CONNECTIVITY 2021: NEW HORIZONS

Cybersecurity, Privacy, and Politics

At our first CONNECTIVITY 2021 event, William Blair analysts and industry experts discussed cybersecurity, privacy, and politics and how they are affecting the investing landscape.

SPEAKER:
Frank Abagnale
Forgery, Embezzlement, Secure Documents, Cybercrime, and Scams Authority; Featured in hit film Catch Me If You Can

Cybercrime, Identity Theft, and Scams

Simple strategies can thwart today’s cybercriminals. With vivid examples, Frank Abagnale reveals how identity thieves work, why passwords aren’t keeping you safe, and why safeguarding yourself is particularly important today. Audiences praise Frank’s entertaining and informative sessions brimming with practical takeaways.

Hackers Are Watching

In our haste to get great technology to market, we don’t thoroughly vet it—and smart-home technology (including thermostats, cameras, TVs, and game consoles) is particularly vulnerable to hacks.

The Bitcoin Risk

Holding cryptocurrency will make you the target of hackers—and the stolen money cannot be recovered. We can live in a world with cryptocurrency or a world without ransomware, but not both.

The Dark Side of Social Media

We complain about identity theft, then give hackers everything they need via social media. If you tell Facebook your date and place of birth, hackers have 98% of what they need to steal your identity.

SPEAKER:
Malcolm Riddell
Founder of ChinaDEBATE

SPEAKER:
Michael Spence
Nobel Laureate in Economics; Stanford University Professor

SPEAKER:
Hugo Scott-Gall
Partner, Portfolio Manager, Co-Director of Global Equity Research, William Blair

SPEAKER:
Vivian Lin Thurston
CFA, Partner, Portfolio Manager, William Blair

The New Cold War: China

In the current environment, it’s easy for investors to anchor on concerns about Chinese geopolitical tensions and increasing policy risk. But are these risks overshadowing the growth opportunity in China? In this session, our panelists with extensive experience in China take us on a journey through the evolution of the Chinese system and discuss how investors can successfully navigate related challenges.

Rise of the Middle Kingdom

For thousands of years, China considered itself a center of power. That waned, and Riddell believes China now wants to return to dominance in Asia; reestablish control over territories it considers greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan; regain trade influence; and command world respect.

No Cold War?

Rarely does a power rise to global dominance without tension, according to Spence, but there is no evidence that China wants to export its governance system globally. It respects other countries’ form of governance and doesn’t like disrespect for its own form of governance.

Economics: A Driving Force

Geopolitical dynamics must be viewed in concert with domestic agenda, says Thurston. China wants to become economically prosperous. It feels threatened (for example, by the United States limiting its access to semiconductors) and is dramatically changing its economy to deal with such threats.

VIDEO | FULL SESSION 1:01:49 | HIGHLIGHTS 01:00

The New Cold War: China

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The New Cold War: China

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FULL SESSION 1:01:49 | HIGHLIGHTS 01:00

The New Cold War: China

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The New Cold War: China

SPEAKER:
Carissa Véliz
Author of Privacy is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford

Privacy is Power

As the data economy grows in power, our privacy is being eroded by big tech and governments. In this session, Carissa Véliz explains why that matters and what we can do about it. Her philosophical perspective on the politics of privacy and practical solutions is relevant for both policymakers and investors.

1984: Big Brother

The desire to control data goes deeper than the search for profit. Those who control data have power, and the more power you have, the more you get to decide what counts as knowledge.

Power—And Risk

Data collection creates corporate risk. Hackers want companies’ data, and data breaches expose companies to liability. Business models that collect unnecessary data thus have an expiration date.

Rethinking the Rules

Even the most capitalistic societies prohibit the sale of certain items—organs, votes, and humans, for example. As a society, we should ask if personal data should be similarly off-limits.

VIDEO | FULL SESSION 1:01:13 | HIGHLIGHTS 00:59

Privacy is Power

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FULL SESSION 1:01:13 | HIGHLIGHTS 00:59

Privacy is Power

SPEAKER:
Joel Fulton, Ph.D.
Co-founder and CEO, Lucidum

SPEAKER:
John Pironti
President,
IP Architects, LLC

SPEAKER:
David Gibson
Chief Marketing Officer,
Varonis Systems Inc.

SPEAKER:
Corey Tobin
Partner, Director of U.S. Growth and Core Equity Research and Research Analyst, William Blair

Barbarians at the Digital Gate: Can They Be Stopped?

The digital transformation of society is creating numerous opportunities for malicious actors to infiltrate networks and access confidential information. Can organizations defend themselves from seemingly never-ending attacks? If so, what are the best approaches? And what are the implications for investors?

Security: A Growing Market

COVID-19, which drove workers online, dramatically accelerated the growth of the security technology market. It is now valued at $75 billion, and including services, rises to $140 billion.* That’s behind only customer relationship management and database technology.

From Network to Individual

As data have moved to the cloud, security has evolved from a castle-and-moat approach to a focus on securing individual identities and critical assets. This is positive for end-point protection and cloud providers, but negative for on-premise security and firewalls.

Key Questions for Investors

Have competitive moats changed as security has moved to the cloud? Do cloud models, data, or network affect the “leapfrog” risk that has historically limited market consolidation in security? Does the need for integrated security move the market toward suite-based solutions?

*Sources: Gartner for market estimates and growth rates; Bloomberg for valuations (based on consensus estimates).
VIDEO | HIGHLIGHTS 00:58

Barbarians at the Digital Gate:
Can They Be Stopped?

VIDEO | HIGHLIGHTS 00:58

Barbarians at the Digital Gate:
Can They Be Stopped?

SPEAKER:
Fernando Cirne
CEO, Locaweb

SPEAKER:
Sophie Meralli
Venture Investor,
Eight Roads

SPEAKER:
Jayesh Kannan
CFA, Global Research Analyst, William Blair

SPEAKER:
Peter Holten Mühlmann
Founder and CEO, Trustpilot

Beyond Bricks and Clicks:
The Privacy and Policy Implications of Connected Commerce

Online or offline consumer journeys are coming together in an omnichannel form we call “connected commerce.” But as data and insights are shared across the ecosystem, new considerations emerge—targeting consumers based on their preferences, managing consumer data, and adapting to evolving regulations. It is more important than ever for companies to understand, navigate, and adapt to these changes.

Less Friction, Less Privacy

The connection of offline and online shopping experiences reduces friction. Customers don’t find products and services; products and services find customers. But there are social implications. You give up an element of control over your data to get ads that make your life easier.

Emergence of the Trust Layer

A connected ecosystem requires a “trust layer.” Companies are now offering solutions that provide transparency and thereby increase the consumers’ confidence in e-commerce (for example, sharing your experiences with online retailers via an independent third party).

Questions Create Opportunities

Who is the ultimate owner of consumer data? Is it the consumer, the government, or social media platforms? If users own it, can they rent it out? Companies’ desire for data and related analytics will likely create new investment opportunities.

VIDEO | HIGHLIGHTS 00:50

Beyond Bricks and Clicks

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Privacy and Policy
Implications of
Connected
Commerce

VIDEO | HIGHLIGHTS 00:50

Beyond Bricks and Clicks

BLOG

Privacy and Policy
Implications of
Connected
Commerce

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