Mark Cuban Gets Facebook; Most Others Don't

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban injected sanity into the increasingly absurd Facebook ( FB) conversation. He referred to New York Times writer Andrew Sorkin's contention that CFO David Ebersman deserves all of the blame for the company's IPO swoon as "just ridiculous."

At his blog, Cuban beat back the type of inanity Sorkin feels the need to keep alive:
Facebook was able to raise about 10 BILLION DOLLARS in this IPO. The CFO's job is not to manage shareholder portfolios. His job is to help Facebook succeed. I don't know about you, but putting 10 BILLION DOLLARS in the bank in my opinion is one way to help them succeed.

Cuban blamed individual investors and, where applicable, stockbrokers for Facebook-related losses. He didn't externalize; not even over his own FB losses.

As Cuban explained, Facebook acted in its own self-interest. In the S-1 filings many prospective investors disregarded, Mark Zuckerberg made it perfectly clear. His company manages the user experience, not the stock price. Why would anybody expect Facebook to make an exception during the most important stage of the IPO process?

Despite my contention that Twitter will live and Facebook will die, I'm with Cuban. Scroll my article history. I have been for months.

Like Sorkin, TheStreet's Eric Jackson misses the mark in his response to Cuban's comments.

Jackson claims Facebook will have difficulty executing a secondary offering.

That's a premature analysis. Should the company's outlook improve over the next six to 12 months, it will face little trouble fund raising. That said, Facebook likely never intended or will need to go to the street for cash.

Facebook maxed out its IPO. It loaded its coffers. Now, it hunkers down and resumes a hyperfocus on the business. It has no time for shareholder whims. Today, they want an explanation, tomorrow they'll ask for a dividend.

Facebook must act somewhat hostile toward shareholders because, no matter how they explain it, most investors do not understand the DNA of a perpetual startup. Impatient shareholders generally do little more than erode the culture and shorten the life of a perpetual startup.

Jackson calls Zuckerberg, Ebersman and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel "short-sighted."

Again ... read the S-1. Zuck exudes nothing but long-term thinking. Jackson admits as much, but then labels the IPO cash grab a short-term move. Which is it?

As for Peter Thiel, he has been in Facebook since 2004.

If visioning the future like a rock star and turning a $500,000 investment into billions over the course of eight long years is short-sighted, I wish I was born with that flaw. The same goes for the "short-sightedness" of Zuckerberg, who created what we now take for granted as "social networking."

We now know that Zuckerberg doesn't plan on selling FB shares for at least a year.

It's easy to hammer Zuckerberg and Thiel -- people who took a chance and committed to Facebook well before it was a small success, let alone a worldwide phenomenon. It's also foolish.

Stepping away from Sorkin and Jackson and speaking more generally, where were the critics in 2004? They certainly were not predicting Facebook's eventual dominance. And I doubt they were accumulating shares of stocks such as Apple ( AAPL) and Amazon.com ( AMZN).

If these Johnny-come-lately investors couldn't see the future then, why should we listen to them when they rant about the present and question the future in 2012?

At the time of publication, the author was long FB.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.