Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #229 - Boycotts Galore!

Someone trashes us or insults us or portrays us negatively. Is boycotting the solution? Does that help? Or do we need a longer-term investment in the future?

Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #229 - Boycotts Galore!
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“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ― Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

The powers-that-be want you to be a cog in the wheel.  Those powers which want to be an alternative to this framework roughshod over the niceties and create their own engines of domination.

That needs commitment.  Networks.  Dedicated groups of individuals.  And investors who look at world domination unapologetically.

Those who are worried about the next billion or quarterly profits as everyone from the strategic dwarves like Infosys, TCS, Mahindras and others have been doing, you can at best be blips.

Governments that cannot back their corporations to global size, even by below the table and under-handed deals - usually end up serving others’ interests.

If independence is the goal and well-being of your people the commitment, then creating players ready for unapologetic world domination is a necessity.

Anything short is merely short term entertainment.

are boycotts the right way to stop malafide platforms?

In-Q-Tel is CIA’s venture capital firm.  Its main objective is to create and mine data for surveillance.

It has worked with different partners to create an ecosystem where a surveillance system can help the government identify (and target) hostile activities before they occur.  (Please do check the Netflix series “Person of Interest” on its full import)

This technology enhances the ability of governmental agencies to monitor select targets and prevent hostile activities before they occur.  Combining this innovation with other CIA funded technologies presents a significant advance in surveillance capabilities.  Ironically, the same private equity group, Accel Partners, that help fund StreamBase is also partnered with In-Q-Tel in providing startup capital for Tenable Network Security which produces a complementary security intelligence platform that’s capable of enterprise vulnerability scanning for active security monitoring of IT assets. (Source)

Accel Partners seems to be a particularly close partner to In-Q-Tel.

Compared to the list Mattermark originally compiled in 2013, not much has changed. ARCH Ventures took the number one spot from Harris & Harris, and Accel seems to have significantly increased its co-investment activity with In-Q-Tel in recent years, jumping from just two deals to seven. (Source)

The first angel investor in Facebook was Peter Thiel.  He invested $500,000 for 10.2% of the company and joined Facebook's board.  That was in 2004.

Thiel invested $US500,000 in Facebook when Harvard students Zuckerberg, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskowitz went to meet him in San Francisco in June 2004, soon after they had launched the site. (Source)

Now, the fact that Thiel was a hardcore opponent of liberalism and the multiculturalist ideology is interesting.

Well, in the second round, suddenly in April 2005, less than a year after Thiel’s investment had valued Facebook at $5 Mn, Accel Partners invested $12.7 Mn for a total valuation of 98$ Mn!

In April 2005, Accel Partners agreed to make a $12.7 million venture capital investment in a deal that valued Facebook at $98 million. Accel joined Facebook's board, and the board was expanded to five seats, with Zuckerberg, Thiel, and Breyer in three of the seats, and the other two seats currently being empty but with Zuckerberg free to nominate anybody to those seats. (Source)

You may want to remember that Facebook did not make profits until 2009. (Source)

It was the second round of investing that changed Facebook’s trajectory.  By a firm that has worked closely in tandem with CIA’s own venture capital firm In-Q-Tel.

To understand where In-Q-Tel is investing, check this article - Source.

Why is this important?

Because on the Indian forums and platforms you often hear of calls for boycotting different platforms.

We want to boycott Facebook and Twitter.  Or WhatsApp.  Or Netflix.

It doesn’t work.

You see, a few people leaving a platform will not bring that platform down!

Does it work?  Here is an interesting graphic.  In July last year, there was a boycott by the top advertisers on Facebook because of “Hate Speech”.

The advertiser boycott of Facebook took a toll on the social media giant, but it may have caused more damage to the company’s reputation than to its bottom line. The boycott, called #StopHateForProfit by the civil rights groups that organized it, urged companies to stop paying for ads on Facebook in July to protest the platform’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. More than 1,000 advertisers publicly joined, out of a total pool of more than 9 million, while others quietly scaled back their spending. (Source)

The boycott did not make much of a dent in Facebook’s bottom line. (Source)

That is the reality.

In the new world, the platforms have become aggregators.  In the old world the media companies would rule the scene of advertising as they owned the customers.  The newspapers, the radio, the TV channels etc.  Now they don’t.

The audience is owned by these platforms.

The bargain was simple: If you were a media company, you set up shop on the platform, acquired your own organic audience there, and once you got to a certain scale, you sold ads there - either on your own or in partnership with the platforms. Media companies early to these platforms - major TV networks, large newspapers, digital pioneers like Buzzfeed and Vox - quickly built large audiences. But after a while, media companies realized that maintaining those audiences would prove difficult and expensive. Facebook and YouTube now controlled distribution. The media companies had built on the platform's land, and if there's one truth in capitalism, it's this: landlords will always demand their rent. (Source)

Whoever owns the audience, owns the narrative.

