Let's Get It Started
September 23, 2015

Vrge Analytics Releases First Digital Attitudes Survey

Finds Most Americans Expect Facebook and Google Will Soon Be Regulated

Vrge Analytics, a joint venture of Vrge Strategies and RedShift Research, today release its first Digital Attitudes survey with some surprising results. Here is the full press release on the poll:

Regulate Facebook and Other Digital Platforms? Americans Think it is Likely, According to Vrge Analytics Survey

Survey shows Americans Think Tech is More Focused on Making the Lives of Rich Better Than Bridging Gap Between Rich and Poor

1 in 4 Americans Would Implant Chip in Brain to Get Internet, According to Vrge Analytics Digital Attitudes Survey

San Francisco — September 23, 2015 – With technology and digital platforms becoming increasingly vital, many Americans expect that digital platforms such as Facebook, Apple and Twitter will become regulated like a utility, according to a new Vrge Analytics Digital Attitudes survey released today.

Only 1 in 5 Americans think that as private companies they will avoid being regulated. Forty-three percent said they are likely to be regulated, while 28 percent said it‘s “too early to tell it probably depends on how they operate and behave.”

Americans also question the purpose of some of the new technologies being introduced. More Americans think that technology is focused on making the “lives of the rich easier and better” (43 percent) than “bridging the gap between the rich and the poor” (35 percent). That is especially true among 18-24 year olds, with 52 percent of them saying that technology is being built for the needs of the rich.

“Americans live and die by their devices and technologies. But they also fear the growth of technology’s power and whether it’s focused for the good of all,” said Tom Galvin, co-founder and partner at Vrge Strategies. “Whether technology gets treated like a utility – or not – will be largely based on whether companies confront the issues they face.”

“Regulating our digital platforms like a utility would be disastrous to innovation and our economic growth,” added Mark Blafkin, co-founder and partner at Vrge Strategies. “But these platforms will be defined by the policy and business conflicts ahead of them. If handled poorly, the public will want government to step in.”

This is the first of what will be regular surveys from Vrge Analytics, a joint venture of Vrge Strategies and RedShift Research that explore a core issue: how should companies and organizations navigate the political, policy, regulatory and social impact that disruptive technologies and business models have on the world around us. In other words, how should they navigate the “Politics of Disruption?”

While Americans are watching the rise of digital platforms with some apprehension, they are increasingly open about how to use them and are bullish about U.S. competitiveness, according to the Vrge Analytics survey:

  1. Twenty-five percent said that if they could safely implant chip in their brain to get access to the Internet they would do so. That is more than double the 11 percent who said they would have done so in 2008. Most interestingly, was the difference between men and women: 35 percent of men said they’d have a chip implanted, while only 15 percent of women said they would.
  2. Americans believe that the next visionary tech leader will come from the United States. Sixty percent of those polled said the “next Steve Jobs” is likely to be born in the United States. In 2006, only 21 percent thought the “next Bill Gates” come from the United States. Most picked China or Japan.
  3. And some Americans may like businessman Donald Trump, but they aren’t ready to vote for a current tech leader for president. When added to the list of potential 2016 candidates, Apple CEO Tim Cook (8 percent) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (6 percent) didn’t rush to the top of the list.
  4. Americans do understand that we are in a period of great technological and business disruption. Americans expect 1 in 3 of the current Fortune 500 companies to no longer exist by 2030.

About Vrge Strategies
Based in Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA, Vrge helps startups and established companies – disruptors and the disrupted – navigate this uncharted territory by positioning them, identifying the audiences that matter most, and creating advocacy campaigns to advance their goals – whether they be legislative, regulatory, societal or business-to-business. For more information, go to www.vrge.us.

Read More