Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Industry of Tomorrow #1

Personally, as an investor, I don’t like taking subjective calls on the fate of industries. In my view, such calls frequently go wrong and do nothing more than giving a false sense of control to the analyst. Yet here I am going to discuss some trends that can have a significant impact on how business is done in future. These trends may not have an investment implication, so don’t start looking for investment opportunities. But they do carry an entrepreneurial insight and are also useful for the consumer. If not anything, consider them as my musings.

The privacy industry is going to get prominence in the future. Businesses that develop the reputation of guarding your data with their lives will have an edge over others. Those that develop a reputation of being careless with your data are going to lose trust to the extent that their survival will be in jeopardy. If you are thinking about Apple and Facebook as the examples for the two kinds of businesses, you are on the right track. Apple is seen as a champion of data privacy and every day Facebook is in news for some sort of data leak.

An interesting aspect of the need for privacy will be that businesses can start charging extra for enhanced data protection. Many of us will be willing to pay. Yet another interesting angle would be people paying money to search engines to “forget them.” Or could it be a subscription plan? For forgetting you for one year, you have to pay $100!

What about the consumer? The average consumer has been beguiled by tech giants to compromise his/her privacy. They are making money off your private information in ways you can’t imagine. Surely, there are no free lunches. When Facebook or WhatsApp lets you create a “free” account, it isn’t free. You pay a high cost. Your personal information (including pictures, videos and what not) are out there for everyone to see. And most of us rejoice in calling this “social” media.

The smart consumer will be he who will not let the privacy mongers raid his personal life. That means part or full abstinence from social media and judicious use of the internet—Of course, coupled with that annual subscription plan by Google to forget you!