One of the ways Nevada has sought to diversify its tourism-dependent economy is to seek to become a tech hub – a place where entrepreneurs and tech start-ups can come and grow their business to become the next Apple or Google. So far, we’ve been successful in attracting those companies, whether it’s the Tesla gigafactory in northern Nevada or the SWITCH data center here in southern Nevada. These industries can provide good, well-paying jobs and help transform our schools and universities into centers of innovation, training the visionaries of tomorrow.
But current efforts in Congress could derail all of this by placing huge limits on tech companies. As someone who works with technology every day and as a small business owner, I can tell you that the passage of these federal bills – the US Innovation and Choice Online Act (HR 3816) and the Ending Platform Monopolies Act (HR 3825) — would hurt my livelihood and the small businesses we serve every day. Harsh regulation, including forcing tech companies to segregate different parts of their business, would make my job and the jobs of my employees much more difficult, while placing an undue burden on the small businesses we regularly work with.
Many of the small businesses we work with rely solely on platforms such as Google and Facebook to help them attract new customers at far lower costs than traditional marketing campaigns on TV, billboards. display or on the radio. It would make our job as a digital marketing agency much more difficult if we had to find different ways to advertise on platforms derived from Google or Facebook – which would result in an increase in what we charge our clients, as we would need to spend several hours going back and forth between different platforms to create and manage various campaigns.
Most people agree that some regulation is needed and that we need to be more careful about what we allow tech giants to manage and control in this country. However, the sponsors of these two federal bills are pretty clear: their intent is not just to rein in, but to dismantle big tech as we know it. As well intentioned as the people pushing this legislation may be, the unintended consequences of their actions if these bills pass as written would be devastating for business owners in states like Nevada who are also trying to attract new jobs and new businesses.
We work with customers of all shapes and sizes and we don’t apply the same strategy to all of our customers because they all have different needs, so why would Congress apply standard regulation to companies that provide different services to consumers and businesses? The approach should be more strategic and laser-focused, not scattered.
Nevada’s elected federal leaders should do their best to oppose these measures, at least in their current form. If we are to have any chance of becoming a high-tech hub not just in the West, but across the country, we need to stop or dramatically change this damaging legislation. If we do, we can have a real chance to do what hasn’t been done in Nevada’s existence: move away from a tourism-based economy and create new jobs and new opportunities for our children.
Suken Shah is the founder and CEO of Envision Marketing. Shah is also an adjunct professor at UNLV’s Lee College of Business, where he teaches digital marketing.