On this edition of FTP, Futurum Tech Podcast, we dig into Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy manifesto and we asked the question, “Does anybody care about what he has to say and should Facebook be more closely regulated or even broken up?” Then we dig into what’s going on with Apple in the semiconductor space, we cover Elizabeth Warren and her regulatory plans, and in the end we talk about is it even possible to break up big tech and will it happen, on this edition of FTP.
Our Main Dive
Mark Zuckerberg has published a manifesto outlining what he sees as the future of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. But is this really about privacy or more of a profit-oriented, anti-anti-trust move? We think it’s more of the latter and share our thoughts on why.
Our Fast Five
We dig into the week’s interesting and noteworthy news:
- Another data breach, this time with 809 million victims
- China invests in Tesla (and Elon Musk)
- Apple’s new tethered AR headset strategy
- Meizu’s butt-less mobile joke
- Intel’s surge to the top of the global semiconductor market
The TMI aspect of Motherboard’s “here’s how to hack an iPhone” article.
Crystal Ball: Future-um Predictions and Guesses
Can Elizabeth Warren really break up Facebook, Google, and Amazon?
Fred McClimans: Welcome to this week’s edition of FTP, the Futurum Tech Podcast. I’m your host this week, Fred McClimans joined here by my colleague or with my colleague, Dan Newman. Dan, welcome. How are you today?
Daniel Newman: I’m doing great, in town for a moment before jettisoning off to South by Southwest tomorrow, but so much going on in the tech space, on the heels of the big Mobile World Congress and so much news to cover and not even mobile related. It doesn’t even take a week anymore to fill up the buckets with new news, new information, new companies doing things worth covering fast, worth covering slow, with going long, and by the way, some tech that really, really bites.
Fred McClimans: Yes indeed. And you know it’s interesting because there is so much more than just mobile and for the last couple of weeks it’s all been about mobile, with Mobile World Congress going on, but this week we’ve got some interesting stories to dive into. We’re going to kick off here in a moment with a little bit of a discussion about Facebook and monopolies and privacy and all that fun sort of stuff.
We’re going to touch a bit on what’s going on with Tesla. We’re going to talk about the semiconductor market. We’re going to talk about Apple’s AR moves. And before we get into that though, I do need to remind everybody that the Futurum Tech Podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only. We’re going to talk about a lot of great companies, we may talk about the equity aspect of those companies, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation in any way for what you should do with your investment dollars.
So Dan, let’s kick it off here. Facebook. Facebook is a company that we’ve spoken about frequently. They have a lot that’s going on in the news, not surprising given that they are probably the dominant social media company in the world today, and they have been dinged and we have dinged them a lot for privacy issues in the past. Couple of weeks ago, Facebook started to talk about how they were actually going to re-architect their three main platforms. That would be the Facebook site itself, Messenger, which is their own homegrown messaging communications tool, and Instagram that they acquired a few years back.
Great platforms, very wide adoption of these platforms, but they all have been running on independent software stacks. So Facebook started to talk about how they would envision those coming together under one large platform. And this past week or fact this week, earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg elaborated on that in a blog post that he posted on Facebook on March 6th titled A Privacy Focused Vision for Social Networking, and that’s a great thing because we do want privacy. In here though, he detailed out in a bit more detail how they would actually integrate the three platforms together and this is all being driven by what they call their core privacy focused platform principles.
They are private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage. All lofty goals for any company. However, in this case here, I’ve got to say they’re falling short. When I read through this manifesto, everything in here talks about how we’re going to improve encryption, how we’re going to improve data storage, how we’re going to allow people to have more control over their privacy, and a lot of people interpreted that, online, as being, “Oh, they’re going to give us a private version of Facebook. They’re not going to track our data.” Sorry, that could not be further from the truth.
What we really have here is sort of an upgrading of the privacy capabilities, the encryption capabilities, the ability to secure and have private communications between one or more individuals in the individual apps, but there’s actually nothing in here that talks about data that is monetized. In fact, I think perhaps the closest thing they talk about is the ability that they call reducing permanence here, the feature that would allow people to delete their history within Facebook after a certain period of time.
