In the latest episode of “How the Facebook Turns” CFO Gideon Yu has been sent packing. The report at All Things Digital says the move appears to be in preparation of an initial public offering (IPO). There are other rumblings that the Good Ship Zuckerberg has a captain that isn’t afraid to make someone walk the plank if there is enough push back on the captain’s orders.
This apparent friction that exists in Facebook keeps coming up in story after story concerning the company and its latest actions. Some, like Robert Scoble, seem to be firmly in Zuckerberg’s corner as he continues to push against conventional wisdom and pressure to do things other than his way. For others this type of behavior raises concerns about what is actually going on at Facebook and if any of the other approximately 799 employees will be little more than Zuckerberg “yes-people” in order to keep their positions. Dissenters being shown the door is certainly becoming a pattern so it may be more likely that folks will “fall in line” because this economy is not exactly overflowing with opportunities.
“At Facebook, you’re either with Mark or you’re not,” said one source at the 800-person company, located in Palo Alto, Calif., and founded five years ago. “And, if you’re not, you leave.”
With Yu’s exit the questions continue about the financial condition of Facebook. All is speculation at this point but some insiders have told that internally the financial news is rosy with revenues up 70% this year and projected cash flow positive status in 2010.
Facebook is now approaching 200 million users which certainly is amazing. What’s on everyone’s mind though including potential advertisers is when the path to true monetization will be revealed and eventually unleashed.
Everyone will have detractors when you get this big so Zuckerberg’s situation is not unusual. While it may not be the most popular thing to say, one has to suspect that his age and lack of experience combined with what appears to be a pretty healthy ego could be giving some the jitters. The parade of high profile ex-Facebookers is growing as reported by the WSJ.
In the past year, two of Facebook’s co-founders, Dustin Moskovitz, its one-time head engineer, and Adam d’Angelo, the company’s chief technology officer, have left the company. Matt Cohler, an early employee who was a senior executive, also left last year.
Mr. Yu himself was a high profile replacement of CFO Mike Sheridan in 2007.
So what’s it all mean for Facebook? As with anything that being reported about a private company it all needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It is hard to deny, however, the pattern that is developing and accelerating at the social media monster. Whether it’s redesign issues, terms of service concerns or a high profile executive merry go round, Facebook has the opportunity to either end up as one the greatest success stories of all time or endless material for Dilbert cartoons. Which way do you see it going?