One obvious thing is that many of the so-called anti-big-tech start-ups often find themselves disappearing as fast as they came and that kept me wondering why considering the fact that everybody often claims to hate the shady practices of the well-established tech companies, especially in the social media space.
Take for example, Google is often associated with its bad data collection practices and how they often steal users’ data in exchange for targeted ads, or Facebook which has been accused several times of bad data practices.
In fact, there is literally no week that passes by without reading the news about any of these big tech companies facing anti-trust lawsuits from different lawmakers across the globe.
But then comes the anti-big-tech startups that promise to never steal your data, sell your data, or even overload your time feeds with annoying content and stories you didn’t subscribe to.
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These startups often have exciting value propositions that feed into the narratives of the already-pissed-off users of the well-established platforms only to realize that these anti-big-tech startups will fade into oblivion and lose their relevance within a short period of time.
As an avid follower of the tech industry myself, this trend is hard for me to ignore: anti-big-tech startups are dying at an alarming rate.
Despite the initial excitement and promise these companies had when they were first created, many have struggled to compete with the giants of the industry. So why is this happening?
One of the main reasons is a lack of resources I would say. Relative to the big tech companies they are trying to oust in the market, they often realize they do not have access to vast capital, top talent, and cutting-edge technology the “big guys” have which results in a massive disadvantage.
Additionally, big tech companies often benefit from network effects, making it challenging for smaller startups to gain traction and grow their user base.
Then there are the regulatory barriers which also makes it difficult for anti-big-tech startups to operate effectively, especially in an industry filled with bigger brands that have the resource to make lobbies to lawmakers in order to create legislatures that will favor them in the long run.
While many people are concerned about the power and influence of big tech companies, not everyone is willing to switch to a different platform or service especially due to the fear of missing out and the fact that they have numerous friends on the well-established platform.
Don’t get me wrong, these anti-big-tech startups often have great value propositions but they are not essentially innovative or disruptive in any way. They are just variants of the already-known brands but market themselves as being “user-centered, “not profit-driven”, or “no data theft.”
But have you ever asked yourself whether most users really cared about their data? I mean some people would literally upload half-nude or completely nude images or videos of themselves on the internet.
Some will showcase their assets, showcase their address and so many carefree attitudes towards security but somehow, these anti-big-tech companies think they can convince everyone to switch to their indifferent platform without the “data theft” twist.
It’s no wonder that the majority o these platforms often become what they preach against and those that do not evolve into the public-enemy platform often fade into obscurity.
In this post, I’ll discuss in my opinion why these anti-big-tech companies often find themselves fading off and losing relevance despite their good wills.
Big Tech companies are “Evil”!
This is the premise that many anti-big-tech startups often stand upon. While the claims that “Big tech companies are evil” might not be far-fetched especially due to numerous scandals that emanate over how they handle their business and how it negatively affects their users, especially younger ones, the reality is that these problems cannot be simply curbed by another company doing the exact same thing but in a subtle way.
Some of the claims people have towards well-established brands like Google and Meta or Amazon is how they practice monopoly and make their respective industries unbearable for competitors as well as how they mishandle users’ data in exchange for ads.
In short, big companies love money. That’s all. To lay it out in simpler terms, below are some of the reasons why big tech companies are regarded as being evil:
- Invasion of Privacy: Big tech companies collect vast amounts of personal data from users, including information about their browsing habits, location, and personal preferences. This data can be used to build detailed profiles of users and target them with personalized ads. Some people feel that this is an invasion of their privacy, and they don’t want their personal data to be collected and used in this way.
- Misuse of Data: Big tech companies have access to a vast amount of data, which gives them a lot of power and influence. However, there have been many cases where companies have misused this data, either through data breaches or by using it for unethical purposes. For example, Facebook was involved in a scandal where user data was harvested without their consent and used for political advertising purposes.
- Lack of Transparency: Big tech companies are often criticized for their lack of transparency when it comes to data collection and processing. Users may not be aware of what data is being collected, how it’s being used, or who it’s being shared with. This lack of transparency can erode trust in these companies and contribute to their negative reputation.
- Monopoly Power: Some people believe that big tech companies have too much power and influence, which can be harmful to competition and innovation. With their vast amounts of data and resources, these companies can dominate markets and make it difficult for smaller competitors to succeed.
While these companies are often well-scrutinied by several government agencies and lawmakers over their dealings, we are often left with newer stories about how the same company that recently got sanctioned had mishandled million more data in another case.
