force law It is the title of Sebastian Mallaby’s astounding history of venture capital (check out here). For those who haven’t read it, they would be wise to read it. Conservatives in particular.
Reading may wake them up to how easily they can play into the hands of tech companies they wish to be neutralized by the state. The great Peggy Noonan is the latest (can’t miss Saturday The Wall Street Journal column) to invite politicians to participate when it comes to curbing the alleged excessive influence of tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon.
To see why, it is helpful to think about what Mlabi is talking about with the power law. He basically says that the 80/20 principle according to which the “vital few” pay all progress in life to him steroid Quality when it comes to venture capital. It’s easy to see why this is true.
With venture capital, investors match capital with entrepreneurs who in many cases are trying to pull off the impossible. Venture capital investors are not imitators. They direct precious resources toward marginalized and eccentric entrepreneurs who see a business future unlike the present.
How do we know the above is true regarding the ratings of the “Big Tech” companies mentioned above. Valued in the tens of billions to the trillions, their massive market frontiers today speak loudly about how surprising their innovations are to the current markets and trading system. think about it. Efficient market theory shows that a $20 bill dropped on the ground will not last long. And with that last clear statement, how did business concepts worth billions and even trillions of dollars in the early days not be snatched up by the current business giants, and why is Sand Hill Road similarly littered with all sorts of venture capital giants that have passed on said businesses?
The answer again is that while business concepts might seem obvious in hindsight, the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon at the time were eager to develop ideas that the word “weird” doesn’t do justice to. These companies were not taken out of business by, or purchased by, known players, or both precisely because very few of them could see their potential ratings at the time.
In fact, to go further with this basic narrative, it pays to consider PayPal. Valued at more than $100 billion today, it almost waned multiple times from its founding in 1998 until it went public in 2002. Access to capital is a challenge for companies aiming to change the current system. All this takes away from how easily banks, credit card companies, and eBay along with the commerce giants in general can take out PayPal before it becomes a driving force. Why didn’t they stop it, or at least buy it? PayPal was once again pursuing what was seen as impossible.
As Jimmy Sonny explains in his amazing new book institutional (See here), PayPal started pursuing online payments at a time when the vast majority of online commerce was still done via postal mail through sent checks. What is clear today was not then. Which means that the giants made a mistake and missed again. The PayPal review is another example of how outlandish technology concepts can be from their birth, and usually much further afield.
It all speaks loudly of the importance of the Malaby Authority Act. Since most of these tech companies are going to die and do so in a smoldering fashion, it is imperative that very few do it. They pay the price for all failures. Contact 80/20 rule that applies to life 98/2 base Which applies to technological progress. Realistically every tech concept is a lunar shot, and since it is, home runs must be from a variety of Grand Slams or else the investment model underlying this innovation is suddenly meaningless.
Going back to Noonan and her recent column condemning “Big Tech,” some who disagree with her will focus on Noonan’s lamentation because these giants know so much about us, and they infringe on our proprietary rights to know them. Others will want to refute her assertion that fathers need help from the state to reduce the influence of these giants. Not every argument will be critiqued here because it would be like shooting fish to do so.
Arguably the most important fact is that attempts to bring the big tech companies to the knees will paradoxically play into the hands of the big tech companies. Think of it all in terms of power law.
Again, it’s the very rare successes that pay the price for all the ignitions. Crucial to these successes is that its nosebleeds ratings serve as a powerful lure for new investment in the space. Success breeds investment in future giants, and the ever-changing “team image” is at the top of technology. The main thing is that with the forces of technology in the near term, there is little incentive to invest in its alternatives if the country intends to limit its rise in the future. Really, why put wealth to work on concepts that will often fail if conservatives (and to be fair, liberals) pressure the state to cripple the big players?
Which is why efforts to neutralize the big tech companies play a paradoxical role in the very interests of the very companies in which Noonan seems befuddled. If the state were to step in to break today’s giants or set age limits for use (Noonan), either move would limit the valuation of today’s dominant players. This is the visible. The “invisible” would be the investment in tomorrow’s alternatives that does not happen as a result.
In short, the right and left are attacking the big tech companies at their peril. If they succeed, their success will reveal itself through the team image that changes more slowly at the top. In other words, if you fear market power, you must love market power.