It’s very appealing, for the drama alone, to imagine some as-yet-unknown company driving Facebook into Myspace-like obscurity, or Alphabet being broken up, or whatever scenario for the demise of one of Silicon Valley’s five dominant companies you prefer to imagine. Not just appealing but natural to do so: We have in living memory at least a dozen examples of large and successful tech companies just failing, or becoming shadows of their former selves: Myspace is a ghost town owned by Time Inc. AltaVista and Friendster are long dead. Even Yahoo! and AOL, while still technically around, have become part of whatever Verizon-owned, centaurlike creation Oath can claim to be.
This recent history of “creative destruction” is important to Silicon Valley not just for its narrative neatness — Davids that become Goliaths, only to get toppled by new Davids — but for the protective shield it provides. Why be worried about Google’s power (or Facebook’s, or Amazon’s), when they’re each a bad decision against a more nimble competitor away from irrelevance? Surely Facebook can be Facebook’d, just as Myspace was? Surely Google will someday be disrupted?