Past and future contestants

It’s been almost foregone conclusion, right or wrong, that when the smoke has cleared the landscape will be different. Social norms, commercial fundamentals, economic patterns, technological directions, will all change…

… according to the crystal balls we gaze at in our extra time (of which there is now more), and the reconnaissance of our travels (now very limited). It isn’t an ideal combination for insight, to be fair, as if predictions aren’t hard enough already.

Before the crisis, for at least a decade past, we had seen growing concentrations in the network evolution and the value formations that ensued.

Networks 3.0: Defined by digital dimensions (2016)

The pattern extended well past the big five so-called “tech” giants, which are multidimensional networks more truly, governed by winner-take-most-(or sometimes all) results and power law distributions in the contest for attention.

We saw this taking shape in many major areas (or maybe the areas became major as these new masses formed), in transport (Uber/Lyft), in hospitality (Airbnb), in entertainment (Netflix), and many other fields with similar examples, too numerous to individually name.

The rapid growth took place in a relatively quiet time, in the decade of the 2010s following the Great Recession, and so the evolution ran its course in almost ideal lab conditions.

Now that the lab and its conditions are disturbed, some would say violently shaken, the global digital experiment may start to get re-tested, and the giants that emerge may not be the same ones we’ve been used to all this time.

But they do have an edge, to be fair. I wouldn’t bet against them.


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