Some Wall Street analysts are upset that Mark Zuckerberg did not demonstrate fealty to them during his IPO roadshow this week by wearing a suit and tie.
Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities (who?), bellowed, "I think that's a mark of immaturity. I think that he has to realize he's bringing investors in as a new constituency right now, and I think he's got to show them the respect that they deserve because he's asking them for their money."
I'm calling genuine frontier bullshit on that pronouncement.
Mark Zuckerberg, through the force of his own mind, created a business that will be valued at over $90 billion. He wears a hoodie. Steve Jobs created a company worth half a trillion dollars at today's price. He wore a turtleneck. They created value. Wall Streeters, who wear suits and ties, produce nothing of note, exact unnecessary fees on all your retirement savings, and nearly destroyed the U.S. financial system.
Investors are clamoring to get in on the Facebook IPO, and Zuckerberg doesn't really need Wall Street to do it. "Wall Street" is simply a distribution system for financial products such as stocks, bonds and derivatives. They distribute their "products" through brokers and other sales people, much as WalMart takes Depends from Kimberly-Clark and distributes them through 4,000 stores. The analogy is intentional.
Facebook has its own "distribution" system of nearly a billion users, who love the product. Do you think maybe, just maybe, each of them might pony up $100 for one share of Facebook? Or that a tenth of those nearly billion users might invest $1000 in the hottest IPO in history? Probably. There's your $100 billion right there, Mark. Ask the beneficiaries of Kickstarter; crowdfunding is the next big thing.
As proof that Facebook doesn't really need Wall Street is the fact that the investment banks radically cut their underwriting fees to get the business. Facebook wasn't soliciting Wall Street's business, it was the other way around.
Facebook is not asking investors for their money. Investors are begging to give it to them. Wall Street is the avenue Facebook has chosen to distribute those shares. But they don't really need Wall Street, and that's why every analyst and banker who met Zuckerberg should have thrown off their Brooks Brothers and worn jeans and a hoodie. As a show of respect.