I recently did an interview with a national publication about the bad year tech has had in 2018. If you believe the tech media, Silicon Valley is dead, and the FAANG companies are so big they need to be regulated. There is no question that tech has a big black eye due to security breaches, some of their roles in fake news, and a plethora of other things that make them look like Darth Vader.
These companies are growing and in many cases planning to expand. Google is creating a new working village in downtown San Jose that can accommodate up to 10,000. Facebook has bought new property near their current campus, and Apple announced last week that they will build a 133,000 square foot campus in Austin and add new regional centers on Seattle and L.A, on top of their new campus being built in North San Jose now and smaller one in Sunnyvale, CA. And Amazon is building two new headquarters in New York and Northern Virginia, and even Netflix has expansion plans in the works.
If these companies are in trouble, it is hard to see given that they are confident about their future and have these kinds of expansion plans in the works. It suggests they know something that the media and their detractors don’t’ understand or don’t want to understand and instead push the vilifying argument against them instead.
But the truth is that tech is now at the center of all of our lives and is only going to be more expansive over time. I would argue that we are only half way through what is a 70-80 year journey from analog-to-digital. We are on the cusp of delivering all types of new technologies from self-driving cars, smart cities, connected homes, along with VR, AR, AI, machine learning and robotics based technologies that will eventually encompass all that we do in our tech-driven future. Tech is on track to impact and influence pretty much every aspect of our business and personal lives.
I don’t want to make light of the serious issues that big tech is facing today from the possibility of some governmental regulation as well as trying to find ways to keep their customers more secure. Companies like Facebook and Twitter have a bigger problem keeping people from posting false and misleading information to the broader issue of how social media has become a threat to democracies.
All of the big tech companies understand that if they give people what they want and need in the way of digital information, services, and products, customers will back them by using their products, clicking on adds and watching more and more of their video consumption in digital formats on an array of devices.
Off course, the media gets more clicks and readers if they focus on the dark side of tech. And to be fair, the dark side does need to be highlighted when its impact is truly negative and harmful. This is especially true on the subject of AI and its potential impact on our world and security breaches that cost customer’s real money. However, there needs to be a balance in this type of coverage, especially from the non-tech media who only occasionally cover tech and mostly when the news is negative.
Besides tech driving our economy and being the top job-creation engine in the world, technology has played a significant role in making our lives better and makes us more productive and efficient in our every day lives. Technology in all forms is on track to drive even higher economic growth and impact our lives in many ways, which will encourage greater business and consumer demand in the future.
That is why the FAANG companies are expanding as they truly understand the fact that our transition from Analog to Digital has a long way to go. If they can keep creating products that their customers want and take necessary steps when needed to correct the negative areas that plague some of them, their customers will continue to support them, which allows them to grow and expand in the process.