Investment banks feeling cool breeze of Internet economy

Next target on the disruption list: investment banks

Slack, the defacto cloud-based work place messaging software that has enjoyed fast growth, is directly listing shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Like Spotify’s public offering last year, Slack will list shares without the use of an investment bank underwriter – an unusual move. The firm is relying on the usual banking suspects to advise the listing. Bloomberg

dis-rup-shun: While direct listings are rare, and are for companies that are well known, and not particulary in need of new funds, the concept is picking up momentum and will be increasingly common. In the Internet economy, pricing inefficiencies, like outsized fees paid to bankers, are being “re-sized” and it seems that this is the year for real estate agents and investment bankers to experience exposure.

Smart speaker shoot out

Wired provides a review of the best smart speakers with Alexa and Google capabilities. The review puts Sonos One as the best overall, and best in other categories include Riva Concert for best do-it-all, JBL Link 20 is best portable, Amazon Echo Show is best Alexa display device, Google Mini is best mini speaker.

dis-rup-shun: There are simply not many reasons to string speaker wire through a house and connect each room back to a receiver/amplifier, except that we most often still use a receiver for home theater systems. There is not much left for a receiver to receive except for Internet stream and TV inputs, if you still have cable. With voice being built into nearly every music player from here on, the days of knobs, dials, and lights on music players are about over.

Fewer screens is lifestyle of affluent

The proliferation of screens — reducing many formerly human functions to avatars or streamed videos, is an indication of income and lifestyle, according to The Times. The story suggests that affluent households are reducing screen time and increasing contact with humans — either family members or employees/assistants. The use of video-related assistants is compared with cigarettes and sugary sodas — habits more often displayed by those of more modest means. New York Times 

dis-rup-shun: More gadgets have long been considered a sign of affluence. Much of Apple’s success has derived from its position as a premium alternative to more mundane Windows or Android devices. If spending more time gadget-free is a sign of success, trouble could be ahead for electronics makers who must constantly struggle to not be commodotized by falling prices and cut-throat price competition.

South Korea rapidly implements 5G

South Korea, home of Samsung and its Galaxy smartphones, stated that it activated 260,000 5G users after one month of launching — beating Verizon’s debut.

dis-rup-shun: The race for 5G has many spoils, including an entire new generation of connected devices that will load videos much faster, will enable video screens to be a common interface in taxis, toilets, supermarket shelves and just about everywhere else. The stakes are high to be the dominant suppliers of both next generation devices as well as providers of the networks, and the cloud infrastructure to supply content. 5G will completely refresh the global technology industries and provide the next growth run — fending off or blunting the expected bear market.

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