But I’ve got to say, when it comes to data, advertising data, data has a shelf life. We kind of break that up into two different buckets. You’ve got the short term data that has tremendous value from an advertising perspective and then you’ve got the long term aspect of that same data over time that, you know, it’s very interesting in terms of long-term trends and I’m sure Facebook monetizes that in their own way, but that data is not as valuable as the short term data here. Which leads us to ask the question, what are they really doing here? Because this is a very significant effort to integrate these three platforms into one and at the end of the day, my conclusion, this is more about evading or avoiding monopoly action by the government to break them up into three separate entities.
Because if you have everything in one massive platform, it just makes it all the more difficult to do that. Dan, what’s your take on this? Do you think that’s their goal. Is there something here that we should be thinking about?
Daniel Newman: Well, you saw Elizabeth Warren announce her platform of potentially breaking up big tech, focusing specifically on the likes of Amazon, Facebook, and Google, and part of it in her mind is making these companies smaller, less powerful, having less collective data and less control over our behavior and activities. I think it’s a wildly inept plan. I think it’s the kind of plan that makes people think that the Democrats are crazy and unrealistic. I think the industry needs a lot of regulation, and I believe you’ve heard me say that before. I realize I’ve kind of gone on a bit of a diatribe here.
Fred McClimans: No, that’s fine.
Daniel Newman: So to the point though, Facebook, of course they’re going to try to make their product stickier. That’s the goal of every SaaS company, right? And Facebook has had some challenges over the last year. Their challenges have been with Facebook, actually. So their applications surrounding Instagram and WhatsApp are actually very popular and have not seen the same negative sentiment around them as Facebook has, even though it is all one company. So it is very interesting how the branding has not transcended, even though the ownership and equity of the company is they’re both fully owned by Facebook.
The other day I shared an article around something of what Mark Zuckerberg said on Twitter, and I basically just asked the question very quickly, I said, “But do you believe him?” And on Twitter, as you know, even the most engaged Twitter user doesn’t often get a lot of responses, and I actually got a dozen or more responses quickly to that tweet. And the overwhelming sentiment was, no, people do not trust Facebook and they do not trust Mark Zuckerberg to do anything that’s in their best interest.
So the challenge right now is that this company falls into that bucket of data abusers. They’ve now been ousted for being data abusers, but not only are they abusing data in a similar sentiment that maybe an Amazon or a Google raises the same alarms, but they’ve been called out for multiple very targeted and well-orchestrated efforts to abuse data. The issue with the gaming and the kids, the issues with the Russian campaigns and the different propaganda that has been allowed in the name of making money.
So at this point right now, Fred, I think Mark Zuckerberg could write anything he wants and he’s going to have his allegiant community of people who love Facebook. And by the way, there’s a huge allegiance of people who are unknowledgeable, and that’s an important thing to say right now. I would be surprised, you know, we’re in this tech space, so we know a lot about what’s going on, we’re reading it and paying attention, but I’d be surprised if more than 10 or 15 percent of society are really aware of all the things that Facebook has done. I just think getting 10 or 15 percent is enough to start to impact a brand’s reputation, especially when the journalists, analysts, media, press, and tech influencers are the ones that are actually the most aware of all of their faux pas.
Fred McClimans: Yeah. Well, you know, I think, if you look at the platforms and you know, in the opening here I talked about messenger, I meant to say WhatsApp, my apologies for that, you understand that they are controlled by the same company, that there is a massive amount of data that’s being collected and shared there, and it’s an interesting thing because you don’t hear too often people complaining about what Facebook is doing with WhatsApp. You don’t hear about what they’re doing with Instagram. It tends to be more around the Facebook platform in the news feed. And maybe that’s simply because that’s the name of the product, the company name, product name, it gets a lot of attention there.
