Infographic: Tech's Bizarre Beginnings & Lucrative Pivots
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Tech’s Bizarre Beginnings & Lucrative Pivots

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Infographic: Tech's Bizarre Beginnings and Lucrative Pivots

Tech’s Bizarre Beginnings & Lucrative Pivots

When you’re building something great, things are bound to get messy.

As many as 80-90% of startups fold and those left standing also fail, repeatedly. Rarely does a business take a straight run at success, and that includes the likes of Apple, Facebook, and their fellow tech giants.

Product lines can come to a screeching halt. Ideas can be stolen. And, yes, even geniuses like Steve Jobs get forced out. But by embracing uncertainty and making timely pivots, the tech companies in the infographic above have become some of the most influential—and valuable—organizations on the planet.

Let’s take a closer look at some of tech’s intriguing beginnings and lucrative pivots.

Samsung’s Evolution from Fish to Phones

Samsung spent much of the 1950s and 1960s testing market waters. The South Korean company tried everything from insurance to textiles, and most oddly, trading dehydrated fish.

Following its experimental phase, Samsung released its first consumer electronic product in 1970—a black-and-white television.

After making a name for itself with TVs, Samsung entered the telecommunications hardware sector in 1980 by way of acquisition. Its product diversification strategy was a successful one. Samsung went on to gain international prominence throughout the 1990s and restructured in 1993 to focus on electronics, chemicals, and engineering.

  • Today, Samsung is worth more than $275 billion.
  • It has the second-largest market share of smartphone sales in North America, behind Apple.

Facebook Ratings to Friend Requests

Thanks to movies like “The Social Network”, Facebook’s origin story has been hotly discussed.

“Facemash” was developed in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room, as a platform that compared and rated pictures of coeds. When it pivoted from rating coeds to connecting coeds, “TheFacebook” quickly took off across Harvard and spread across the university ecosystem.

  • In 2012, Facebook became the first social network to reach 1 billion users.
  • It now boasts more than 2.7 billion users across the planet.
  • In total, the company has more than 3.14 billion account holders across its platforms, which include acquired companies like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

— Henry Ford

About Them Apples: Mac Starts with Schools

From the jump, Apple was strategic.

To open up the market for personal computers, Steve Jobs (Apple’s now legendary co-founder), personally lobbied multiple levels of government to increase tax incentives for companies that donate to schools—a remarkable undertaking for a scrappy startup.

After his federal lobbying fell through, Jobs was successful in the state of California. By initially focusing on education—and giving their computers away for free to the California school system—Apple amassed a potential user base and claimed mindshare.

“… for about $1 million, Apple put an apple in every elementary, middle, and high school in California.”

— Hacker Education

Today, an Apple computer is the go-to tool of the creative class. In 2018 alone, the company sold 18.21 million Mac computers. By early 2020, there were 1.5 billion active iPhone devices, and by the end of August 2020, Apple was worth more than $2 trillion.

Apple proves that even with a solid strategy and excellent products, the corporate machine can still veer out of control. Jobs was famously forced out of the company in 1985.

In his absence, ventures backfired. After his return in 1997—and the subsequent introduction of the iPod—Apple went on to become one of the most lucrative tech companies in the world.

Tech company revenues

Sony Sticks to Electronics

Sony’s brand name has long been synonymous with quality—but its first electronic product didn’t make it to market.

After WWII, Sony wanted to make a rice cooker to serve post-war Japan, so the company developed a simple wooden rice cooker with electrodes attached. Due to inconsistent electrical power throughout the country, the project was shelved.

Sony, however, stuck to electronics. After establishing its brand name with TVs, Sony branched out into gaming and is now the largest video game console manufacturer and game publisher.

  • As of 2020, its global revenue neared $77 billion.
  • The company brings in 26.7% of sales from game and network services.
  • Meanwhile, nearly $4.5 billion in revenue stems from its mobile communications segment.

YouTube’s Dating Game

Gen Z has become the first generation to watch more YouTube than TV. But when YouTube was founded in 2005, it was a bit more akin to Tinder.

Back when video dating was still a thing, YouTube aimed to take the experience online. The company even went so far as to offer women money to upload videos. However, the idea didn’t click. YouTube’s co-founders decided to release a platform that would allow for any video type—and from there, sparks flew.

  • YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.7 billion.
  • By 2019, it had more than 1.68 billion users worldwide.

