Dear Interconnected Readers:

Last week was a (predictably) slow news week. One item worth mentioning is this WSJ exclusive on the new actions taken by Chinese regulators on Ant Group, following the antitrust investigation on Alibaba’s “choose one out of two” e-commerce practice announced on Christmas Eve -- a topic I shared some thoughts on in “Alibaba and Antitrust with Chinese Characteristics.” Another is China’s Ministry of Commerce responding to the NYSE’s imminent delisting of three state-owned telecom companies: China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom Hong Kong Limited.

The end of each year is always a good time to take stock of what happened in the year before and think about the coming year, so that’s what we will do in today’s short post.

Top 10 Posts by Pageviews

With all the (Google Analytics) data logged and recorded, here are the top 10 posts ranked by pageviews from 2020 and their respective publication date:

  1. Why Is Facebook Not in the Cloud Business? (Published on: March 22)
  2. Azure Cracks, AWS Strong: COVID-19 Stress Tests the Cloud (Published on: April 2)
  3. Jack Ma's Bund Finance Summit Speech (Published on: November 9)
  4. Why Zoom Chose Oracle (Published on: April 30)
  5. Is the Cloud Recession-Proof? (Published on: May 3)
  6. Stress Test the Cloud: Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Azure, GCP (Published on: March 8)
  7. Can ByteDance Build Trust? (Published on: June 18)
  8. Where Are The Data Centers: AWS, Alibaba Cloud, Azure, GCP (Published on: March 5)
  9. RISC-V, China, Nightingales (Published on: July 2)
  10. Can You "Nationalize" Open Source? (Published on: August 27)

Of course, this type of list tends to favor posts that were published from earlier months of the year than recent ones, thus I noted the publication date alongside each article to provide some context.

Five Themes to Explore in 2021

Looking ahead, many of the big themes we’ve been exploring -- the cloud, open source technology, the interconnectedness of technology and geopolitics -- will continue into 2021 and beyond. But these themes are too broad to focus on our thinking sometimes. So here are five, more focused themes I plan to learn, understand, and write more about in 2021:

Innovation Cities and Corridors: one of the fundamental, structural changes brought on by COVID-19 is where will people work and live, how will offices be used, and what will that shift look like for cities and corridors of cities that have been the dominant sources of technological innovation. I don’t think an all-remote set up will work for all companies, or even all tech companies. Figuring out a hybrid set up that meets the mixture of needs for creativity, efficiency, independence, and flexibility is the challenge we have ahead. One interesting option I heard from venture capitalist, Keith Rabois, is a “center of excellence” model, where employees of a specific function cluster in specific cities that bolster that kind of talent, e.g. one company can have a product design center in NYC, a software engineering center in Bangaluru, and a manufacturing R&D center in Shenzhen. Along the same line, I think innovation hubs will also become more widely distributed around the world in places that have unique niches and advantages. I have a long mental list of these non-US cities and corridors. Here are some at the top of my mind: Taipei-Hsinchu, Singapore-Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur, Mexico City, Vancouver, Shenzhen, Bangaluru, Kiev. (Depending on how quickly the COVID vaccines get distributed, I plan to spend time living in some of these cities in 2021 to get to know them better.)

Global by Nature: if more innovation will happen in more places around the world, more startups that serve a global audience from day one will inevitably be founded. I explored this thesis in my “Global by Nature” four-part series late last year:

This theme is my investment focus for the next 10 years, but this series barely scratches the surface, so I will devote more time to fleshing out its various elements and sub-topics, like API design, commercializing open source, and the consumerization of developer-focused products.

Open Source Foundations: as open source technologies become an increasingly important focal point of geopolitics, the non-profit foundations that host, manage, and govern them will also become increasingly influential. Some are already prominent, like the Linux Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (a sub-foundation of the Linux Foundation), and the Apache Software Foundation. Others with a lower profile -- RISC-V International, Open Compute Project, Telecom Infra Project -- also need to be better understood. I plan to spill more digital ink on understanding these foundations.

Capital Market Pendulum: until perhaps just a few years ago, it has been taken for granted that the US capital market, aka Wall Street, is the only destination for companies everywhere to go public, raise money, and become iconic global brands. That status may be challenged as more companies from Asia, primarily China, list in Hong Kong and Shanghai. As this KPMG report shows, 2020’s top five stock exchanges ranked by IPO proceeds are: NASDAQ, Hong Kong, Shanghai, NYSE, and Shenzhen. The forces pushing this trend may also be less market-driven and more regulatory-driven, as we’ve seen with the delisting of three Chinese telecom companies by the NYSE.

Source: https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/cn/pdf/en/2020/12/china-hk-ipo-2020-review-and-outlook-for-2021.pdf

Blockchain and Digital Currency: I’m not choosing this theme to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon, though in full disclosure: I do own some BTC and am bullish of its long-term prospect. I do take blockchain, the technology, seriously, and the decentralized ideal of crypto purists is about to confront its centralized counterpart in the form of digital currency developed by central banks, in particular the People’s Bank of China. This juxtaposition may have an outsized influence on global trade, commerce, and technology for the next 10-20 years.

One last closing thought as we dive fully into 2021: let’s not forget 2020. As tempting as that may be, it’s the worst, least-responsible thing we could do to ourselves. As difficult as 2020 was, there's so much we must learn and apply from the 2020 experience. Let's not wish it away. Let's make good use of it.

