The unintended consequences of big tech regulation
Scott and Nora are talkin’ tech with CNBC’s Lauren Feiner, who has been reporting on antitrust legislation against companies like Meta, Apple and Microsoft, and details how they might adversely affect startups and smaller companies that rely on big tech's services.
Producer: Bella Hutchins
Production, Mixing & Sound Design: Daniel Markus
Senior Producer: Katherine Milsop
Director of Audio: Alan Haburchak
VP, Head of Multimedia: Sarah Singer
Full transcript for this episode below.
Nora Ali: From Morning Brew, this is Business Casual. The podcast that reveals the unexpected business story behind everything. I'm Nora Ali.
Scott Rogowsky: And I'm Scott Rogowsky. Nora and I are here for your ears, bringing you conversations with creators, thinkers, and innovators who can tell us what it all means and why we should care. Now let's get down to business. Do you trust the government?
Nora Ali: Wow. What a question to start with. Well, a lot of people don't and a lot of people don't trust Big Tech. Maybe the government doesn't trust Big Tech, maybe Big Tech doesn't trust the government. Scott, Big Tech regulation is one of the most frequent topics that have ever come up in my career as a journalist. It's this series of disconnects regardless of what kind of regulation you're talking about, because there's a disconnect between what users think they want and what they actually want. The notion of data privacy came up in our conversation. We want our data to be protected, of course. We don't want to give all our information to Big Tech, but then if we get advertisements that are not super personalized to us, then we get annoyed. We're like, "Well, I don't want that product." But the reason we get targeted ads in the first place is because our data is being used. And then there's a disconnect of course, on Democrats and Republicans, what side they are on in terms of content moderation. Is it free speech versus silencing certain voices? That sort of thing.
Scott Rogowsky: Right. Censorship.
Nora Ali: Censorship. Exactly. So antitrust law itself is probably the least obvious to regular people like us, to users, but perhaps the most impactful. We'll see.
Scott Rogowsky: Imagine if there was just one tech that owned everything and all of our data was in this one server center and it was there. It was kind of like protected versus now how many different companies have our data? Hundreds, right? Maybe-
Nora Ali: Thousands.
Scott Rogowsky: There's thousands. It's just the odds of it getting leaked or getting stolen, getting hacked, increase with a company that grabs our data. So maybe it is better if they just consolidate it all. I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud here, Nora, like, what is the concern? Someone's going to steal your identity? For me, all I care about is that some hacker doesn't get my information, steals my identity breaks to get my bank account somehow defrauds me. That's truly what I care about when it comes to privacy concern. I don't know, ads, whatever, serve me ads. I'm going to ignore them anyway, but it's the security of my social security number or my credit card numbers. My bank accounts. That's what I care about.
Nora Ali: The bottom line is that nobody knows what the right regulation is because it is to your point kind of difficult to put our finger on what the issues are, what the actual concern is. And that's what we are talking about today is this recent big push for Big Tech regulation via specifically antitrust laws and the unintended consequences that those laws if passed, could have for startups and innovation in the digital space. So we are sitting down with CNBC reporter Lauren Feiner to break down the laws that the House Committee passed last summer and to discuss her in-depth coverage of the battle over Big Tech. We'll go to our conversation with Lauren after this quick break.
Scott Rogowsky: Listen, this is important. We're talking about an important thing today, antitrust, but I do have a question to kind of kick things off here. Obviously antitrust legislation has been talked about for a while and you've been covering this for a long time and there's a lot of hubbub in the industry about this, but I guess what it comes down to for me, when I think about the whole idea of antitrust in Big Tech is what is the benefit really to the consumer here? Who is pushing for this reform? The government is trying to do it, but seems like obviously the tech companies don't want it. The VCs don't really want it. Who wants it? Who's lobbying for this reform and how does the average consumer like myself and Nora and the listeners, how would we benefit from it?
