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It’s time to break up the FAANG – most are no longer tech

(TECH NEWS) The majority of Americans have missed the evolution of FAANG companies away from tech – they’re now media.

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Social media companies don’t want to be called “media” because the rules are different, but we have defined them in full to make it clear that several companies that started out as tech are now firmly in the media category.

Any company whose primary function is serving up content is a media company.

Any company whose primary function is hardware or software is a tech company.

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google are referred to in one lump as the “FAANG,” particularly when discussing stocks. Companies in the FAANG grouping are blurring the lines between the tech and media categories despite their determination to remain tech-based organizations.

Why the desperation to be considered tech and not media? One word: regulations.

Media companies are held to a different standard because they are responsible for the content they create and distribute. However, FAANG companies that were founded to create/sell technologies and platforms are taking society into new territories indistinguishable between platform and content creation.

Whenever these companies make the tiniest movement, we all move with them whether we like it or not.

While FAANG companies may not be officially held to media company standards, it is up to analysts, talking heads on tv, Wall Street, and the public to reconsider what’s tech and what’s media.

One way we can make this distinction is how we treat FAANG stocks (and whether or not the acronym survives much longer).

One plaguing question is – if FAANG companies are slipping into areas of content creation and media, are their investors being misled?

The most prime example is Facebook. The past two years have shown us there is federal and international interest in regulation discussion after the issues of privacy and fake news. We’re feeling the consequences of social media, and whether or not judiciary bodies take action, Facebook will be forced to take a good hard look at itself. And where will this leave investors in the long-term?

Apple is, by definition, a tech company. No question.

Amazon is no media company, and while some may argue their primary function is retail (despite offering AWS, Echo, etc.), we would still classify them as tech.

Netflix is quite clearly a media company, a platform that serves up content (a glorified cable network only available off of cable).

Google ranks content based on an algorithm and decides what is most relevant and important to you, which is another way of saying they serve content. Alphabet is a tech company (for now), but just Google, the search engine, is not.

The FAANG stocks are based in strong ecosystems. They’ve grown exponentially in one or two decades. Are we going to overestimate their relevancy in the next 5-10 years? Is it possible that, in the future, FAANG investors will have their money in very different versions of these companies? As the discourse shifts towards regulation, the investment risk shifts as well.

FAANG stocks certainly have their appeal—like being a invited to the global party. Perhaps investors and cable news analysts will continue riding the hype train. But like in technology and economics, certainty isn’t guaranteed. It is better to look ahead and hold ourselves accountable as we’d like/hope these tech giants will do on their own.

Staff Writer, Allison Yano is an artist and writer based in LA. She holds a BFA in Applied Visual Arts and Minor in Writing from Oregon State University, and an MFA in Fine Art from Pratt Institute. Her waking hours are filled with an insatiable love of storytelling, science, and soy lattes.

Tech News

How to stimulate your brain, and develop your skills with Virtual Assembly

(TECH NEWS) With many places mandating social distancing and shelter in place, how are you supposed to network, learn, or have fun? With Virtual Assembly, that’s how!

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Virtual Assembly

Before you were all forced to stay home for the good of all humanity, you might have planned your monthly social calendar using websites like Eventbrite or MeetUp.com to find local events. These are great resources if you are looking to make new friends, take up a new hobby, get involved with a social or charitable organization, or network with fellow entrepreneurs.

Well, just because you are no longer heading out to happy hours and social gatherings, doesn’t mean you can’t go to some events – virtual events that is.

Virtual Assembly is a crowdsourced website with over 200 free, high-quality virtual events, courses, tools, and volunteering opportunities. They believe that social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation. The Virtual Assembly website is updated daily with new events hosted by people and organizations across the country.

The straightforward website is easy to navigate with events searchable by date or type. Search for online courses, creative gatherings, networking opportunities, VR museum tours, and so much more. The world may be a little crazy right now, but it’s only forcing people to be that much more creative.

We’ve all being forced to slow down, but there is so much to do besides laying on your couch staring at the news reels all day. This could be the perfect time to learn that new hobby you’ve been eyeing or finally get some creative relaxation you have been putting off.