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2020年前十文章;2021年五大主题

亲爱的《互联》读者们:

上周新闻不多,因为是节假日这也并不奇怪。值得注意的是《华尔街日报》这篇独家报道,继圣诞节前夕宣布对阿里巴巴 "二选一 " 电商做法进行反垄断调查之后,关于中国监管部门对蚂蚁集团采取的新举动。我在 《阿里巴巴与有中国特色的反垄断》一文中也分享了些对反垄断调查的个人想法。另一件事是中国商务部对纽交所即将逼三家国有电信公司退市的回应,分别是中国电信、中国移动和中国联通香港有限公司。

每年的年底总是一个总结前一年和思考展望新一年的好时候,所以在今天的这篇较短的文章里,我们就做些总结和展望。


按页面浏览量排名前十的帖子

随着所有的(谷歌分析)数据都记载完整,以下是2020年以浏览量排名的前10篇文章以及各自的发布日期:

  1. 为什么Facebook不做云的生意?》(发布于:3月22日)
  2. Azure有裂痕,AWS很靠谱:COVID-19对云的压力测试‌‌》 (发布于:4月2日)
  3. 马云上海外滩金融论坛演讲全文》(发布于:11月9日)
  4. Zoom为什么选择了Oracle》 (发布于:4月30日)
  5. 云计算是否能抵御经济衰退?》(发布于:5月3日)
  6. 压力测试公有云:阿里云、AWS、Azure、GCP》 (发布于:3月8日)
  7. 字节跳动能在海外建立诚信吗?》(发布于:6月18日)
  8. AWS、阿里云、Azure、GCP的数据中心都在哪儿?》 (发布于:3月5日)
  9. RISC-V,中国,夜莺》 (发布于:7月2日)
  10. 能把开源“国有化”吗?》(发布于:8月27日)

当然,这种排行榜偏向于一年里早些月发表的文章,而不是最近的文章,因此我在每篇文章旁边特意注明了发布日期。

2021年探索的五大主题

展望未来,我们将在2021年及以后很多年继续探索一直在探讨的几个大主题 -- 云计算、开源技术、科技与地缘国际关系的互联性。但这些主题有点太广了,很难集中思考。所以以下是五个我准备在2021年花更多精力学习、理解和写的五大更有针对性的主题。

创新城市和“多城区”:疫情带来的一个根本性、结构性的变化是人们将在哪里工作和生活,办公室将如何使用,这种转变又会给一直是技术创新的主要来源的城市和“多城区”带来什么样的未来。我不认为全部远程办公适合所有公司,甚至所有科技公司。摸索出一种混合模式,满足创造力、效率、独立性和灵活性的多方面混合需求,是我们面临的挑战。我从风险投资家 Keith Rabois 那里听到了一个有意思的,所谓的 "卓越中心" 模式,即把特定职能的员工聚集在某些特定的,有支撑某种人才的名声的城市。比如说,一家公司可以在纽约设立一个“产品设计中心”,在班加罗尔设立“软件工程中心”,在深圳设立“制造研发中心”。按照同样的思路,我认为创新中心也会更广泛地分布在全球各地,位于有独特利基和优势的地方。在我的脑袋里已经有一批不位于美国的这种城市和“多城区”。以下是我目前觉得最重要,最有潜力的几个:台北-新竹,新加坡-雅加达-吉隆坡,墨西哥城,温哥华,深圳,班加罗尔,基辅。(随着疫情疫苗分发的速度,我计划在2021年在其中这几个城市生活一段时间,深入了解它们。)

生来全球化:如果更多的创新会发生在全球更多的地方,那么必然会有更多创业公司从第一天起就会有全球受众。我在去年年底发布的 "生来全球化" 四篇系列文章中探讨了这个论点:

这个主题将是我未来10年的投资重点,但这一系列文章仅仅触及了这个大主题的皮毛。所以我会花更多的时间来充实这个主题的具体元素和子话题,比如API设计、开源的商业化以及开发者产品的 “toC 化”。

开源基金会:随着开源技术成为地缘国际关系中越来越重要的焦点,托载、管理和治理这些技术的非营利基金会也将变得越来越有影响力。有些这种基金会已经很有名,比如Linux基金会、云原生计算基金会(Linux基金会的一个子基金会)和Apache软件基金会。其他一些知名度较低的 -- RISC-V国际基金会、开放计算项目(Open Compute Project)、电信信息项目(Telecom Infra Project)-- 也需要被更好地了解。我准备为深入分析和理解这些基金会洒下更多的“数字墨水“。

国际资本市场的摇摆:也许就在近几年前,人们还理所当然地认为,美国资本市场,也就是华尔街,是全球各地企业去上市、融资、成为世界级品牌的唯一目的地。随着越来越多来自亚洲(主要是中国)的公司在香港和上海上市,这一地位可能会被挑战。正如毕马威的这份报告所显示的,2020年按IPO收益排名的前五家证券交易所分别是:纳斯达克、香港、上海、纽交所和深圳。推动这个趋势的力量也不都是市场驱动的,而是监管驱动的,正如我们刚提到的三家中国电信公司被纽交所逼退市这条新闻中可看到的。

来源: https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/cn/pdf/en/2020/12/china-hk-ipo-2020-review-and-outlook-for-2021.pdf

区块链和数字货币:我选择这个主题并不是想蹭比特币暴涨的热点,虽然也该郑重披露一下:我持有一些比特币,也看好其长期前景。我对区块链这项技术的态度是很认真的,而崇尚非中央化的加密货币纯粹主义者也即将与有中央化特征的各大央行推动的数字货币开始有真正的对比,甚至对质,尤其是国行开发并推动的数字货币。这个并置可能会对未来10-20年的全球贸易、商业和科技产生巨大的影响。

在我们全身步入2021年之际,最后想说的一句话就是:不要忘记2020年。尽管许多人很想这么做,这种心态也完全可以理解,但这也正是我们对自己能做的最糟糕、最不负责任的一件事。尽管2020年很艰难,但我们必须从2020年的经验中学习和落实它教给我们的很多新东西。不要期望它的消失,而要好好利用它给我们留下的教训。

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