What is FaceBook Worth?

“The successful professional for the twenty-first century is either a business-savvy technologist or a technology-savvy businessperson”

- Alan Cooper The Inmates are Running the Asylum

When it comes to “business“ I’m a little less-than-savvy. I bought a car when I could have leased it for less. I bought stock in Pan Pharmecuticals. I spent hundreds of hours of my life for a ROI of -24 cents per hour.

Fortunately not all technologists are as clueless as me when it comes to financial matters. Joel’s technical credentials are beyond question, and as an armchair economist he’s not too shabby either. He recently dropped this nugget, analysing FaceBook’s multi-billion-dollar valuation and painting some pretty interesting possibilities for that huge graph of information. Some of the implications of data-mining the social graph sound somewhat scary and open to abuse depending on who controls the data, but doubtless we’ll all end up opting in to the voluntary panopticon of social software anyway. I think FaceBook’s real value is in the “gravitational pull” of its user base coupled with the attractiveness of its platform. Orwell was probably an optimist.