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> This is a classic case of a well established company lobbying for regulations to keep newcomers out of their sector.

No it's not because SF won't be allowed to do it either. It's like a power company advocating for the banning of coal while still using it because its the cheapest option. You can participate in a practice to stay competitive while advocating for the banning of that practice.

The point is newcomers have a disadvantage against any type of regulation they need to comply to - simply because they often have less funding/resources than a giant company. This happens in practice all the time.

>newcomers have a disadvantage against any type of regulation they need to comply to

This is unquestionably true, but it is an awful excuse to not enact any regulations. Honestly, what do people expect is the answer if the free market has already shown to fail to address this problem and we are ruling out regulation because is increases the barrier to entry?

I'm not against all regulations - some can be useful - they just need to be implemented with great caution - ideally in a way that is very easy and clear to implement. In theory I don't see how regulations could avoid security breaches anyway (which I think is a greater problem). It'd be interesting to fine large companies with security breaches to encourage better tech, but then they'd never report it.

Security breaches aren't the problem with harvesting private individuals' data. It's a matter of ownership and sovereignty, in the large and small.

How harmful a security breach is depends on how much private data about users was stored though. So even though security breaches will still happen, they will cause less harm if less sensitive data is leaked as a result.

When you say "regulations", I hear "market protections", "rule of law", and "fair and impartial judiciary".

"regulations could avoid security breaches anyway"

Translucent Databases 2nd Ed: Confusion, Misdirection, Randomness, Sharing, Authentication And Steganography To Defend Privacy http://a.co/c78Gij0

TL;DR: All demographic records are stored encrypted, are no longer retrievable if you lose the signing key. Think "proper password storage" extended to all things.

Bonus: Support for GDPR "right to be forgotten" for free. Just erase the key(s).

I'm starting a chemical manufacturing business, but regulations are putting an undue burden on me by not letting me just dump waste product into the nearest river. Dow Chemical Company didn't have to abide by all these regulations when they were founded in 1897, it's not fair!

Edit: To be clear, I'm not saying anything about the necessity of any regulations. I'm just saying that when evaluating possible future regulations, viewing just in the light of incumbent/newcomer dynamics alone will give you absurd results.

There are many regulations that will burden you by having to record, audit, etc, where/when/why/how you are dumping waste, to help assure you aren't dumping it into a river.

Dow, having established cash flow and infrastructure, can trivially bear whatever these costs. These regulations were even created because Dow themselves (et al), somewhere in the middle of their life, optimized their profit by dumping in rivers.

You personally know the environmental harm and grave illegality [0] of improperly disposing of waste products, and your company is small enough that you can be sure everybody is of similar mind - you're focused on solving technical problems, having not yet been taken over by beancount-maximizers. But you still must pay the costs of the overbearing "compliance" paperwork designed around large amoral entities, perhaps even having to hire a dedicated government bureaucrat fresh out of law school. This is the gatekeeping-legislation dynamic people complain about.

[0] Which given your corporate size and lack of TBTF, would be a criminal penalty rather than a civil wrist slap.

It's dangerous to assume there isn't such a thing as pointless regulations that actually harm consumers by making a useful service/product more out of reach.

Your comparison is laughable. Try competing with Comcast and AT&T.

Comcast and AT&T are slightly different, in that they have government granted advantages (not just usage rights to infrastructure, and infrastructure access which is much harder or impossible to achieve now, but in some cases the government paid for that infrastructure before handing it over), not just the benefit of coming up prior to regulation and already having practices in place to deal with regulation.

Isn't this exactly the reason Stripe became successful. It was a real problem, with well thought out regulation from previous abuse, that most people avoided because they wanted an easy path to riches.

A newcomer could be bigger. Lots of money looking for high margin businesses to operate in.

In theory, but surprisingly not in practice. Often the most innovative ideas come from scrappy businesses without tons of funding off the bat. Look at healthcare insurance - not a lot of newcomers, despite some very high profit margins.

Health insurance or insurance in general is a low margin business, and whatever margin they have is mostly through investing the premiums they collected before paying it out in claims. Most insurers pay more in claims than they get in premiums making up the losses with their investment, that's because they price their policies to undercut competitors that might not have access to such a large pool of money. So you can see how a newcomer can have hard time becoming a profitable insurance business.

To borrow your metaphor, I'd say it's more like an oil company investing in solar, and advocating for it's future, because it knows it's current business will not last forever. Getting on the front of this allows Salesforce good PR, and lets them have a role, however small, in shaping the regulations to come.

Any business leader who has studied the tobacco industry would do this.

The amount of data they have is non trivial and the insights from it are surely non trivial. Even if they have to delete the data due to privacy laws, they've still learned and come out on top. Newer competitors will never have the opportunity to gain such insights.

This becomes even more true as machine learning becomes more and more important. The first movers have a strict advantage over later entrants simply because of the amount of data.

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