The Future of Tech is Being Made by Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll

What’s driving the tech industry these days? According to TechCrunch, it’s the simple standard formula of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.

Fifty years ago, when someone heard the word ‘vice,’ they may have thought about the seven deadly sins: envy, wrath, lust, pride, sloth, pride and gluttony.

Twenty years ago, they may have thought of the genre-defining television show Miami Vice. Today, you might think about the $4 billion millennial media outlet, Vice Media.

But what you should be thinking about is how vice-related companies are quickly evolving to be the next unicorns, i.e. the next Airbnb or Snapchat (combined value: $41.5 billion).

Vice technology, or ViceTech, is turning sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll into viable, trustworthy companies that power some of our culture’s most loved products and experiences. This newfound accessibility for consumers and businesses is erasing past taboos and, in return, is allowing people to have more fun, and that’s driving more vice companies to launch, grow, and get noticed by the investor community.

Let’s do the math: PlentyofFish, an online dating site, sold to Match for $575 million. WeedMaps, a cannabis dispensary directory, is valued at $300 million. And Ticketfly, a live-music ticket seller, recently sold for $450 million to Pandora. Just to name a few.

ViceTech has a market opportunity of more than $341.8 billion in the United States alone when you look at just the sex (dating, sex), drugs (alcohol, cannabis, tobacco), and rock ‘n’ roll (music) subsets. Throw in gambling and lottery and it adds another $110 billion to the market with unicorns like DraftKings and FanDuel, which are both valued at over $1 billion in less than six years, and Amaya Gaming that bought PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for $4.8 billion.

Even more importantly, ViceTech companies are gathering a data layer of real-time usage that can be programmed to help users monitor and manage their revelous activity in the future. The addiction industry is $35 billion, so there is a huge incentive to develop technology that supports our most vulnerable community members.

That brings the total vice industry size to $456.8 billion (at a minimum, and it’s growing), which is tied together by four major shifts that are defining not only the technology industry, but the future of modern society.

Keep reading. This may change your whole outlook on the tech industry.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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