It only took $60 billion dollars and four months for Facebook's (FB) youthful CEO to come out of hiding, but it seems investors are at least taking a second look at the humbled social networking site. With the stock up about 20% now from its post-labor day low of $17.55 and touching levels not seen in a month, it would be hard to argue that founder Mark Zuckerberg's recent appearance at a tech industry conference wasn't worth it. That is, except for people like David Garrity, principal at GVA Research, who thinks the Zuck sighting was a good first step, but that there's still a lot of work to be done.
Mark Zuckerberg's appearance at a conference ''doesn't go anywhere near repairing the damage that has been done," Garrity says in the attached video, adding that this will have to be the first step in a process that sees the 28-year old billionaire making 'the normal CEO rounds' and going on the record.
"I think it is going to be important for Zuckerberg to go out and do what he can do and be constructive about the stock," Garrity argues in the face of the short-term rally "because clearly we still have some major lock-up expirations coming off" between now and next May.
While Facebook's CEO and largest shareholder has said he won't sell any of his stock for at least a year, his suggestion that his stock-compensated employees ''double down" on shares that have been cut in half from their May IPO at $38 raised some eyebrows. After all, the company needs to show that it can grow and make money off of its budding mobile business more than anything. A task that Garrity says will be no small order.
"Clearly Facebook, trying to monetize mobile, is probably nowhere near actually being in the market and actually being able to execute on that," he says, adding that until the time the company has really started to do it, all but speculators should steer clear.
"Facebook is going to have a very hard story to tell. There's a lot that has to be done to actually turn the corner," he says adding that there is also still "a great deal to be done to repair investor relations" and to just learn how to "actually interact with public investors."
One thing is clear, since it would be nearly impossible to see any less of the country's youngest billionaire than we did in the past four months, it's safe to say we'll being seeing - and hearing - a lot more from the man from Menlo Park.