Editor’s Morning Note: After a week in which nothing happened whatsoever, your loyal dork parade is back at work.
Back on the fourth, I told you that I was leaving the premises to take a week off, sit underneath an avocado tree, and read.
While I was gone, I requested that you help our own Jason Rowley grow his Twitter following, and that you keep an eye on the election. Now that I am back at my desk, we had a mixed bag in terms of results.
On the plus side, Jason’s Twitter following did very well. Here’s our report card, which I recommend you start reading from the fourth on:
A good end-up.
Regarding the election, it didn’t go precisely as I had seen it heading, but that’s water over the dam.
I bring up the election not to make a joke, really, but to point out that we are likely in for a turbulent time regarding technology policy. That means our coverage of venture capital and startups may skew slightly towards policy, but only when necessary.
This little publication—which, by the way, we’re happy that you read—isn’t political in nature, except for when politics intrudes into technology, or tech sticks its beak into the political.
Still, startups, private capital, the IPO pipeline, M&A, and more are impacted by policy. And since President-elect Trump did not campaign on a continuance of the Obama administration, we should expect some changes in the new year.
What could happen? We’re just spitballing, but here’s a non-exhaustive list:
- Net neutrality could be either weakened or gutted, leaving increasingly powerful content-carrier hybrids free to bend the marketplace towards their own returns. This is not sinful from the incumbent corporate perspective, but it would prove deleterious to companies looking to upend the order of things. Startups, for example.
- Carried interest, a critical compensation method for the venture capital space, could see itself reclassified as normal income. It’s worth noting that this isn’t popular on Sand Hill Road but was a proposal discussed by both former candidates.
- Companies that depend on H1-B visas to staff their firms in the United States could see their cost profile rise if PEOTUS Trump cracks down on the system. This will cause a mixed reaction in tech, if it happens, with larger companies upset that a source of less-expensive talent has been excised. And some tech workers—you must have seen them on various forums whenever this issue comes up—will cheer, having been, in their view, removed from various workforces in favor of cheaper foreign labor.
- Bitcoin could benefit from a Trump administration if people turn to it as a method to diversify their asset holdings. However, given the plunging price of gold, that doesn’t seem likely at the moment.
- President-elect Trump has proposed a method by which American companies that have massive cash hoards abroad can bring that cash home at a special, low rate. Such repatriation would likely provide welcome flexibility to companies based in this country, potentially driving down the need for domestic borrowing to fuel shareholder return programs. The move would be viewed by some as a gift to already-rich corporations, a reward for leaving their profits abroad and not investing them in the United States previously.
- Once President, Trump’s government will include the vast surveillance apparatus that has come under repeated, open criticism. It will be interesting to see how President Trump and his administration deal with Silicon Valley, a group that has provided a dusting of pushback to the government in the wake of the Snowden disclosures. The oft-noted hand-washing-warm relationship between the Obama administration and Silicon Valley will change when power changes in Washington.
- And finally, Wired has an interesting paragraph on trade, as it relates to tech:
So depending on what happens, we may have some other things to talk about. Fret not, however. We’re still focused on the intersection of technology and money, through the lens of startups. We just have an eye open for external influences.
We are back, and I am glad to be so. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.