A hot topic in the 2016 election was the business and targeting practices of the tech giants Facebook, Google, and Amazon and their possibly corrosive effects upon democracy. One of the excellent new books on this subject is Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Things – How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy. Jonathan’s book does a really great job tracing the motivations of their founders as they morphed from startup tech innovators to dominant tech monopolies.
Jonathan Taplin is Director Emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. he was a Professor at the USC Annenberg School from 2003-2016. Taplin's areas of specialization are in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese's first feature film, Mean Streets, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times.
In 1984 Taplin acted as the investment advisor to the Bass Brothers in their successful attempt to save Walt Disney Studios from a corporate raid. This experience brought him to Merrill Lynch, where he served as vice president of media mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he helped re-engineer the media landscape on transactions such as the leveraged buyout of Viacom. Taplin was a founder of Intertainer and has served as its Chairman and CEO since June 1996. Intertainer was the pioneer video-on-demand company for both cable and broadband Internet markets. Taplin holds two patents for video on demand technologies. Professor Taplin has provided consulting services on Broadband technology to the President of Portugal and the Parliament of the Spanish state of Catalonia and the Government of Singapore.
Mr. Taplin graduated from Princeton University. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the International Advisory Board of the Singapore Media Authority and is a fellow at the Center for Public Diplomacy. Mr. Taplin was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Task Force in January of 2007. He was named one of the 50 most social media savvy professors in America by Online College and one of the 100 American Digerati by Deloitte’s Edge Institute.