Talking tech since 2003

I expect 2012 to be an interesting year in tech for several reasons, but the one I want to discuss today is the Facebook IPO. The Facebook IPO is coming and it will have a huge impact in the tech industry but not for reasons you may think. According to a former in-house Facebook recruiter, the IPO will create thousands of millionaires, granted, they will need to wait out the vesting period before selling their stock, but make no mistake there will be plenty of new millionaires when it’s all said and done.

Why does it matter? It matters because a lot of the people who will be cashing in are engineers — the very people who built Facebook and implement all the features will now have a lot of money at their disposal. While some of them may be planning to buy a nice house or sports cars or fun trips, the more entrepreneurial spirits are most likely planning their next big project.

Think about it. You are an engineer with an idea, you know how to build it, you can probably bring along a few of your closest colleagues, and you are all flush with cash and experience. Pair all of that with living in Silicon Valley and access to great investors looking for the next big thing, it won’t be difficult to leave Facebook and start your own company.

That alone is reason to be excited about the IPO. However, If I’m Mark Zuckerberg this is the type of thing that I worry about at night. Sure, you will be able to reel a few of your engineers back in, but not all of them. In many cases, the ones that leave are the most ambitious and/or talented. Two things (ambition and talent) that Facebook or any company is deathly afraid of losing. Soon enough, Facebook will be sharing the fear of Google, the fear of losing its top talent to new and interesting startups with the hope that they will hit it big again.

It is an exciting time in tech. I expect to see a lot of big things come along in 2012.


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