Internet trend: people love trends
One of the great things about Silicon Valley is that
you can say, "look, shiny!" and get people to run off
and do pointless things for a surprisingly long time.
For example, let's have a look at 2012
Internet Trends (Update) from Mary Meeker and
Liang Wu at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.
Pinterest gets a whole slide. A new device that
automates the process of getting up and changing
the thermostat (which has to be the best First World
Problem since "My guitar tuner is on top of the TV
so I downloaded a guitar tuner app so I don't have
to get up." ) gets a whole slide.
Healthcare is a $2.6 trillion industry in the USA,
so it probably has to get mentioned somewhere, but it
gets a third of a slide (78) buried under credit cards
("ooo, mobile payments, shiny!") and education ("ooo,
Internet classes, shiny!").
Now look at slides 83 and 84, about the US budget.
"Entitlements," which mainly means Social Security
and Medicare, get lumped together. This is usually
not helpful. Social Security is solvent until some
time around when the (32-bit) Unix clock wraps around
in the 2030s. Meanwhile Medicare, because of rising
health care costs, is in just as much trouble
as anyone in the US who has to pay for health care.
The "growth of entitlements" problem is just the
public-sector side of the rising health care costs
problem. If San Francisco Bay had a sea monster
that was eating private boats and public ferries,
the problem wouldn't be Ferry System Reform.
Actually, around here it probably would. Forget I
But back to "Internet Trends." Look! Shiny!
Asset-light generation! Let's think about
all those people who work short-term jobs and
buy their stuff from Rent-A-Center and get it
repoed...and make everybody live like that!
That would be cool. Because then instead of
just doing something with their own stuff, people
would be paying a percentage to some VC-funded entrepreneur
every time they did anything. It's like micropayments
(What looks like reduced hassle and
freedom from the POV of the 1% looks like Precarity
to the rest of us.)
So it's pretty clear that this presentation is a
carefully crafted "hey look over there", to get all
the other VCs fired up about the hot new "Social
Predatory Finance" sector while KPCB really puts its
money into cost-effective health-related startups.
So that was the main point of this, and you can stop
reading now. One more thing, just to go back and look
at the "% of Time Spent in Media vs. % of Advertising
Print has 7% of time spent and 25% of spending.
And those two bars, the 7 and the 25, get nice little
down arrows on them, as if as soon as Madison Avenue
gets back from its three-martini lunch, smokes a Lucky
Strike, and catches up on twenty years of back issues
of Wired, it's going to realize, hey,
wait a minute, what's up with all those insertion
orders for print advertising that we've been signing
in our anachronistic stupor? We have to catch up
with this online stuff, and maybe even lose the
But there's a reason that print
still gets extra ad money, and it has
nothing to do with ad industry inertia or marketing
people who fetishise that crisp paper and
Advertising exists to send a signal about the
advertiser's intentions to make and support
a product, and online and mobile advertising
reduce that signal by making it easy to target
individual users. Meanwhile, print advertising has
a combination of two excellent qualities: it's easy
to place advertising that's matched to relevant
content, but hard to track users. Print is going
to keep its advantage until newer media fix their
privacy problems. Anyway, more on that topic here: Creepiness
and conventional wisdom.
Syndicated 2012-12-05 13:11:11 from Don Marti