Kleiner Perkins Releases Mary Meeker's 2018 Internet Report

The annual slide deck from Kleiner Perkins analyst, Mary Meeker, delivered on May 30, 2018 at the Code 2018 meeting, is now publicly accessible.

One of the highlights of that 2018 Internet Trends report as noted by ReCode is that U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours the year before. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption.

Meeker noted the fact that many popular services are enhanced through use of both individual as well as collective data. Internet companies are able to improve low-cost services in part through the use of individual data and users demonstrate their understanding of that value by spending more time with those services. Rising user engagement increases monetization and drives investment in product development.  What gives rise to the tension of the Privacy Paradox is when regulators assume the responsibility of ensuring that individual data is not used "improperly". As Meeker's Slide 36 notes, "It's crucial to manage for unintended consequences, but it's irresponsible to stop innovation and progress." Consumers are willing to exchange individual data for perceived benefits but become cautious when the benefits to themselves are not immediately evident. However, she further notes that Chinese citizens appear to be more willing to share their data for perceived benefits than are citizens in the United States. 

Slide #142 notes that the disruption caused by technology in our current environment is not new, but is actually accelerating. Whereas it took roughly 30 years for the household television to reach mainstream adoption, it took roughly a third of that time period for the Internet itself to reach mainstream adoption levels (See slide 144).  Meeker explores the impact of that degree of rapid disruption on employment of workers with some attention given to on-demand job opportunities which appeal to those seeking flexibility and/or additional income as well as the chance to exercise under-utilized skills. Relevant to this point (see slide 236) is the fact that more than 50% of freelancers in the emerging gig economy claim to have engaged in skill-related training; this holds promise for those delivering educational programs. 

With regard to the emergence of artificial intelligence, Meeker noted that Amazon's artificial intelligence is emerging from its Amazon Web Services platform, enabling easier data processing and collection for others. She contrasted that with Google's artificial intelligence that is emerging from its Cloud. In both instance, there will be new service offerings for business enterprises. The previously referenced willingness of Chinese citizens to share their data leads Meeker to believe that the volume of China's digital volume already has significant scale and is growing rapidly, fueling advancements in artificial intelligence. While at the moment, the US may be ahead in this realm, Meeker cautions that China is focused, organized and gaining. The next five years in this realm will be critical.  

Within the enterprise working environment, Meeker notes the importance of building robust, consumer-grade applications, noting the popularity of such services as Slack, Dropbox and Zoom. One particular example were enterprise messaging thread applications in a variety of settings as these fuel collaboration and productivity, an important aspect for growing the US economy. 

Video and a transcript of Meeker's full comments are also available.