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In 2015 Michael Lewis told the story of Wall Street firms utilizing network technology to front-run trades in order to gain a massive competitive advantage. His book Flash Boys detailed the use of fiber optic network access points to get ahead of other firm’s trades by milliseconds. That access advantage of millionths of seconds allowed software based trading platforms to see into the future and respond by getting ahead of a trade that was technically already made. Jumping ahead of network packets to respond to a buy or sell order was essentially a time machine like advantage. The complexity of these systems and the microscopic size of the time units made explaining any of this to regulators almost as difficult as building the systems themselves. …


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Kitty Hawk’s Flyer

If there has been one upside to the Covid-19 lockdown it has been that when you do actually go somewhere there is no traffic. No gridlock. Point A to point B is quick and efficient. While the lack of normalcy has been riddled with anxiety, personally I have had two extra hours a day to allocate however I choose. Not driving from my home to the office has positively impacted my productivity and lowered my stress in relation to that activity. I miss my co-workers, the city itself and the office. …


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Montage Hotel Laguna Beach CA

The annual Wall Street Journal Tech Live Conference was held the week of October 21 in Laguna Beach California at the Montage Hotel.

The conference focuses on leaders in technology, venture capital and media. It is attended by a global audience of 500 people. On stage interviews, breakout focus sessions and networking events make up the conference activities.

This year’s version was focused on privacy, government regulation, the financial markets in relation to tech, the impact of AI and the entertainment industry’s tech driven disruption. These topics spanned the US and China.

Below are highlights of what some of the speakers covered. …


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At a time where the technology world is focused on the promise and hype of AI, Blockchain and Digital Disruption, there is a far less talked about infrastructure advancement about to make its way around the globe. 5G could be the one of the most impactful technology evolutions of the last two decades.

Speed and Consumption

5G trials have already begun in some US cities and over the next couple of years it will become readily available in most urban areas. 5G is a wireless networking advancement that will likely surpass the impact of broadband. It has a few benefits — the most obvious of which is speed. …


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This week I attended Recode’s annual Code Conference — the premier tech industry event attracting leaders in technology, media and venture capital.

The conference was held over 3 days at the Terranea Resort ~ 50 miles south of Los Angeles and featured on stage interviews with the founders / leaders of some the world’s best known tech companies and VCs. There were also some intensive learning sessions around topics ranging from blockchain to drones to biohacking. The conference was attended by 700 people via invitation from Recode.

Conference Summary: The topics centered on technology’s impact on the media, the responsibilities of tech companies and venture capitalists, job disruption and the intersection of tech and politics. …


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Tech Sector

The cloud’s impact on technology and business is already profound and we are in the early stages of adoption. In the startup world, cloud services have reduced the cost of bringing a product or service to market substantially. No longer do founders have to set aside a percentage of VC funds to buy servers and network equipment; they now just establish a credit line with a cloud provider and build in monthly operating costs for compute to their burn rate. The cloud has also allowed technologies to scale to a global level with far less IT operational staff. …


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Many people are upset that Facebook has been selling their personal information to various data mining companies. Recently the show Silicon Valley took a shot at the company by changing the Facebook sign to one with Russian letters in the show’s opening sequence. Soon Facebook will be making an appearance in front of Congress.

Personally I avoided joining Facebook until 2009, which was very late in the game (hundreds of millions joined before I did) considering how early I was active on the Internet in general. In the late 80s I learned the nuances of TCP/IP (IP addresses) at a company that was very early to connect their infrastructure to the Internet. In 1993 I worked on a team that deployed one of the first 75 .com web sites in the world — just after the Internet was made commercial and the web was invented. We included Mosaic (the first web browser and precursor to Netscape) on all PCs and Macs that same year. Point being that early adoption of technology has been a big part of what I have done over the years. When it came to Facebook — it was different. …


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Recode’s annual Code Conference was held May 29–31 at the Terranea Resort ~ 15 miles south of Los Angeles and featured on stage interviews with the founders and leaders of some the world’s best known technology and venture companies. The conference was attended by 700 people via invitation.

Conference Summary: There were three overarching themes this year. The first was the tech industry’s responsibility for the content on their platforms and their product’s impact on society. The second was the consolidation of traditional media companies in an effort to compete with Apple/Facebook/Netflix in the entertainment space. …


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One of the recent business obsessions going around is the idea of “digital transformation.” If marketing has ever taken over a business concept, this is it. Digital transformation has been going on since the advent of the IBM PC in 1981 — some would argue before that. The business world has been transformed by technology for the last 35+ years — from the PC to the Internet to the iPhone — we are all walking around with the world’s knowledge in our pocket these days.

In the last year, I have been inundated with solicitations for seminars, conferences, and consulting around this idea of digital transformation. I have been asked if my firm has a digital transformation strategy. There are, of course, many organizations that want to sell services to help figure all of this out. …


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Recode’s annual Code Conference was held last week at the Phoenician Hotel in Phoenix AZ. 700 people attended via invitation. The conference featured on stage interviews with technology, media and financial industry leaders. There were also break out intensive sessions focused on a variety of topics as well as live podcasts.

Conference Summary: There were three major themes this year: the tech industry’s behavior around privacy and content responsibility, potential industry regulation around data ownership and anti-trust issues.

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Eric Ries, founder of the Long-Term Stock Exchange, announced that they recently became the 5th licensed stock exchange in the US. The LTSE is aimed at creating a long term focus for founders and leaders through governance that rewards metrics beyond the traditional short term approach. He stated that exchanges have been lowering governance standards in order to drive more trading. He believes this is a major contributor towards driving bad management behavior and wealth inequality. …

About

John Arsneault

Technology Executive / Venture Capitalist / Advisor www.portfoliox.fund or www.goulstonstorrs.com/john-arsneault/

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