But I think we have to remember at the end of the day, as you mentioned, I don’t trust any of these companies out there to really think about what’s necessarily in the best interests of user privacy for two reasons. You know, one, the data that users generate, I mean that is what’s being monetized here. That’s where the value of these companies comes from. And secondly, they’re not beholden to the users necessarily. They’re beholden to the shareholders and the investors of those company. I mean there’s a legal fiduciary responsibility for them to do anything they can within legal boundaries to increase the value of the company and increase the shareholder price. And that’s one of those things that, you know, it’s a conflict. And I think it points, perhaps, to the idea that we have sort of a systemic problem here in the way we have grown technology, and the way we’ve grown social networking, and the way we’ve grown business models that does not prioritize the user first.
You know, a couple of weeks back, Zuckerberg talked about the idea of a paid version of Facebook and he shot that down saying, “No, that that really wouldn’t be fair for people who have money to pay for the service and for us to have to monetize data from people that don’t have the money to pay for the service.” And you know, it’s an interesting argument that I kind of disagree with. I think there are many ways that you can work through that and personally, I’m not a Facebook user now as of three, four, almost five months now, and if there were a version that was paid that I could use at a relatively low cost to connect and communicate with my family and friends and colleagues in a less data intrusive manner, yeah, I’d consider that.
And I understand that there are a lot of people that might not, but Facebook is in that situation right now where I saw one report earlier this week that said they had lost 15 million users and that would be daily active users. And that’s a big deal. When Facebook’s user base starts to shrink and their monetization of value starts to shrink, they start to look for ways that they can get creative, that they can preserve what they have and build on it. And at Facebook that’s going to be more data mining. That’s going to be a collection of more third party data sources. In fact, I don’t think a lot of people realize just how many third party data sources that Facebook is pulling in and aggregating alongside the existing user data. I mean, that’s huge. I mean, we talked about regulation.
Dan, I’d love to get your thoughts. Is that an area that we think maybe there should be some pretty strong regulation about how third party data is used because I think there should be?
Daniel Newman: Yeah, I think Europe’s sort of leading the way right now with GDPR and I don’t think GDPR is all inclusive, but I think having a framework that says if you abuse data and you do not give the individual any control over what data is out there, how it’s used, and any possibility to stop using their data even in the event that at one time they opted in but no longer wish to be pursued via that set of data, then you’re out of compliance. And as a big powerful company you will pay a substantial toll if you do not comply. This is actually a really good thing for the tech industry by the way, because it forces companies to make significant infrastructure and software investments to be able to set up to manage this kind of required compliant.
So you will sell a lot of servers, a lot of storage, a lot of software in the process because that’s the only way companies can be compliant and have all their data managed. I think we’re going to see AI and Blockchain become a big part of this as well. I think we’re going to see identity custodianship and the Blockchain is probably the most realistic. This is one of the real valuable applications for the Blockchain, is where people will have the ability to manage and control their identity and to opt in and to opt out and this is where we need to go. The problem now is that there is so much information on us out there, there’s so much information being gathered about us in ways that are passive and without our consent, and it’s being used even in an anonymized capacity that we don’t necessarily wish to participate in.
If every time our data was being used in any way, we had to specifically opt in to have it used, there’d be no way that a mass of the data out there exists. But right now there’s so many missing regulations that what these companies are doing, and it’s not just Google and Facebook and Amazon and the big tech, but basically they’re just looking at where are the loopholes, where are the gaps, where are the gray areas that we can exploit? And we will exploit and exploit and exploit until someone says that we can’t. And then when someone tells them we can’t, we will hold this up in court and in litigation and we will sue. And that’s the way our world works.
So to get to a state of regulation, we’re still going to see years and years and years. So even if GDPR, America version or global version, comes into place, we’re still looking at several years to get companies compliant. And then we’re looking at several years of companies trying to be compliant before you’re actually going to see them being compliant. So even if we start today, we’re five or 10 years out from really meaningful improvements in this area.
Fred McClimans: Yeah. It is a challenge, but as you mentioned, there are some technologies coming along that can help tremendously. You mentioned Blockchain there as being sort of the tool for identity management, and I think that extends into actually the data ownership, having your data being collected by a Google or a Facebook or an Amazon or a Twitter and that data being tagged and having it universally known, “Here’s the owner of that data, here’s the identity of that person,” and giving that person the ability to track where their data is being used. I think that’s an important thing.
