In this special episode of Industry Focus, all the hosts -- plus Emily Flippen, soon to be host of the Consumer Goods show -- gather around the microphone fire and look back on the year. Some topics discussed:

  • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) and the evolution of media streaming
  • Social media then and now -- how so many people's relationships to social media soured...
  • ...and how social media empowered patients to demand better medical treatment
  • Elimination of commission fees in trading
  • Why Americans changed their tune on marijuana in the 2010s
  • How the companies that make up most of the market radically shifted
  • Programming updates on Industry Focus -- what's changing in 2020

Tune in for this and much, much more.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Dec. 18, 2019.

Dylan Lewis: Welcome to Industry Focus, the podcast that dives into a different sector of the stock market every day. It's the holiday week here on IF and we are wrapping the year up with an all-host roundtable. I'm your host for this one, Dylan Lewis, and I've got Shannon Jones, Nick Sciple, Jason Moser, and Emily Flippen with me here in the studio. Thanks for joining, folks!

Now, listeners that have been following us for a while might be a little surprised to hear Emily's name. Usually a MarketFoolery contributor, but joining us in the IF ranks. THat's because we have some programming changes coming in 2020, and we wanted to bring Emily into the fold for this year-end wrap up.

Shannon Jones: Yeah, super excited to have Emily joining. But also, for me, I've got some news. As many of you know -- Shannon here -- I host the Industry Focus: Healthcare show on Wednesdays, which I've been doing. That's my baby. But also, some of you know that I have been leading up the Discovery programming efforts. And that's all under Motley Fool co-founder and CEO Tom Gardner's umbrella. With that, I've been kind of doing multiple roles for a very long time. And so now, this is a perfect time for me to step back. I'm really excited about the things we're going to be doing in the Discovery world, but also super excited for what's ahead with Industry Focus.

Lewis: Yeah, and we are very thrilled to have Emily with us. She's wowed a lot of fools on stage at some of our live events, and made a lot of listeners quite delighted with her appearances on MarketFoolery as well. We're thrilled to have you with us.

Emily Flippen: I am thrilled to be reached out to for this opportunity, and, yeah, get to know Industry Focus better.

Lewis: And, in addition to some of the host changes, Emily is going to be taking over the Tuesday Consumer Goods show, so you won't be getting the rotating hosts that you've gotten for the last, I don't know, 12 months or so. 

Jones: [laughs] At least. 

Lewis: So, you will have one voice coming to you on Tuesday, listeners, but we will be making a change where we'll be going to a wildcard Wednesday. So, we will be coming at you with stories that we think are interesting and a little bit less bound by the specific Industry Focus for that one show. Kind of opens us up to do some more fun stuff.

Jones: Yes. And that does not mean regulars like Todd Campbell and Brian Feroldi will be moving away by any means with this Wildcard Wednesday format. They'll just be hopping in less frequently, but you'll still get to hear from them.

Lewis: Exactly. Alright, so, we are doing a roundtable. We are doing kind of a year-in-review and a decade-in-review. And to get us in the looking-back mindset, I wanted to throw something out there: the Spotify Wrapped data has been all over social media over the last couple weeks. I took a look at Spotify data on 2019 to get a sense of the year in pop culture. Any guesses on the most streamed song in 2019? 

Nick Sciple: Old Town Road.

Lewis: No.

Sciple: It's not Old Town Road?!

Lewis: It's not Old Town Road!

Jason Moser: I'm going to go with my daughters, it was something from Billie Eilish. I just don't know what.

Jones: I was going to say Ariana Grande.

Lewis: You're naming a lot of people that were in the most streamed artists, but not the most streamed song. Any guess, Emily?

Flippen: I wish I listened to music more often. I don't even have a Spotify. Something from Taylor Swift, maybe.

Lewis: I'm going to confess that I did not know this song. It is Senorita by Shawn Mendez and Camila Cabello. 

Jones: I can see that. I can totally see that.

