Platformonomics TGIF #18: August 11, 2023


New post format: a weekly rollup of links, comments on those links, activity updates and attempts at humor.  The intention is quicker hits in addition to the less frequent big posts and more timely hammering on my favorite themes. This is my primary hangout until the contours of the post-Twitter world become clear. Be sure to subscribe below and to the right to receive all my output via email.

Note that my poor, overtaxed server struggles to serve up all the images to email users at the same time, so if you don’t see images, be sure to click through. Server upgrade in the works.

Every Single” Amazon PR Team is Working on Generative AI

AWS chieftain Adam Selipsky

Yet another Amazon exec interview on Generative AI proclaiming all is well, complete with the obligatory 10k race metaphor. At least the Verge called them on it:

“…my producer Kate promised me that you would say “three steps into a 10K race.” I just want to shout out Kate.”

How does this PR campaign about nothing play out? How many interviews should we expect for each step in the race? When will we take step four? (we’ve been on step three for a month, which implies this race could go on for over 800 years!). Are new soundbites in the pipeline? (a functioning LLM could crank those out)!.

Amongst the messages being hurled at the wall: All is well. There is nothing to be worried about. We’ve been doing AI for decades. We are the best-est at AI. It is early days. We can kind of see why there is some interest in this stuff. We have the GPUs! (with apologies to Arby’s). The enterprise has concerns, so many concerns. There will be so many models that we probably don’t even need one of our own. Other foundation models are dying for us to intermediate access to their products.

Alternative hypothesis: these interviews are all being done by Amazon’s foundation model which is good enough to pass for a wooden, doggedly-on-message, if metaphor-challenged exec.

Previous: Amazon Pioneers LLM-less Generative AI, A PR Campaign About Nothing: AWS and Generative AI, Day Two of Amazon’s PR Campaign About Nothing, Amazon’s Relentless PR Campaign About Nothing

Titan or Titanic?

Everything Amazon talks about around Generative AI is misdirection except for Titan, which they barely mention. Titan is Amazon’s promised LLM and the yawning abyss at the core of the story. Expectations go up for Titan with each “remain calm, all is well” interview and every passing day. When does Titan ship? How will it fare versus GPT-4 and other foundation models? Does Amazon have the Generative AI talent and techniques to start from nothing and move fast enough to make up ground on a leader? Does this spammy tool use Titan? When will Alexa run on Titan? Will Alexa become more or less useful when Titan replaces all those IF statements? Hopefully the media will focus on Titan in the next round of Amazon’s endless press tour about nothing.

Private Equity: A Ruh-Roh Moment

Wait, private equity will “actually have to be very good investors”? And not just ride declining interest rates? With $2 trillion in cash to put to work? Good luck…

Previous: Perfidious Private Equity

Private Equity: Digging a Hole for New Relic

New Relic is now on the private equity shot clock. They need to not only service the $2.6 billion in new debt assumed to do the buyout, but also have themselves a liquidity event in five to seven years, because the PE fund lifecycle is now all that matters. Customers should migrate pronto as prices will go up while product investment will go down.

Previous: Perfidious Private Equity, New Relic Falls into Private Equity’s Clutches After All, New Relic to Become a New (Private Equity) Relic, New Relic Gets Stay of Execution (from Private Equity)

Google’s Turn in the Antitrust Hotseat

Google faces not one but two US DOJ antitrust suits (as well as never-ending European actions as the EU has assigned them an annual revenue quota).

This is the Trump Administration’s suit, focused on distribution deals (browsers, Android). It is the weaker of the two cases and got narrowed as the judge tossed the display preference claims (an antitrust topic that goes back to when airlines owned computer reservation systems and somehow their own flights always appeared first). This is bad for Yelp’s display preference grievance, and they will probably double down on becoming a ward of the EU. The other suit, focused on Google’s dominance of the ad ecosystem, doesn’t get started until next year. I am hoping Google will boldly defend its ability to advertise ham sandwiches whenever and however they choose.

Previous: A New Antitrust Doctrine

EU Rethinking Its Stance on Mercantilism

Mercantilism becomes less appealing when you’re no longer a mercantilist…

And the Chinese responded with characteristically smooth PR:

I remain very pessimistic about the future of the European economy and therefore Europe broadly. What will power their economy as their dominant industries decline? A continent cannot live solely on fines from US tech companies. This will have unpleasant geopolitical implications.

Previous: German Auto Industry Reaches Hail Mary Stage, How Do You Say “Burning Platform” in German?, Volkswagen’s Death Throes Continue, The Fate of the European Economy: Automotive Edition, Europe: Investing in Slave Labor

WordPress Automates Footnotes


  1. If you like densely linked posts, it is going to get so much better. ↩︎

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