Reinterpreting the networks

  • TikTok and its parallel in antitrust investigations: The split-up of network areas into subcomponents, for security, competition, or any number of reasons, is proving a more complex undertaking now, in the interconnected density of software network manifestations, than maybe was the case the last time a big network breakup happened, back when Ma Bell was transformed into its regionally separated infrastructure clusters.
  • Apple vs. Epic Games and others: The battle is between the giants, and the outcome may test the relative supremacy of each in the interdependent network layers that have formed. It is interesting that other social networks besides Fortnite have started to pile on (e.g., Facebook, Spotify) as though alliances are forming. There is a lot at stake when the natural order of network effects can only be controlled, reversed or at the very least distorted, via legislation.
  • The hardware upstarts: Though not so novel anymore, Tesla and Peloton are new acts still in the development of their network profile. We haven’t thought about hardware as a network object until Apple’s series of devices came along, and now some larger and more expensive variants — the in-home unit and the car — are on a similar path. In both cases, community and, as importantly, data gathering and analytics, build network effects and a competitive edge that will prove tough to overcome, even as competitors may add new features or reduce the price of the supporting product.
  • The emergence of DeFi: The idea of decentralized finance, which is a social network construct, might go against the tendency of social networks as they grow. These, over time, move gradually to centralization, even with the community’s or operator’s best intentions, as clusters grow and points of dominance take hold. And when money is involved— unlike, say the messaging of blurbs or sharing entertainment — there may be added impetus for filters, portals, and directors to emerge. Finance, when this occurs, is not decentralized, as it has never been in its long history (of networks). Should DeFi in its intended sense succeed, it will be an unprecedented revolution.

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