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  • Evan Ryan

Antitrust

seconds and cents Episode 47. First, let me say that the zoom feature where it now shouts at you, that recording is in progress is really annoying. And I haven't found a way to turn it off yet. Anyway, it's actually been a great day today, today is Monday, July 12 2021. Today, we're going to be kind of talking about headlines, things that are in the news. And a lot of the things that are in the news right now actually affect teammate. They affect I think all entrepreneurs as a whole, they really a lot of them really affect me. And so we're going to be kind of wrapping those types of thoughts, those types of anecdotes into into the headlines. The first is antitrust, a couple weeks ago, the federal courts throughout the FTCS kind of case over Facebook, they're trying to prove that Facebook was a monopoly that Facebook had a 60% market share on I think it was on like consumer social media. But they couldn't prove it. And they tried to prove that they had a monopoly over advertising. They couldn't prove it. If you read through the FTC case, it was really, really weak. They kind of didn't really have that much that they were going off of they were just trying to prove that Facebook was like a blanket monopoly. is Facebook a monopoly. To be honest, I'm not sure they have all sorts of competitors. There are all sorts of people in the advertising space, they are not the fastest growing advertising platform in the world, that would be Amazon, they are not the largest in terms of revenue advertising platform in the world. That would be Google. I think they compete against television ads, they compete against radio ads, Spotify ads, they have I mean, they have all sorts of competitors, Apple's launching a new ad platform, I think it's gonna be really hard for the FTC or for whoever is the governing body over antitrust within tech in particular might be the SEC might be the FTC might be it might be a different kind of commission or congressional body is gonna be really hard for them to prove the Facebook is a monopoly thing. I also think it's gonna be really hard for them to break up Facebook, I think, when it's all said and done, the precedent of, Hey, you know, you made a great acquisition nine or 10 years ago and Instagram, and you made another great acquisition and WhatsApp. And you turn those companies into super profitable, super great companies that have amazing moats. But now, 10 years later, we're gonna break you up, or we're gonna force you to undo those things. I think that's gonna be really weak in court. To be honest, I think the time for that type of legislation has passed, I think Congress might have a lot of rhetoric about it, there might be all sorts of different things that are going on related to well, we should be breaking them up, we should be forcing them to break into different product lines, etc, etc. I think it's gonna be hard for them to do that to go in and say, you know, Facebook, we're gonna break you up with Instagram and WhatsApp. And we're going to undo those acquisitions. But the fact of the matter is, is that Facebook doesn't have a monopoly on ads. They just don't know they have a monopoly on the Facebook newsfeed. And they have a monopoly on the Instagram feed on WhatsApp, but they don't have a monopoly on ads. And so if you're going to break up the Facebook newsfeed or Facebook, blue product, blue app, the kind of core product of Facebook, from Instagram from WhatsApp, I think it's gonna be a tough sell for them, for Congress, for the courts. And I could see that going on for a really long time. I think to be honest, out of all the kinds of antitrust cases going on right now Apple has the strongest in terms of its dependability, however, so Facebook, I think, is more likely to lose an antitrust case than Apple is. Because how do you how do you break up apple? Do you say that you can't sell an iPad anymore? You can't sell Mac's anymore. like Apple just they have like three products overall. They just repackage in different ways. But largely, they have like, their largest kind of profit driver is the iPhone, are you going to tell them they can't they can't sell the iPhone

