Social Media’s Junkies and Dealers
To commemorate its founding 25 years ago, PS is republishing a selection of commentaries written since 1994. In the following commentary, Roger McNamee highlighted the growing psychological and political threat posed by Internet platform monopolies.
NEW YORK – We were warned. The venture capitalist and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen wrote a widely read essay in 2011 entitled, “Why Software Is Eating the World.” But we didn’t take Andreessen seriously; we thought it was only a metaphor. Now we face the challenge of extracting the world from the jaws of Internet platform monopolies.
I used to be a technology optimist. During a 35-year career investing in the best and brightest of Silicon Valley, I was lucky enough to be part of the personal computer, mobile communications, Internet, and social networking industries. Among the highlights of my career were early investments in Google and Amazon, and being a mentor to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from 2006 to 2010.
Each new wave of technology increased productivity and access to knowledge. Each new platform was easier to use and more convenient. Technology powered globalization and economic growth. For decades, it made the world a better place. We assumed it always would.
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