Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

And It’s Off: Splunk Rockets 108 Percent in IPO Debut

Here’s another thing about big data: How about a big IPO debut? That’s what shareholders of Splunk got today when the company’s stock opened trading today on the Nasdaq.

Priced yesterday at $17 a share, they closed their first day of trading at more than twice that: $35.08, making for an improvement of more than 108 percent.

That should bring big smiles to the faces of principals and partners of its two biggest shareholders: Sevin Rosen Funds and August Capital each hold stakes in Splunk worth, on paper, north of $570 million.

Splunk’s specialty, as CEO Godfrey Sullivan told me last year, is harvesting data from machines: Web servers or any industrial or other machinery that does something several times a minute, hour or day. If it can be measured it can generate data — data that, when examined, can be made useful.

Here’s a bit of useful data: $240 million. That’s what the 6.9 million shares Sullivan owns are worth on paper as of today’s closing price. I wonder if there’s a way to use Splunk to measure how many times he and his employees smiled today?

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work