“If you’re competition-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

— Jeff Bezos

Twitter Ditches Talk for Type

For the platform known for a deluge of words and character-count limits, it may be a surprise that Twitter was meant to be a podcasting platform called “Odeo”.

When Apple announced its entry into the podcasting world, the team realized they couldn’t compete. Instead, Odeo turned to its engineering manager Jack Dorsey to pivot the company into his side project, now known as Twitter. Although original Odeo investors weren’t happy with the move, the strategy proved successful.

  • In 2019, Twitter raked in $3.46 billion in revenue.
  • It averages 150 million daily users.
  • Twitter collected advertising revenue of nearly $3 billion in 2019.
  • It was valued at nearly $35 billion in 2020.

Rubber Boots to Phones: Nokia’s Puzzling Pivot

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Nokia made a very different kind of product—rubber boots. The Kontio product line was successful, but in the early 1990s, the company pivoted to focus on mobile connectivity and hardware.

Released in 2003 and 2005, the Nokia 1100 and 1110 still hold the record for the world’s most popular phones, with more than 250 million units sold of each.

Although Android and iPhone have sped past Nokia as smartphone manufacturers, Nokia is still worth about $24 billion. While its phones were incredibly popular, the pivot took a financial toll, and the company’s mobile and services division was acquired by Microsoft in 2013.

Shopify Rides into Sales

Frustrated with the online sales experience, the founders of Snowdevil—a Canadian secondhand snowboard shop—decided to create their own online experience. Instead of their gear taking off, it was their platform that caught wind with consumers, and the team knew they were on to something.

In the span of two years, 2004-2006, Snowdevil became Shopify. Less than a decade later, it went public in 2015.

  • Today, Shopify claims 20% of global market share among ecommerce platforms.
  • It has more than 800,000 online sellers using the platform.

Nintendo Games Span Centuries

When it comes to gaming, Nintendo has more than 150 years of experience to draw from.

Beginning with hand-painted cards in the 1800s, Nintendo sold cards for multiple games, including gambling. Their nature-inspired and cartoon-like style was carried into the 20th century when Nintendo partnered with Disney to create playing cards.

Like other tech companies, Nintendo has ventured into some unusual markets over the years, including ramen noodles.

However, its primary focus has remained on games. In 1985, Nintendo released what would become the world’s most popular video game, Super Mario Bros—which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

The Winding Road to Success

Silicon Valley’s “fail fast” philosophy—pressure testing and pivoting—can be a lucrative, albeit grueling, one.

It’s an adaptive strategy that isn’t relegated to tech companies alone. Pivots large and small are often a key part of any company’s evolution, from products and services to marketing strategies.

Beyond bizarre beginnings and pivots, if there’s one thing successful companies have in common, it’s the audacity to evolve.

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Mapped: The Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds in the World

Internet speeds vary depending on your location. Here’s a look at the countries with the fastest—and slowest—internet speeds worldwide.

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Internet Speeds

Mapped: The World’s Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds

How quickly did this page load for you?

The answer depends on the device you’re using, and where in the world you’re located. Average internet speeds vary wildly from country to country.

Which countries have the fastest internet connection? Using data from the Speedtest Global Index™, this map ranks the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds worldwide, comparing both fixed broadband and mobile.

What Factors Affect Internet Speed?

Before diving in, it’s important to understand the key factors that impact a country’s internet speed. Generally speaking, internet speed depends on:

  1. Infrastructure or the type of cabling (copper or fiber-optic) that a country’s utilizing to support their internet service. Typically, the newer the infrastructure, the faster the connection.
  2. Proximity/connection to submarine cables is important, as these massive undersea fiber-optic cables transmit about 97% of the world’s communication data.
  3. The size of a country, since landmass affects how much it costs to upgrade infrastructure. The smaller the country, the cheaper it is to upgrade cabling.
  4. Investment makes a difference, or how much a country’s government prioritizes internet accessibility.

Of course, other factors may influence a country’s internet speed too, such as government regulation and intentional bandwidth throttling, which is the case in countries like Turkmenistan.

Ranked: Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds

The Speedtest Global Index uses data from hundreds of millions of people, in more than 190 countries, to measure both fixed broadband and mobile connections.

