Twitter Tech Elite Seriously Overstimated Facebook's Closing Price

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Many tech twitterers thought the company's first day on the market would go a lot better than it did.

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With the market closing up shop and Facebook sitting at $38 thanks to the deep pockets of the IPO's underwriters, so it's worth revisiting what people were saying about this IPO yesterday. Luckily, developer James Proud created a little app -- facebookipodayclosingprice.com -- at venture capitalist Chris Sacca's request to track predictions about the company's first day of trading. This got tweeted out to the Twitter tech elite and about 2,261 people entered their predictions. Mashable wrote it up like this: "Facebook IPO: Did Twitter just give us closing price?"

In short: NO.

What did they think Facebook would close at? $54.
What did Facebook close at? Exactly $38.

And I note that $38 should have an asterisk.

Only 26 of the 2,261 predictors offered $38 as the company's shares closing price. And as you can see in the chart above, the distribution of predictions were concentrated around $50 with a substantial number of people predicting a very high closing price. Put it this way: almost as many people predicted a close of $80 (21) as predicted a close of $38.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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