Lewis: More than 1 billion streams. The most streamed artist of the year, Post Malone. Adult listeners, maybe you have no idea who these people are, if you're like me. If you're listening with kids, they might be thrilled right now.

Jones: And thank you, because now that song will be in my head for the rest of the day, Dylan.

Lewis: [laughs] That's what I'm here for. 

Moser: When you say Post Malone, then I'm trying to think, OK, what was Pre Malone? I don't know who that is. And then I remember, oh, yeah. 

Jones: [laughs] Not a lot of Boomers sitting around this table here.

Lewis: Before we get into the decade in review, any interesting insights from your own Spotify Wrapped? I always look at that as one of the greatest organic marketing campaigns that a company can possibly put out there, but I'm always tickled to get the user data and get a sense of what I've been listening to and how it changes year to year.

Jones: Yeah, I can say for me, I won't name any specific song because I'm a little embarrassed that I just literally let it slide, particularly through the night. But I will say, I listened to a lot of soft jazz. [laughs] Some better than others, that I did not realize. But it was really interesting to actually see that data peeled back, because I had no idea.

Lewis: Nick?

Sciple: Yeah, so, I think the biggest surprise for me looking back at that Spotify data is just how long I've been on Spotify. I didn't realize that I had first got a profile on that platform back in 2011. When it first showed up, I was like, why hasn't Apple figured this out? And today, Apple and Spotify are the two dominant streaming platforms out there.

I will say there's a pretty clear theme to my listening habits. A lot of jam, that sort of stuff. So, Widespread Panic, a lot of Grateful Dead, that sort of thing. So I wasn't surprised by my results, but I was surprised by how much time I've spent on that platform over the last year and over the last decade.

Lewis: I feel like there's a lot of overlap in the Venn diagram of your listening habits and Jason Moser's listening habits.

Moser: [laughs] Probably so. My listens are very Widespread Panic heavy. I will say, though, I was a little bit surprised by, I normally am kind of set in my ways. I know what I like and whatnot. But one thing I like about Spotify is all of the different collections and compilations they give you. Their Southern Rock 101 compilation is really, really good. And I found out I listened to it a lot more than I realized over the year. 

Lewis: Emily, are you a Spotify user?

Flippen: I am happy to say that I'm a foil to this group. It's kind of a bad foot to start off on for Industry Focus here, I guess. No, but I'm not a Spotify user. And that's just because I don't really listen to music. I've never been a big music fan. Yeah, podcasts, like we're doing right now. Whenever I find myself in a position where it's like, "I could listen to music," there's always something better in my mind I could be doing. I could be watching TV. That's better than listening to music. I could be listening to a podcast, that's educational. So, yeah, in my mind, I doubt my Spotify playlist, if it were to exist, would be anything revolutionary.

Lewis: I think the positive way to spin that is, there will be some new perspectives coming to Industry Focus in 2020.

Jones: We're all motley, Dylan!

Lewis: And that's wonderful.

Moser: It'll be like, "Who's Emily?" "Oh, she's the smart one, that's right."

Flippen: "The one with no taste."

Lewis: [laughs] Yeah, no, the listenership on the Tuesday show is going to spike, I think, as we enter the new year. 

Actually, I think, Nick, the way you were talking about Spotify and your own relationship with it is kind of a good entree into one of the topics that we wanted to talk about as we were looking back over the last 10 years, and that's how some of the major companies that we interact with have changed over this past decade. Spotify and the whole streaming music space, I think, is probably one of the more obvious ones. You could say the same for streaming video as well. But, for them to enter this space and beat so many other players to it is pretty incredible. For Apple to be trailing them, and then only catch up over the last couple months or so is pretty wild.

Sciple: Yeah, I know. It's been remarkable how things have developed over the last decade or so. You think about, at the start of the 2010s, the way most folks got their music was probably on an iPod. Remember those? And iTunes, remember that? That used to actually pay for your music. Things have shifted really in a significant way toward streaming. Spotify really was at the forefront of that in a lot of ways. It's surprising that Apple missed the boat on the move to streaming. 