Lauren Feiner: Yeah, so I think it helps to set up the context here, which is that over the last few years, I think there's been a real shift in how Washington views the tech industry. A lot of that started around the Cambridge Analytica scandal after the 2016 election, questioning the role of these tech companies in our lives and in our democracy. So since then, I think there's been this broad rethinking of how Washington wants to relate to the tech industry. And out of that has come many different proposals and a lot of adversaries in Washington toward the tech industry, or maybe they don't think of themselves as adversaries per se, but they want to see the industry operate in a different way, in a way that they think will be safer for consumers. And so out of that, you got a lot more proposals around privacy regulation, content moderation reform, and also antitrust. And I think antitrust is the one that at this point has managed to get some traction. There's some bipartisan agreement on it, not across the board, but we're seeing this kind of odd coalition of lawmakers who are pushing for these reforms and they really don't fall strictly on party lines. And I think at the same time, you're having this academic movement in antitrust law that is questioning the way that antitrust law has been applied to the tech industry. And one of the people who have helped rethink how that should work is Lina Khan, who's the current head of the Federal Trade Commission.
Nora Ali: So one of the issues is that all of these different parties that you've listed out, no one can really agree on what the "right regulation" is. And you mentioned the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which I think is just a very important inflection point to where regular people like us have been thinking about Big Tech regulation, maybe for the first time. So that as a reminder to our listeners was this scandal that came to light in 2018, where users' data was unwittingly collected and used in perhaps nefarious ways related to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg at the time had testified in front of Congress and said it's just a matter of working together to figure out what the right regulation is. So before we get into maybe what lawmakers want, what do you think Big Tech leaders would actually welcome as far as regulation? What are they pushing for as they say things like, "You know what, we are actually open to it"?
Lauren Feiner: Yeah, that's a great question. I think the tech industry, as you know Washington has reevaluated their role and their relationship with the tech industry, the tech industry has had to reevaluate their relationship with Washington. And I think for a long time, they were a little bit more resistant to regulation. And there was this feeling of just not wanting to impose on the innovation that was happening in Silicon Valley primarily. And I think throughout the scandals of Cambridge Analytica and other revelations, the industry has come to recognize that if they don't put forward proposals, if they don't try and get out what they want to see happen, then there might be some less favorable regulation coming their way. So I think privacy is definitely something that the tech companies have advocated for. And a lot of that is because a lot of states have started imposing their own privacy regulations. And what happens is then tech companies have to figure out how to comply with different regulations in different states. And really what the Big Tech companies say is we are able to handle that, but we think that smaller companies will have to bear a bigger burden because of that. And so they really want to see federal regulation that will preempt the state laws. So that there's just one standard that everyone has to agree to. So I would say that's the one that most tech companies are more onboard with.
Scott Rogowsky: In October of 2020, the House Judiciary Subcommittee concluded a 16th-month investigation into competitive practices at Apple, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and Google. And this was all about the antitrust and the reforms that they're trying to put forth. So what were their findings here? And again, why is antitrust at the forefront of the government regulation effort?
Lauren Feiner: Throughout that investigation, that House panel was really trying to figure out, how did these markets work and how might they work differently from other markets? And do we need to change our antitrust laws to account for some of the new potential competitive harms that are going on there? And so that report found that there, there were these competitive harms going on according to the findings of the committee and that these companies are monopolies, that was their determination. So out of that, they also came out with some recommendations for how to approach legislation. And that's really what we saw culminate in a package of bills that the subcommittee, led by David Cicilline from Rhode Island, put out that was the package of several bills that attempted to create reforms to competition law and make it a little bit harder for Big Tech companies to just keep amassing more and more power.
Nora Ali: And these proposed reforms to your point kind of run the gamut from trying to just put a stop to monopolistic practices, to proposing this merger filing fee sort of thing. Do you think specificity is key here and what is the likelihood of any of this passing given that it does touch on so many facets and aspects of how Big Tech operates?
Lauren Feiner: Like you're saying, there's a lot of different bills in here. Some of them feel a little tame, Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act that really just deals with how much money companies have to pay to the antitrust agencies when they're seeking to merge. And ultimately that would raise money for the antitrust agencies, which is pretty much universally agreed that they don't have enough money to do all the things that Congress and the public wants them to do. And then you have things like the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, and that's something that would really reshape the way that these businesses have to operate, by kind of making it prohibited for them to engage in certain practices that they've relied on for a long time. And that bill's known as like the self-referencing bill colloquially. It's basically saying that if you run a marketplace and you're of a certain size with a certain number of users, and you have other companies that rely on that marketplace or that service, you can't preference your own products over those rivals products, you could think about it in terms of Apple or Amazon, which have these marketplaces and search functions, and also have their own products on those marketplaces alongside third parties.
