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Profit leads our digital future

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To help us understand where our digital life is heading next, I steal a word from “all presidential men”: follow the money.

Why Spotify is chosen Become a podcast?? Music streaming is an economic death trap, and Spotify has to find something else. Uber push-in Offer everything Is a classic tactic. If one business isn’t profitable, use it as a foundation to sell another. Apple is branching to Fitness class subscription And (Maybe finally) car That’s because we’re trying to find a second act after the iPhone.

Companies that shape how we spend our time and money and transform our industry make choices based not only on what appeals to us, but also on what makes us profitable.

This is not bad! Money is convenient! And I oversimplify the complex strategies of a company. Profit motives don’t explain everything, but it’s a lens that helps you know where technology is heading and why.

To illustrate this, let’s look at two successful tech giants, Amazon and Google.

Amazon started in the retail business. There, it is considered great to make a few penny profits from a dollar of goods sold. Most of what Amazon does next is relatively more profitable than buying a blender or dog food from a manufacturer and reselling it to us.

That ’s one of the reasons why Amazon can do it. Entering a huge number of different businesses It may not make sense right away — even groceries, which is a poor profit business. It’s the magic of starting life with the potential for clumsy profits. The new one is probably more informative.

Google, on the other hand, started with digital advertising, which is basically pure profit. By comparison, almost anything you do next is inferior.

Even if Google isn’t making a lot of money with $ 1 sales, entering a new field will continue to hum the company and expand its technology into new fields. This also applies to Amazon.

But the origins of the different interests of Amazon and Google create interesting dynamics.Sell ​​cloud computing software to businesses Produces most of Amazon’s pre-tax profit..But with Google, which has the same business I want to compete terribly with Amazon, Cloud computing is never as profitable as Google’s main money machine. Does it even subtly reduce Google’s incentives to take this business seriously?

This is also a problem for Apple. Selling an Apple car may not give you the same profits as before. Apple is probably aiming The luxury car market, and even luxury car companies, are likely to have lower profit margins than the iPhone. (Seriously, Apple is really good at money.)

I don’t want to be short-sighted about this. Apple’s rethinking of transportation is an exciting prospect for us and can keep Apple as a technology leader for decades to come. But the motives of a company’s profits will influence the technology they pursue vigorously.

Tech companies love to fortune our deepest desires and talk about changing the world. Money is an unpleasant motive. But I’m sorry. Money drives the world and technology.


The sound you are hearing may be my frustrated cry.

Arrangements to keep the TikTok app running in the US under partial ownership of Wal-Mart and Oracle … probably not happening, The Wall Street Journal report..

This deal last year The result of a strange sight It involves the president of the United States negotiating public commerce with some of the world’s leading executives.

This was motivated by concerns that TikTok is owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance. With little gap between private sector and government in China, some U.S. officials were afraid that short video apps could be abused to spread publicity and steal American personal information.

Some of the concerns about TikTok were legitimate, and some seemed to be motivated by false nationalism.In any case, the U.S. government Threat to shut down TikTok And scramble To make its ownership more American There was nothing.

But now I have a chance to start over. The journal reported that the Biden administration has decided on its own response to the potential risks of software in China.

This time, let’s think more about how to tackle this. TikTok is America’s first and most popular technology of Chinese origin, but I don’t think it will be the last.

Let’s think about how to make this time All kinds of apps — Not just TikTok — More transparent about the material Computer instructions It can pull people In conspiracy theory..This is your chance to rethink Almost unlimited harvest of American data — Depends on domestic and foreign companies.

This is a chanceAlso, for Americans and our government to work on what we want to do about global technology not being dominated by the United States. One question is whether US officials and the general public should pay attention to the most serious technology threats from abroad. (((TikTok may not.. )

And finally, this is all about our politicians and businesses like Facebook Stop using China as a catch-all Boogeyman..

TikTok Part 1 was meaningless. Let’s make the sequel something meaningful.


Profit leads our digital future

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