Fitbit becomes first wearable tech company to go public; What Facebook knows about you; and welcome to “platform capitalism”: Best of the Web

Fitbit becomes first wearable tech company to go public; What Facebook knows about you; and welcome to “platform capitalism”: Best of the Web

Fitbit has global markets running hot this week, as the company becomes the first public company solely dedicated to wearable technology by listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The demand is so strong for the initial public offering that Fitbit raised its IPO price range by $3 to between US$17-19 per share just days before Thursday’s listing.

The listing is expected to give Fitbit a market valuation of US$3.7 billion, which puts it in a tie with Black Knight Financial Services for the most valuable tech float of this year so far.

Over at Money Morning, Alex McGuire answers all the big questions, including why Fitbit has become one of the hottest stocks of 2015.

 

What Facebook knows about you

 

Facebook updated its News Feed algorithm earlier this week and analysts have already begun dissecting what the latest changes means for how we interact with the social network.

The change relates to how long Facebook users spend viewing a particular post. While Facebook had previously prioritised posts that a user liked, commented on or shared, it said this week it will also promote content that users appear to have spent more time looking at compared to the majority of other posts they see in their News Feed.

But like the social network’s other algorithm changes, we shouldn’t assume that the change is about Facebook only wanting to improve the user experience—or that it has only just begun collecting this information, writes Jacob Brogan for Slate.

“By showing us things that we’re likely to linger over, Facebook is simply ensuring that we’ll spend more time on the site. Here we are in the domain of compulsion rather than mere enjoyment: They aren’t giving us what we want so much as making it harder to look away. If our news feeds become a little more enjoyable in the process, that’s only a side effect.”

 

Welcome to “platform capitalism”

 

This piece has been doing the rounds for the past few weeks but it is worth taking the time to read Eygeny Morozov’s take on the rise of the “platform” for the Guardian.

It’s a world that is ruled by the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Uber, but according to Morozov, hardly a day goes by now without another tech company reinventing itself as a “platform”.

“Some prominent critics even speak of ‘platform capitalism’ – a broader transformation of how goods and services are produced, shared and delivered. Instead of the tired conventional model, with individual firms competing for customers, we are witnessing the emergence of a new, seemingly flatter and more participatory model, whereby customers engage directly with each other. With a smartphone in their pocket, individuals can suddenly do things that previously required an array of institutions.”

Morozov says few industries will “remain unaffected by the platform fever” but the platforms currently dominating the tech industries have a powerful advantage.

“The unspoken truth, though, is that most of the current big-name platforms are monopolies, riding on the network effects of operating a service that becomes more valuable as more people join it. They is why they can muster so much power; Amazon is in a constant power struggle with publishers – but there is no second Amazon they can turn to.”

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