From the strange world of tech IPOs

So, it happened again. A repeatable success. The recipe is simple: 1) Build software that let people send messages to each other, 2) Slap on some ads, 3) Profit! The last step doesn't imply that the company has to be profitable, but that the owners will profit when their shares are sold at the initial public offering (IPO).

At Snap Inc's IPO the shares sold at a price corresponding to a market cap around $24 billion. That is somewhat less than the $32 billion market cap of Twitter at its IPO in 2013. Twitter has since lost more than $20 billion in market cap.

Twitter has never been profitable, and Snap was not profitable prior to the IPO, and may never be. Nevertheless, the CEO of Snap just received an $800 million bonus for bringing the company public.

As an outsider to the game of trading of IPO shares, the prices paid for these companies seem ridiculous, and a complete waste of money.

Why not invest the money in something that is profitable or have a lasting value to society?

To inspire future investors, I have compiled a handy list of items to compare to the cost of Snap Inc's market cap. Each of the items that are not a tech-company have all turned out to be very successful investments, and all with higher societal value than Snap (though they may be less entertaining to teens).

ItemPrice in billions of $
Twitter (at IPO)$32
Snap Inc (at IPO)$24
Twitter (today)$12
The Eurotunnel connecting Britain and France$12
The Hubble Space Telescope$10
The Øresund bridge, longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe$2.7
Turning Torso, the tallest building in Scandinavia$0.2
MSC Oscar, container ship with the largest tonnage in the world$0.14