But now we've seen, as Spotify has taken share in streaming, we've seen in video streaming, at the beginning of the decade, it was really just Netflix. Now, gosh, just in the past year, we've seen so many folks enter the space. Really, our relationship with how we consume content has changed in a significant way over time. And our relationship with these platforms have changed. You guys have some insight into this. But when you look at social media platforms, how your relationship with those has changed over the decade. I remember, when I first got on Facebook in 2009, 2010, that was high school, you're interacting with all your friends. Today, it's much more, you're interacting with large brands, you're interacting with influencers. Our relationships with these platforms have really changed in a significant way over the last 10 years or so.

Lewis: You mentioned that people were listening on iPods. I think there's going to be a generation of people in the next five years or so that look at the word podcast and don't understand why it's called that. There will be people that did not grow up in the iPod era that are like, "Why isn't it a phonecast? That's how I'm listening to it."

Moser: It really is amazing to think about. As revolutionary a product does that is/was -- I mean, we're saying was. That happened really, really fast, for something that prolific to be virtually phased out of our lives.

Lewis: Yeah. And it was a great product. I think it was the predecessor to a phone for a lot of kids. It was something that was kind of gated that parents could give. And you mentioned some of the shifts in social media. I think we went from a period of being very happily sharing things on social media and very open about who we were publicly to maybe feeling a little bit more reserved about some of that stuff as we got into some of the privacy leaks, some of the more unseemly elements of the data targeting and advertising that happens on social media. That's one of the big things, I think, that's changed for me. I look at how I use Facebook, for example, and I still have my account. I did not delete Facebook like so many others did. But, I posted once in 2019 on Facebook, and it's because I needed a roommate. That was it. That was the only thing I posted. I got tagged in stuff, but, you go back to 2011, you were pumped to see notifications, because it meant someone wrote on your wall or commented on a video or something like that. I think that's shifted pretty dramatically.

Shannon, when you look out over the last 10 years, what speaks to you?

Jones: Yeah, we were talking about social media. I think social media has really transformed how we even interact and consume healthcare. I look at it from a patient advocacy standpoint. I mean, never before have we seen so much pressure just on things like drug pricing, as the rise of social media has enabled that. I mean, there used to be companies that would routinely rise the price of drugs 30%, 40%, 50%, and there was never any backlash. But because of social media, now you have patients getting on, actually really kind of starting a rage, if you will, and then also pushing politicians to actually make movement. Now we've even got some traction in Congress to bring that down. So, when you look at social media, it's so much more than just a way to interact with friends. It's even more so than just a way to aggregate and consume news. It really is a platform that I think is giving voice to those who were voiceless, which are the patients.

Lewis: I appreciate you highlighting the good in social media, as much as possible.

Jones: Yes. There's a lot of good. Emily, what about you?

Flippen: Sticking with the social media theme -- although I feel like calling it social media is maybe narrowing this down too much -- it's data and it's how we interact with our own data. And sure, social media giants like Facebook have gotten the brunt of the hate, I guess, over the way that they collect and use our data, but we as consumers willingly give it up. Dylan, you mentioned you haven't posted on Facebook in 2019, except for maybe once. But the fact is that doesn't matter. It really doesn't for Facebook. I mean, not only does Facebook have so many different platforms that your data is being stored and shared by everybody on the internet. And I mean, it's in ways that we don't even think about now that would have alerted us 10 years ago. When you go onto a website, and you click Accept Cookies, right? I mean, that's it right there. You ever have the opportunity to neglect cookies? No, because it's the way that we've come to accept how our information is used and the conveniences that come with it. So you can get yourself entirely off the internet, but you miss out on what Shannon mentioned, that transparency. So, when you reach out to companies or those healthcare companies, or whether it's a restaurant when you had a bad experience, and you post a Google review, all of these things increase transparency, but you're giving up a little piece of your data, of yourself in exchange for it.

Lewis: Does everyone here in the studio have a Facebook account at this point?

Jones: I have a fake Facebook account. Yes.

Flippen: [laughs] What is that?

