If securities analysts were pop music stars, Mary Meeker would be bigger than Beyonce. Yesterday, the VC and former Wall Street whiz delivered her annual internet trends report to a crowd of adoring fans at the Code conference in California.
Meeker’s rapid-fire, 30-min, 294-slide presentation (61 slides shorter than last year’s) left the whole stadium of Meeker-maniacs hungry for more of her sweet, sweet tech wisdom.
You can’t Meek this stuff up
For all of you Meeker groupies out there who didn’t get tickets to the big show, we summarize some of her juiciest riffs:
Lots of people use the internet: People with internet (51%) now outnumber people without it -- so it’s hard to find new users, but easier to get old users to use new features like online payment (60% of sales are digital) or voice recognition (30m+ use Alexa).
The internet has a privacy paradox: Users want privacy, but 79% will give up data for good services. Then companies with good services get more data -- and more money (FB revenue per user doubled since 2015).
Jobs won’t be stolen by robots: Retail jobs replaced farm jobs -- now, freelance jobs will replace factory jobs. Openings are at a 17-year high, with freelance growing 3x faster than the average.
AI is making all big tech look the same: Growing 18% YoY, tech R&D is 2x any other sector. AI personalization dominates, pressuring companies to be 1-stop shops (Google’s expanding from ads into e-commerce while Amazon’s doing the opposite).
Ignore the Meek-speak at your own risk
There’s a reason Meeker rose to the top of the charts in tech industry forecasting -- she’s usually right.
In 2004, Meeker predicted that internet advertising was under monetized compared to print newspapers and that data-driven targeted user advertising would expand -- and we all know how that ended up.
In the past, she’s also placed early bets on some other companies whose names you may recognize, like Google, Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, Spotify, Square, Microsoft, Snap, Alibaba, and Adobe.
That’s what we call a Meek-drop
23andMe files a patent infringement lawsuit to chop down Ancestry’s family tree
DNA-testing startup 23andMe filed a lawsuit against its biggest competitor in the genome-at-home genealogy market, Ancestry, in an effort to establish a lead in the race for DNA dominance.
The startup claims that old-timer Ancestry copied its patented saliva-based relative discovery method -- and also asked the court to remove the company’s trademark on “Ancestry” because it’s too “generic.”
Genes are super trendy this season
The DNA kit market is expected to reach $7.7B by 2020 -- last year, 15m people had their DNA analyzed in order to determine their geneology.
23andMe was the first company to offer direct-to-consumer DNA testing when it rolled out its saliva-based kits -- but since then a number of competitors have followed them into the fray.
23andMe’s beef with Ancestry goes waaaaay back
Ancestry was founded back in 1983, as a database for historical genealogy information gathered from public records. But, after 23andMe rolled out testing kits in 2007, Ancestry developed its own test. By 2017, Ancestry’s program (7m tested) had dwarfed 23andMe’s (3m tested).
Now 23andMe, which still has the most cutting edge testing technology (and the only FDA cancer-screening approval in the industry), hopes that its lawsuit (which will likely provoke a countersuit) can knock Ancestry off its pedestal long enough to scale its business operations to compete.
But keep your genes on -- as these two double-helix dynamos duke it out, as many as 10 new (and questionable) DNA kit options will hit the market every day.
A Chinese company now holds the power to more than half the world’s lithium supplies
Chinese lithium supplier Tianqi Lithium recently paid more than $4B to become the second-largest shareholder in Sociedad Quimica y Minera (SQM), a Chilean mining company that specializes in the precious metal needed to make lithium-ion batteries…
And now, Chile has excavated some drama
In March, the Chilean government filed a complaint with antitrust regulators, worried that giving Tianqi so much control over lithium could viciously “distort the market.”
So, the Chinese government did what any industrial powerhouse would do -- threaten their way to a deal and send a rather charged warning that blocking it could harm their “bilateral relations.”
The subtext: You wouldn’t want to harm your bilateral relations with a certain industrial powerhouse, now would you, Chile?
Or maybe they would...
Every smartphone and fully electric car in the world is powered by lithium-ion technology, and, as the world continues to buy more, industry analysts predict that the lithium-ion battery market is set to grow at an astonishing pace of 19% per year.
What’s more, China wants electric cars to make up 20% of all new vehicles sold in the country by 2025, up from just 3% in 2017. According to Quartz, if the deal finalizes, China could potentially buy SQM’s lithium at lower than market costs, which would affect the profits the Chilean government makes on lithium sales (AKA, this is about taxes).
Long story short, it looks like Chile’s argument for price distortion is valid, and now they have until August to decide whether they want to rock China’s lithium-powered boat.
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