Good morning, All,
Tech companies have been on a buying spree lately, especially Facebook and Google. It seems like it was just last week that Facebook dropped $19B for WhatsApp (ok, so it was two weeks ago) and then shelled out $2B for Oculus Rift. “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says.
According to the video cited above, a lot of it has to do with fear and ambition – and the fact that these companies came seemingly from out of nowhere and quickly dominated the zeitgeist, not to mention the global business landscape.
With all of these land grabs going on, should we not be asking the same questions that we’re asking in terms of the lawsuit that going on out in Silicon Valley as we speak, about the tech companies conspiring not to hire each other’s employees. Did that further technology or stifle it? (Google begged Steve Jobs for permission to hire engineers for its new Paris office. Guess what happened next? “The view that whatever Jobs and Google did to deny workers wages and lock up talent was necessary for innovation is likely much more widely held than publicly uttered. And yet, all the evidence in the pre-trial demonstrates the very opposite: That the non-solicitations stifled innovation.”) With a walled garden like Facebook buying platforms like VR company Oculus – and they’re certain free to do so, and they certainly have the bucks to do it – does that not potentially stifle innovation as well, on some level?
There has been a great deal of discussion lately about the blatant ageism in technology and imagine that you’re a newly-minted college grad – or didn’t even bother to stay for the degree – built your multi-billion dollar business in ten minutes or less and are the media darling du jour. Only it’s not just du jour. Anything you say is reported, because you’re one of the unicorns or superunicorns and now you feel the pressure to maintain that. What if/when someone younger/more visionary comes along? And he or she certainly will. These megaco’s might seemingly have mushroomed from out of nowhere, and lest we forget the old expression: fast in, fast out. That must be keeping one or two of them up at night.
What is surely even more worrisome to these billionaire boys/super tech powers is that they are referred to as unicorns and lest we forget that most important and undeniable attribute of unicorns:
Onward and forward.