Facebook-IPO-growth-popular-chicks-Harvard-UniversitySo it’s nice to see some internet discussion about whether the Facebook IPO is really even something that average individual investors can really profit from or not — but think about those engineers, developers, coders, and early Facebook staffers who will be millionaires by summer 2012. Congratulations.. Here’s a great post over at SlashGear about whether the IPO can or will be done in such a way that helps to reward Facebook’s users for creating the value that the business holds today.

Seriously, let’s face it — Facebook (ticker symbol: FB) is popular today because of popular people — not because of Mark Zuckerberg and his nerdy friends — and because those popular people got on the fledgling network. By now we’ve all seen the Facebook movie, The Social Network, which shows just how much as an outcast Mark Zuckerberg might have been, and how the site’s early adopters likely jumped on board because of all the photos of coeds on the Harvard campus. Sure, at its core Facebook is a great idea because people are often known by sight, and not by name — so it’s a way to ‘visually’ jump past in-person introductions and create false intimacy like “friending”.

But once the site was established and growing on the Harvard University campus, it was the SOCIAL PROOF of those early, popular users who posted their activities, thoughts, images, links, and more that really gave Facebook any value. Consider this… If Facebook was just a bunch of coders, nerds, and geeks when YOU first saw it — you probably would not have bothered to sign up. We probably all signed up initially because a friend (or family member) invited us, and the ‘social proof’ of Facebook was given by that person’s involvement. “Gee, if they think this website, platform, or service is cool, fun, and worthwhile — then perhaps so should I.”

After Facebook expanded to other colleges and universities (starting with the Ivy League), it was likely the same effect. The popular students at Harvard, with their friends and relatives at Yale, Stanford, Columbia and elsewhere convinced their friends to sign on.


There are ways to look for the date of your first uploaded Facebook photo to remember when you joined. (Apparently I joined Facebook in January of 2008!) I’m not saying I deserve stock options for that but there are probably ways to data mine some of those early SUPER-popular Harvard chicks (no offense ladies!) whose early adoption of Facebook meant their 100 friends joined, and their 100 friends’ friends joined and their 100, etc., etc. Much of the success of the whole platform can probably be traced back to a few early ‘Lucy” Facebook ancestors of us all. Maybe the person who invited me and convinced me to join was invited by a friend, invited by a friend, who was invited by one of the Harvard ‘Lucy’ group. That’s social proof… and that girl (or those several popular girls at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Stanford) deserve to receive a nice big fat surprise check in the mail, after the Facebook IPO! (If not give them some stock options, and they’ll probably be happy…)

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