Scott Rogowsky: So this is bipartisan legislation, yet there are some inter-party disagreements that are going to come into play as these bills move their way up the branch. And when it comes down to it, what do you think about the chances of these actually passing and getting through?
Lauren Feiner: I think right now, this is the time to pass these bills if they're going to get passed. I think that's kind of the conventional wisdom out there at the moment, from what I'm hearing. If you think about later this year, we're going to have a midterm election. And so a few months before that we expect everyone's going to go into their corners and it's going to be in full-on midterm campaigning mode. So there's really just a few months here where Congress can get together and pass these bills, because I think at the same time, you're seeing the Republican leadership in the House really positioning themselves to focus more on privacy and content moderation. And when it comes to tech issues, then antitrust and it feels like if the Republicans take over in the House after the midterms, it's going to be much harder to pass these bills.
Nora Ali: Let's take a very quick break, more with Lauren when we return. Lauren, you were talking about the disagreements between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to finding what the right legislation is. But you had also mentioned that states have started to impose their own regulations generally. And you wrote a great piece on the role of attorneys general. So what is the importance of AGs when trying to pass any regulation on Big Tech?
Lauren Feiner: State attorneys general play a really important role in enforcing antitrust laws and privacy or consumer protection laws. They're also sovereign enforcers. So state attorneys general actually can enforce the federal antitrust statutes. They're able to bring cases on their own. They don't have to wait for the FTC or DOJ to do that. Oftentimes they will coordinate with the federal agencies because they have far fewer resources than the federal agencies, but then you'll also see multi-state investigations where states will pool their resources and try to take on one company altogether. So we saw that with Google and Facebook, those both had multi-state lawsuits kind of parallel to federal lawsuits, but on top of that, they can also enforce their own state laws. So a lot of state antitrust statutes look very similar to the federal statutes, but some of them offer additional protections. At the same time, in the absence of a federal privacy law, a lot of state AGs are really the ones leading the way on enforcing state privacy laws, like the ones who have it in California, for example, or consumer protection laws, where they can kind of bring certain consumer protection claims that might look somewhat similar to what you'd expect under a privacy statute.
Scott Rogowsky: But the tech companies, they're savvy, they try to circumvent the rules and the laws at every turn here and they have major, major lobbying in DC on their side. How are they trying to deter the work of the judiciary branch and the AGs? They're actively battling against these efforts, huh?
Lauren Feiner: Yeah, absolutely. So tech companies have really put a lot of resources into battling a whole bunch of regulations that could come up against them. So we've seen them pour lots of money into lobbying efforts. We've seen them put out their own campaigns, whether it's through their own companies or through trade associations that they belong to. They're really trying to make the case that these reforms would ultimately hurt consumers by breaking products that they really love and not making them work as well as they do and also stifling innovation. That's a big part of their message as well.
Nora Ali: And on this point of stifling innovation, there's this idea of stifling smaller companies, and you spoke with a bunch of venture capitalists in your reporting and they warned that these laws could hurt the smaller companies that they're intended to protect for many reasons, including the fact that it takes a lot of capital and resources to comply oftentimes. Specifically, one of the laws or reforms that have been proposed is intended to prevent killer acquisitions. Can you explain what a killer acquisition is and why they might be an issue?
Lauren Feiner: A killer acquisition is this idea that a large firm could acquire a small startup to basically stop a potential competitor in its tracks. So instead of letting that small rival grow into a real threat, they acquire that company. And maybe even end up just kind of dissolving that company. That happens. But also a lot of times startups do want to get acquired and just become like a feature technology within a larger platform. And employees from that startup are happy to work at a bigger company after being acquired in something that we often call acqui-hires. So that's the sort of thing that Congress is worried about when it comes to one of these bills that is really focused on mergers and trying to shift the burden onto dominant platforms when they're seeking to acquire a smaller firm to prove that it won't lessen competition, because that's basically the standard for whether a merger can go through or not. Right now, it's on the government to prove that this merger will lessen competition, but the bill that's out there would make it so the dominant tech firms, not every single tech firm or potential acquirer, would have to prove that their acquisition is not going to be a killer acquisition and it's actually going to have certain efficiencies that won't harm competition elsewhere.