anymore. There's a lot of kind of hullabaloo going on right now about the App Store and a lot of the Commission's that these app stores have to that these app developers have to pay, they have to pay a 30% Commission on all the in app purchases and services and yada yada. I think there's a pretty strong case that Apple is told that they can't do that anymore, that they have a monopoly over kind of the apps on the phone. I think there's a very strong case that Apple has to either really reduce their app store fees, or they have to allow other app stores to put apps on the iPhone. But I don't think that they're going to be like kind of quote unquote, broken up over time. One thing I think is interesting about Apple in this case It is they launched the apple arcade maybe a year ago, or late last year. And they haven't really promoted it. I mean, I see Twitter ads for it every once in a while, but they launched the apple arcade and they really haven't done that much with it. And they have a ton of games, I just upgraded to Apple one because I had Apple Music and iCloud and it cost me like an extra dollar to keep Apple TV plus, and I really want to watch Ted last Whoa. But if you look at some of the court documents that have come out related to this app to this apple lawsuit in the App Store fees, what's happening is the lion's share of the fees are being paid by the game developers, they're being paid by the epics, who created fortnight and a lot of other games, where the in app purchases in games, what I think is probably going to happen if I had to guess is Apple already knows that they're going to have to reduce their app store fees, or they're going to have to allow side loading of apps. And I think Apple's launching the App Store arcade to capture a lot of that profit, they're going to aggregate all sorts of games that people can play for free with no in app purchases, they're going to charge $5 a month for $10 a month or whatever they charge. And it's just going to keep people hooked and keep people paying and it's going to turn into the new profit driver. So I wouldn't be surprised if the App Store arcade is kind of they're getting out in front of a potential lawsuit that they lose related to App Store fees, I don't think that they're going to get broken up. However, Amazon getting broken up, we'll see, I could see the argument for breaking up AWS versus or making them spin out AWS, I think it's gonna be a tough sell there too, however, because because AWS is such a different business, and they have competitors in the space, they have Google, they have Microsoft in the space. There are other cloud kind of cloud service providers that are in the space. Now. AWS is by far the largest and the most significant. But I I can see the FTC kind of coming in saying you know what? Amazon needs to be broken up. They're too powerful. We'll see. related to Google, I'm not sure To be honest, I haven't studied the Google case enough. I know that the European Union seems to find Google every year several billion dollars for antitrust, I wouldn't be surprised if Google just has a budget line item for like, kind of EU fines at this point. But the whole reason why I talk about that is to talk about this. And 2016, I was at a tech conference, it was my first tech conference. And I distinctly remember hearing somebody say data is the new oil. And the more data that you have, the more you can monetize it, the better decisions you can make, the more of a moat that you can build, the better products that you can build. And basically what the message was, it was collect as much data as you can. And now we're living in 2021. And we kind of know that there's a lot of data being collected on us. We know that it's kind of creepy, what Facebook does. We know that Google has all sorts of data, Amazon has all sorts of data on us. We know that Apple talks a lot about privacy, it remains to be seen on if they really respect it. But the kind of thought here, or the message was data is the new oil. And I think the key with this phrase is that it's true. companies should be collecting as much data as they can. Now should they be linking it to personally identifiable sources? No. Should they be kind of creating, in my opinion, should they should I think that they should be creating extremely large user profiles on me so that they can understand more of me than possibly I know of myself? No, is that creepy? Yes. But if you're a business and you do you do engineering design, should you be saving all of your files and saving all of your data? Of course, you should. If you're any sort of a business with a sophisticated sales process, should you be saving all of the kind of communications that happen in your sales process and looking to refine that process using data? Absolutely. Should you be collecting as much data as you can to build the best business as you can? Absolutely, you should.