And by the way, I mean, we deal a lot in the aspects of data monetization and business models, and I’m a strong proponent of finding ways to increase operational leverage through the use of data, but it needs to be done in a transparent way and it needs to be done in a secure way. And I think to your point about the infrastructure being built out to really track data, if that’s done correctly, at the end of the day, maybe that data also becomes a bit more secure and the security breaches that we see running so rampant today and the theft of user information and data, maybe that eases up a little bit.
But with regard to Facebook here, this post from Zuckerberg, I think it’s a little bit lofty and it’s not an altruistic move. I think it’s a self-serving move on Facebook’s part and it’s something that I think we all need to be aware about and maybe Facebook becomes the poster child of how not to do this moving forward.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, I know we’ve got to get onto the fast five here, but I tell you what, if Zuckerberg had written this five years ago, then he could point back to this and have a really meaningful conversation with regulators, with the industry to say, “This is something we’ve been talking about.” But that’s not the case. The case has basically been he’s constantly playing the PR game. He’s constantly reacting to the market’s perception of his decisioning as the CEO, and as well Sheryl’s, and they’re kind of scapegoating and non-willingness to say, “We messed up, we’ve done it wrong, and we’re going to do it right.” And when they’ve said things like that, it just sounds so self-serving.
It’s like when your 10-year-old child gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar and they tell you they’re so sorry. And you’re like, “Yeah, you’re only sorry because you got caught.” Well same thing here.
Fred McClimans: Yeah. And when they get caught, the impact to Zuckerberg’s personal wealth is measured in the billions because that stock price can fluctuate. And I think just in the past couple of weeks his losses are in the many billions-
Daniel Newman: As I’ve said, I only need one billion. So if someone wants to give me one, I’ll make it work.
Fred McClimans: There you go. There you go. All right, so let’s kind of wrap up Facebook here, our main dive. We’re going to come back to an aspect of this at the end of this podcast in our crystal ball section, but before we get there, our fast five. Dan, we talked about security a moment ago. Tell us what’s going on with email marketing and security.
Daniel Newman: Yes. So let’s talk about security. An email marketing company left 809 million records exposed online. So this came out on Wired this week, I probably will botch his name, but it’s Bob Diachenko and Vinny Troia discovered an unprotected, publicly accessible Mongo database containing 150 gigabytes of detailed plain text marketing data, including 763 million unique email addresses. So they took their findings out public and basically just one more poor management of people’s data and information and goes back to this whole thing where we started. Why regulation? Why more security? Why more privacy? Because crap like this. And when companies do this, companies that play in this game, have this kind of data, this kind of personal information about customers and they don’t protect it, they deserve to be penalized for it.
So I’ll be interested to see what happens. They haven’t exposed who the company is that actually made the mistake, but wow, what a big, big mistake, Fred.
Fred McClimans: Yeah, that was a big one. And the interesting thing here was the company that exposed it wasn’t actually the company that created or collected the data initially. They were a third party as I understand it. And that database not only had personal data but had business-related data that had been aggregated into it. So, major, major screw up there.
But let’s shift gears a little bit into our second fast five. This week, I’m going to talk a little bit about China and Tesla. Now we know Tesla, big company in the United States with the electronic vehicles and there are separate controversies surrounding Elon Musk’s statement that they have their full autonomous driving, which personally I beg to differ. It’s not level four autonomous driving. It’s kind of three and a half or something in there. But this week, Tesla and China came to a deal where a group of state backed banks in China are extending a $521 million set of loans to Tesla.
Now these loans, they’re short term loans, they expire next year, but in looking at the documentation behind it, it doesn’t appear that there’s any real penalty if these loans aren’t paid back on time. And the interest rate is a below market interest rate. So kind of an interesting move here. I think, when you look at what’s going on in China, they have electric vehicle companies that are trying to be competitive with Tesla, Nio being one. In this situation that looks as if the Chinese government has said, “Hey look, we want Elon Musk, we want his technology, we want his business, and we’re going to make a little bit of a bet here with Musk and throw some money that way, maybe at the expense of building the technology ourselves.” An interesting move that we definitely need to watch up on and figure out what’s going forward here with this.
