Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Trump Versus Big Tech - By Jay Valentine

Uh oh!

Word is leaking out of Mar-a-Lago that President Trump may be delivering a major social media platform on which conservatives can chat away. There’s something hidden in the technology disruption shadows behind that rumor, so let’s explore it a bit.

Twitter. Facebook. The Washington PostThe New York Times.

People, there is no fancy technology at any of those sites; there is simply scale.

We are at the end of life for current silicon-based technology. Even the highly regarded Gartner Group in its 2021 technology forecasts said that companies need to understand silicon can no longer scale by adding faster circuits.

Companies need to look for an alternative to the current tech stack -- yes, the one used by all those Big Tech companies with scale.

Disruptive new tech stacks are coming to market. Some have been quietly accumulating customers for the last two years. More about that here if you care.

Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google are the pinnacle of scaling the current tech stack. They spent billions of dollars building incredible data centers, honing algorithms, and bringing in armies of millennials to sit in cubicles all day, wearing their favorite tech logo wear and building scale.

Scale cannot survive technology disruption.

New tech stacks reduce the price of computing somewhere between 1/10th to 1/100th of the cost. They reduce the price of entry into any of these markets by factors of a thousand to a million, no exaggeration.

Don’t believe me?

Remember IBM? Sure, you do. Are you aware that they lost $95 billion in valuation in the last decade? Scale does not matter when the ground changes under you. Actually, scale becomes its own burden, keeping you from adapting to the agile, flexible new entrants who eat your lunch.

IBM missed the PC or failed at it; it also missed the phone, the tablet, the cloud, and it is sure to miss the edge, a new technology being deployed right now. Just look at that $95 billion haircut. IBM is not done. This will continue unless it finds a way to get out of supporting and selling the obsolete current tech stack.

Let’s not pick on IBM. Add Hewlett Packard, Dell, and scores of other formerly high-flyers that are in life-sustain mode rather than hair fluttering growth.

There is no technology behind Twitter or Facebook. They were simply there first, built the audience, went public, and continued building the audience. They benefitted from the “network effect.” That means every Facebook user adds value to every previous user because each might connect.

As long as nothing changes, they cannot be surpassed. Then again, as long as nothing changes, we will ride horses. If nothing changes, we will live by candlelight. If nothing changes, we will never have a computer.

But stuff changes. Disruption. It is here with new tech stacks.

OK, now back to President Trump.

A Twitter equivalent could be built for a few hundred grand. It could run on hardware that fits on a dining room table and easily support a billion users, run in triplicate so it could survive a nuclear war. It just would not have any users. Adding significant numbers of users takes several years.

Here comes President Trump!

President Trump brings an ingredient to the party no technology company can recreate, even in an artificial intelligence lab. President Trump brings an audience – tens of millions – passionately connecting with their pals and building the kind of scale that weathers any setback. These users show up because it is a cause, not a platform.

While it would take a decade for some technologist to build another Twitter with a new tech stack, President Trump and the MAGA team could do it in months.

There is nothing Twitter can do about it. Nobody is going back to Twitter from the MAGA equivalent. Twitter needs massive revenue to make a buck, mostly from ads. As its audience dwindles, the network effect -- remember that? – well, it works both ways. Ad revenue plummets.

The President Trump Twitter equivalent is running on new technology that costs a fraction of what Twitter costs to run. The Trump team does not need to feed that monster, with its obsolete technology and armies of programmers. With new technology underneath, a Trump equivalent could be profitable in months, perhaps out of the box.

Let’s not pick on Twitter. It is the same deal for Facebook or any of these older platforms. Their stuff can be recreated at a fraction of the cost.

With an audience as passionate as Trump’s, well, that changes all the rules. These new platforms can be major players.

What does it mean if President Trump has a communication platform that rivals, even exceeds Facebook, Twitter, and the rest? What does it mean instantly to have a fired-up following of 80 million people with one mind? Well, let’s leave that for another post, but it ain’t good news for Mitch McConnell or Ben Sasse.

There’s something happening here, and it feels like good news.

The Big Tech, Swamp Dweller, RINO crowd have fired every weapon they have. Other than clear election fraud to elect a person in early-stage dementia, they have little to show for it.

It’s our turn.

If President Trump decides to do the world stage equivalent of The Art Of The Comeback, he enters the fray already having neutralized many of the advantages the Left thought they owned around communication.

Disruption is an unstoppable force in technology. Joined with an on-fire, passionate audience with an attitude -- well, that’s something we are going to enjoy watching.

Jay Valentine’s web site is