When it comes to the fastest fixed broadband, Singapore comes in first place, with a download speed of 262.2 mbps—more than double the global average.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇸🇬 Singapore262.2
2🇭🇰 Hong Kong254.4
3🇲🇨 Monaco242.9
4🇨🇭 Switzerland222.0
5🇹🇭 Thailand221.0
6🇷🇴 Romania217.9
7🇰🇷 South Korea216.7
8🇩🇰 Denmark216.13
9🇨🇱 Chile209.8
10🇫🇷 France201.6
11🇭🇺 Hungary201.55
12🇺🇸 United States199
13🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.11
14🇱🇮 Liechtenstein194.77
15🇨🇳 China193.15
16🇪🇸 Spain187.36
17🇯🇵 Japan180.35
18🇨🇦 Canada176.46
19🇱🇺 Luxembourg173.16
20🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)170.84
21🇸🇪 Sweden167.29
22🇮🇱 Israel164.24
23🇳🇿 New Zealand164.16
24🇳🇱 Netherlands161.85
25🇳🇴 Norway161.61
26🇹🇼 Taiwan152
27🇵🇱 Poland147.45
28🇵🇹 Portugal145.96
29🇦🇩 Andorra145.18
30🇲🇹 Malta142.07
31🇰🇼 Kuwait141.42
32🇲🇩 Moldova139.61
33🇱🇹 Lithuania135.65
34🇱🇻 Latvia133.91
35🇵🇦 Panama131.35
36🇫🇮 Finland131.02
37🇩🇪 Germany130.76
38🇧🇪 Belgium121.81
39🇮🇪 Ireland117.4
40🇸🇲 San Marino114.24
41🇸🇮 Slovenia111.74
42🇧🇧 Barbados110.25
43🇶🇦 Qatar109.57
44🇧🇷 Brazil108.88
45🇸🇰 Slovakia106.12
46🇲🇾 Malaysia103.28
47🇬🇧 United Kingdom95.79
48🇮🇹 Italy94.3
49🇦🇹 Austria93.77
50🇷🇺 Russia93.37
51🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia91.65
52🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago87.42
53🇨🇿 Czechia86.29
54🇦🇺 Australia85.57
55🇪🇪 Estonia82.82
56🇯🇴 Jordan82.44
57🇷🇸 Serbia80.59
58🇧🇬 Bulgaria79.19
59🇻🇳 Vietnam75.3
60🇧🇭 Bahrain74.21
61🇺🇦 Ukraine73.89
62🇵🇾 Paraguay72.94
63🇵🇭 Philippines72.56
64🇧🇾 Belarus68.84
65🇨🇴 Colombia68.44
66🇴🇲 Oman65.3
67🇬🇾 Guyana63.2
68🇮🇳 India62.45
69🇺🇾 Uruguay61.23
70🇰🇿 Kazakhstan61.05
71🇽🇰 Kosovo60.86
72🇵🇪 Peru57.97
73🇦🇷 Argentina57.49
74🇨🇷 Costa Rica57.27
75🇬🇩 Grenada56.44
76🇧🇸 The Bahamas55.89
77🇭🇷 Croatia55.36
78🇿🇦 South Africa53.6
79🇲🇽 Mexico53.04
80🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines50.8
81🇲🇳 Mongolia50.52
82🇨🇾 Cyprus50.45
83🇬🇭 Ghana49.55
84🇱🇨 Saint Lucia49.5
85🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan47.91
86🇲🇪 Montenegro47.39
87🇱🇦 Laos47.01
88🇲🇬 Madagascar45.98
89🇪🇬 Egypt44.09
90🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina43.1
91🇲🇭 Marshall Islands42.6
92🇦🇱 Albania41.47
93🇧🇿 Belize41.45
94🇺🇿 Uzbekistan40.64
95🇹🇷 Turkey40.58
96🇯🇲 Jamaica40
97🇧🇩 Bangladesh38.98
98🇲🇰 North Macedonia38.84
99🇪🇨 Ecuador37.53
100🇦🇲 Armenia37.21
101🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire35.41
102🇬🇷 Greece35.03
103🇸🇳 Senegal34.68
104🇩🇲 Dominica34.42
105🇧🇳 Brunei33.94
106🇹🇯 Tajikistan33.85
107🇸🇨 Seychelles33.27
108🇮🇶 Iraq33.13
109🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis32.78
110🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.85
111🇳🇵 Nepal30.49
112🇳🇮 Nicaragua30.26
113🇧🇴 Bolivia27.06
114🇮🇩 Indonesia26.95
115🇬🇪 Georgia26.73
116🇸🇻 El Salvador26.41
117🇲🇦 Morocco26.4
118🇭🇳 Honduras26.17
119🇱🇰 Sri Lanka26.05
120🇰🇭 Cambodia25.82
121🇱🇷 Liberia25.65
122🇱🇸 Lesotho25.59
123🇧🇫 Burkina Faso25.52
124🇦🇿 Azerbaijan25.36
125🇵🇸 Palestine25.02
126🇨🇬 Congo (Brazzaville)24.12
127🇲🇺 Mauritius23.87
128🇪🇭 Western Sahara23.84
129🇬🇹 Guatemala23.82
130🇨🇻 Cape Verde23.78
131🇲🇻 Maldives23.72
132🇻🇪 Venezuela22.33
133🇧🇹 Bhutan21.79
134🇮🇷 Iran21.35
135🇫🇯 Fiji21.28
136🇬🇦 Gabon20.62
137🇹🇬 Togo20.61
138🇲🇱 Mali19.99
139🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar19.78
140🇷🇼 Rwanda18.45
141🇳🇦 Namibia18.16
142🇳🇬 Nigeria18.15
143🇹🇿 Tanzania17.93
144🇩🇯 Djibouti17.75
145🇰🇪 Kenya17.41
146🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda17.11
147🇱🇧 Lebanon16.9
148🇧🇯 Benin16.81
149🇨🇲 Cameroon16.6
150🇫🇲 Micronesia16.56
151🇱🇾 Libya16.53
152🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea16.4
153🇻🇺 Vanuatu15.44
154🇦🇴 Angola15.04
155🇭🇹 Haiti14.93
156🇸🇷 Suriname14.93
157🇿🇼 Zimbabwe14.86
158🇸🇴 Somalia14.66
159🇺🇬 Uganda14.62
160🇪🇹 Ethiopia14.44
161🇲🇼 Malawi13.72
162🇵🇰 Pakistan13.5
163🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea12.17
164🇸🇱 Sierra Leone12.13
165🇨🇩 DR Congo11.46
166🇲🇷 Mauritania11.08
167🇸🇾 Syria10.73
168🇿🇲 Zambia10.69
169🇸🇿 Swaziland (Eswatini)10.62
170🇧🇼 Botswana10.35
171🇹🇳 Tunisia10.3
172🇬🇲 The Gambia10.09
173🇩🇿 Algeria9.95
174🇧🇮 Burundi9.72
175🇦🇫 Afghanistan9.23
176🇸🇩 Sudan9.02
177🇲🇿 Mozambique8.84
178🇾🇪 Yemen5.95
179🇹🇲 Turkmenistan4.49
180🇨🇺 Cuba3.46

