Mike Isaac

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Mark Zuckerberg Has Some Advice for Twitter’s IPO: Don’t Be Afraid

Going public ain’t easy. And no tech company CEO of late knows that better than Mark Zuckerberg.

Perhaps Twitter, which is gearing up for its IPO to come early next year, could learn something from the social giant’s experience: Don’t be scared.

“I’ve been very outspoken about staying private as long as possible,” Zuckerberg said in an interview at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Wednesday. “But in retrospect, I was too afraid of going public. I don’t think it’s necessary to do that.”

Relevant advice for the microblogging company. Twitter is likely hesitant to rush headlong into the public markets, after facing a much tougher and more skeptical investor climate in the wake of Facebook’s infamously messy initial public offering last summer.

But whatever reservations the company has — including a reported wish to be “low profile” — it’s going to happen. And according to sources, it’s going to happen in the not too distant future.

The key to overcoming the fear, Zuckerberg said, is to stay heads-down.

“Having gone through a terrible first year, it made our company a lot stronger,” Zuckerberg said. He was concerned that the plummeting stock prices would result in an employee exodus, but claimed that it only made the culture more focused on building products.

Take mobile, for example. One year ago, the company’s mobile products were sub-par (to put it nicely), and generated little significant revenue. Now mobile accounts for nearly half of Facebook’s ad revenue, a promising change for a “mobile-first” consumer environment.

“As long as Twitter … focuses on what they’re doing, I think it’s wonderful, it’s great,” he said.

Of course, considering how rocky Facebook’s IPO was, Twitter may want to take all of that with a grain of salt.

“I’m kind of the person you would want to ask last on how to make a smooth IPO,” Zuckerberg said.

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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