So then shifting to our third fast five, Apple AR technology.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. So this is kind of big. An announcement came out, I read it on 9to5 Mac today, but basically Apple reportedly is going to get their first physical augmented reality product wearable out, at the latest, in the second quarter of 2020 and they’re saying possibly even sooner. And this is really interesting because there’s been a lot of speculation for a long time that Apple’s going to put out a headset. They haven’t. They’re definitely getting to the point now where they’re not even a fast follower, they’re pretty much a late follower into the AR game. Interesting is that this device will have no compute. The idea right now is much like the ear pods or the watch, the old watch, purely be able to pull data off of the phone that’s in its proximity. So that’s kind of interesting.
I also think it’s kind of interesting the timing on it because for them to successfully have rendering go on in your eye line on a set that’s dependent on the phone of any sort of quality, they’re really going to need 5G. They’re going to need that higher level of connectivity unless you’re of course in a WIFI or WIFI 6 environment which you can’t depend to be when you’re trying to use these technologies. So to me it seems kind of like a light effort. It seems like a first effort and of course they will be successful to some extent, but I’m a little bit bearish on the fact that, well I’m always bearish on Apple stuff so people know that I should be up front, but I’m a little bearish on the fact that it doesn’t have any compute and I do understand how that will make the device lighter.
I also do want to point out that they’re saying it’s only going to work with an iPhone, and once again, this is Apple and their closed ecosystem saying, “You can use our stuff, but only if you use Apple.” I think Microsoft is on a better track with their mixed reality, with a more democratized approach, with data being rendered through both cloud and local, through having compute on the device. I understand it may not be as consumer friendly, but I still think the biggest killer app or AR and mixed reality is really the frontline worker, not necessarily the Google glass halls of the past.
Fred McClimans: Right. Now let me ask you on that. Do you think that this attempt by Apple to potentially continue to close off their ecosystem in contrast to what Microsoft and others are doing with more open AR platforms, do you think that there’s any chance that Apple says, “We won’t let our platform, our iPhone, work with these other AR headsets?”
Daniel Newman: Sure, I think if they feel they can dominate the market and own it. As you’ve seen in the past, they haven’t necessarily shut out Bluetooth headsets, but you know a lot of times what they do is they just make the quality, performance, and experience nominally better on their devices so that people want them. I mean, I’ve heard great things about the ear pods. I could never wear Apple headphones. For whatever reason, the way they’re designed, they just fall out of my ears. So that’s the old ones, with the wire and the wireless. So they don’t work for me. But for a lot of people, they love them and swear by them. I kind of see a similar approach here with the augmented reality glasses.
Fred McClimans: Great. So our next fast five here, Dan, a few weeks back with Olivier, I think we talked about the the hole-less mobile phone. There was an announcement that came out that a company, Meizu, was going to create a phone that literally had no physical ports on it. Everything would be wireless. Well, surprise surprise, it turns out that that was a publicity stunt on their part. It’s kind of interesting here how quickly everybody jumped on this announcement though when it came out. I mean, it got a lot of attention in the press, we talked about it, others did as well. And you know, this is the kind of stunt that I think doesn’t necessarily reflect great on the industry and some of the stunts, but it also, I think, just points to how gullible we all are when it comes to technology announcements.
These days we’re willing to believe a lot of things. And as somebody that looks at the hole-less phone and said, “Wow, I can’t believe they’re doing that, not a great idea,” I kind of fall into that same trap. So Dan, take us home to our last fast five. What’s going on in the silicon market?
Daniel Newman: Yeah, this is a really fast, fast five, but IC Insights, no D, IC Insights posted an article just this past week looking at a forecast for the semiconductor industry and it shows the trends over the past three years and then into the 2019 fiscal year. And it’s shown consistent growth, 2016 to ’17, 22 percent. 2017 to ’18 at 13 percent. And as of right now, they’re showing a tracking growth of actually a 7 percent decrease. And now we know there’s been shortages and we know that has temporarily set back some companies, but the more interesting thing is perhaps Intel, after a two year hiatus in 2017 and 2018 falling behind Samsung for their semiconductor business, is poised to pass Samsung back up and even though Intel is only showing a growth of about 1 percent, Samsung is showing a potential drop of about 19 percent. 19.7 percent in the semiconductor space. So interesting enough to see Intel potentially regaining that top spot, but simultaneously a little bit of worry and reason to be concerned as the overall semiconductor market has taken a bit of a step backwards. At least that’s what researchers are predicting for this year upcoming.
