Former Facebook Employees: Company Celebrates New Ideas, Not New Wealth
(NEW YORK) — Facebook’s stock market debut seems to be creating a frenzy everywhere but at Facebook.
Shares closed at $38.23 after fluctuating between $40 and $42 for most of the day. Gizmodo reported shares were trading at a record-breaking 2.7 million per second within the first 30 seconds of trading.
But after founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and a throng of cheering employees rang the Nasdaq opening bell from the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., at 9:30 a.m. ET Friday, the campus became a ghost town.
Nightline anchor Bill Weir talked with Justin Mitchell, a Facebook engineer, and Donna Gutman, who worked in Facebook’s user operations, in New York City’s Times Square shortly after trading began. Both said they had been with the company for more than four years but had recently quit, taking stock options with them.
On Thursday night, Facebook priced its initial public offering at $38 a share, selling $16 billion worth in equity and valuing the company at $104 billion. It’s the largest tech IPO of all time.
All Facebook employees are stock holders, Mitchell told Weir. So why isn’t he out buying a Ferrari?
“It’s not the company culture to go out and celebrate this type of stuff,” Mitchell said. “The culture of the company is very much of not showing off money, not being ostentatious but instead, really just making good products, and that comes from the top.”
One of the big questions is, now that Facebook has gone public, will it have to tailor user experience to meet shareholders’ expectations. But Mitchell said he thought Facebook’s IPO filing would have little effect on how it does business.
“My hunch is that it’s not going to change the company culture that much,” he said. “Once we filed for the IPO people put up signs that said, ‘Stay focused, Keep shipping.’ I think it’s that type of mentality that you’ll see continue on in the future.”
Thursday night, Facebook celebrated its newfound wealth with a wild bash at company headquarters that only Facebook could throw — a “Hackathon,” an all-night, a code-writing “rager,” where Facebook employees worked on their own special projects until the morning light. They do one every couple of months, according to the company’s blog. Those projects are what Facebook deems important, Gutman said.
“I think that the company needs to keep doing what its doing and the work people did last night shows that’s what people are focused on,” Gutman said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio