So what would be an elite technology company then?

About a week ago, I had a discussion on twitter about this article.

Facebook is not an elite company

(from the San Francisco Chronicle)

The list is a short one. Usually, it includes Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and (debatably) Microsoft.

This is the interesting quote.

Different things are essential to different people. So I’d argue that in the grand scheme of things, I’d be severely discommoded without Microsoft and Google but life without Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, provided at least one bookshop was still open, would probably be   well more than survivable.

For me, when we have conversations like this, I don’t like to see sentences like this, however:

For the sake of this scenario, we’re not talking about behind-the-scene all-stars like Nvidia, IBM and Intel, but the companies that people interact with every day.

The simple truth is people interact with IBM, Nvidia and Intel every day of their lives, but the crucial difference is they often don’t know it. In my view, if you took IBM away, you really wouldn’t have much left. You’d potentially have a banking system and aviation system in serious crisis. Pretending they are excluded just because people don’t load stuff up in a browser is missing the point if we’re trying to identify the elite companies; the ones we cannot do without. To some extent, there are replacements for every single product and producer on the list the article was willing to look at, but it’s not anywhere near so straightforward for the second list, the list we don’t want to talk about. The justification for including Amazon has nothing to do with its retail arm and everything to do with the fact that a lot of other sites are hosted on their AWS, for example, something which an awful lot of people don’t know. This puts them in the same box as the IBM systems underpinning the banks and many of the airlines. It’s what you don’t deal with on a day to day basis which is most critical. And that’s what makes the elite companies elite.