Facebook’s IPO is just a few hours away. I know there’s plenty of coverage over the huge valuation of the company so, I want to contrast the experience of the employees of two of the most anticipated tech IPO’s in recent history. Compare and contrast the IPO of Facebook and Zynga. Zynga and Facebook are very symbiotic. Zynga is a whopping 15% of Facebook’s revenue. Meanwhile Facebook is the lion’s share of Zynga game traffic.
But the culture of the two leadership teams could not be any more different. Both IPO are hansom in their own rights. Facebook will be valued at some $100 Billion while Zynga was valued at some $7 Billion. Not bad for two companies that really don’t make anything. While Facebook has chosen to honor the stock option agreements with their employees and early contributor making some millionaires of some relatively small contributors, Zynga choose to renege on their promise to employees.
I started in IT during the tech bubble of the beginning of the century. I had friends that worked startups with the hope of a big payday only to see them and watch them disappear. That was the risk we take when we work for startups. At least that’s the risk we think we are taking. No reasonable person should think that an IPO will take you from an entry level programmer to a millionaire but we shouldn’t fear our employer whom we’ve sacrificed a larger paycheck for the potential for big equity post IPO.
I’m not a fan of Zynga, not because they make extremely addictive games like Mafia Wars but because if they don’t keep their promises to their own employee how could I hope that they will keep their promise to me as a customer. Whatever they are selling I don’t want it because they might take it back. Gangster’s indeed.