Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon and others now control many aspects of our daily lives. Whether it be the music we listen to, the movies and TV shows we watch, our conversations with friends and family, our calendars, our personal photos and videos, our sensitive personal information, the way we bank and shop and even our lifestyle and medical information, these modern-day gatekeepers control much of our decisions and actions.
30 years ago if you wanted to cash a check you went to your local bank, or shop for clothing you would go to a retail store, or watch a movie you’d go to a movie rental store, or even purchase an album you’d go to the record shop. Today all of those transactions take place on a tiny computer, that sits in your pocket, via the Internet.
It’s difficult to get by in the modern world without a smartphone, tablet, and/or a computer. But that’s not enough, you also have to engage with one or several of these gatekeepers. For example, I have several devices, some running on windows, some running on macOS, and others running on iOS and android. I own 2 iMacs, a MacBook Air, an Apple Watch, an iPad, AirPods, an Apple TV, and an iPhone. I also consume Apple services such as iCloud storage and Apple Music. And it doesn’t stop there. I use Gmail for one of my email accounts, Microsoft 365 Exchange for another email account, YouTube TV to watch TV, Spectrum Mobile from my cell phone service, Spectrum Internet for my home Internet and Apple Wallet combined with Apple Pay to make shopping easier.
Nearly every aspect of a typical day in my life involves at least some direct or indirect interaction with these gatekeepers. And their stranglehold on our daily lives is only increasing.
Some would say that’s cause for concern, while others would say it’s an inevitable outcome of evolution. I, however, choose to embrace it.
This is the world we live in now. It’s hard and only getting harder for the average person to navigate their day without interacting with Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and others. Apple, Google, and Amazon effectively control the distribution of all types of media. Music, movies, TV shows, books, audiobooks, podcasts, and many other media are controlled by the gatekeepers. They’ve even branched out into banking and credit cards.
I guess the point of this article is to emphasize the present and increasingly omnipresent impact these gatekeepers have on we the consumers.
In my lifetime several distinct consumer categories such as television, stereo systems, security systems, various forms of entertainment, and even photography and cinematography have all coalesced into one overarching category; tech.
This has been great for me personally and even more so professionally. I’ve made a living off of all of these categories as a technology consultant for the last 16 years. Every year or two a new category gets swallowed by the tech monster and results in even more products and services I can offer my clients. My advice to you the reader is to remain flexible and do your best to embrace tech and it’s gatekeepers or you might get left behind.