It’s the Fourth of July. America is now 241 years old. You may pop a bottle of Barefoot Sparkling Wine or ponder our history for a bit. I can’t dictate how you spend your damn holiday.

Since I have you here, let’s take a moment and consider our economy. The United States has an estimated worth of $18.170 trillion dollars. That’s a lot of gravy.

Americans see freedom of choice among endless brands and products including the holiday hot dogs and buns we stereotypically devour. Isn’t it nice? As we get absorbed by limitless consumerism, it’s important to note that you, yes you, are also a product on the market.

Do I come off as a little harsh? Well I’m a chef who doesn’t sugarcoat. Let me start off by saying that, yes, I do love this home, The United States of America. But let’s also be real.


You (American readers) and I both are products of the Grand American Experiment. President Trump and former President Obama are American made. Other American products include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. We’re all developed by the American marketplace.

We also live in an incredible technological age. Just here in Chicago, Embodied Labs is using virtual reality to help us empathize with our aging loved ones and patients. The Wabash Lights is mixing science and creativity to beautify the city with your input. Meanwhile, Blue1647 is using startup ingenuity to empower underserved communities.

But on the flip side, the cost for these advancements means a price tag placed firmly on your digital forehead. It’s widely documented that both Facebook and Google sell your personal information so marketers can better target you with ads.

The biggest names in tech wish you a happy Fourth.

The internet ad industry is booming. A study by eMarketer predicts that ad spending will rise from $83.00 billion in 2017 to $129.23 billion by 2021. And now, nearly half of all ad dollars go to Google and Facebook. I’d wager that our tech giants would like to get to know us on an even more personalized level.

This type of innovation is both scary and brilliant. The ability to locate and identify us in a progressively deeper fashion could save lives in hospitals. But on the other hand, with Facebook and Google owning so much of the ad market, they can start calling shots. Who knows where this path leads? Business Insider recently interviewed Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research group about this.

“The big point is that if Google and Facebook are the primary interfaces to buyers, over the long-run they own the relationships and the related data,” Wieser told BI via email. “Every partner they work with is subservient.”

It’s important to recognize how data operates us because Amazon, after an acquisition of Whole Foods, will continue taking advantage. Let’s be ahead of the curve in understanding how we are slyly manipulated.

The startup world is filled to the brim with creativity, great ideas, innovation, passion, hard-work, lying, cheating, abuse and, deception. It’s American. We should stop and take a pause to understand that it is no ill will to recognize our dark side. That’s the kind of appreciation I enjoy, taking a clear look at things. Humanity is the biggest startup on the planet, and this startup takes relentless innovation, care, and creativity.

The Fourth of July is a day to be grateful for the loves in our lives. But it doesn’t hurt to stop and think about the big picture, including the dreadful details.

Watch Sean Froelich every Monday night on “The Feed” where he dishes out top tech news with a bonus slice of weird.