Nora Ali: And regardless of who the burden falls on, I imagine it's very difficult to prove your case one way or the other, because you don't know how big a company would've been, should have been without that acquisition, without that merger, and Facebook having acquired Instagram and WhatsApp comes up a lot in this conversation and the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, had approved those acquisitions and now they have come up with this antitrust case against Facebook and brought up the notion that maybe they should have to sell WhatsApp and Instagram. And then Facebook says, "Well, they wouldn't have gotten as big without us." So everyone's just, throws their hands up in the air, because there's no coming to an agreement on that. But might this imply that maybe Big Tech companies just shouldn't be able to acquire anything that's remotely competitive, even if it's small, because it's just so hard to tell what would happen to a particular company under a Facebook, under a Google?
Lauren Feiner: I think that's the question that a lot of tech companies and their allies are asking and they worry that they won't be able to acquire certain firms that really would pose no competitive threat or less in competition in the rest of the market. And VCs are really worried about that because a lot of their money is made by getting startups acquired. Ultimately it is hard to prove a counterfactual. It's hard to prove something that never happened and under a lot of different circumstances that we really can't know. It's important to know, first of all, that when an antitrust agency clears a merger, it doesn't mean that it's saying there's no harm here. And we can never pursue it whenever they allow a merger to ultimately consummate, they reserve the right to bring a lawsuit against that company later on if they find out that there are substantial competitive harms that are happening. The FTC did not bring a case under the Clayton Act, which is the act that deals with mergers. They brought it under the Sherman Act and claiming that basically Facebook used its strategy of acquiring to maintain its monopoly. So that's kind of how they're arguing. It is actually not just saying the merger itself broke antitrust laws, but this whole strategy of acquiring is what built its allegedly illegal monopoly.
Nora Ali: So when the FTC approved something, it's them saying, for now we're cool with it, but we might need to look into it later, depending on how this all shakes out?
Lauren Feiner: Pretty much.
Scott Rogowsky: I always just think it's interesting how Facebook became this killer acquirer when famously Zuckerberg had turned down all these offers over the years to sell and because he didn't get killer acquired himself, he became one of the biggest players in the world here. It's just funny how the tables turn. Getting into some of the other aspects of these antitrust proposals, I think some of the most important elements here are these, the platform power and the way that some of these platforms self-promote their other lines of businesses, whether it's Google sending you results from YouTube or Google Maps first or Apple making you pay with Apple Pay or with in-app purchases. And Amazon is also interesting, how they use their online of products. This is to me, maybe the most relevant aspect for consumers. Where does this issue stand currently of self-dealing among the platforms?
Lauren Feiner: The bill that deals with self-preference is really the top one to watch, because it seems like it has one of the best chances of actually possibly being passed and also of really being a strong bill that would very significantly change the way that these companies do business. I think consumers would see changes to their platforms as a result of this bill being passed if that does happen. Basically what that bill would do is make it so that companies can't self-preference, so to speak, their own products over those of rivals that rely on their platform. And again, this only applies to the biggest platforms with the biggest user-base. And so I think it's an issue that's really captured the attention of Congress and something that they're really concerned about. And the idea is that, well, maybe if these companies can't position their own products over others in their platforms, then maybe these other rivals could end up growing larger, being more substantial competitors to these large, dominant firms. And so I think that's something that's really driving Congress these days.
Nora Ali: To Scott's point, that's definitely something that we as users and consumers would see right away, is maybe you're not going to see your Amazon Basics promoted to the top of your feed when you're searching within Amazon and instead see more of those, maybe, third-party merchants. I want to go back to some of the impacts on smaller players when it comes to antitrust and really any regulation on tech. There's arguments that have been made by leaders in tech that regulation around antitrust or otherwise could make the US less competitive to other countries, who might not have such regulations. Not to mention that one of the biggest social media platforms, TikTok, is owned by ByteDance, which is a Chinese company. Is this a valid concern where you had mentioned, there are concerns that innovation could be stifled, but does this mean that this could put us in a less competitive place compared to other countries?
