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Long Waves: The History of Innovation Cycles

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Innovation Cycles

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Long Waves: How Innovation Cycles Influence Growth

Creative destruction plays a key role in entrepreneurship and economic development.

Coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, the theory of “creative destruction” suggests that business cycles operate under long waves of innovation. Specifically, as markets are disrupted, key clusters of industries have outsized effects on the economy.

Take the railway industry, for example. At the turn of the 19th century, railways completely reshaped urban demographics and trade. Similarly, the internet disrupted entire industries—from media to retail.

The above infographic shows how innovation cycles have impacted economies since 1785, and what’s next for the future.

Innovation Cycles: The Six Waves

From the first wave of textiles and water power in the industrial revolution, to the internet in the 1990s, here are the six waves of innovation and their key breakthroughs.

First WaveSecond WaveThird WaveFourth WaveFifth WaveSixth Wave
Water Power
Textiles
Iron
Steam
Rail
Steel
Electricity
Chemicals
Internal-Combustion Engine
Petrochemicals
Electronics
Aviation
Digital Network
Software
New Media
Digitization (AI, IoT, AV,
Robots & Drones)
Clean Tech
60 years55 years50 years40 years30 years25 years

Source: Edelsen Institute, Detlef Reis

During the first wave of the Industrial Revolution, water power was instrumental in manufacturing paper, textiles, and iron goods. Unlike the mills of the past, full-sized dams fed turbines through complex belt systems. Advances in textiles brought the first factory, and cities expanded around them.

With the second wave, between about 1845 and 1900, came significant rail, steam, and steel advancements. The rail industry alone affected countless industries, from iron and oil to steel and copper. In turn, great railway monopolies were formed.

The emergence of electricity powering light and telephone communication through the third wave dominated the first half of the 1900s. Henry Ford introduced the Model T, and the assembly line transformed the auto industry. Automobiles became closely linked with the expansion of the American metropolis. Later, in the fourth wave, aviation revolutionized travel.

After the internet emerged by the early 1990s, barriers to information were upended. New media changed political discourse, news cycles, and communication in the fifth wave. The internet ushered in a new frontier of globalization, a borderless landscape of digital information flows.

Market Power

To the economist Schumpeter, technological innovations boosted economic growth and improved living standards.

However, these disruptors can also have a tendency to lead to monopolies. Especially during a cycle’s upswing, the strongest players realize wide margins, establish moats, and fend off rivals. Typically, these cycles begin when the innovations become of general use.

Of course, this can be seen today—never has the world been so closely connected. Information is more centralized than it has ever been, with Big Tech dominating global search traffic, social networks, and advertising.

Like the Big Tech behemoths of today, the rail industry had the power to control prices and push out competitors during the 19th century. At the peak, listed shares of rail companies on the New York Stock Exchange made up 60% of total stock market capitalization.

Waves of Change

As cycle longevity continues to shorten, the fifth wave may have a few years left under its belt.

The sixth wave, marked by artificial intelligence and digitization across information of things (IoT), robotics, and drones, will likely paint an entirely new picture. Namely, the automation of systems, predictive analytics, and data processing could make an impact. In turn, physical goods and services will likely be digitized. The time to complete tasks could shift from hours to even seconds.

At the same time, clean tech could come to the forefront. At the heart of each technological innovation is solving complex problems, and climate concerns are becoming increasingly pressing. Lower costs in solar PV and wind are also predicating efficiency advantages.

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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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