How far we’ve come

I get the Bloomberg Technology email blast every morning, and this one hit home particularly. I can’t believe that I’ve been working in tech for 37 years, and the items she mentions aren’t even the most amazing things to have happened in that time…

Welcome to Bloomberg Technology, I’m Emily Chang in San Francisco.

For 10 years, I’ve been saying those words at the start of every episode of Bloomberg TV’s daily tech show.

We began broadcasting daily from Pier 3 on the Embarcadero on Feb. 28, 2011. The show was originally called Bloomberg West before changing to reflect its global focus. Our very first guest was Marc Andreessen, who had recently co-founded a venture capital firm that promised to shake up Silicon Valley. I had no idea what a ride tech would be over the next decade or that I would be celebrating this anniversary in a pandemic with a special edition brought to you from a studio in my basement.

To commemorate the occasion, I thought I’d recap 10 of the technological shifts that took place over the last decade.

  1. Almost 10 years ago, Steve Jobs made his last public appearance onstage, and Tim Cook became chief executive officer of Apple Inc.
  2. Since then, the iPhone has leaped 10 generations from the 4 to the 12 today, with new features like Siri, 4K video recording, 4G and then 5G, Touch ID and then Face ID, much bigger screens, and processors faster than many laptops.
  3. In early 2011, there were virtually no Amazon vans, and now there’s one on almost every street corner in cities across the U.S. and more than 1,600 logistics centers around the world. Amazon Web Services became a cloud computing juggernaut, helping power global business and a new generation of startups. Alexa is now part of the furniture.
  4. Zero companies had a market value of $1 trillion or more in 2011. Now there are four: Inc., Apple, Google and Microsoft Corp.
  5. Washington solidified its relationship with Silicon Valley in 2011 when President Obama held a dinner with tech executives, seated between Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. It was a mostly cordial, bicoastal engagement until 2016 when President Trump threw out the playbook. How Facebook, Twitter and every other social platform decide to moderate (or not) content on their platforms over the next decade will be the biggest test they’ve ever faced.
  6. Tesla had one car on the market, the Roadster, with very few competitors. There are four models on sale today, the Model S, 3, X and Y, and virtually every traditional carmaker has an electric offering, too, though Tesla still dominates the (now much bigger) market.
  7. Netflix split its DVD rental business from its streaming business in a disastrous move in 2011 that spawned Qwikster. It didn’t release its own original content until 2012 and then put out the breakout hit House of Cards a year later. Today the company has completely changed Hollywood and, by the way, still rents DVDs.
  8. Ten years ago, Uber was just a black car service that would work a fraction of the time, based on my limited attempts to use it to get from work to home after an occasional late-night tech event. Airbnb was expanding from air mattresses to homes, and DoorDash didn’t exist.
  9. Tech companies didn’t start releasing diversity reports until 2014. But the real groundswell that would begin to change a largely white and male industry would happen in 2017 with the #MeToo movement and later the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. Still, female and minority representation in tech hasn’t come nearly as far as advocates hoped.
  10. Bitcoin was little more than a curiosity for math geeks and an emerging currency on the internet’s black market in 2011 when the Silk Road started accepting it exclusively as a form of payment. If you bought $100 in Bitcoin back then, it’s now worth $5 million.

For today’s show, we’ve got Reid Hoffman, a founder of LinkedIn, partner at Greylock and the first guest on my interview series Studio 1.0; Aileen Lee, the venture capitalist who coined the term “startup unicorn” and co-founded the women-in-tech group All Raise; and Nikesh Arora, the former chief business officer at Google, now CEO of Palo Alto Networks and another guest on our debut show. Tune in at 5 p.m. Eastern/2 p.m. Pacific to hear where they think the next 10 years will lead. 

From Bloomberg technology newsletter, 2021-03-01

Emily Chang