Beware of the FAATMAN

By Morf Morford

Tacoma Daily Index

If there were ever a suitable acronym for our times, it would be FAATMAN (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Netflix).

FAATMAN might conjure images of a lumbering, gigantic, clumsy monster staggering across our landscape, crashing through buildings and trees making its way with no way to stop it as it thrashes its way and seems to grow larger, more powerful and more unstoppable every day.

Or minute.

Consider these numbers;

Company/ Revenue Per Minute/ Market Cap ($B)

Amazon $955,517 $1,560

Apple $848,090 $2,040

Alphabet (Google) $433,014 $1,370

Microsoft $327,823 $1,750

Facebook $213,628 $733

Tesla $81,766 $648

Netflix $50,566 $238

(Data as of March 2021. Revenue per minute figures based off SEC filings.)

If you didn’t know already, these few companies dominate virtually (no pun intended) every aspect of our lives.

From how we find/confirm almost anything (“Google it”) to what many of us watch (Netflix) to how we communicate and keep in touch (Facebook) to how we shop (Amazon) few of us can go a day, or even a couple hours without interacting with at least one of these companies.

Here are a few details;

In its most recent quarter Facebook generated $27 billion in revenue, and “hosted” an average of 2.8 billion monthly-active-users (MAUs). (That’s more than one out of three of every one of us on earth).

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is a monster beyond normal description. They ended 2020 with $182 billion in revenues, with approximately $20 billion coming from YouTube.

Almost 4 billion Google searches occur every single day, making it the most popular website in the world, by far. (That means about half of the world’s population uses Google every day!)

Google has been the most popular website on the internet since 2010. It sifts through 90% of all internet searches.

Seattle-based Amazon, with a focus on North America also does remarkably well in other parts of the world. For example, in 2020 they generated $20 billion in revenues from Japan, and $29 billion from Germany.

Tesla not only makes cars, but they make policy and set the tone for electric vehicles of all sizes and uses, has also made Elon Musk among the richest and most influential people in the world.

Microsoft, what could be called the elder statesman of the group (founded in 1975) is the second largest Big Tech stock with an astounding market cap of $1.75 trillion. Among other holdings, they own LinkedIn, Xbox, and their cloud computing service Azure.

Apple is far more than iPhones. In the first quarter of 2021, Apple’s services segment of the business made $15.7 billion in revenue, greater than both Mac and iPad, which each contributed about $8 billion to the business. In addition, their wearables, home, and accessories category earned $12.9 billion.

As you might guess, the pandemic has been a boon for Netflix.

They finished 2020 by adding 52 million new subscribers—taking the total number of subscribers to 203 million.

In-house Netflix productions routinely dominate the Golden Globe awards. And with 42 nominations in 2021, this year was no exception.

Their original content is a driving factor behind expanding subscriber growth and continued revenue generation.

The combined market cap of the FAATMAN stocks is now over $8 trillion.

To put that into a little perspective, $8 trillion is about equivalent to Germany, Canada, and France’s GDP combined.

Despite their gigantic valuations, and a variety of lawsuits and controversial actions and statements, these companies show little if any sign of slowing down.


Mapping the Internet

The internet, by definition a virtual world, is difficult to visualize.

What it is, and where we are in it, is always a mystery.

A map would be useful, but what would an internet map look like?

Cyber-realities will always be beyond our conceptualization,

But take a look here for an attempt at mapping this human-created landscape:

Are you ready for Google, Facebook or Amazon continents or hemispheres?

Nation-states or islands of Zoom, Buzzfeed, Twitter or Instagram?

Me either…..