Post #25: Five things I just learned from Mary Meeker

Mary Meeker was, for anyone who grew up writing about the telecoms and technology sector in the mid-1990s (such as your author), a luminary. She started in stockbroking in 1982 and progressed to Morgan Stanley where she was involved in a string of high-profile IPOs from Netscape to Google. Every year, from 1995, she published The Internet Report, which became known as the definitive guide to the sector; or per Businessweek, as “the bible.”

Meeker now works for her own VC firm (Bond Capital) but is still publishing The Report. The 2019 edition came out last week. Below follow the five key things I learned – 

1: The average American spends 6.3 hours a day engaged in with digital media: This is a quite remarkable figure given there are only 24 hours in a day. For context, the same figure a decade ago was just 2.7 hours a day.

2: We like our mobiles more than our TVs: Perhaps unsurprisingly, most digital media is now accessed via mobile handsets. However, what stands out as interesting is that 2019 is set to mark the first year when the number of unique (i.e. non-duplicated) minutes spent on a mobile exceeds those spent watching television. Contrast consumed mobile and TV minutes forecast for 2019 of 226 and 216 respectively with 2009 figures of 20 and 266…

3: What we access matters: More people than ever (half of those alive on the planet) may have access to the Internet, but a concerning trend which requires monitoring is that what they can access is becoming ever more restricted. Some 55% of internet users live in a country where political, social or religious content is censored/blocked. Meanwhile, 47% of users are based in a location where government surveillance has increased in the last year. 

4: We can learn from what we consume: The internet has lowered entry barriers to education, both formal and informal. Coursera (a major US provider of online education) offers structured learning programmes from as little as $49/month, with the average course taking 8 months to complete. Indicative of what Gen-Z/Millennials believe will most likely get them ahead in life, deep learning and data science ranked among the top-three Coursera specialisations last year.

5: Data can help save lives: Digital ubiquity is helping to improve real-world outcomes. Close to 100% of US hospitals have now adopted electronic healthcare records, while EHR prevalence among American physicians is around 90%. Compare these stats to those of a decade ago: 75% and 50% respectively. Yet doctors want more: 67% believe such records should offer interoperability and 43% favour predictive analysis (derivable from the records). This matters. Overall, while the Internet has pushed boundaries, there is a lot more ahead.


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