Monday, July 30, 2018

The End of Stupid Tech

July, 2018, will go down in history as the week when Facebook stock took a one-day, 20% stock hit, wiping out billions of market cap value for stockholders and its Chief ExecutiveTeenager, Marc Zuckerberg.  No doubt that many pundits and analysts will leap to conclusions about Facebook, its founder and the many reasons why it stumbled badly that week -- and at this point, continues to do so.

What so many of the analysts won't tell you is that other internet darlings, such as Twitter and Snapchat, took market hits just as hard as Facebook's, which in my humble opinion, tell a much bigger story than they would have you believe.

Flip through the media channels and you'll hear stories about these online brands' issues with privacy and accountability.  You'll likely hear more observations about the companies' failure to live up to revenue or advertising expectations.  Some are even reaching into the realm of fiction, citing diversity and employee practices for lackluster performance.

All of those may or may not be true.  But if you're looking for the real, heavyweight culprit, look no further:  The real reason is that the days of stupid tech are over.

What, exactly, is stupid tech? Pretty much what it sounds like: time-wasting, attention-sucking technologically-driven platforms that offer no truly useful value other than distracting disaffected, disenfranchised and under- or non-employed people from the misery of their daily, non-productive, unfulfilled lives.

That's not quite as ludicrous or simplistic as it sounds.  Allow me to explain:

As I've previously written here, until now, anyone born after 1990 has spent his entire life in the shadows of national economic and aspirational pessimism.  For more than two decades, they've been instructed to give up any hope of attaining wealth or success, choosing to rent rather than own everything from homes to power drills to car rides to their local overpriced coffee shop.  They've also endured a lethargic economy that confirmed Barack Obama's miserable edict that, "those jobs just aren't coming back."  Resigned to lives of mediocrity, those people embraced stupid tech brands like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, all of which excel in two important aspects:

1.  Making people feel more important than they are.
2.  Keeping people busy making people feel they're more important than they are.

This, by the way, is why so many people rant about their politics and feel compelled to photograph their lunches:  Broadcasting into a void makes them feel valuable, even though nobody really cares or is, in fact, listening or watching.

But in July, 2018, something swooped in out of the ether that none of the usual suspects ever expected: A second quarter GDP growth rate of 4.1% -- a figure past administrations stated was totally unattainable, let alone sustainable.  That kind of growth means that during the second quarter of 2018, more people spent time making a real living and less time virtue-signaling from their keyboards.

With fewer people engaging in online services (along with every brand finally acknowledging its customer base is actually a fraction of their stated number due to phantom and fake accounts), the dream of stupid tech is virtually over.  As true investors know, with a growing economy, there are simply better, proven places to put their money now that the economy is back on track.

I don't care who you voted for. I don't care how young or old you are. I could care less about your politics.  Read your history. Learn from it.  This is the economy you've been waiting for.  This is the opportunity that built the USA into the most powerful country.

This is your chance to get out of stupid tech and start your life for real.