2017: What’s Past Is Prologue
2017 is the year tech giants got richer and 2017 is the year when the once-silent spoke up.
Every year around this time, publications recycle their content, make a bunch of lists, and tell you what their favorite things of the past year were. We’re gonna take a difference approach. Here are some of 2017’s biggest, reoccurring themes:
The Rich In The Tech World Get Richer
One of the biggest news stories of the past month was the Disney-Fox merger, but that merger was neither about Disney, nor Fox, because it was really about Netflix. Netflix has shaken up the Entertainment industry, and in an attempt to retain competitiveness, big companies have to find ways to get bigger before they fall too far behind. The Fox acquisition adds to the library of Intellectual Property Disney can use to bolster the two streaming services Disney is due to launch in 2018.
Over the summer, tech hydra Amazon acquired Whole Foods, giving a company that at that point had a very small physical presence a significant foothold in the retail market in one fell ($13.7 billion) swoop. Since then, Wal-Mart, Amazon’s biggest competitor in the physical realm, has made acquisitions of its own to keep up. Competitors are even getting to the point of making acquisitions just so Amazon doesn’t make them. Every move Amazon makes warrants a response. Every move competitors make is made with Amazon in mind.
There is a pattern here. The cruel joke in the tech world is that the best-case scenario for a start-up today is to get bought by one of the giants. Startups just don’t have the wealth of resources that the giants — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix — have. The end of Net Neutrality doesn’t do them any favors, either. Sooner or later, only the giants will remain, and once that day comes, it’s the giants who’ll be competing with each other. Unfortunately, when the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.
The Scariest Tech Stories of the Year:
Amazon will start delivering packages into the homes of Prime members
Amazon on Wednesday announced Amazon Key, a new program for Prime members that lets delivery people drop off packages…
The Great Thing About Apple Christening Their Stores 'Town Squares'
Look, it's true: People gather in Apple Stores. Kids play games. Design nerds fondle iPad Pros. Befuddled people seek…
Amazon Is Everywhere, Even in Our Raw Meat
On Monday, Amazon commemorated its first official day as Whole Foods's overlord with a special type of capitalistic…
No More Silence
This is a shortlist of the men who fell from grace this year: Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Roy Moore. All of them fell in the same way: the women, and men, in Kevin Spacey’s case, who worked with them spoke up after suffering through years of sexual harassment and sexual assault in silence. The people who spoke out have since been dubbed “The Silence Breakers.”
Here’s the dirty little secret, though: nothing has really changed. Not yet, at least. The men who were exposed may not be able to find work in their respective industries for a while, but there has not been any real consequences for them. Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was the first piece to fall, and from mid-October to late-November, it felt like there was a new big-name exposed every week. That’s great, but the side effect is that none of them get singled out for long. Expect comeback attempts (See: Mel Gibson).
The reports of the death of sexual misconduct have been greatly exaggerated. This is not the end of sexual misconduct. Contrary to what their performative public apologies want you to believe, people don’t just change how they act overnight, particularly when they have not suffered any real consequences for acting that way. This is not change. This is a sign of change, a sign that men who behave this way won’t be protected anymore, a sign that this isn’t something that’s going to be tolerated anymore, and a sign that victims will be silent no more.
The Best Exposés of the Year:
Harvey Weinstein's Army of Spies
In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted…
Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades
An investigation by The New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over…