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Tuesday, November 15, 2022


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Luther Weymann

Mark has spent $36 Billion since 2019 on Reality Labs, which does the VR business and builds Meta's so-called metaverse. $36 billion? If it's 80/20, then he spent $29 billion on VR. $29 billion on VR? Do you know what kind of company you can build with a capitalization of $29 billion? Then if the 80/20 is even remotely accurate, he spent $7 billion on a virtual world. Linden Research spent not even 1% of Meta's possible $7 billion, and Linden Research created Samsar and launched it. These numbers are crazy expenses. Imagine if my guess of 80/20 was actually 50/50. When will Meta's board wake up from their coma and start asking the majority stockholder what he is doing?

Kate Nova

I agree with Luther - it's hard to make sense of these huge numbers. The only thing that costs billions is buying companies. Like the $19B Meta, then "Facebook," paid for WhatsApp, or the similar price they offered for SnapChat. Or, of course, "Elon's Folly". Everyone seems aghast at the $36B or $10B/year Zuckerberg is spending on Metaverse. Myself included. But if we do keep WhatsApp, Snapchat & Twitter in mind, the expenses aren't exactly out of line with our times. Still, as Luther notes, where did it go?

Regardless of whether Meta's Metaverse ultimately dominates the world or becomes another Google+, Blue Mars, Cloud Party, InWorldz, Sansar, HighFidelity, etc, only time will tell. It's easy to think that Zuckerberg has lost it. But for Facebook's entire run he's been a pretty adept leader. I personally think that Facebook is evil, nonetheless, he's been an effective founder & CEO. In Silicon Valley, and perhaps life itself, you're wrong, till you're right. Zuckerberg may well be right in the long run. Then again, much as I love Second Life, it seems clear that not everyone wants to spend a lot of time, or any time, in a virtual world. Super-immersive headsets and other gadgets might make it easier and awesomer, but it's still not clear that it's where everyone's going to live.

As for Zuckerberg's track record, while he has been an effective CEO, is he a genius? He's had one big idea, Facebook. After that he's been in acquisitions: Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, etc. If you believe the Winklevoss twins, he didn't even invent Facebook. But he did take the company from startup to world domination. Friendster was huge in its day. Till it was steamrolled over by Myspace. Which, in turn, was steamrolled over by Facebook. Which was not steamrolled over, or even dented, by Google+. Still, other than Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, I can't think of many entrepreneurs who've managed to bottle lightning twice.

Back to Luther's original point, I just can't see how you can spend $36B other than buying companies. Where did it go? It may be that the annual expense is too high for investors to stomach, hence the current loss of confidence. Perhaps if he stays aggressive on metaverse, but scales back the annual costs, he can have it all. His core premise as I understand it, does make sense. Facebook is a gargantuan success reaping billions and billions in profits. But it's also passed its zenith. If he only guides that ship ever forward, they will in some distant future be the "new Yahoo". Betting on what's next is a smart move. But being right is hard. The first time I saw someone with a little Bluetooth headset stuck in their ear I thought they looked ridiculous. My next thought was that we'd all be wearing them in a few years. It didn't go that way. It turned out that tiny earpieces were not the evolution of voice calling, text was!

Finally, a thought about these polls of Meta and Twitter employees by Blind. When we put opinion in the form of numbers on charts it's tends to be very persuasive. I think we have a tendency to believe numbers. As all the recent American elections with way off polling have shown, it ain't necessarily so. Peeps saying that the Meta layoffs didn't have to happen or that Musk's already destroyed Twitter seem like obvious water cooler comments that any of us would make. I'm not sure they have business significance. And I'm not clear how Blind avoids selection bias. Are more disappointed, angry, and unemployed people more likely to respond to the poll?

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