Why? Because data can serve as an employee for you data can tell you things. Data can serve as a customer feedback form without needing the customer to provide feedback. I think as entrepreneurs, we focus so much on product product product on sale, sale sales, or Ops, Ops, Ops, but really, the thing that grows all of those is data and the more data that you collect, the more information that you have, the more business intelligence that you have, the better the moat is, the better your decision making is going to be and ultimately, the better the products you're going to be able to build to be able to keep and serve new customers. Now, the flip sides this data is the new oil thing is that Standard Oil was broken up and turned into like 50 companies. totally messed with the Rockefeller, the Rockefeller thing. Right Standard Oil went through, went through antitrust, they lost, they got broken up these big data aggregators like Google, Facebook, Amazon, what's going to happen there? I'm not sure. So well, they get broken up, because data is the new oil. And we know how it went with oil before, we'll find out. But I think it's really interesting. I think it's something to watch. And it's here to stay for the next five years, seven years, 10 years, I think that Washington is going to catch up really, really quickly to what's going on in big tech. And I think that there's a high likelihood that this becomes a dominating conversation over the next several years, maybe even up to a decade. Second headline, this isn't a headline, but it's something that I learned that I thought was really interesting Generation Z is the smallest generation ever, in terms of number of people available for the workforce, this is across the whole generations, not just people entering the workforce. Now, number of people across the entire generation that are going to enter the workforce, smallest generation ever fewest number of people ever. So that's an intro brings an interesting point, well, what's going to happen? Well, it means that we're going to have a labor shortage. On a lot of these a lot on a lot of entry level jobs, we're gonna have a lot of labor shortage on a lot of jobs that are typically done by high schoolers. We're already starting to see that a little bit, a lot of restaurants are hiring right? in the corporate world, but I think is going to happen is a lot of the jobs that were going to be done by Generation Z, but are not no longer being done. But now no longer will be done by Generation Z, because they won't be able to find enough people to hire them. But they won't be able to hire find enough people will be automated. I think this was the natural sequence of things, the work that a lot of the entry level jobs are really boring, they don't provide a lot of kind of fascination and motivation. For the people who do them. A lot of new grads are in very high turnover positions. And they themselves are high turnover. I know several people who never stayed in each of their first three, four or five jobs for over a year. But a lot of that work is going to become the work of an AI. So what happens to Generation Z? To be honest, I don't know, I think I think the people entering the workforce and that right now and over the next couple of years, we're gonna have a really difficult time, I think they're gonna have no problem getting hired, I think they're gonna have a very difficult time finding purpose. And I think that there's gonna be a lot of automation that takes place. So what happens in in 10 years, when you know, Generation Z, we're like in the thick of Generation Z entering the workforce. But we have a lot of those jobs automated, to be honest with you, I'm not sure. I think there's a very high likelihood that it becomes the Death to the university system in America, or at least kind of the Death to the way that people typically think about it now, which is that it's a, it's a means to an end, it's a requirement that you need in order to get a good job. Because I think it's gonna be very difficult for people to find entry level jobs, for Gen Z to find entry level jobs. We'll find out maybe I'll be wrong there. But no matter what a lot of work is going to get automated, a lot of business processes are going to get automated, because there will be a labor shortage on these entry level jobs. I'm also hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence about people leaving the standard 40 Hour Workweek. So this is an interesting thing. I'm hearing a lot of anecdotal anecdotal stories about people who are becoming full time freelancers more often, or they're working part time. But really, the key is that they're leaving the corporate america scene.

I think it's something to pay attention to. Because I said this on a couple podcasts ago, I think the future of work for a lot of people with very specific skills is that they will do only that skill. And they'll do it as a freelancer. And every single day, they'll check Upwork, and freelancer.com, and all these other sites to see what the jobs are that they can bid on. And they'll bid on jobs and they'll do the jobs, but they'll retain total freedom over their time. I'm hearing that there is just a lot of people that are starting to think about it this way. We just hired a freelancer off of Upwork last week. Really, really excited about it. By the way. We just hired a freelancer off of Upwork last week. And so I think what we might see is we might see Generation Z finding a very specific skill. Maybe Skipping college a little bit more often going into, into a trade, a trade, not necessarily like welding, but maybe like a project management or a business intelligence or business analyst and they become really, really good really, really focused at that skill set. And then they become a freelancer for that skill set. So we'll see. I think the I think there going to be a lot of people leaving the large organization, corporate america here soon, that's going to be a tough transition for corporate America. But I'm hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence about people leaving the standard 40 Hour Workweek, I think as entrepreneurs, the way that I'm the as an entrepreneur, the way that I'm thinking about it, is that I can hire better and better freelance talent, which is great because it means I don't have to bring them on full time. And ultimately, I think it's going to be a good thing for the economy, it's going to be a good thing for entrepreneurs as a whole because we can get more done without all of the extra expense that we typically had to have if we're going to hire people for 40 hours a week.

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