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[humorix] Ask Humorix: Do-It-Yourself IPO

Ask Humorix: Do-It-Yourself IPO
September 24, 1999

Anonymous Brave Person writes, "I've been watching with
much amusement as companies have announced IPOs and made
millions -- or billions -- of dollars even though they
haven't turned a profit.  How can a "company" like
LinuxOne[1] issue stock worth $24 million when their sole
product is still in beta?  More importantly, is it possible
for _ME_ to have my own IPO?"

The Humorix Oracle replies,

Yes, you too can become a billionaire by suckering Wall
Street investors enamored with Internet and Open Source
stocks into buying stock in your fly-by-night operation.  

A Do-It-Yourself IPO is not that difficult.  Here's 7 easy

1. Invent some kind of product.  Typically this will fall
into one of two categories: a new Linux distro based on
Slackware, Debian, or Red Hat, or yet another content-free
Linux portal website.

Creating a new distro is not that difficult.  Just take an
existing one and add a few touches, making sure to issue a
global s/Red Hat/Your Distro Name command.  Translating an
existing distro into a new language is also a possibility. 
For instance, Linux has made only limited headway into the
following ripe markets:

* Babylonian
* Hittite
* Ancient Egyptian (hieroglyphics may be a challenge,
* Pig Latin (this may be the strongest type of encryption
  allowed by the DOJ in the near future)
* Microspeak (former Microsoft employees probably don't
  want to use Windows all of their lives)
* Mayan
* Cherokee
* Cyrillic (to take advantage of the booming Russian
* Redneck
* Klingon (it's a wonder this hasn't been done yet)
* Binary (nothing but 1's and 0's)
* Wingdings

Or, if your Research & Development budget is tight, you may
elect to create a Linux portal website as instructed in
Humorix's Linux Portal mini-HOWTO[2].

2. If you are selling a Linux distro or other product,
create a website hyping it.  Obtain a domain name
containing "linux" (assuming all of them haven't been taken
yet).   We recommend that you don't create your site using
any Microsoft software, however this isn't an absolute
rule.  The recent flurry[3] of Linux press releases begging
to be run through the Demoroniser proves that investors
aren't really concerned with whether your Linux company
actually uses Linux.

3. Set up a physical location (in other words, a
brick-and-mortar place in meatspace).  This doesn't need to
be any more elaborate than a basement; however, a more
formal location may come in handy if any Venture
Capitalists[4] drop by.

4. Incorporate.  Find a couple of friends (preferably one
with legal experience) to help you form a legal
corporation. The S-1 filings of other IPO-bound companies
often contain sample corporate bylaws and financial reports
that you can steal and modify for your own use.

5. Obtain and fill out the necessary IPO paperwork with the
SEC.  As mentioned before, you can cut-n-paste content from
the S-1 filings of other companies.  For example, almost
every tech company has "We might get sued by Microsoft" and
"The Internet might collapse" as possible risk factors, so
you should too.  To save money, be sure to
"self-underwrite" your IPO and not mess with an expensive
Wall Street firm.

6. Send out buzzword-laden press releases over the wires
trumpeting your IPO and whatever product you've finally
released (if any).  Don't mention the fact that your
corporation consists of only you and a few buddies who have
no clue how to run a business.  Again, you can copy and
alter other company's press releases for your own use (this
is what Open Source is all about).

7. Play by the SEC's rules until the Big Day when your IPO
happens.  At that point you'll be able to join the
Billionaire's Club.  And remember: you've "earned" it!

[1] http://linuxtoday.com/story.php3?sn=10391
[2] http://i-want-a-website.com/about-linux/may99.shtml#Portal-HOWTO
[3] http://i-want-a-website.com/about-linux/aug99.shtml#Demoronise
[4] http://i-want-a-website.com/about-linux/mar99.shtml#VC-Attack


James S. Baughn
Humorix:      Linux and Open Source(nontm) on a lighter note
Archive:      http://humbolt.nl.linux.org/lists/
Web site:     http://www.i-want-a-website.com/about-linux/