To Mark Zuckerberg by Carla Fiorina

Subject: To Mark Zuckerberg by Carla Fiorina
From: Carla Fiorina
Date: 12 Oct 2012

Dear Mark,


Through vision, grit, persistence and brilliance, you are about to launch the largest IPO in American history.

You have understood our needs and desires for connection and communication better than we understood them ourselves.

You have gathered a great management team around you, hired the brightest and most motivated employees, and maneuvered through a competitive landscape that is unprecedented in its complexity and pace of change. You are a great entrepreneur who will now define and personify our ideal of American innovation. You have made history and changed history, not just on Wall Street but on streets around the world. You have altered everything from teenagers' social lives to tyrants political calculations.

None of us can imagine what it feels like to be you, which is one reason the cameras are ever-present and there will be more books and movies.

However, some of us can imagine the transition Facebook must now go through as the company rushes, with huge fanfare, headlong into the world of publicly traded stocks. (In 1995, I helped lead what was then the largest-ever IPO, spinning out Lucent Technologies from AT&T [T 33.59 0.46 (+1.39%) ] On the day of our New York roadshow, the WSJ headline read: "It's The Rolling Stones, it's Barbra Streisand, no it's the Lucent roadshow".)

Whatever the ultimate valuation of Facebook, it will be one of the most sought-after equities in the world.

It is in that spirit that I humbly offer three tips:

1) Do not change your focus on the creation of long-term value or deviate from your strategic ambitions.

While this may seem simple and obvious, it will become increasingly difficult. The majority of investors now hold stock for an average of four months. Most money-managers are rated annually on their performance against benchmark indices. While you are focused on the longer-term, those who buy your stock are focused on the shorter-term. And because your stock has received so much hype, these short-term investors will be very impatient. While you, your team and your Board know that their impatience cannot drive company strategy, their pressure will be real.