Jones: I will admit it. I had Facebook as a high schooler, but for me growing up, I just never used it. I'm pretty much a Twitter person. But I do have a fake one just so I can post kid pictures for the rest of the family.

Lewis: Gotcha. Nick, do you have one?

Sciple: I do have. To Shannon's point, too, on Facebook and how we interact with it, having a fake account, people will talk about a lot of one of the big developments of Facebook, what kind of launched it, was real identity. You put your real self, you interacted with your real friends, you put your relationship status, all those sorts of things, out there. And that kind of launched Facebook to growth, whereas other online platforms had been, you might have a username, or those sorts of things. And I feel like, over the course of this decade, we've kind of come full circle, from where you really got the value out of social media by putting your true identity out there, interacting with real people from your day-to-day life, until we've reach the point where these privacy concerns and concerns about our data have reached such where -- you mentioned Twitter, anonymous accounts are all over the place on that platform and actually create a ton of value. It really is interesting how we've kind of come full circle from this true real identity out spring to today, where we're kind of moving away from that.

Lewis: Jamo, do you have a Facebook account?

Moser: I do not. I did for a time, and it just was not something I enjoyed. I just didn't get anything out of it. I think the thing I hate most about social media in general is just the concept of keeping up with the Joneses. 

Jones: Thanks, Jason!

Lewis: You set such a high standard, Shannon.

Jones: We really did, right?

Moser: You want to be keeping up with this Jones. But, I mean, to the point about transparency and honesty, you truly don't know what is real and not real anymore. I watch my children, I watch their friends, I see how social media plays out on these kids today ... there is good, don't get me wrong. There's a lot of bad. For me personally, I'm not much into it. I didn't really enjoy it. So I didn't want it, didn't need it, shut it down. It's interesting to see our kids, two girls, one getting ready to turn 15 and one 13, neither has a Facebook account. Neither wants a Facebook account. Now, they use Instagram. And they use that sparingly, and my wife is on Instagram so she can kind of track what they're doing. But seeing that stress of having to live your life, being expected to maintain a social media presence, it's a bit concerning as a parent.

Lewis: I think that that's a major existential thing that Facebook's going to have to confront over the next five to 10 years. It's pretty clear that we aren't getting a ton of value out of its namesake platform. They're really lucky that they have Instagram as a kicker. And they have WhatsApp and they have Messenger as well. But that's where they're making most of their money right now, is the Facebook namesake platform. And for us to be saying we're not getting a lot of utility out of it, we're not posting that much, it makes you kind of wonder where the money's going to come from. And I mean, I'm wondering whether I'm going to even have an account in five years.

Moser: Yeah. Well, a lot of people use their Facebook credentials to log into other sites. I think that's where a lot of the privacy concerns have come out. You log into Spotify or whatever it may be with your social media credentials, and boom, now your data is being shared across platforms, and you don't know who's getting what, and what you're sharing, and what you're keeping private. It becomes very confusing. And it doesn't seem like anyone has really jumped out there to try to take the ball and say, "You know what? We're going to be looking out for you, the user, for a change."

Lewis: Now, I didn't mean to exclusively steer us into social media and tech talk with this roundtable. Jason, I think you're the only one who hasn't chimed in yet with the change that you were kind of observing and most interested in.

Moser: Fortunately, Dylan, I am not going to go into the social media world here. Actually, I remember the days of paying $50 commissions to buy and sell stocks. And I mean, I remember those days very well. It always struck me as like, "Man, you're charging me $50 for a phone call. That's not fair." Lo and behold, now here we are, where it is straight up zero commissions. I mean, our job every day is to try to spread the love and the joy of investing and teach people how to do it and why they should do it. And now, we live in this world where you can essentially do it for free. I think Robinhood really started that ball rolling, and we saw all of the other major brokerages follow suit very quickly, because I think you see that and you realize, you can't go back from that. Now we're setting new expectations for a younger generation, for future generations to come. So, to see Schwab and TD Ameritrade tie up, not surprising. Before that, TD Ameritrade and Scottrade got together. We'll probably see some more consolidation in the space as time goes on. 

