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According to this article, stock was valued internally at $49/share in 2016, so anyone joining in the last three years will not have enjoyed any sort of rocket-ship growth.


If you’re joining a $60 billion company with thousands of employees expecting rocket-ship growth, that’s kind of on you, I think. You wouldn’t expect that from a public company; why would you from a similarly sized company that just happens to be pre-IPO?

Amazon in 2016 was $502 a share, it is $1900 now

Microsoft in 2016 was $51, $127 now

Facebook was $97, $189 now

We're not even talking about rocket-ship growth here. We are talking about option strike prices losing money in one of the most favorable economic time periods where massive, healthy public business did have monstrous growth.

I would have at least expected price parity with other large companies - even that assumption would have been wrong.

The Silicon Valley giants don't do options anymore, but RSUs (restricted stock units) which are simply share awards. There's no strike price to worry about, but of course it's a bit of a disappointment if you expected Uber to be a $100B company out of the gate.

Still, Uber employees will be happy that they can finally sell those RSU awards (in six months when the lockup expires).

I can’t speak for sure but that’s a little unlikely. RSUs are taxed on vesting. Bad idea when employees can’t sell a portion of it to pay the tax.

Uber, Airbnb and the rest definitely give RSUs. Details may vary but they may use contracts like “double trigger vesting” where you don’t actually receive the shares until they’re publicly traded.

Expecting price parity with other large companies, okay. But the expectation in 2016 wasn’t for Facebook etc. to be at today’s prices in 2019, or they would have been priced higher then.

Even parity with cash. Investing in tech (say vgt) has had 90% returns over the past three years.

I think the story with Amazon and Facebook are from being over.

That can be a tricky comparison to make over time, due to share splits and merges. Apple has split 4 times, for example.

Taking these numbers at face value, I can't know if they account for it.

Within the timeframe I listed [2016-2018] none of the companies I listed performed a stock split. Neither did Apple. Apple's most recent stock split was 2014.

How much has Google grown in the last three years? Or Facebook? Or Netflix? Or Atlassian? Uber not growing in value in three years, in the hottest economy, is a disaster

I suspect you mean stock price growth only, I think the hype of Uber is now catching up with them.

Uber most definitely grew over the last three years.

It's very reasonable for employees over the past 3 years to expect growth.

Over the past 3 years:

FB is up 60%

AAPL is up 98%

AMZN is up 261%

NFLX is up 363%

GOOG is up 60%

You left off TEAM (Atlassian) up 199% over the past 3 years.

It shouldn't matter a lot since I am 99% sure that they were issuing RSUs at that time and not options. So the strike price based on 3-years ago valuation is not relevant. Also, I am sure the number of RSUs you got at Uber should have been more than the RSUs at FAANG, to compensate for some of the risks. Now, if an individual Uber employee came out ahead, vs. having joined a FAANG really depends on the offers they had.

It matters a ton. You get your rsu grant sized based on the stock price at the time of the grant, just like options. If that price goes up, you make money... Just like options.

It's not just like options though, is the point they were making - if the price goes down, you still make money with RSUs, just not as much.

> anyone joining in the last three years will not have enjoyed any sort of rocket-ship growth

Uber was also somewhat unique among unicorns in uniformly blocking its employees from selling shares on the secondary markets.

I believe most companies do not allow this.

> most companies do not allow this

As someone who does work in the space, no, most companies permit transfers. There are mechanisms in place to reasonably limit them, e.g. rights of first refusal and transfer fees. But Uber was unique in the degree to which they restricted transfers.

That's not unique in any way

We don't know if they did a split before going public or not.

Matt Levine seems pretty confident that the $48.77 price from private transactions is directly comparable to the $45 IPO price, and he knows his stuff, so I think it's safe to assume he's right.


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