Fred McClimans: Yeah, that’s an interesting one there, that pulling back in the semiconductor space because everything that we do today, all of the products in the tech industry and so many products outside of the tech industry, automotive being a great example there, it’s all driven on silicon and the idea that that market might be slowing up here is an interesting one that I think deserves a little bit of a discussion down the road in terms of what that might mean for the overall global economy in place.
But let’s move on from our fast five today to our tech bites conversation, that’s where we dig into something in the tech space that just simply bites. This week there was an article in BGR talking about how iPhones could potentially be cracked. And as we know, this is a big topic of conversation, especially amongst law enforcement where the security in iPhones and other devices is getting to the point where law enforcement no longer has the ready access to personal data, the ability to complete an investigation to find out who’s talking with whom, what are they sharing, what are they doing.
And first, I just want to say I’m a strong proponent of what Apple and others are doing. It’s your data. If you want to lock it up, lock it up. But in this case here, EGR put out this interesting article with a title, a $20,000 iPhone and $2,000 USB cable are all you need to hack iOS. And there is some interesting stuff in here. But I’ve got to say, I think this article bites a bit because if you are interested in hacking somebody’s iPhone, well, they kind of give you the blueprint for it. Here’s the product, here’s how much it costs. Here’s the manufacturer of the product. And I just kind of look at this and I’ve got to say, “Yeah, hey, we know this exists, we know it’s out there, but does it really need to be publicized?” I mean, Dan your take on this?
Daniel Newman: I’ve always thought that that’s one of the anomalies of like when you read a physical security talk about their hack … like I was watching this one about how hackers gain your ID through spoofing, right? And it showed a woman calling to gain access to your Comcast account and how she plays … and it basically just shows the blueprint of how she was able to change the username and password on a phone call to gain access to the account. And it’s like, yeah, the people that know how to do this, this is not news to them. But the wannabes, and just creating a whole new ecosystem of people that are going to do this, you’re opening up the door. So it’s kind of like training militants that you don’t want to be militants to be militant.
It’s a problem, but it’s also the information age. You can read online how to make a Molotov cocktail, right? You can read online how to make a potato launcher that can also launch other things. My point is that information for doing harm is out there just like information for doing good. Unfortunately, I feel like that harmful information is more pervasive and tends to be way too explicit. But I think the challenges, whether it’s put into mainstream media or dark web, people that want to find this kind of information are going to find it. And so I think it bites a little bit. I would put it on the, it bites like too many veggies on your pizza, you know, it’s still pizza. And I think it’s good to make people aware of what’s going on, I don’t necessarily love when the media gives a blueprint to people to do bad.
Fred McClimans: Yeah, I’ll agree with you on the pizza analogy with the statement that as soon as you start to pack on too many veggies or as soon as you put it into one of those deep dish Chicago style things, I don’t think it’s pizza any longer.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. Well, at least we have our own pizza. I don’t hear anything about DC pizza.
Fred McClimans: Hey, hey, hey, I’m a New York boy. Grown up in the New York area and-
Daniel Newman: Where do you live?
Fred McClimans: Yeah, I lived my entire life-
Daniel Newman: I didn’t ask where you did live, I asked you where you do live.
Fred McClimans: I live in Virginia.
Daniel Newman: There is no Virginia pizza.
Fred McClimans: No, there isn’t, but I get up to the family often in New York and always enjoy a good pie.
Daniel Newman: Jake’s pizza. That’s Virginia Pizza.
Fred McClimans: All right.
Daniel Newman: Let’s not make this personal.