But I do think on the whole, that's a net win for people, for investors, for people who are interested in investing. I think was very customer-centric, and I'm glad to see it.

Lewis: Yeah, I mean, what more could we ask for?

Jones: Well, since you brought it up, Dylan, they could pay us per trade. That's the next step. And I'm not talking about that $50 if you go ahead and make 30 trades, I'm talking a per-trade commission to us. That's where I would like to see this go. 

Moser: How about an incentive at the end of the year? If you bought more than you sold, then you get a bonus for being a long-term investor, right?

Jones: Don't tell Tom Gardner that. He will pick that up and run with it. [laughs] 

Lewis: Alright, we are also going to talk about a fact or a stat that summed up the decade for us.

But before we get over to that part of our roundtable discussion, we've got some stock pitches. Our Monday host, Jason Moser, likes to put out to our listeners, write in if there's a stock that they recently bought and explain why. We're going to read a couple of those throughout this discussion. Jason, what's the first one that's coming up?

Moser: OK, good, last stock you bought and why. Casey from Ottawa, Canada wrote in. He says, "I've been a longtime listener and greatly appreciate the insights into new stocks brought up by your variety of contributors. It's been a profitable source of info and a great way to track my new leads. I enjoy the many different perspectives, regardless of whether they match my own opinions. Keep up the good work." So, guys, really quick, [claps], a round of applause.

Alright, so, Casey says his last equity purchase was Broadridge Financial Solutions, ticker BR. For background, he says, "I aim for largely dividend growth stocks with good payout sustainability and a history of consistent shareholder returns. Companies with large moats and excellent free cash flow get me very excited, and this one fits the bill in my view. What do you think?" What do you think, Dylan?

Lewis: [laughs] You had to put me on the hot seat?

Moser: Do you like free cash flow?

Lewis: I love me some free cash flow. I love moats. I don't know anything about this company.

Moser: I don't know anything about the company, but I love the quality. Casey, it sounds like it's one that's piqued your interest. Thanks for writing in and telling up.

Lewis: You know what I love about that? That's clear, organized thought. Casey knows what Casey's looking for when it comes to a stock. It's clear that he or she has a framework for how they're looking at companies. You that structured thought. Otherwise success isn't repeatable.

Moser: Absolutely. Good on you, Casey. Thanks for writing!

Lewis: Alright, so, I asked all of you guys to prepare a stat or fact that you felt summed up the decade pretty well. If you have multiple stats or facts, that's totally fine, too. 

Emily, I'm going to put you on the hot seat first. What did you come to us with? 

Flippen: I don't have a fun stat, but I do have what I think is a fun fact, which is 4G was first launched in the U.S. in June 2010. So, just about a decade ago, 4G was launched. Now, think about how much our relationship with our phones has changed just over the past decade. We went through LTE. Now everybody's really excited about 5G, if that ever actually happens here in the U.S.. We'll see. Maybe over the next decade...

Lewis: Based on the wireless commercials, it coming.

Flippen: [laughs] It feels like they've been saying that for a while now. But the point is, is that, just a decade ago, we weren't accustomed to putting that information over apps. Purchasing things with your phone, even wearable devices. It's amazing how our relationship has changed. For me, the big takeaway from that is just security and cyber security. I think it's still an underrepresented part of the market over the past 10 years in terms of importance. So when I look toward the next 10 years, and I think about how much our relationship with our phones has changed, just over the past decade, I can't help but imagine that cyber security is not going anywhere. It's only becoming more important.

Lewis: Yeah, I think that's an industry where everyone's kind of rooting for the companies that are established there, right? No company wants to be dealing with any cyber security breaches or any issues. Anyone that specializes in that stuff is certainly going to be in demand. 

Jason, what do you have for us?

Moser: The sexy world of interest rates. I know everybody's just thrilled to talk about interest rates. I mean, I will give you a fun fact. I was hired to work here at The Fool in 2010, so I'm coming up on my decade. Fun fact: I'm still here. They haven't gotten rid of me yet. That says something.