Size could be a factor in Singapore’s speedy internet, as it’s one of the smallest
and also densest countries in the world. With a landmass of just 280 square miles, it’s around the same size as Austin, Texas.

The country’s government has also prioritized investment in digital infrastructure, especially in recent years. In 2020, the Singaporean government promised to invest $2.52 billion towards digital innovation, with a portion dedicated to upgrading the country’s telecom infrastructure.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Cuba has the slowest fixed broadband, with a speed of 3.46 mbps. Along with poor government funding, Cuba also has limited access to submarine cables. While most countries are connected to several, Cuba is only connected to one.

Ranked: Mobile Internet Speeds

Mobile internet uses cell towers to wirelessly transmit internet to your phone. Because of this extra element, the ranking for mobile internet speeds varies from fixed broadband.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.52
2🇰🇷 South Korea192.16
3🇳🇴 Norway173.54
4🇶🇦 Qatar169.17
5🇨🇳 China163.45
6🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia149.95
7🇰🇼 Kuwait141.46
8🇨🇾 Cyprus136.18
9🇦🇺 Australia126.97
10🇧🇬 Bulgaria126.21
11🇨🇭 Switzerland115.83
12🇱🇺 Luxembourg110.67
13🇩🇰 Denmark103.35
14🇳🇱 Netherlands100.48
15🇴🇲 Oman97.81
16🇸🇪 Sweden97.06
17🇺🇸 United States96.31
18🇸🇬 Singapore91.75
19🇨🇦 Canada87.65
20🇫🇮 Finland83.01
21🇧🇭 Bahrain81.54
22🇹🇼 Taiwan81.32
23🇬🇧 United Kingdom80.82
24🇭🇷 Croatia78.91
25🇭🇰 Hong Kong78.75
26🇩🇪 Germany75.67
27🇳🇿 New Zealand73.17
28🇫🇷 France72.47
29🇬🇷 Greece70.71
30🇪🇪 Estonia70.44
31🇧🇪 Belgium70.24
32🇦🇹 Austria66.38
33🇱🇹 Lithuania63.03
34🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)62.43
35🇲🇹 Malta62.1
36🇧🇳 Brunei61.85
37🇯🇵 Japan61.32
38🇭🇺 Hungary58.9
39🇨🇿 Czechia58.46
40🇲🇻 Maldives58.3
41🇸🇮 Slovenia57.52
42🇲🇰 North Macedonia57.37
43🇷🇴 Romania55.93
44🇮🇪 Ireland55.39
45🇵🇱 Poland52.28
46🇸🇰 Slovakia51.49
47🇿🇦 South Africa50.44
48🇷🇸 Serbia50.34
49🇦🇱 Albania49.82
50🇹🇭 Thailand49.37
51🇪🇸 Spain48.14
52🇮🇹 Italy47.51
53🇹🇷 Turkey47.43
54🇮🇱 Israel46.02
55🇱🇻 Latvia45.29
56🇵🇹 Portugal43.41
57🇻🇳 Vietnam41.16
58🇲🇩 Moldova40.64
59🇹🇬 Togo40.32
60🇮🇶 Iraq40.21
61🇸🇷 Suriname39.54
62🇦🇿 Azerbaijan39.25
63🇺🇾 Uruguay39.04
64🇲🇱 Mali38.84
65🇲🇦 Morocco37.63
66🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago37.54
67🇯🇲 Jamaica36.77
68🇬🇪 Georgia36.53
69🇧🇼 Botswana35.38
70🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina34.97
71🇲🇽 Mexico34.49
72🇨🇷 Costa Rica34.39
73🇵🇭 Philippines33.77
74🇦🇲 Armenia33.71
75🇧🇷 Brazil33.47
76🇲🇺 Mauritius33.32
77🇹🇳 Tunisia33.01
78🇧🇸 The Bahamas32.63
79🇨🇲 Cameroon32.46
80🇮🇷 Iran32.3
81🇱🇧 Lebanon32.06
82🇱🇦 Laos32.04
83🇰🇿 Kazakhstan31.81
84🇺🇦 Ukraine31.2
85🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.07
86🇬🇹 Guatemala30
87🇦🇷 Argentina29.6
88🇲🇪 Montenegro29.14
89🇲🇾 Malaysia29.14
90🇭🇳 Honduras28.69
91🇽🇰 Kosovo28.5
92🇷🇺 Russia28.16
93🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar27.94
94🇯🇴 Jordan26.51
95🇫🇯 Fiji26.45
96🇳🇮 Nicaragua26
97🇵🇪 Peru25.46
98🇨🇺 Cuba25.21
99🇸🇻 El Salvador25.17
100🇪🇨 Ecuador24.98
101🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan24.95
102🇪🇬 Egypt24.48
103🇦🇴 Angola23.98
104🇰🇭 Cambodia23.71
105🇳🇬 Nigeria23.59
106🇪🇹 Ethiopia23.19
107🇧🇴 Bolivia23.17
108🇲🇳 Mongolia23.11
109🇭🇹 Haiti22.52
110🇸🇳 Senegal22.48
111🇰🇪 Kenya22.22
112🇮🇩 Indonesia21.96
113🇨🇱 Chile21.28
114🇳🇵 Nepal20.9
115🇵🇾 Paraguay20.8
116🇳🇦 Namibia20.74
117🇲🇿 Mozambique20.55
118🇵🇦 Panama20.44
119🇸🇾 Syria20.09
120🇵🇰 Pakistan19.79
121🇺🇬 Uganda18.97
122🇺🇿 Uzbekistan18.92
123🇨🇴 Colombia18.67
124🇧🇾 Belarus18.66
125🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire18.37
126🇮🇳 India17.96
127🇩🇿 Algeria17.31
128🇱🇾 Libya17.22
129🇿🇲 Zambia16.05
130🇱🇰 Sri Lanka16.02
131🇹🇯 Tajikistan15.7
132🇸🇩 Sudan15.66
133🇹🇿 Tanzania14.48
134🇸🇴 Somalia14.23
135🇿🇼 Zimbabwe13.71
136🇬🇭 Ghana13.17
137🇧🇩 Bangladesh12.92
138🇵🇸 Palestine8.11
139🇻🇪 Venezuela7.41
140🇦🇫 Afghanistan7.07

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is first on the list, with a download speed of 195.5 mbps. Not only is mobile data fast in the UAE, it’s also relatively cheap, compared to other countries on the ranking. The average cost of 1 GB of data in the UAE is around $3.78, while in South Korea (#2 on the list) it’s $10.94.

