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Big Revolution - Rich beyond reason

Welcome to Wednesday's Big Revolution. Let's dive in... – Martin
July 11 · Issue #136 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Wednesday’s Big Revolution. Let’s dive in…

Big things you need to know today
- Facebook has been fined £500k following the UK Information Commissioners initial investigation into the company’s treatment of users’ data in the Cambridge Analytica case. More fines could follow as the investigation continues. The fine is small, but the largest possible under pre-GDPR rules.
- The ICO investigation also finds shoddy data protection practices from UK political parties, and Cambridge Analytica, and other companies offering Facebook apps. And there’s plenty still to be investigated. This thread by Politico’s Mark Scott is worth reading.
- A former Apple employee has been charged with stealing trade secrets. The man is accused of taking details of the company’s autonomous vehicle work, with a view to sharing them with his next employer, a Chinese self-driving car firm.
- Half of the startups that raise money through initial coin offerings are dead four months later, a study has found.
- Facebook is testing interactive augmented reality ads. A small group of advertisers is trying the ad format, which will appear in users’ News Feeds.
The big thought
Jeff Bezos. Credit: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons
Rich beyond reason
Yesterday, news broke that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now not only the richest man in the world, but a whole $50bn ahead of second-place Bill Gates. Quite frankly, that kind of accumulation of wealth in an individual is unsettling.
Bezos’ $143.1 billion net worth isn’t all cash he can spend whenever he wants, but why should it sit on his balance sheet when there’s so much that needs improving about the world? 
People should be able to do well from the businesses they build, and that means that some people who run particularly successful companies will become incredibly wealthy. But there comes a point where you look at that kind of wealth and think about what could be done with it if it was being put to use to make the world better.
Bezos has been criticised for having an under-developed philanthropy strategy. Over time, it may well improve – and rightly so. But as increasing amounts of wealth are concentrated in a small group of people, while living conditions and social mobility stagnate for so many others, it’s hard not to feel like the current wave capitalism has reached a dead end, and needs to turn around quickly.
One big read
“Google Was Not a Normal Place”: Brin, Page, and Mayer on the Accidental Birth of the Company that Changed Everything “Google Was Not a Normal Place”: Brin, Page, and Mayer on the Accidental Birth of the Company that Changed Everything
This excerpt from a new book is an oral history of the early days of Google. It’s well worth reading, and includes details not revealed in other histories of the company.
That’s all for today...
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