Lauren Feiner: Yeah, and I think that's something that the tech companies bring up a lot. When you hear from some of the lawmakers who back these proposals, I think they don't necessarily see it as a concern that should override the necessity of these bills. At the end of the day, if you look elsewhere in the world, there are regulations on the same Big Tech companies, on many other parts of the economy. We're seeing Europe go through with their digital markets act that would significantly impact the US tech companies. So even if the US doesn't follow through with new laws and regulations, other places in the world will, so I think people will point to those sorts of things when they talk about whether those concerns are valid or not. At the end of the day, I think many of the same lawmakers that are pushing these proposals want to see a strong economy, a strong tech industry, but they feel like the way that it's working right now is not the best way. And that having a more competitive economy will actually be more beneficial in the long run.
Scott Rogowsky: We'll take a quick break with Lauren once again, but more when we return.
Nora Ali: We've gone through all different entities and what they might be looking for, what their concerns are, from lawmakers to VCs to even academics, but from your reporting, do you get a sense that users know what they want when it comes to antitrust regulation, going back to Scott's first question of how does this impact us at the end of the day? Does the regular person care or know what might be the impacts of some of these antitrust regulations at the end of the day?
Lauren Feiner: Yeah, I mean, there's definitely polling out there on this, but I think sometimes that's a little bit unreliable because they're often coming from one camp or another. So I tend not to focus too much on those, but I think ultimately what I've taken from them is that a lot of people are not necessarily putting this issue as their number one issue right now, obviously there's a war going on, we're still dealing with the effects of the pandemic. So it's not necessarily, I think, the one issue that's going to get voters out to the polls in the midterms. But I do think that there has been this kind of populist movement around power that the tech companies have. And I think a lot of people do resonate with that. I think the question is just how much do they realize how much it could impact their lives one way or the other? Because I think that's kind of a tough sell. It takes some storytelling to talk about what could happen to the services that you use, if there is never any change in the law or if there is a change in the law. I think it's a little bit less straightforward than something like privacy, where we all realize we're being tracked these days. We see weird popups on our phones and it's a little concerning to us and we think about it every day. I think antitrust isn't something that consumers think about every day in that way. And so it's somewhat of an uphill battle to get people to really, fully understand how this would impact them.
Scott Rogowsky: That is a good point. Lauren, thank you for buttoning it up for us. But before we close things out, we have a little surprise. It's quiz time. Time for Quizness Casual, the Business Casual quiz. Pop quiz, hotshot. Today's contestant is going to be you, Lauren Feiner, along with Nora. You guys can work together on this, for a quiz all about the Big Tech companies. Are you ready, Lauren?
Lauren Feiner: I'm ready.
Scott Rogowsky: Ready as ever be. Well, we've been tracking your data and we know that you know your stuff. So you should ace this thing. Here we go. Qumero numero uno. What was the original name for Amazon's Kindle? Ziggy, Cadabra, Fiona, or Samantha?
Nora Ali: Well, wasn't Cadabra the original name for Amazon?
Lauren Feiner: Yeah.
Nora Ali: I think. Yes. So I don't think it's Cadabra because that was for Amazon. Fiona just reminds me of Fiona from Shrek. That's where my mind goes. Maybe there's some tie. I have no idea. Do you have any guesses, Lauren? What is your gut telling you?
Lauren Feiner: I'm inclined to go with Ziggy.
Nora Ali: Okay. We're going with Ziggy, Scott. It's A, Ziggy.
Scott Rogowsky: Ziggy. Well, yeah, Ziggy, you know David, one of David Bowie's favorite names, and a proposed name for the Amazon Alexa was Ziggy along with Samantha. But the original account for Amazon's Kindle was Fiona, not taken from Shrek, Nora, but taken from Neil Stevenson's futuristic novel Diamond Age.
Nora Ali: Okay.
Scott Rogowsky: Fiona.
Nora Ali: Well, we tried.
Scott Rogowsky: All right, well that was a toughie. Let's see if this one's any easier. Where did Google and YouTube executives meet to negotiate Google's acquisition of YouTube? Was it the Nobu in Palo Alto? Was it a Denny's, a Peet's coffee, or Google's cafeteria?
Nora Ali: I love this question. I feel like it's not Nobu because that would just like, that's not a fun story. An expensive restaurant, whatever.
Lauren Feiner: I feel like Google's cafeteria is too obvious.