The Future is 5G

Innovation and new technologies are changing the digital landscape, and things like 5G networks are becoming more mainstream across the globe.

Because of the rapidly changing nature of this industry, the data behind this ranking is updated monthly to provide the latest look at internet speeds across the globe.

This means the bar is gradually raising when it comes to internet speed, as faster, stronger internet connections become the norm. And countries that aren’t equipped to handle these souped-up networks will lag behind even further.

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Ranked: Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During the First Half of 2021

Big Tech is worth trillions, but what are insiders doing with their stock? We breakdown Big Tech CEO insider trading during the first half of 2021.

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Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During The First Half of 2021

When CEOs of major companies are selling their shares, investors can’t help but notice.

After all, these decisions have a direct effect on the personal wealth of these insiders, which can say plenty about their convictions with respect to the future direction of the companies they run.

Considering that Big Tech stocks are some of the most popular holdings in today’s portfolios, and are backed by a collective $5.3 trillion in institutional investment, how do the CEOs of these organizations rank by their insider selling?

CEOStockShares Sold H1 2021Value of Shares ($M)
Jeff BezosAmazon (AMZN)2.0 million$6,600
Mark ZuckerbergFacebook (FB)7.1 million$2,200
Satya NadellaMicrosoft (MSFT)278,694
$65
Sundar PichaiGoogle (GOOGL)27,000$62
Tim CookApple (AAPL)0$0

Breaking Down Insider Trading, by CEO

Let’s dive into the insider trading activity of each Big Tech CEO:

Jeff Bezos

During the first half of 2021, Jeff Bezos sold 2 million shares of Amazon worth $6.6 billion.

This activity was spread across 15 different transactions, representing an average of $440 million per transaction. Altogether, this ranks him first by CEO insider selling, by total dollar proceeds. Bezos’s time as CEO of Amazon came to an end shortly after the half way mark for the year.

Mark Zuckerberg

In second place is Mark Zuckerberg, who has been significantly busier selling than the rest.

In the first half of 2021, he unloaded 7.1 million shares of Facebook onto the open market, worth $2.2 billion. What makes these transactions interesting is the sheer quantity of them, as he sold on 136 out of 180 days. On average, that’s $12 million worth of stock sold every day.

Zuckerberg’s record year of selling in 2018 resulted in over $5 billion worth of stock sold, but over 90% of his net worth still remains in the company.

Satya Nadella

Next is Satya Nadella, who sold 278,694 shares of Microsoft, worth $234 million. Despite this, the Microsoft CEO still holds an estimated 1.6 million shares, which is the largest of any insider.

Microsoft’s stock has been on a tear for a number of years now, and belongs to an elite trillion dollar club, which consists of only six public companies.

Sundar Pichai

Fourth on the list is Sundar Pichai who has been at the helm at Google for six years now. Since the start of 2021, he’s sold 27,000 shares through nine separate transactions, worth $62.5 million. However, Pichai still has an estimated 6,407 Class A and 114,861 Class C shares.

Google is closing in on a $2 trillion valuation and is the best performing Big Tech stock, with shares rising 60% year-to-date. Their market share growth from U.S. ad revenues is a large contributing factor.

Tim Cook

Last, is Tim Cook, who just surpassed a decade as Apple CEO.

During this time, shares have rallied over 1,000% and annual sales have gone from $100 billion to $347 billion. That said, Cook has sold 0 shares of Apple during the first half of 2021. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t sold shares elsewhere, though. Cook also sits on the board of directors for Nike, and has sold $6.9 million worth of shares this year.

Measuring Insider Selling

All things equal, it’s desirable for management to have skin in the game, and be invested alongside shareholders. It can also be seen as aligning long-term interests.

A good measure of insider selling activity is in relation to the existing stake in the company. For example, selling $6.6 billion worth of shares may sound like a lot, but when there are 51.7 million Amazon shares remaining for Jeff Bezos, it actually represents a small portion and is probably not cause for panic.

If, however, executives are disclosing large transactions relative to their total stakes, it might be worth digging deeper.

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