We live in the Age of Technology, aka, the Information Age and in case you missed it, the big news of late was not necessarily Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn for some $26.2B, the largest M&A deal in Microsoft’s history, or that, with $100B in cash lying around, why Microsoft wants a loan to help pay for its acquisition of LinkedIn (of course, Microsoft socks a lot of its cash offshore, and repatriating it to pay for the deal would be a huge tax liability for them). Nope, the big story of the week was that Net Neutrality was so-called upheld, and Shelly Palmer wrote an excellent piece that’s a must-read: Net Neutrality: The FCC Won. Did You? With the Internet now a utility, you guessed it: they will find ways, and have indeed, built in ways, for it to be taxed. ‘Neutrality’ was always a complete misnomer and guess who lost? It’s always the ones who foot the bill, and that means the end user. What to speak of the possible abuses that are likely that we’ve not yet seen, and in case you haven’t been paying attention, Big Tech has become one of the chief abusers and always interesting to take a look back at history for lessons learned or forgotten or completely dismissed as not being applicable. And isn’t it pretty to think so.During the Industrial Age, children started working alongside adults, as they could easily accomplish the same repetitive tasks as adults, yet could be paid far less, if you’re wondering about Chan-Zuckerberg’s $24M investment in Adele. Not hard to figure it out, once you read between the lines: once again, it’s all about training – and getting – cheap African labor. Ah, the more things change… For the record, Google Ventures was an earlier investor in what an SOS member, who asked not to be identified but flagged the piece to us and who is familiar with Adele, called cheap labor, by any other name. Actually, worse, but we will not use his precise words, as he wouldn’t go on the record.
Hubris is no substitute for either brilliance or genius and true visionaries always take the long view. But history is evidently not high on the list of subjects worth knowing, and with many newly-minted tech billionaires flaunting the fact that they’re college drop outs, we doubt that they thought that there was any value in the subject. So, in case you missed that class, the Industrial Age saw a growing middle class, while the Information Age sees a shrinking one. With Social holding sway at the moment and acting as a bully pulpit as much as a means of disseminating information – information that the gatekeepers feel should be disseminated, of course, as we’ve covered in the past few weeks – and these two trends converging portend a perfect storm. It’s not whether or not we’re in a bubble that should be the overarching concern of tech. From where we sit, we’d say that it’s time to start paying more attention to what we call the Silenced Majority. Remember the Harvard survey that asked young people about their politics? Heads up: Why Young Americans Are Giving Up on Capitalism Should we really be surprised that young people are rejecting the economic status quo? Truth be told, they opted for ‘Patriotism’ over ‘Socialism,’ so we repeat: beware the Silenced Majority
as we go onward and forward.