Imagine a new kind of fish is being offered on a menu with a grand opening. But as you get closer to the fish, it has an “ick” factor to its smell. “Do I really want to eat that?”
“Chance of a lifetime – everyone says this will be great,” those around you tell you.
But it stinks.
“It will be in short supply – those who buy early will be sure to get some. Everyone else will pay more for it later.”
When I get a whiff of it, the hairs on the back of my neck curl.
So do you go with your gut instinct or follow the crowd? That’s what I was thinking last week before the Facebook IPO.
I had no inside knowledge of over-valuation. But as a professional who helps multiple businesses with their Facebook presence, I had a gut feeling Facebook was desperately trying to boost its profitability. The ads got creepier and more obtrusive. Something didn’t feel right.
Yet, at a lunch meeting, an “expert” was raving about the opportunities of the IPO. I told him, “I’m not buying. It doesn’t smell right.”
Those sitting with him stared at me as if I were an Amish Luddite who couldn’t tell a good thing when she saw it.
I will not say I told you so. But I will say I won’t invest in companies when the CEO shows up for business meetings in a bathrobe. If he can’t be bothered, why should I buy?
I still believe in the public relations/reputation management/community building possibilities of Facebook. It can play a great role in top of mind marketing for businesses and can be a means by which they offer additional value to their customer base.
However, I hope Zuckerberg doesn’t throw the Face out with the Stockbook in his quest to generate profits. If he does, he will wipe the Face off the Book.
It all goes back to lessons learned looking at the meat counter:
- If it smells bad, don’t buy it. And don’t eat it.
- If it’s sprinkled with lots of spices, the higher price and fancy gourmet name might just be fancy window dressing to hide the fact that the slice of meat is a little grey around the edges and can’t be sold otherwise on its own merits.
Trust your gut.