When SNAP went public last year, it sold 200 million shares; none of them carried any voting rights. When Spotify went public earlier this month, it raised no money. When members of the public bought shares in Uber in 2016, by buying into a Morgan Stanley vehicle named New Riders LP, they received no information about Uber’s income, expenses, or balance sheet, and had no assurances that the company was financially viable.
These are just the latest examples of a long-standing trend: If you’re a successful technology company, the normal rules of Wall Street don’t apply to you. Indeed, Wall Street should count itself lucky if and when you deign to even acknowledge its existence. When Spotify listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, for instance, its CEO remained in Sweden, rather than flying over to perform the ritual bell-ringing. Instead, he wrote a blog post saying that the whole thing was a bit of a nothingburger, “just another day in our journey.”