Facebook made us rethink everything we knew about social networks. Still, today, 17 years after its launch, Facebook hasn’t kept innovating, even staying behind other companies like Microsoft, which are not perceived as being innovative.
I wanted to get proof of it.
Patents are a perfect way of measuring how innovative a company is. This is because companies can only file for a patent when their ideas are truly unique. The more patents you have, the more unique the ideas you’re producing inside are. It’s pretty easy.
After analyzing patents by subject matter area and comparing Facebook with other companies, this concludes: Facebook scores the lowest for unique patent/application publications between 2016-2021.
Comparing Facebook to Other Tech Companies
I compared Facebook with Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft. Between the five companies, I found 137,008 unique US applications published between 2016-2021 as of today. Only patents filed in the US were considered.
These are the top 10 assignees overall. Note that multiple Samsung subsidiaries appear.
Facebook Doesn’t Stand Out in Any Subject Matter Area
Considering Facebook is the social network that revolutionized the way we thought about them, you would think they’d score higher in this area. Again, they don’t. In the first place, we have Google. And it’s not even a tight competition; Google has almost double the number of patents as Facebook holds.
If we see the numbers by year, Facebook was on its way to catch up with Google, but there was a decline in 2020. In 2021, we don’t see too much happening, as we’re just starting the year.
Maybe, Facebook would score higher in specific areas, especially VR or virtual reality, social network, and dating, since we’ve seen they’ve worked on those areas recently.
But then again, Facebook didn’t score high.
For example, the VR area. As you can see in the chart below, Facebook is not even remotely close to Microsoft.
On the dating subject, Facebook also doesn’t stand out. Dating is a hot space right now; just some weeks ago, Bumble, the dating app created by CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, went IPO, reaching a valuation of $7 billion.
Facebook, among all the other features it has, also has a dating one. But are they innovating there?
For this area, I used romance or romantic or relationship to do a better search since using the word dating would have multiple possible meetings.
The result: Facebook is number 6 for dating.
Again, even Microsoft, who’s not famous for helping people get dates, ranks higher.
Facebook’s future without innovation
In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg said in a meeting to not “be too proud to copy.” Although these words were said in the context of building what’s better for users, even if that means copying a rival company, it also speaks about the innovation culture inside of Facebook.
Facebook is a company that has blatantly copied popular features from other companies, like Snapchat, Tinder, and now, reportedly, Clubhouse.
So far, developing similar solutions to what already exists has worked for Facebook but, will it work in the future?
The rise of other newer and more innovative social media platforms like TikTok has already affected the number of people using Facebook in North America.
The number of patents Facebook has is just a way of showing how the innovation culture inside of the company (or lack of it) is just driven by the need for increasing numbers instead of developing innovative products or features that people will want to use.
One thing is for sure, what was once a shiny, hot, new product everyone used every day is now a social network that’s just copying everyone else, and that hasn’t been able to keep up with the changes in the tech world.
Image Credit: from the author; thank you!
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!