Post #11: What happens in an Internet minute…

Have you searched on Google, WhatsApp’d your friend or perhaps swiped on Tinder in the last minute? If so, you are one of millions. But just how many millions? One of the charts we anticipate most eagerly every year was released last week on the Visual Capitalist website, highlighting exactly just what happens in an Internet minute.

Our very first piece of thematic work (issued in March 2011) was called ‘the data deluge.’ In this, we posited a very simple thesis: the amount of data produced and consumed will grow exponentially, creating a range of investment opportunities. For if this data is to have any value, it needs to be stored, secured and analysed. Eight years on, our thesis remains as valid as ever, as the statistics bear out.

The combined (and mutually reinforcing) power of mobile broadband, cheap storage and network effects are driving the data deluge. In practical terms, over 188m emails are sent globally every 60 seconds. In addition, during this short period of time, 41m messages are sent via WhatsApp and/or Facebook Messenger, while a further 18m texts are transmitted via the more conventional SMS format. Beyond this, 3.8m search queries are logged every minute on Google, although this figure is dwarfed by the 4.5m video watched every minute via YouTube (owned by Google). Elsewhere, 1.4m swipes occur on Tinder and over 1m people are logging into Facebook in perhaps less time than it will take you to read this blog entry.

Who are the winners from all of this? At one level, users, since they are choosing to indulge in such activities (although whether such activity increases wellbeing is a different matter). Viewed from a different perspective, the platform companies which provide a plethora of these services could be considered clear beneficiaries. Once on a platform/ within an ecosystem, the opportunity cost of switching is significant. Even with the potential threat of increased regulation for such businesses, it seems likely that next year’s chart will show that the deluge is only deepening.


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