Nora Ali: Right. Yeah. That's just like not fun. I feel like it's Denny's or something crazy like that.
Lauren Feiner: I like Denny's. That would be a fun one.
Scott Rogowsky: You like Denny's?
Lauren Feiner: All right. Let's do Denny's.
Nora Ali: Let's do Denny's.
Scott Rogowsky: YouTube's co-founder Steven Chen said, "We didn't want to meet at the office. So that takes the Google cafeteria out. So we were like, 'Where's a place none of us would go?' That place turned out to be a Denny's in Palo Alto." Yes.
Nora Ali: Also that's rude to Denny's. Yeah. He would never go there.
Scott Rogowsky: Talk about privileges.
Nora Ali: Yeah. Right?
Scott Rogowsky: Never go. Are you kidding me? The Grand Slam deal at Denny's, one of the best going. One for two. Let's close this out two for three. What is the most Instagrammed food or drink in the world? Sushi, pizza, wine, or coffee?
Nora Ali: I like how loosely related this is to Big Tech because it's a question about Instagram.
Scott Rogowsky: It's a food question.
Nora Ali: We like food questions. Sushi, pizza, wine, or coffee?
Lauren Feiner: I would say I'm between pizza or coffee because I think they would be the most ... They're just such staples.
Nora Ali: That's true. But what's better looking, you know? I feel like pizza's good looking or sushi.
Lauren Feiner: But there's a lot of latte art.
Scott Rogowsky: Right. [crosstalk] the latte art.
Nora Ali: You're right. Yeah. You're absolutely right about that. All right. You pick, Lauren, between pizza and coffee.
Lauren Feiner: Let's go with pizza.
Nora Ali: We're going with pizza.
Scott Rogowsky: Pizza. Okay. Well I said the most Instagram food or drink in the world. So pizza is half right because pizza is the most Instagrammed food in the world.
Nora Ali: Okay.
Scott Rogowsky: But overall between food or drink, coffee is the most Instagramed.
Lauren Feiner: No.
Nora Ali: I think she should get the point. Let's give her the point because I talked her out of it.
Scott Rogowsky: Yeah.
Nora Ali: Lauren, you win.
Scott Rogowsky: Let's give you the point. 23 million photos of pizza across the app. Over 60 million photos of coffee across Instagram.
Lauren Feiner: Wow.
Scott Rogowsky: Yep.
Nora Ali: People love their coffee.
Scott Rogowsky: They love their java. The drip, that drip, drip.
Nora Ali: They love their morning brew.
Scott Rogowsky: That morning brew, baby. Well, Lauren, yes. We'll give it to you two for three. Nice job on the quiz. And thanks for breaking down this pretty dry and complicated antitrust issue for us. You definitely made it a little more accessible.
Nora Ali: Thanks, Lauren.
Lauren Feiner: Thanks so much for having me.
Scott Rogowsky: We love hearing from our Business Casual listeners. Don't we, Nora? We do. So please hit us up. We're working on an episode about the cybersecurity biz and we want to know, do you use a password manager? Do you use a password assistant manager? Would you like to speak to the manager or do you keep them all in your brain, all these little passwords you got around? We'd love to hear how you manage your password. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Twitter @bizcasualpod, that's B-I-Zcasualpod, with your thoughts.
Nora Ali: You can also leave us a voice memo on our website, businesscasual.fm, or give us a ring and leave us an old-fashioned voicemail. Our number is 962-295-1135. As Business Casual grows, we are excited to get to know our listeners old and new. Drop us a line and get to leave your name and where you're calling or writing from, so we can hear from you in a future episode.
Scott Rogowsky: Business Casual is monopolized by Katherine Milsop and Bella Hutchins. Additional production, mergers and acquisitions by Daniel Markus. Alan Haburchak is director of audio at Morning Brew. Sarah Singer's our VP of multimedia. Music in this episode from Daniel Markus and The Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. If you like what you heard, please follow Business Casual on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get nasty with your casty, and we'd love it if you give us a great rating and a review.
Nora Ali: Thanks for listening to Business Casual. I'm Nora Ali.
Scott Rogowsky: And I'm Scott Rogowsky.
Nora Ali: Keep it business.
Scott Rogowsky: And keep it casual.