When considering the structural impact of technology companies on our economy and society, we tend to focus on questions of scale and monopoly.
It’s true that the FAANG companies and more recent winners (Airbnb, Uber) have surfed a combination of network effects, preferential access to capital and classic efficiencies of scale to generate tremendous value for their shareholders — to the detriment of new entrants who attempt to unseat them.
But is the narrative of tech companies in the 2010s only a story of economic consolidation and growing inequality?
As a refresher, a fixed cost stays constant regardless of output, and variable costs scale with the output of a business.
When my father started his software consulting business in the early 1990s, I remember the giant boxes of AIX servers that arrived at our apartment, and tagging along to office tours in central New Jersey before he decided to run the company out of our spare bedroom.
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