Social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders are going into effect across the county. With many lockdowns and stay-at-home orders being extended, some indefinitely, many are left looking for ways to fill their time and maintain a sense of normalcy. Virtual Assembly could be just the tool you need to help make your social isolation feel a little more social.

If you’ve looking for ways to stay connected with the world and get out there (but not actually, please stay home) during the pandemic, Virtual Assembly is here for you. You can visit their website to see what events are happening or you can subscribing to their newsletter to be among the first to hear about the latest virtual events.

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Woven is the secret productivity weapon for remote teams

(TECH NEWS) Woven helps you keep track of your digital calendar in the age of remote work. It has great integration and alerts to keep you on track with ease.

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We are now several weeks into social distancing and remote work. Hopefully, you’ve begun to settle into a routine and you find yourself able to take a look at the situation around you instead of just fighting to keep your head above water. Managing, or being a part of, a remote team comes with its challenges.

Working remotely has the potential to blur the lines between work and life. As you try to schedule time to see family and friend’s virtually, it can become difficult to manage all your different digital commitments. This is especially true if you use multiple calendar systems such as Microsoft Outlook for work and Gmail for your personal life.

If you’re riding the struggle bus, Woven can lend a helping hand. This next-generation smart calendar released a suite of tools designed to help maintain productivity and collaborate better. Woven allows you to schedule meetings with people directly from your calendar. Share one-off scheduling links with anyone anywhere – eliminating the need for a bunch of third party apps. You can even send a link through iMessage. Woven also helps you schedule meetings with multiple people by building group polls and sharing availability with other participants.

One of the key tools in the Woven suite is Zoom integration.

Zoom meetings work to keep everyone together, but scheduling them and keeping track of your calendar can be a remote work nightmare. Using Woven, you’ll be able to turn those weird Zoom meeting URLs into simple “join call” buttons, streamline your entire day, and reduce the Zoom overwhelm. This can eliminate a source of unnecessary stress as you do your best to be a productive employee, or business owner, through the current global situation.

Other powerful tools joining Woven’s suite include, “Home” which highlights your important meetings for the day and “Analytics” which gives you actionable insights on how you spend your time. You can review it daily and weekly to ensure you’re spending your most valuable asset on the things you care the most about.

If you’re struggling to manage your new remote workflow and keep track of your digital appointments, consider trying Woven. It is currently available for free download for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Windows.

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Zoom banned by Space X? Why?

(TECH NEWS) Just because an app is most used doesn’t mean it is most trustworthy, Zoom has some glaring security faults most people didn’t know about.

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Video conference apps are the glue currently holding large parts of workforce together. If you’re working from home either as a result of the quarantine or business as usual, then you’ve likely heard or used the common go-to app, Zoom. Recently, Zoom has made some troubling headlines regarding privacy concerns so much so that SpaceX employees are now banned from using the app. This comes soon after an announcement by the FBI warning about call hijacking and harassment now aptly named “Zoombombing”.

An earlier report this week by The Intercept shows that Zoom does not provide end-to-end encryption between call participants. The company also has the ability to view call sessions. As SpaceX is a federal contractor whose customers include NASA and the Department of Defense, the company is classified as an essential business. The decision to ban Zoom usage came from a memo from founder and CEO Elon Musk.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has reached out to Zoom addressing security concerns. Other security researchers have discovered flaws in Zoom’s software where hackers can gain access to users’ cameras or microphones.

As if it couldn’t get any dicier, the iOS version of the Zoom app is found to send data to Facebook regardless if a user has a Facebook account. As of March 2020, Zoom’s privacy policy made no mention of the data exchange.

ZOOM CEO Eric Yuan announced the company is focusing on solving its privacy and security issues. He’s vowed that over the next 90 days, Zoom will prepare a transparency report showing information related to data requests in addition to diverting all engineering resources to resolve “trust, safety, and privacy issues.”

Considering how many video calls will be made in the near future, and that we don’t know when Zoom will be trustworthy here are some paid and free options. It seems that even your computers aren’t safe during the pandemic.

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