Facebook (FB) reaches over 1.1 billion unique visitors every month and over 660 million unique visitors every day! The scale and reach of the company is unprecedented and like nothing any internet company (or investors) has ever dealt with before. That being said, there is an extremely large amount of value for Facebook to address their users base to continue building on their profitability.
Key people running the show
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had a long term vision from the beginning and has surrounded himself with the right visionaries to continue growing the company. Sheryl Sandberg and David Ebersman are sound operators and can help the company navigate any challenges and opportunities. The firm also has a top notch board that includes Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings, Marc Andreesen (who basically created the first widely used web browser), billionaire Peter Thiel who was the first outside investor in Facebook, and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and banking veteran Erskine Bowles.
Moving forward, can Facebook copy Apple?
Facebook will have to overcome many hurdles, but with the audience size they reach, the company has a tremendous long term opportunity that they should be able to execute against. The million (or billion) dollar question remains 'how big could revenues become?' or equally important 'how large could margins be?'. This is so hard (if not impossible) to estimate because it requires thinking about what future businesses and opportunities the company might enter, not merely extrapolating the current businesses. Before 2007, did investors really think that Apple (AAPL) would have one of, if not THE most popular cell phone in the world, let alone popularize and dominate the tablet industry? Before 2001 were any investors anticipating the creation of the iPod and how it will transform the way the world listens to music? Investors need to think about the potential opportunities present at Facebook before they are announced, and the opportunities are plentiful. Investors sitting on the sidelines waiting for the next big announcement risk the opportunity of missing the boat.