When fat cats get the cream

When fat cats get the cream

On Tender

Facebook. Aren’t you just sick of that name?

At first I thought an IPO was a new Apple product. But when I realised I was the only person queuing up at Yoobee, it dawned on me that it was a Wall Street thing and not something I need to own despite not knowing what it does. (Which is par for the course with a lot of Apple products, but that's another story).

While it goes without saying that Facebook irks me, I’m addicted. Its proclivity to voyeurism is matched only by its members' exhibitionism. Therefore, it has the same qualities as the porn industry which probably wouldn't exist without exhibitionists. And yes, Facebook probably does exploit its members to a degree nearly equal to the porn industry by trading personal information.

So isn’t it just peachy to see that Julius Caesar-hair cut-sporting git, Zuckerburg, take a hit for a change? Oh, the schadenfreude. How is it that a hoodie-wearing college tyke can get his hands on more money than what is needed to bail out Greece and Spain put together? I’d love to know. But that’s why I love to hate him: I'm jealous.

Every time Facebook is mentioned in the press it reminds me to log in for a dose of voyeurism, seeing who in my circle of friends has done something that I might not know about otherwise, and then, if the mood strikes, posting a picture of my butt. Just for fun.

But back to Zuckerburg. The reason I bring him up is the hullabaloo surrounding the IPO shares. We all know by now that most investors (AKA the Zuckers, as the New York Post called them) didn’t get the same information as the fat cats of Wall Street.

That doesn't seem to bother the boys at Nasdaq, the New York exchange where Facebook is traded. As John McCrank reported on, 40 Nasdaq shareholders attended a meeting just days after the bungled IPO, with hardly a mention of Facebook.

In the words of Basil Fawlty, “Whatever you do, don’t mention the war. I said it once but I think I got away with it.”

It’s the kind of back-room skulduggery associated with the Facebook IPO that puts off a lot of SMEs from investing time and money into preparing tenders for our own .govt jobs.

A high-level source with a consulting agency involved in assessing government tenders admitted (on the condition of anonymity) that they have given certain companies a heads-up when tenders are about to be released.

“I’ve spoken to some of them and just gauged their take on how long they would need to put a proposal together,” the source says. Asked if these companies had received some sort of heads-up on future tenders, the source replied, “Yes”.

But here's the conundrum for most companies. The source says that if small companies do not have their hook baited and the line in the water they will not even get a look in. It’s a bit like Lotto isn’t it? You can’t expect to win if you don’t buy the ticket.

“In the processes that we run, we do generally get tenders from the same organisations,” the source goes on to say. “So, there’s a core group of people out there, and we will typically see the responses from those guys.”

The quality of the actual tender document is not always a cast-iron indicator of the actual work to be delivered, either, says the source. “The documentation and the degree to which they respond to the points that we outline in the RFP generally reflects the work that undertaken. The better the proposal the better the product, but it’s not always the case.”

When asked if the contract was ever won before the tender went to RFP the source said no, “I don’t think so. Otherwise we’d be running the tender process for the sake of running a tender process.”

And that's their business.

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