Lewis: They still know you work here, right? [laughs] 

Jones: Does he, though?

Lewis: Did they move you down to the basement and take your stapler?

Moser: [laughs] In all seriousness, this really does go back to when I started working here. I think we were just coming out of the financial crisis. I remember that very well, and thinking, "Wow, that was not fun." And this is a testament to how you think economists are really are really smart. And they put up a good front. Apparently, they all really got this wrong. Because over the course of this decade, the projections often were for interest rates to be much, much higher than they are right now. A friend of mine, Pete Claypool, sent me this article, and I was reading through it, and I just found it very interesting, the theories that they proposed, why, maybe, economists got this so wrong. Why aren't interest rates much higher than they are now? Why hasn't inflation propelled those interest rates higher? And there were three theories that they had thrown out there. 

One is the debt hangover theory. People were afraid of debt after coming through a recession like that, the Great Recession. So, they're afraid of debt. They're paying it off. They're not borrowing as much they're not spending as much. The next theory was secular stagnation, which was essentially slow population growth leading to a lack of spending. And then there was a third theory, the natural rate of unemployment. That's essentially the lowest we can go before we start running out of workers, which then starts pushing prices back up. 

Again, as an econ major, it's all theoretical, right? It was just interesting to read these theories after really getting this decade wrong. So, it's probably going to take another decade to figure out exactly why we got this decade so wrong, but I feel like we've been talking about interest rates having nowhere to go but up for the past decade, and they just haven't gone up.

Lewis: I think there's a wonderful lesson there for folks -- when you see headlines that are precise, there's often a level of false precision that comes with these numbers that are being put out there. Whether it's an economist or someone at a firm that's putting out a price target for a stock, it's easy to sound like you've done quite a bit of work and you really know what you're talking about if you've modeled something out using a DCF, and you've looked at hundreds of years of data, what have you. The reality is, a projection is a projection. The numbers have to play out before you know exactly how things are going to work out.

Moser: That's it. 

Lewis: Nick, you're shaking your head.

Sciple: Another thing on the interest rate stuff that I think about a lot is, even if you have 75 years of data, you go back all of modern financial history, in the grand scheme of things, in the sample size of human history and all those sorts of things, what can happen, that's a really small sample size. It sounds really huge when you hear us describe that, but things that have quote-unquote never happened before happen all the time. That's kind of what's happened in the last 10 years with interest rates.

Lewis: Yeah, just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean it won't happen. Shannon, what do you got for us?

Jones: Alright, so my stat, 67%. This is from a study from Pew Research, actually published, I think, last month. That's 67% of Americans say marijuana should be legalized, which is quite incredible because if you go back 10 years ago, that number was completely flipped on its head. And that is just astounding to me. Two-thirds of Americans before said, "This should not be legalized. This is an illicit, a dangerous drug." And it's just been amazing to watch not even just Americans in general, and their changing thoughts on marijuana, but even more so politicians, even professional athletes. I think the Major League Baseball Association came out and said that now they're taking marijuana off of the basically banned substance list. It's just really incredible to me to see how much has changed in a relatively short amount of time when you go back and look at the history. Emily and I have covered this space. When you look at the history of just the thoughts and the sentiment around marijuana, just to see where we've come in the past 10 years has been astounding. 

Lewis: Now, what do you think has changed those attitudes over such a short period of time, Shannon?

Jones: Millennials. That's the answer for everything, right?

Lewis: So, is this something that millennials haven't killed? They've actually grown it?

Jones: Pretty much! No, I think when it comes to marijuana, I think there's just been a growing acceptance. Because, of course, people were still doing it. But I think with marijuana, once people realized it wasn't nearly as dangerous as some of the other drugs that are out on the market, I think just sentiment has started to change. And when you now have medical research behind some of this to say that there's actually some benefit to it, I think that that has helped. And you're seeing this on both sides of the aisles, not just Democrats. Also Republicans are getting on board with this. And so I think it's a number of different things, but for me looking at this space, it's not a matter of if federal legalization will happen, it's more a matter of when at this point.

