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Amazon games, digital campaigns and Twitter hacks

Amazon games, digital campaigns and Twitter hacks

Good morning! This Sunday, your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was, from new visions for social networks and game-streaming to indoor security drones.

Also, watch out this week for our new manual about how technology is helping small businesses to cope with the strain of the pandemic. The first stories will be published tomorrow, and more will come out every day this week.

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HOUSEKEEPING

I'm moving! My wife, Anna, and I are heading across the country from our old Bay Area home to our new spot in Alexandria, Virginia. I'm writing this from a hotel in Salt Lake City, and by the time you read it we'll be in Denver or Kansas City or stranded on the side of a highway somewhere. All of which is to say I'm off next week, and Source Code will be in Shakeel Hashim's extremely capable hands. Have a great week, send me road-trip tips and I'll see you next Monday.

Now onto the good stuff.

Best of Protocol

Telepath is a new, kinder social network. But is the internet ready to be nice?, By Biz Carson

  • What would it look like if you could start Facebook or Twitter over again, knowing what we know now about what happens when a platform gets really big? Telepath is a really interesting answer to that question, requiring a much stronger set of rules that the company's really willing to enforce.

Luna, Amazon's bet on game streaming, is all about channel subscriptions, by Janko Roettgers

  • A few big takeaways from this one. First, that Amazon is dead-set on being a big player in gaming, no matter how many tries it takes or how badly its games flop. Second, that Amazon's "buy everything through us" vision truly knows no bounds. Oh, and third, companies are going to keep trying to make game-streaming happen on iOS until somebody figures it out.

Pandemic waivers made it easier to get treatment for opioid addiction. That could all go away next month, by Issie Lapowsky

  • COVID set off a mad scramble to make as many things as possible easier for people, so they could keep living their lives. Now comes the moment when companies and governments have to decide what sticks and what doesn't. Telehealth, one of the industries that opened up the most in the last six months, has to figure out what its future looks like.

Twitter chief design officer Dantley Davis on building the most diverse team in tech, by Janko Roettgers

  • Love this: "The notion that there's a pipeline problem is a myth. There's a relationship problem among hiring managers that are not women or people of color with those communities. Even though I'm Black, that doesn't mean that I'm just a magnet for all Black tech people. They don't just come knocking down my door because I happen to be the same hue of brown as them. I have to do the work as well."

What Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court would mean for the future of tech, by Emily Birnbaum

  • Like Emily wrote, tech is currently that rare issue that's not totally partisan. What Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation would mean for businesses is fairly clear (spoiler alert: it's good news), but her stance on tech is a little harder to parse. Still, with cases relating to privacy, cybercrime and free speech all likely to be heard soon, we could know where she stands before too long.

A MESSAGE FROM INTUIT QUICKBOOKS

Intuit

Introducing QuickBooks Commerce, a new way for small businesses to grow

Small businesses need to attract and sell to new customers, but many worry about adding operational complexity – especially right now. QuickBooks Commerce is a new platform to manage multiple online and in-store sales channels and better maintain inventory while getting profitability insights – all from one central hub.

Learn more

Best of Everything Else

Inside the Biden campaign's surprising influencer strategy — Recode

  • The 2020 campaign trail swaps buses and stump speeches for webcams and Instagram Lives, and as a result feels more digital and modern than any I can remember. This dive into Biden's strategy, which includes everything from influencer chats to hanging up signs in Animal Crossing, is a pretty good marketing playbook whether you're trying to be POTUS or sell sweatpants.

How Twitter survived its biggest hack — and plans to stop the next one — Wired

  • What do you do when many of your most popular users all get hacked at once? Panic! Per Wired: "Starting with CEO Jack Dorsey, and then going down the organizational chart, every single person needed to get onto a video conference with their supervisor and manually change their passwords in front of them." (More on this stuff in this week's Source Code Podcast, by the way.)

Mark in the middle — The Verge

  • One of the better looks I've seen into what it's like to be Mark Zuckerberg right now, and the dangers of being the guy who steadfastly refuses to take sides at a time when the sides are getting farther apart. Nobody can force Mark to change, but he's clearly wrestling with what he's supposed to do next.

Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus on the rise of Silicon Valley SPACs — Axios

  • A great, quick dive into why tech loves SPACs. Investors and founders often hate the process of going public, because it changes everything about how a business operates. Creating a simpler transition — and one that makes more companies go public and gets more investors paid — could be a big win for Sand Hill Road.

Magic Leap tried to create an alternate reality. Its founder was already in one. — Bloomberg

  • Magic Leap is a cautionary tale for a lot of reasons. Chief among them, I think, is the fact that the company took a killer demo and an amazing vision as promises of inevitable success. And as one investor puts it in this story, there was no one in the room to raise their hand and say: "We're not done yet." Hype is good, vision is good — but if you're too far ahead, you better know it.

One Person's Opinion

Damien Kieran, Twitter's digital privacy officer

After that huge Twitter hack in July, the company had to scramble to figure out what happened next and how Twitter could protect both its users and its employees better going forward. This is a perhaps uniquely high-stakes moment to try, too, with an election looming and a pandemic raging. The world's not getting less complicated, the internet's not getting friendlier; Twitter needed a plan.

Coming up with that plan largely fell to Damien Kieran, Twitter's data protection officer. His job is to figure out how Twitter collects data, how it's used, who can access it and what the tradeoffs are across all those options. His thinking, and Twitter's plans, are the conversation in this week's Source Code Podcast. And, as always, he provided us with a few of the things he's into right now.

A MESSAGE FROM INTUIT QUICKBOOKS

Intuit

Introducing QuickBooks Commerce, a new way for small businesses to grow

Small businesses need to attract and sell to new customers, but many worry about adding operational complexity – especially right now. QuickBooks Commerce is a new platform to manage multiple online and in-store sales channels and better maintain inventory while getting profitability insights – all from one central hub.

Learn more

Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to david@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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