Hello from rainy Vancouver (actually, today was surprisingly nice). I’m up here for TED. This is my fourth year in a row attending and I always find it fascinating to see what the zeitgeist of the event gravitates towards. Of course, TED itself sets an agenda
each year, but it often seems that some other underlying current can take over. Last year, such a current was obvious given that Trump had just been sworn into office. This year, it has been obvious again: Facebook
More specifically, a large number of the talks
have had some reference to Facebook (or Google, etc) data gathering. Either directly or indirectly. I find it hard to believe that all of them made last minute changes to work this element in (obviously some did), so I’m more intrigued by the notion that many of them coalesced around the same idea all at once, independently. As I joked on Twitter
, it’s sort of like how in the 90s, different studios decided to make action movies
in the same year. And then asteroids
a year later
. Sometimes, these things just happen.
Anyway, beyond the talks themselves, all anyone here seems to want to talk about is Facebook. The Zuckerberg testimony the past couple days dominated the chatter during the breaks and nighttime events. And today it has been more the recap of it all.
Believe me, I know how dangerous it is
to predict something like people quitting Facebook. Many people have made such predictions many times
each year for over a decade now. But this time is obviously different
. I still don’t think it will lead to people leaving Facebook en masse. But I do think it may lead people to slowly ween themselves off Facebook. As it becomes less of a habit each day, it will fade. The long, slow decay that so many companies
in tech succumb to eventually.