"In 1995 the locus of innovation was Web pioneer Netscape Communications, whose initial public offering ignited five of the most lucrative years in market history. In 2004 it was Google (GOOG), whose 'Dutch auction' IPO invited anyone to bid on a share price; those who bid over $85—small and large investors alike—got in on what has turned out to be a 618 percent return. Today, the It company is Facebook..."
What is maybe most interesting is this near the end:
"In truth, there has never been anything very public about the initial public offering. "The sad reality is that the only IPOs that the mom-and-pop investor have access to are the ones you don't want," says Rodd C. Langenhagen, a tech banker with Morgan Keegan. "Ironically, the more safeguards we build into the system to protect investors, the more companies don't want to go public, so investor access relies on even less regulated special purpose vehicles and secondary share markets."