook also pointed out elsewhere that "complex and evolving U.S. and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, and other matters" cost money to adhere and adapt to.
Did you hate the new Facebook? How about the new new Facebook? The Ticker? The Newsfeed? The Timeline profile? Well, all of those changes over time -- and, yeah, they come often and they come in big ambitious chunks -- could also repel users, according to Facebook's filing: If new or enhanced products fail to engage users, developers, or advertisers, we may fail to attract or retain users or to generate sufficient revenue, operating margin, or other value to justify our investments, and our business may be adversely affected. (Mark Zuckerberg is currently listening to "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" on Spotify.)
Facebook makes 85 percent of its revenue through advertising. 12 percent of this revenue comes through Zynga, makers of Farmville, Cityville, Castleville, and a number of other incredibly successful Facebook platform-based games that both do and do not end in "-ville." Should Zynga's popularity falter -- or should the relationship between Facebook and Zynga sour -- Facebook could take a huge financial hit. Facebook's full reckoning as to what Zynga means to their success: In 2011, Zynga accounted for approximately 12% of our revenue, which amount was comprised of revenue derived from payments processing fees related to Zynga's sales of virtual goods and from direct advertising purchased by Zynga. Additionally, Zynga's apps generate a significant number of pages on which we display ads from other advertisers. If the use of Zynga games on our Platform declines, if Zynga launches games on or migrates games to competing platforms, or if we fail to maintain good relations with Zynga, we may lose Zynga as a significant Platform developer and our financial results may be adversely affected.
China represents a gigantic user base that Facebook has yet to penetrate. It clearly views the huge Asian nation as the next frontier, though it remains unclear whether it'll be allowed to enter the market, and if it is, whether it will be able to unseat current Chinese social networking incumbents Renren, Sina and Tencent. From the S-1: We may enter new international markets where we have limited or no experience in marketing, selling, and deploying our products. For example, we continue to evaluate entering China. However, this market has substantial legal and regulatory complexities that have prevented our entry into China to date. If we fail to deploy or manage our operations in international markets successfully, our business may suffer. And later: China is a large potential market for Facebook, but users are generally restricted from accessing Facebook from China. We do not know if we will be able to find an approach to managing content and information that will be acceptable to us and to the Chinese government.