Lewis: Are you willing to throw out a reckless prediction on that?

Jones: I'm going to say in the next 10 years.

Lewis: Wow! Tune back in 2029, and we'll come back full circle on that.

Jones: There you go. 

Lewis: Nick, what do you have as your fun fact?

Sciple: Cool, I've got a couple. First one, 123 and 15. That's an Alabama football record during the 2010s. But more seriously on the Industry Focus side, it's oil production in the U.S.. So over the course of the 2010s, the U.S. rocketed up to become the No. 1 oil producer in the world. In 2009, the U.S. averaged about 5.5 million barrels per day of crude oil. This year, I've seen a range of numbers, but let's say around 15 million barrels per day of oil. That's about a triple over a 10-year course of time. And this is in the oil industry, which is a 100-plus year old industry, very capital intensive. When you see a tripling in production, really significantly has changed the global oil market. You saw oil prices peak in 2014, crater all the way down, from above $100 down into the $20s. Since recovered somewhat from there. 

But at the same time, fracking, which has really powered this oil production boom in the U.S., has really never produced positive free cash flow in a significant way. The IEA estimates that during those first four years of the boom from 2010 to 2014, the sector burned $200 billion in cash. Since 2014, independent oil drillers have only had one year of positive free cash flow. We just saw a couple weeks ago; Chevron announced an $11 billion writedown of its shale and natural gas assets in the U.S. I think it's an interesting stat, both from the sense of, we've seen massive increases in production over the last decade, but there really hasn't been much profit dropping down to the bottom line. We're seeing, finally, credit start to contract in that industry, some consolidation take place. Maybe we're going to see that growth slow down.

One other fun fact I have, it's kind of outside my sector but I think it's important, is that the trend toward online dating has really shifted in a significant way, over the past 10 years. If you look at a chart -- there was a famous chart that went around Twitter from Michael Rosenfeld at Stanford. He wrote a paper. But you can see how there's a big boom in online dating right when the internet first started, kind of leveled off in 2010, and then rocketed up again. Now, about 40% of new couples meet their significant other through online dating. That's really been propelled by smartphones, smartphone adoption really coming into the fore in the 2010s. This always on, always able to communicate, seamless communication with folks has really changed how people meet. And when you change how people meet one another, that really changes how people interact in a huge way. And I think we're going to see those changes continue to trickle down over the next decade. We'll just see how things play out. 

Lewis: As someone that's firmly in the millennial market, I see that with my friends across the board. a ton of people that are either now engaged or married to someone that they met online or are currently dating someone that they met online. It seems like it's been totally destigmatized.

Sciple: Yeah, the analogy I thought about when I was getting ready for the show, how it flattened out in the early part of the 2000s before it really ramped up in the 2010s, 2004, there was a movie that came out called Napoleon Dynamite. I'm sure many of y'all have seen that. 

Jones: Classic.

Sciple: Yes, it is a classic. And online dating is a plot point in that movie. Kip and Lafawnduh were dating online. It's kind of a running joke of the whole movie. "Oh, I've been online on my computer talking to hot babes all day long." That was the environment of that, in the early 2000s, with online dating. That joke would never land today, talking about dating someone online. Significant changes really just happened since the 2010s, since the smartphone took over.

Jones: I mean, online dating used to just be so taboo. I remember back in the AOL days -- I'm dating myself here -- you'd go in a chat room and strike up a conversation, but you would never tell anybody that you were talking to somebody online. Now, that has changed. Going back to your point, Nick, Bumble, I think, is the female one. Now, it's where females are empowered to make the first move. So you see dating sites not only changing how we interact and who we meet, but also, too, I think empowering women. It's really interesting.

Lewis: Alright, so, I'm going to bring us home. And I tried to do my best to not navel-gaze at tech with my stat. But I couldn't resist, you know? I just couldn't resist. If you go back to 2010, and it will depend a little bit based on when you're looking during the year, any guess as to the most valuable company in the S&P 500?

