There's a Medium publication called Gen that writes about "politics, power, and culture" and it put out an interesting piece last week. Apparently we have no idea how big tech companies or markets really are.
Some examples, because they entertain me.
Google makes $4.7 billion in annual revenue from news publishers, according to (no joke) an extrapolation over ten years of a single off-handed comment Marissa Mayer made in 2008.
Amazon earns advertising revenue worth either more than $10 billion, or just about $5 billion, depending on which analyst you ask, because they file the revenue under "other". (Oh, to be a deca-billion dollar afterthought) They also take care of more than 50% of all US online sales, or 37% (the updated figure), or who knows how much - the number is never properly reported by anyone.
Retail in the US could be a $5 trillion industry (eMarketer, an analyst). It could also be a 3.8 trillion industry (does retail include Gas and Restaurants?). It could also be a $2.6 trillion dollar industry. What's $2.4 trillion between friends?
I think one of the interesting things about all of this is that we literally don't care how true the figures we're reporting are. Information dissemination globally is narrative - we literally only ever listen to stories, nothing else even enters the eardrums. As hooks for a narrative, is there a difference by 37 billion and 50 billion?
The Medium article that caught my attention made the point that our challenge here is the wide reporting of these statistics. Our global information networks are so dense now that any reported figure is "true" or "false" (neither?) at point of publication. That's what ought to be reined in I guess. NBD.
Maybe this is why we're having such a crap time dealing with maniac despots.
Yours in HAT,