When an entire establishment is behind a future where Data is the main currency and the way for domination is via gathering data - structured and unstructured - and mining / analyzing it for most accurate intelligence, then you have to be spectacularly megalomaniacal to even believe that you can bring a platform down by not using it.

We cannot bring these platforms down.

The only way to create alternate platforms is to either go the route of China - Close the doors to the nation for others and force everyone inside to use indigenous platforms, which are created well.

That is not easy.  You have to do away with democracy for it to happen.

Are we ready to go there?

If not, then we need investors - large government-backed investors to be ready to back platforms that will be incubated over time.  An investor who is ready to (or made to) bear substantial losses over a number of years.  Even a decade (as was the case in Amazon) to dominate the markets.

Without substantial government backing and the creation of large corporate giants that dominate the world, a challenge is not possible.

The reason why those who are targeting India are also targeting “Ambani and Adani” is that they may have been seen to be playing the exact same role.  Although their intention and ability to scale up is debatable.

For India, for example, to have a say in the world, it needs to have large corporations that are aligned with it’s agenda.  Boycotts have become so common that every 5 seconds, a new boycott takes birth.

Every five seconds, a new boycott is born. Or at least, that's definitely how it feels these days — check your social media feed and there's another call to boycott a company’s unethical practices. In a recent Lending Tree survey of over 1,000 people, 38% said they’re currently boycotting something. (Source)

Boycotts are basically noise.  That may rattle a few minds and people.  But in the final analysis, do not achieve much unless a government can back it up with a decisive action China style.

market corner: 10 quick bytes

  1. Farmers' agitation has caused a business loss of Rs 50,000 crore in Delhi-NCR - more
  2. Banks sanction 71% of Rs 3 lakh cr emergency credit scheme for MSMEs - more
  3. Indian real estate attracted $5 billion institutional investments in 2020 - more
  4. Indian Railways to add 350 km to 400 km of Dedicated Freight Corridor by March, says Rail Minister Piyush Goyal - more
  5. India 5G smartphone shipment to touch 38 million units in 2021 - more
  6. Vaccine hesitancy 39 percent in Delhi-NCR - about 20% do not want to get the vaccine - more
  7. I-T detects Rs 1,400-crore black transactions after raids on jewellery, realty groups in Jaipur - more
  8. The income tax department starts scrutinizing fake entries, fake invoices of companies - more
  9. Muthoot Finance says digital transactions are increasing and more than 60% of customers do some digital transactions.  New customers are being added to its gold loan business on a daily basis with small businesses and traders preferring it for a quick loan - more
  10. Govt sees 800% jump in job seekers on MSME hiring portal Sampark - more

nota bene

Dawood Ibrahim Durg Factory busted: In a mega action against the drug cartels in Mumbai, the Narcotics Control Bureau has found the links of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar after the agency busted a drugs factory in Mumbai's Dongri, which was being operated by Karim Lala's grandson Parwez Khan aka Chinku Pathan. The NCB sleuths also recovered cash to the tune of Rs 2.18 crore from the premises of his associate Arif Bujhwala, another kingpin.  (Source)

India’s COVID supply to neighbors: Six countries – Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Seychelles, and Myanmar – are part of India’s initial rollout of vaccines as grant assistance. There are also plans to supply doses to Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. China has offered 500,000 doses of a Coronavirus vaccine to its ally Pakistan, an apparent response to the rolling out of supplies by India for its neighbors and key partners, including three million doses delivered to Bangladesh and Nepal (Source)

Fighting Competition: Indian companies should have enough “reserves in the tank” to fight the deep-pocketed global players crowding the market, Deep Kalra, founder and group executive chairman, MakeMyTrip. (Source)

Fire at Serum, Another sabotage?: At least five people were killed in a fire that broke out Thursday at a building under construction at Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, officials said. The company said the blaze would not affect the production of the COVID-19 vaccine. Murlidhar Mohol, mayor of Pune city in southern Maharashtra state, said five bodies were found in the rubble after the flames were extinguished by firefighters. (Source)

Pedophilia increase: There was a sharp increase in child sex abuse imagery being posted and shared online during the coronavirus pandemic, much of it hosted on Facebook and Instagram, according to data shared exclusively with Insider.  Figures from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) showed a 31% increase in the number of images of child sexual abuse reported to them in 2020. (Source)

video corner: Rare Swami Vivekananda movie

This movie from BBC has some really rare content on Swami Vivekananda.  It will give you goosebumps!

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