ZNGA: Principal (& Principle) Before Personalities
Having delved in the financial markets some three plus decades, I noticed long ago that most people willingly discuss their success stories, and avoid that unpleasant subject of miscalculations and losses. It all goes back to the venal sins of pride and ego, and I am quite familiar with this territory. Yes, I have been guilty also. Many associate their self-worth with accumulated profits and a fat brokerage account--even the car they drive. They couldn't be more wrong. Few on the board here will admit carrying the bull dog from $10- plus all the way to the basement, the exception being one interesting character north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Let us do a precursory study of Mark Pinus' relationship with principal and principle. There was the claw back of shares promised to the original employees, as Mark caught the pungent scent of money, and his eyes glistened in anticipation. ZNGA was a high flyer then, and Wall Street's little darling. Like many wealthy people, there is no parameter for what is enough because money is equated with power and status, not necessarily merit. These original employees did earn merit badges, and I suspect many worked long hours, only to be subsequently screwed by Boy Wonder. This had all the makings of negative Karma, and in case you didn't know, Karma, like the Book of James, is all about actions. "You will know them by their actions, not their words."
Months later, we had the criminal secondary offering (now a lawyer's dream case), the $600 million back door exit for Mr. Pinus and his fellow tribe members. I was already posting on this forum. I warned that this was one huge scam to no avail. The secondary offering was justified in every possible term except dilution of shareholder value. We now know how things turned out. Farcebook fever was running hot and heavy at that time, and it was not unusual to see a posting like, "$35- ZNGA next week." Alas, these false hopes did not come to fruition. If Mr. Pinus is now shedding public tears, it is a result of his own actions. A tar and feathering would be more appropriate.
In my own family, money is also equated with power and status. I find it disgusting. My father started out on Wall Street more than five decades ago. He was a buy and hold man during an era when that strategy was mostly successful. He has plenty of money, with terminal cancer, and he will die soon. I administer to his every need, as we can't keep a professional care worker around this joint. He can be mean and incorrigible, and they go. Still, I prefer to focus on his positive qualities, and there are some, before he moves on. He never churned an account, and never recommended a stock he wouldn't buy himself. There was integrity in all his business dealings. He just won't let go of anything, and certainly not money.