Vivek Wadhwa has emerged as one of the sharpest critics of conventional wisdom at the meeting-point of innovation, business, and finance. As entrepreneur, biz school prof, and now leader at the NASA-hosted Singularity University, he has plenty of street cred. And he is also a ferocious writer.
His critique of the IPO model is timely, and Facebook offers an example too good not to address. As he points out, they now have $16bn on hand for new tech and acquisitions; on the other hand, they face market pressures to deliver profit and growth that in their innovative space will unquestionably be hard to reconcile with the “social” purpose they have set – and on which, a la Catch-22, hopes of long-term success probably lie.
I’m interested in examples of innovative financing and governance that straddle the IPO/private/acquisition/nonprofit standard options. I think they will emerge at the interface of social, social enterprise, and new technologies. Perhaps in Facebook’s successor.