Fred McClimans: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Our crystal ball for this week. We’ve talked a little bit about Facebook. We’ve talked about the announcement from Senator Warren’s campaign that she would like to break them up. Dan, I’m going to put it to you straight. What are the chances, and give me a probability number here. Anywhere between one or zero and 100 percent. What do you think the chances are that Senator Warren is actually successful? Not in her presidential campaign, but in moving forward. I’ll put it anybody, that anybody is successful in an attempt to break up Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, I’ll throw them all into that big group there. What are the chances?
Daniel Newman: Well, let me ask a really simple question of you Fred. How many trillions of dollars of economic value was lost in the wake of the bank crumbling in 2007 and ’08?
Fred McClimans: Oh, it was massive.
Daniel Newman: It was multiple trillions, like 7 trillion. Some sort of trillions of wealth lost. How much have the banks been regulated?
Fred McClimans: You know, they were regulated more after that loss and it’s eased up a bit here.
Daniel Newman: Okay. But I would say that as a whole they took money, paid out big bonuses, had nominal amounts of regulation against them, and over time have been able to develop new financial derivative products that are basically the same old financial derivative products that caused us the first meltdown. I think there’s too much direct ties, might be a little bit of my conspiracy theorist inside me, but there’s a little bit too much tie between campaign finance, big tech, and funding the campaigns. So I’ll put it at a 0.01 percent chance. I’ll put Elizabeth Warren’s chance of winning the presidency at 1 percent and I’ll put the chance of her actually getting into the presidency and making that happen at less than one 100th of a percent.
Now having said that, and I know that was supposed to be a quick take, I hope for more regulation of the data abuser. Companies that are using data without necessarily having clear understanding of the people whose data is being used, I want more regulation. I don’t see breaking up companies as necessarily the answer unless the companies partake in some sort of criminal behavior. And in that case, I’m okay with it. I am okay if they’re doing something illegal and illicit, but if it’s just a matter of regulation would fix it, I’m not sure having three 40 billion companies instead of one $120 billion company is going to stop any bad behavior. It’s just going to create a lot of headache.
Fred McClimans: Yeah. I’ll agree with you on the Warren issues. I kind of put it as a zero zero myself, I just don’t think there’s any chance that anybody steps up and successfully breaks apart the tech industry and the social leaders at this point. And I agree, I think that if you break them apart, you know, split Facebook into three companies, well now you’ve got three companies doing the same thing. What we need more of is some really decent regulation and sort of a consensus on the part of big tech, government, and users that here’s the way we’re actually going to move forward in terms of putting data privacy and individual rights first. Until we get to there, I think it’s a lost cause. So I think the chances of these companies being broken apart anytime soon is significantly low at this point.
So Dan, thank you very much for being here and fulfilling the shoes of Olivier in his absence for this week’s edition of tech bites. I can’t wait to have him back though.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, no, it’s going to be great to have him back in. And not only for tech bites, I think we filled in the whole episode pretty darn well and it’s a team effort, right? It’s a Friday afternoon, we love recording these at the end of the week because we get to see all the smart and stupid things that companies and people do throughout the week, and then we get to talk about it. And obviously we appreciate everybody out there and just to shout out as the team at Futurum Research, we do appreciate all of you.
And Fred, I’m stealing your thunder a little bit, but that’s okay. I just want to say thank you to everybody who tunes in week in and week out because we really enjoy putting on this show, but we really do enjoy the relationships that we’re creating out there and hopefully the opportunity that you have to come here and hear what’s going on and say, “Hey, if I’m going to spend 30 minutes a week or 45 because that’s what we usually take, to hear about what’s going on in tech, I’m going to listen to the Futurum Tech Podcast because those guys are talking about good stuff.”
Fred McClimans: Absolutely. It’s a great way to wrap up the week, get a lot of things that we’ve been stewing about off our minds and as always we look for the feedback. So we appreciate those of you listening today. Please, if you like the podcast, share the podcast, drop us a line, let us know what you think, what you’d like us to talk more about or even less about, and please hit that subscribe button.
We’re available on SoundCloud, we’re on iTunes, we’re on Spotify. If there’s another platform that you think we should be on, drop us a note on that too. So I’m Fred McClimans at Futurum Research. For the entire team here, thank you very much, we’ll see you next week on the next edition of FTP, the Futurum Tech Podcast.
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Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Podcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this podcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.