Skip to main content

Trust is the New Black

As we shift deeper into an attention economy, maintaining eyeballs will get ever more difficult. One of the things that will drive users off of a platform if they have a choice is loss of control, and compromised privacy. That is already an issue for holdouts that have not gone online in earnest. 

I have had more than a little interest in privacy for a long time. I knew it was coming, but the flagrance is still breathtaking to behold. Keep in mind, these are the *good guys*:

I posted a prediction that Facebook would reach $1 Trillion Market Cap back in 2012 when Forbes thought it was a short at $75B.

Facebook outperformed my prediction by hitting $900B ahead of schedule, instead of the $800B I predicted by now, but they definitely underperformed in capitalizing on their competitive opportunities to compete against Google. This situation is an opportunity for an aggressive, disruptive competitor as mentioned in the post below.

Facebook has not yet capitalized on The "Top Ten" strategies in the post below. In fact, the thing that prompted my reaction to this post is that the current move is counter to the strategies I believe are winners in the coming world. 

"The overall strategy is to ethically join forces with users, suppliers and advertisers against the competition. Do a 'grand slam' attack sweep of all low hanging fruit by leveraging their existing user relationship. Justify it by honoring the security and privacy of users."

Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, and to a lesser extent Apple and Amazon, are vulnerable to a nimble competitor in their most profitable, high-margin areas. 

Facebook's explosive growth is nothing compared to the growth we will see if the right competitor arrives on the scene providing social network, communications, storage, information on demand, online apps, and verifiable user privacy and control of their data. Those big companies have enormous built infrastructure, personnel, funds, and user bases. However, all of those are partially offset by legacy issues, management issues, shareholder obligations, and prickly user relationships. 

The big companies are predicated on old scenarios, costs, capabilities, and user expectations. All of them have to step over the various things these entail. The manpower used just for vendor relationships alone would be sufficient for an agile, strategic emerging competitor. 

A new competitor, starting with a clean slate can use all the knowledge gotten by trial and error by the other players. Judicious choices can be made to partner with users in areas that have high margins, and are easy to service. One big value add that is available at negligible cost to a new competitor is to keep faith with users. Keeping faith with users creates certain opportunities that can only be had with a trusting relationship. That ship has sailed for the big competitors in this space. 

All these companies are looking, basically, for ever more elaborate ways to cheat their users. Facebook, by being a bad partner with respect to privacy, Google for being a bad partner for pursuing advertising revenue at the expense of ruining their search engine, Microsoft for continually breaking faith with users and charging ever more for less, Apple for creating an ever tightening and expensive walled garden, and Amazon for being, well, Amazon, have all created a demand for replacements that will provide better value and a safer, more honest relationship. 

When you look at the enormous size and reach of these companies, they seem invulnerable, but they are definitely not. They have incredible resources, but nothing can erase their history as a user and vendor partner that is dishonest, unfaithful, and predatory. They cannot force their users to stay if they have a better place to go. 

Google and Facebook can have their ad revenue snatched away almost instantly by an ad platform that demonstrably performs better. Such a thing is entirely possible, driven by trust -- something nigh impossible for those companies to get. 

Apple and Microsoft have 'rights' to their specific offerings, but they don't entirely control manufacture, and each passing day makes their current offering increasingly vulnerable to better alternatives. 

The majority of Amazon's sales are actually by third party vendors. These sellers would jump ship in a heartbeat if there was even an equal competitor, let alone a better one. Their ongoing mistreatment of people in their ecosystem makes them vulnerable to the right competitor to simply step in and take over. 

I am enjoying the show, but I am also chipping away at designs to take advantage of the opportunities that missteps by these companies are making. 


Popular posts from this blog

The system cannot execute the specified program

It always annoys me no end when I get messages like the following: "The system cannot execute the specified program." I got the above error from Windows XP when I tried to execute a program I use all the time. The message is hugely aggravating because it says the obvious without giving any actionable information. If you have such a problem and you are executing from a deep directory structure that may be your problem. It was in my case. Looking on the web with that phrase brought up a bunch of arcane stuff that did not apply to me. It mostly brought up long threads (as these things tend to do) which follow this pattern: 'Q' is the guy with the problem asking for help 'A' can be any number of people who jump in to 'help'. Q: I got this error "The system cannot execute the specified program." when I tried to ... [long list of things tried] A: What program were you running, what operating system, where is the program? What type of

Coming Soon: General Artificial Intelligence

The closer you get to experts who understand the nuts and bolts and history of AI, the more you find them saying that what we have is not nearly General Artificial Intelligence (GAI), and that GAI seems far away. I think we already have the roots in place with Neural Networks (NN), Deep Learning (DL), Machine Learning (ML), and primitive domain limited Artificial Intelligence (AI). Things like computer vision, voice recognition, and language translation are already in production. These are tough problems, but in some ways, machines are already better than humans are. I expect GAI to be an emergent property as systems mature, join, and augment one another. I was around during the 70s AI winter, and was involved in the 80s AI winter as one of the naysayers. I built a demonstration system with a Sperry voice recognition card in 1984. I could demonstrate it in a quiet room, but as a practical matter, it was not production ready at all. Around 1988 we built demonstration expert systems usin

Your call is important to us, but not much.

Rogers entire network is down and Rogers either does not know why or sufficiently disrespects its customers that it won't say. I was on the advisory committee for the largest private network in Canada serving 150,000 employees countrywide. I was also an active participant building out that network. I installed the first Local Area Networks there. I wrote a code generator responsible for the most critical portion of Bell's mobile network. I also wrote a portion of code for a system in the United States that detected and pinpointed line breaks in their network before they happened. For a time, I held the title 'Networking Professor' at our local College. I registered my first domain name in the 1980s. I have administered Internet network servers for decades. In one capacity or another, I have worked with most of the telecommunications providers in Canada past and present. Nearly a billion devices use a small network codec written by me decades ago.  Except that Rogers was