The circle is very annoying but as mentioned earlier, the problem may never go away because of the underlying problem which is “profit making”. And because big companies are hell-bent on making nothing but money, they are often regarded as “Evil”.
Then comes the savior
Anti-big-tech companies often see themselves as the savior of the masses. And this is true because the founders of these companies often have good intentions…at first… but this can often be short-lived when they face the harsh reality of the industry they are trying to conquer.
No one would forget how OnePlus was the true Enthusiast smartphone and a true “Flagship Killer” because they would literally make great devices at a relatively affordable price point.
Not only in the smartphone market but in the social media industry as well. When WhatsApp released its new data collection policy in 2021, Elon Musk advised people to use Signal instead and the company only grew around that period.
The same can be said about BeReal, DuckDuckGo, and even the Brave browser. They all claimed to “not steal your data” and not bombard you with “thirst traps” and unending feeds of short videos.
As you can see, these brands have good intentions. However, do not forget that current big tech companies were once in this same situation when they started They too were anti-big-tech startups.
But why are anti-big-tech companies failing or fading off at an alarming rate?
While the intentions of anti-big-tech startups may be good, many of these companies are fading into obscurity because they face significant challenges in competing with established players in the industry.
One major challenge is the lack of resources that anti-big-tech startups have compared to big-tech companies.
Established tech giants have vast amounts of capital, top talent, and cutting-edge technology at their disposal. This makes it difficult for smaller startups to compete effectively and gain traction.
Another factor is the network effects that benefit big tech companies. As more users join a platform, the value of the platform increases, making it harder for smaller competitors to attract users and grow their user base.
Regulatory barriers can also make it difficult for anti-big-tech startups to succeed. Many countries have strict regulations around data privacy and other aspects of the tech industry, which can be challenging for startups to comply with and compete in these markets.
Additionally, anti-big-tech startups may face limited market demand. While there are certainly people who are concerned about the power and influence of big tech companies, not everyone is willing to switch to a different platform or service.
- Lack of Resources: Anti-big-tech startups often lack the resources necessary to compete with established players in the market. Big tech companies have access to vast amounts of capital, top talent, and advanced technology, which can be difficult for smaller startups to match.
- Network Effects: Many big tech companies benefit from network effects, which means that as more users join the platform, the value of the platform increases. This can make it difficult for smaller competitors to gain traction and grow their user base.
- Regulatory Barriers: Anti-big-tech startups may face regulatory barriers that make it difficult for them to operate in certain markets. Some countries have strict regulations around data privacy and other aspects of the tech industry, which can be challenging for startups to comply with.
- Limited Market Demand: The demand for anti-big-tech solutions may be limited, as some users may not see the need to switch to a different platform or service. Additionally, many users may be skeptical of new startups and prefer to stick with established players in the market.
- Lack of Differentiation: Anti-big-tech startups may struggle to differentiate themselves from established players in the market, making it difficult to attract users and compete effectively.
In addition to these challenges, anti-big-tech startups may also face competition from other startups that are focused on different aspects of the tech industry. For example, there may be startups focused on specific niches, such as cybersecurity or blockchain, that are competing for attention and resources.
To be successful, these startups will need to find ways to differentiate themselves from established players, build a strong user base, and comply with the regulatory requirements of the industry but how would they do all of these without making profits?
The truth is that most of these brands aren’t making enough to stay afloat. The point of every for-profit organization is to make as much money as they possibly can.
And one way by which they make that money is by keeping users on their platform by every means necessary.
Whether by seducing you with different forms of outrageous content and posts, flooding your timeline with content from profiles you didn’t follow, or carefully bombarding you with unending short videos.
The point is to keep you on the platform for as long as possible. All of those amazing innovations and technology built and offered for free by these tech companies are meant to basically keep you glued to your screen all day, every day.
I mean how is BeReal expected to make any profit if only opens once in a while and only gives its users the chance of taking pictures o their immediate environments?
The intention is good. They’re trying to help you avoid the excessive dopamine addiction that has wreaked havoc on your social life but how is that affecting them as a business?
Take another look at DuckDuckGo which claims to not store your data… how are they going to offer personalized ads to users and make money off them.
The point I’m trying to make is that tech start-ups need to keep their investors happy and that might sometimes mean having to engage in some shady practices which isn’t ethical.
I can’t offer a viable solution, I’ll leave that t industry experts but the point I’m trying to make is that these companies need to have a solid business plan before tackling the well-established brands on the market.