FAMGA will never be GOOD again

But as time has passed
an unpleasant truth has dawned
upon me: aging and dying
is the one plot of this play.
(Jaime Gil de Biedma, I will never be young again)(1)

The once unconditionally admired digital companies that made us believe in a better future, now blatantly suck. It has been happening for the last few years. As these tech giants relentlessly moved forward amassing ever more power, people (and media) started to look at them with growing distrust and hostility. They have become BAADD and now every other day we have unwelcome news. A minimum sample, among the latest:

  • Amazon HQ2 saga: The utterly unbecoming, shameful spectacle of Amazon choosing a city for a new headquarter and extracting billions in subsidies.
  • The latest revelations about Facebook’s dark arts, with New York Times explaining its tactics to delay, deny and deflect to fight and hurt their critics and competitors. (Facebook has denied the allegations.)
  • Apple announcing that it will become even less transparent and will stop reporting unit sales data for its iPhone, iPad and Mac computer products, in the face of what is obviously an end of cycle, (after a paroxysm of hollow innovation and ever-increasing prices).
  • Yesterday, I discover in shock that Google is hiring a new CEO to lead Google Cloud: An old guard executive from Oracle!

I have very recently had problems with Microsoft’s LinkedIn (privacy), Apple (product quality), and Amazon (Publishing). In every case, customer support has been simply detritus (when existent at all) Sooner or later I will write about it. Very likely, short fiction stories, because terror is better delivered that way. For now, suffice it to say it has been a resounding wake-up call that forces me to reconsider quite a few things.

We may think all this, to a large extent, is an unjustified backlash. I don’t think so. We’ve lived through a rosy period of great unwarranted expectations. Now the unpleasant truth has dawned upon us. The corporation is as rotten as ever: “exploiting and abusing is the only plot of this play”. And what we are seeing is a painful regression toward the mean. Unfortunately the mean (average) corporation blatantly sucks.

I want to be very clear today. (Relax, it’s not usual in Mind the post.) We should never, ever allow any kind of unchecked power, even if it seems benevolent.


(1) Translation from Spanish here

Featured Image: Luther D. Bradley, Design for a Union Station

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