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Category: Silicon Valley

What If Ma Bell Had Behaved Like Facebook? The Facebook Stock Fail Explained

What If Ma Bell Had Behaved Like Facebook? The Facebook Stock Fail Explained

Facebook’s stock took a nosedive last week, sending shockwaves through the stock market. Twitter also took a big hit. Time for perspective: the price is back to where it was in May. The stock price took a big jump in July, then came back down to earth.

Are we looking at end of days, an overdue correction, or time for Facebook et al to reexamine the business model?

The tech sector has no historic perspective. They have always felt that the rules of business don’t apply to them. Tech is a mere extension of utilities we’ve seen before. Facebook, in many respects, is the telco reimagined. Only, in this case, you can reach out and touch people globally, without incurring long distance charges. Or make a conference call, when it comes to posts. Read More...

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – and What Was Not Said

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – and What Was Not Said

Every year, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker gives us her look at the trends in technology. This year in 294 slides. Here are some of the points, along with follow on points that she might have conveniently neglected to mention. She is a Silicon Valley tech investor, after all:

The Gig Economy

The gig economy is growing fast, with nearly seven million people projected to be working in it in the US by the end of this year, up 26% from 2017, said Meeker. Seventy-one percent of US gig workers say they “always wanted to be their own boss,” according to a survey Intuit conducted in November 2017. As Quartz points out (People are joining the gig economy because of a powerful myth), it’s the algorithm that’s in charge, determining “where the driver will head next, who she’ll pick up, and how much she’ll be paid for that trip. In other words, many important features of the job are outside the driver’s control.” Read More...

…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

Every now and then we like to flip the model – and the talking points. Seems that the model of tech is freemium. Everyone loves to get stuff for free – no one more than the tech cartel, particularly Facebook and Google. As the Wall Street Journal (Tech’s Titans Tiptoe Towards Monopoly) noted, Google and Facebook “benefit from something historically unprecedented: the ability to get users to subsidize them with enormous quantities of free labor. Their systems are fueled by personal information.”

Here’s a thought: since the cartel are such outspoken advocates of Universal Basic Income, let’s make it easy for them to literally put their money where their mouths are by having them pay users for providing information/content every time they post/share/search. These systems are built on algorithms: they can no doubt figure it out. There’s even a metric for payment to writers. On the lowest end (and far from our rate, fyi): two cents per word. Read More...

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

Wonder why Facebook is suddenly under attack from all quarters, given that the user information collected by Cambridge Analytica occurred well over a year ago, and that this was far from the first time Facebook had breached user confidentiality (although if you read the TOS, all your data belongs to Facebook, anyway)? Apple CEO Tim Cook, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, et al are all happily throwing Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg under the bus, so you might start wondering about the timing of all of this. And what you’re being distracted from otherwise noticing.

As Forbes says, Why Are We Just Finding Out Now That All Two Billion Facebook Users May Have Been Harvested? “The company acknowledged what (this article’s author) said many times before – likely the entirety of Facebook’s two billion public profiles (and quite a few private profiles) are archived in repositories all over the world by academics, companies and criminal actors, not to mention countless governments. The big story was not Facebook’s confirmation of this, but rather why the company took until (April 4, 2018) to confirm it.”

The Net Neutrality Factor

The tech cartel have been quietly attempting to reverse Net Neutrality, which, as we’ve said before and have written about and clarified in a past column, basically exempt the cartel/social media companies from being neutral and treating all content equally, via a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. Read More...

Beware the Tech Cartel and People Who Speak in Code

Beware the Tech Cartel and People Who Speak in Code

We follow Max Levchin on Twitter. Last week, he posted an interesting series of tweets, based on an Edelman Trust Barometer Report that was released at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

For the record, Levchin was co-founder and CTO of Paypal; former Chairman of Yelp; founder/CEO of Slide (acquired by Google and shut down); currently, founder of Affirm, and a long-time WEF attendee. Read More...

The Demise of the Age of Social/Move Fast and Solve Entitled People’s Problems: Notes from the Blockchain

The Demise of the Age of Social/Move Fast and Solve Entitled People’s Problems: Notes from the Blockchain

 

We all know the mantras. Fake it till you make it. Move fast and break things. Ask forgiveness, not permission. The check is in the mail.

Oops, wrong list, but not really. Truth be told, they’re all lies with a Silicon Valley spin, with the exception of the last point, which is a classic. Read More...

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

Since memos seem to be top of mind these days, why fight it? Of course, we refer to the one that former Google employee James Damore wrote a while back, that led to his being terminated from the company, and the impending lawsuit that threatens to out a lot of practices and perhaps unwritten policies that Google would prefer not be aired in public.

It seems that memos will do that, once they’re out in the wild, and certain memos are harbingers of a deeper and more far reaching issues. Read More...

The Wizards of Menlo Park

The Wizards of Menlo Park

Whenever we notice a preponderance of attention being paid to one aspect of tech – lately, how the platforms and devices are rewiring our brains and mental states- we assume that that’s where the chorus wants us. We’re always more interested in what they don’t want us to notice.

Much. Read More...

The End of Net Neutrality, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Blockchain

The End of Net Neutrality, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Blockchain

Last week, the FCC reversed the 2015 Net Neutrality Act and contrary to popular misconception, the internet did not disappeared. In fact, there has been a lot of disinformation or phacts as we now like to call them (in print, at least), as they bear little or no resemblance to the real thing, surrounding NN.

As for that so-called last mile, as Wired pointed out in 2014, prior to the first NN vote, in What Everyone Gets Wrong in the Debate Over Net Neutrality, “The net neutrality debate is based on a mental model of the internet that hasn’t been accurate for more than a decade. We tend to think of the internet as a massive public network that everyone connects to in exactly the same way. We envision data traveling from Google and Yahoo and Uber and every other online company into a massive internet backbone, before moving to a vast array of ISPs that then shuttle it into our homes. That could be a neutral network, but it’s not today’s internet… Ten years ago, internet traffic was “broadly distributed across thousands of companies,” said Craig Labovitz (CEO of DeepField Networks, an outfit whose sole mission is to track how companies build internet infrastructure) “..But by 2009, half of all internet traffic originated in less than 150 large content and content-distribution companies, and today, half of the internet’s traffic comes from just 30 outfits, including Google, Facebook, and Netflix… Because these companies are moving so much traffic on their own, they’ve been forced to make special arrangements with the country’s internet service providers that can facilitate the delivery of their sites and applications. Basically, they’re bypassing the internet backbone, plugging straight into the ISPs (and) essentially rewired the internet.” Read More...

Net Neutrality and Other Tech Oxymorons

Net Neutrality and Other Tech Oxymorons

The Net Neutrality (NN) issue has surfaced again under new FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who’s threatening to reverse it. The tech cartel, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have come down strongly against the move, framing it, once again, as control over that so-called last mile being the proverbial ‘us’ versus ‘them’ scenario. Why not? Worked the first time under the less than transparent 332-page regulation that passed in 2015. All things considered, we can’t help but wonder if the real problem is Ajit Pai or agitprop.

Net Neutrality basically mandates that all data on the internet must be treated equally, but that’s misleading. We’ve previously covered how the tech cartel has wrested enormous financial benefits and control over content under the 2015 rules, and given the amount of censorship that they’ve managed to exert since the rules went into effect, it seems that the telcos weren’t necessarily the problem and that NN was not necessarily the solution. Read More...

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