I swear I was getting through this and trying to move on. She wasn’t my favorite candidate but when you consider the alternative she looked like George Washington in a pantsuit. Like many people I had moved on from denial and anger to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ next stage in the grief pyramid called bargaining. He can’t be that bad…they can tame him…I’m going back to work, he can’t chase me there…I’ll be okay.
But noooo! A brief story in the New York Times today says Donald Trump, incipient POTUS is planning to hold a technology conference next week. It’s right here under this headline, “Trump Plans Technology Conference With Silicon Valley Executives.” The article by David Streitfeld, Maggie Haberman, and Michael D. Shear covers a lot of ground what with Trump also seeming to have cancelled the next generation of Air Force One today, which is also in the piece.
Says the article, “The list of those being invited was not immediately clear, but they could include Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Timothy D. Cook of Apple and Sundar Pichai of Google.” Sure, that’s right, Silicon Valley CEOs have nothing scheduled that far out so of course they’ll all trudge over to Trump Tower. Whatever it is, when a president asks for your time, he’s doing it in the name of all the American people so you more or less have to attend.
The one saving grace in all this might be (and we really don’t know all the details yet) the fact that these are all consumer technology mavens so far. Maybe Trump has a punch list of social media enhancements to go over or maybe he intends to build a wall between our electrons and the rest of the world. Or maybe Trump just wanted to call a fly-in for rich guys to compare private aircraft. His is bigger, you know.
Regardless, I’ll withhold judgment on Trump’s tech chops until I know if this is just show and tell for social media or if he really wants the skinny on what to expect in areas like machine learning, AI, the IoT, and a half dozen other techno-wizbangs that will rock his world soon. I’ll begin to worry when Ellison, Benioff, and Gates get summoned.
A billion dollars isn’t what it used to be but it’s still substantial. You might wonder, as I did, what else in the world might be worth $16 billion the sum Facebook will pay (unless it pays $19 billion) for WhatsApp. As it turns out there are lots of things and people in the $16 billion range. Here are some examples.
Len Blavatnik, a self-made man with diversified holdings is #44 in Forbes list of richest people in the world.
Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computer, is #25 in Forbes’ American list.
According to the UN, GDP rankings the Republic of Georgia has a GDP of $15,830 billion.
The 2014 winter Olympics cost Russia a reported $50 billion. But the 2018 event in Pyeonchang, South Korea has an infrastructure budget of only $7 billion, assuming a 100% overrun we’re in the neighborhood.
The latest US Aircraft carrier, the USS Jerald R. Ford, is the first in a new class of carriers also called the Ford class, aka the floating Fort Knox. It was christened last year and had a cost of $13 billion, not including things like planes and ammo. Ford-class carriers will begin replacing the 40 year-old Nimitz-class carriers and we can expect a $16 billion carrier any time now.
F-35 joint strike fighter jet. Projected cost of $391.2 billion for a fleet of 2,443. That’s a current projection of $160.13 million per. Seems light to me.
US federal budget, $2.9 trillion with a deficit of $901 billion, now that’s big.
Forget all that, I decided to do what’s fastest and easiest. I simply Googled $16 billion to see what would pop up. Naturally, WhatsApp and Facebook were everywhere, but if you get deep into the search pile interesting things begin to emerge. Here are headlines and links.
Bolivia Earns $16 Billion from Energy Industry Since Nationalization (in 2006)
FY 2013 – $16 billion to assist recovery from Hurricane Sandy. ($15.18 billion after sequester)
Exxon reports record profit of nearly $16 billion
July 26, 2012
American Psychological Association
The use of psychotropic drugs by adult Americans increased 22 percent from 2001 to 2010, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychotropic medication, according to industry data. In 2010, Americans spent more than $16 billion on antipsychotics, $11 billion on antidepressants and $7 billion for drugs to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Suntory buying spirits maker Beam in a $16 billion deal
A lot of bourbon
Unclaimed Money: $16 Billion in Unredeemed U.S. Treasury Bonds. Could Some Be Yours?
June 15, 2011
August 8th, 2013
China announces $16 billion Beijing anti-pollution plan
Who are they kidding?
Cost of Excessive Drinking in Texas: $16 Billion
“In Texas, the yearly cost of binge drinking is estimated at $16 billion, which includes expenses related to health care, criminal justice and lost work.”
Shop til you drop: India’s e-shoppers spent $16 billion in 2013
Let’s see that’s about $16 per. Think of the upside.
So there’s lots that $16 billion can buy. I don’t know why there’s such an uproar over a ten year-old software company buying a four year-old software company.