Moser: When?

Lewis: 2010. 

​Moser:​ 2010, the most valuable company. 

Sciple: Exxon.

Jones: Yeah, I was going to say Exxon. 

Lewis: It is Exxon. I can't tell if Nick knew it because he's over my shoulder or because he covers the Energy sector. So, yeah, ExxonMobil was the most valuable company in the S&P 500. Also within the top 10, General Electric and Chevron. 

You fast forward to the top 10 most valuable companies now, you have Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, boom, that's five tech companies right there. You don't get outside the tech space until six with Berkshire Hathaway, and then JP Morgan, Johnson & Johnson and Visa bringing up the rest.

It's been a decade of tech. I think what we've seen over the last 10 years is a pretty big land grab with some of the more important spaces, and tech companies just seeming to seize all of that greenfield. I mean, whether it's smartphones, software, e-commerce, search, basically any activity that can be possibly monetized, one of those companies has a hand in it. And it's no surprise that we're starting to get to the point now, where there are some antitrust concerns for some of these businesses, particularly as they've been more and more acquisitive over the last couple of years.

Sciple: Yeah, Dylan, to piggyback off what you said, Morgan Stanley put out this stat maybe a couple weeks ago, that as of a couple weeks ago -- I think this is still true today -- Apple alone is worth more on a market cap basis than the entire S&P 500 energy sector. If you think that in 2010, Exxon was the biggest portion of the S&P 500, and now one tech company is worth more than the entire sector, crazy just how much things have changed in the past 10 years.

Lewis: Another fun fact about Apple -- I can't resist. [laughs] Their market cap is roughly 4X what it was in 2010. Shares, however, are up almost 800% during that period, because the company has been so aggressive with their buybacks and returning capital to shareholders. Just going to show -- buybacks, not always a bad way to use capital. It depends, of course, on the timing.

Jones: If you have no other opportunities to reinvest at a higher rate, yes.

Lewis: If you're sitting on $100 billion and you're trying to invent ways to spend that cash, buybacks are far from the worst way to do it. 

But I think that is going to do it for this part of our roundtable discussion. We're going to close out this one with another stock pitch, courtesy of one of our listeners and Jason Moser.

Moser: Yeah, we got this one from Twitter. An interesting username, @melonsmangoes. They say, "The last stocks I bought were adding to my positions of The Trade Desk and Jumia. I bought them in my Vanguard Roth IRA," which brings me to the meat of this tweet. I think this was just a little bit ago so maybe this hadn't changed at the time. "Do you see Vanguard eliminating its $7 transaction fees in light of the competitive landscape it's facing?" Pretty sure Vanguard has already eliminated those. This tweet was from a few weeks ago, maybe. I think Vanguard's eliminated those fees. 

Lewis: You're the fee guy, I thought you would know.

Moser: I'm pretty sure everybody's eliminated those fees now. The Trade Desk and Jumia. The Trade Desk, I actually own shares of that one myself. Really neat. Playing the advertising market, particularly in the connected TV and the ad-supported TV. Jumia, I guess, gets the reputation as kind of the Amazon of Africa. Still some work to do there but interesting, nonetheless.

Lewis: And two stocks that have been talked about on the Friday Tech show. Jumia is a very interesting. Reminds me a lot of MercadoLibre, which some of our listeners may be familiar with. 

We're going to pick up with another discussion tomorrow. It'll be the same discussion. We're just going to drop it tomorrow. But that's going to do it for this episode of Industry Focus. If you have any questions or you want to reach out and say hey, maybe shoot us a stock that you recently bought, email us over at or tweet us @MFIndustryFocus. If you want more of our stuff, subscribe on iTunes or check out videos from the podcast over on YouTube.

As always, people on the program may own companies discussed on the show, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against stocks mentioned, so don't buy or sell anything based solely on what you hear. Thanks to Austin Morgan for all his work behind the glass today. For everyone on the Industry Focus team, I'm Dylan Lewis, thanks for listening and Fool on!

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.