May 21, 2012, - 3:16 pm
While the Facebook IPO stock offered Friday was a bad deal (the stock is now trading at $5 below the initial offer price), early investors and employees with at least four years there became multi-millionaires on Friday. They had the last laugh. And the joke was on everyone else. But the biggest idiot was Ali Fedotowsky, who left Facebook after three years (she needed four for her right to Facebook stock to fully vest) and gave up all rights to any Facebook stock. The reason the 27-year-old walked away from her job (after Facebook was already big and destined for riches) and the millions she knew she would make is demonstrative of how sick America has become: that people are willing to throw away millions in order to seek brief reality TV fame. But, hey, she made the cover of “People,” one week. Glad she’s got her priorities straight.
In today’s America, far too many people would rather aspire to be Kardashians or get pregnant and have a kid to star on “Teen Mom” than take the steps–easy steps that were already in her grasp, in Fedotowsky’s case–to become a multi-millionaire capitalist. That’s part of why we’ve lost our way. Our sense of greatness and achievement is warped because Hollywood has attacked the real achievers (businessmen and capitalists) and promoted the real losers (reality show morons) for so long that we’ve come to believe the baloney.
As of the IPO on Friday, the average paper value of equity for a Facebook employee was $4.9 million, excluding [Mark] Zuckerberg’s share. . . . [Fedotowsky] left her job in Facebook’s ad-sales department in 2010 to star in her own reality TV show, “The Bachelorette.” Ms. Fedotowsky left behind her unvested, restricted Facebook stock units, says her spokeswoman, who says Ms. Fedotowsky isn’t available to comment.
In an interview at the time with the Associated Press, Ms. Fedotowsky said “I decided I wanted to do what’s best for me, and that’s putting love first.”
Puh-leeze. If you believe that, I have a foreclosed former “The Bachelorette” mansion to sell you. Fedotowsky doesn’t care about love. She left Facebook and gave up her stock to become famous (and to become famous by appearing on what is essentially a concubine show on which the participants constantly make out and eventually have sex with each other). Like almost every other person on that stupid, vapid show, her “romance” with the “chosen” idiot didn’t last long. But, hey, she’s now hosting some little-watched reality show on one of the myriad unnecessary cable channels. (Before that, San Diego’s FOX News affiliate hired her straight off “The Bachelorette” to be a reporter on fluff.) Stupid move by a stupid girl in our “me-me-me, watch me, look at me, I’m famous” culture created in no small part by Facebook itself.
(I contrast this with my own experiences, when ABC would constantly invite me to be on “Politically Incorrect,” its then-late night show. While I was on the show a lot, I frequently turned down appearances, such as the ratings-sweeps-period Valentine’s Day show about sex. I’d rather maintain the dignity of not talking about that kind of stuff on TV than get the fame and exposure. People who don’t care about this are usually low-class and probably low-lifes.)
And there are more sympathetic others who decided to forgo the early Facebook stock which would have made them multi-millions. There’s the story of Pejman Nozad:
In 2005, Facebook founding President Sean Parker [DS: he’s the Napster founder played by Justin Timberlake in the movie, “The Social Network” (read my review)] approached him about renting 165 University Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif., a property owned by Mr. Nozad’s partners. The deal came with a chance to buy $50,000 of stock in the fledgling social network—but with strings attached to the lease.
Mr. Nozad’s partners said no. “We put on our real-estate hat, rather than our investment hat,” he remembers. By his math, those shares in Facebook would be valued at about $50 million today.
So, would you have made the right move here? There are plenty of start-ups that don’t succeed, and their early investors are left with worthless paper. I’m not sure I would have taken that deal in 2005 either.
I recently posted about a starving artist who took early Facebook stock instead of getting paid the tens of thousands he really needed to survive. Now, he’s worth around $250 million because he took a chance on Facebook.
Tags: Ali Fedotowsky, capitalism, Facebook, Facebook IPO, Facebook stock, Fame, Pejman Nozad, Reality TV, Sean Parker, The Bachelorette