Welcome Inside GAFAnomics
Studies, Frameworks and Opinions on the Network Economy
You probably overheard this quote from William Gibson, but I never found better Mantra:
«The future is already here. It is just not evenly distributed».
12 years ago, I created FABERNOVEL, hoping to distribute this same future. In all these years, our lives have changed more than I could have imagined. Led by forward thinkers, Google (or should I say Alphabet), Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla and many others have invaded, simplified and reinvented our experience of both the digital and the physical worlds.
Fascinated by their models and their philosophies, our growing team of engineers, analysts and designers has studied one of these platforms every year since 2006. Published on Slideshare under the creative commons license, these studies have totaled millions of views and were featured in TechCrunch, Le Monde or Business Insider. A clue that an Old continent’s perspective on tech can be valuable, at times where Unicorns are mainly discussed by California-based Cyclops.
Last year, for the first time, we connected the dots to define the rules of this new economy we entered, where connections have become the most valuable assets a company could want to own. Layered on top of the classic economy, the Network economy has its own rules and its own market mechanisms: we call them GAFAnomics, or “rules of GAFA”.
Two questions may pop-up in your head right now ?
First: what the heck is GAFA? Well, GAFA is an acronym widely used in Europe to describe the four horsemen of tech: Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. G-A-F-A.
Second: why name this new economic order after the GAFA? Why not after Uber? Or Microsoft? I’ll answer it in 4 points:
- GAFA’s place in our lives speaks for itself: we estimate that more than 51% of the time we, as users, navigate online is spent on one of GAFA’s services. As if that wasn’t enough, they ARE our most used property: our smartphones. iOS or Android? Your choice. But a GAFA anyway.
- GAFA are the foster-mothers of this network economy. They grew it, they proved its model, and they now rule it. Just look at the way they changed the face of the S&P500: they made the technological sector (once ruled by Microsoft and IBM) rise from 5th place to 1st place in less than 20 years! Microsoft is still learning how to play this new game.
- GAFA are economic and industrial superpowers with an aggregate revenue that surpasses South Africa’s GDP (2014) and an aggregate market cap higher than the CAC40, an index composed of the 40 most valued companies on the French Stock Market, among which the pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, one of the most renowned beauty brand in the world, L’Oréal, or the leading commercial aircraft manufacturer, Airbus.
- GAFA built the infrastructures of this new economy: networks connecting people, information and objects to one another. There’s not a single Unicorn that hasn’t grown by using GAFA’s networks, be it for distribution, communication or additional services like navigation. So yes, Uber is cool, but Uber is nothing without the AppStore, Google Maps, or Amazon Web Services. I mean, by just deciding they don’t want to distribute Uber anymore, which means taking its app out of the App and Play stores, Apple and Google could simply kill Uber. No one out here would be able to access it anymore. Maybe Uber could develop a web-app to survive… But, if it had to build such a degraded version of its service, could Uber still save its flawless UX, the main reason of its success? Probably not. Let alone the fact that Uber is losing billions of dollars every year and still hasn’t gone public. So again, yes, Uber is cool, but GAFA made the rules and GAFA built the infrastructures. Uber is a “summa cum laude” student that has understood how to take advantage of them by playing the game right.
That doesn’t mean GAFA will remain in this position of power for ever. But for now, really, that’s them we should be looking at.
So like Ford gave birth to Fordism, we believe GAFA gave birth to GAFAnomics, a modern, networked, economic system spurred by the eponymic GAFA, but also encompassing Unicorns, Chinese tech giants and all other companies changing our lives through computer technology.
In our latest study GAFAnomics season 2, we’ve been digging deeper to unveil the growth engine of GAFAnomics companies.
We uncovered their network structures and the competitive advantages they draw from them. Thus, the one advice we give companies willing to compete in this new economy is to structure themselves around networks too, either by connecting to existing ones or by creating their own.
We figured we had to lead the way.
Medium is a network — probably the best one to discuss important ideas of our times. So here we are, on Medium, connecting to the networks.
In our “Inside GAFAnomics” publication you can expect to regularly find new analysis, studies, frameworks and opinions on the Network economy by our varied community of contributors. If you’d like to contribute too, just email us at gafanomics(at)fabernovel.com
In the meantime, follow us, read us, chat with us, and help us…distribute the future!