Too Big to Fail... Again?! Yep.

Opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of MRD.

Perhaps you were fortunate enough to scathe by the GFC (global financial crisis) due to circumstances such as being in school or living under a rock! And so never heard or don't remember the expression "too big to fail". Well, let me learn/remind you. Too big too fail was used by governments to describe large banks and justify why taxpayers should bail them out. See, there was so much concern failure of another or more, after Leman Brothers didn't get bailed out and crashed, that there would be a cascade of all due to the sudden realization the global financial system had become so intertwined, and would crash itself. There's much controversy about whether governments should have, to what effect bailouts really had, or perhaps another approach (e.g. a bottom-up bailout) would have been better. But the fact remains, it was done and history cannot be rewritten. Or can it?

Although a matter of perspective, history can indeed be rewritten. If before it becomes that is. It sure can. The trick is not to be so blind to the past, the blatantly obvious in the present, and intervene accordingly before it's too late... again.

Data. It's been referred to as "the new oil" and there seems to be a land-grab going with established companies having most, and even taking more by buying other companies that barely get traction in the space. Why governments are just letting this happen is a mystery deserving investigation and the subject of another blog; but it is, and just a few players have more than all the others combined. It's not just data. Services also seem to be gravitating to but a few companies. We all know which companies I'm talking about, right?

But wait! It gets worse. Many popular companies not sold to bigger companies are already using or beginning to migrate their data and/or back-end services to those big companies, subjecting themselves to and their users (your) data to vendor lock-in. It would be horribly helpless knowing a company went or will go down and thinking you're safe, only to suddenly learn the company you entrusted with your data and/or services also goes down because they were locked-in to the former.

Let's imagine if one, a couple, or all these few big companies, their (your) data, and their services were to suddenly or too quickly disappear :-o It doesn't take much to start rolling such a disaster movie in the mind's eye.

Smaller scale events of this nature have already happened, when these new few too-big-to-fail companies decided a service wasn't profitably sustainable and shut it down, leaving users of those services without, their data within inaccessible, and with no recourse. For example, some games and services for IoT (Internet of Things) hardware have been shutdown, leaving those who paid real money into expectation of having those service... out cold.

Those events were just appetizers to the potential calamity should an entire one, two, or three... collapse. That's right, cascading through a web of interconnected dependencies.

It's hard to imagine such, but it's happened in the past. It'll happen again. The next time will be over something different, yet having the same systemic dynamics.