President Biden wants to spend $500 billion on tech
Image: Neon Brand / Protocol
Good morning! This Thursday, we have lots of April Fool's jokes for you. April Fool's! This is a dumb holiday and we will be ignoring it. In the real world, the Biden administration put out its $2 trillion infrastructure plan, Elon Musk gave $30 million to a town that didn't know it was coming, Coursera had a big IPO and Google is going to be surprisingly restrictive about remote work.
The Biden administration unveiled yesterday an eight-year, $2 trillion agenda for The American Jobs Plan, which the White House said "will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country's infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China."
Here's a rundown of where the tech money is headed:
Big numbers! But is this actually useful? After the plan was released, I called Jonathan Winer, the Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners co-founder who has been advocating for some of the infrastructure bill to include ambitious tech projects for the future.
As always, there's "the things Biden wants" and "the legislation that might actually pass," and there's a good chance those things will end up far apart. But this is a big, bold, expensive first step, and companies all over the tech industry should be thinking about how they might take part. There's about to be a lot of RFPs floating around.
Anna Kramer writes: On Tuesday, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he would give $10 million to revitalize Brownsville, a tiny city in the corner of south Texas, and another $20 million for the county public school system. It was news to the world — and also news to the mayor of Brownsville.
Musk generally is pretty opaque about his philanthropy and charitable donations, but Recode estimates that he's probably given away a bit more than $100 million over the last two decades. That makes the planned $30 million a pretty big chunk of his overall philanthropy, and a clear sign he's heavily invested in this part of Texas.
He hasn't named himself Starbase mayor yet, but I think it's only a matter of time. Or maybe he'll be Technoking there, too.
Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda thinks the future of learning is online, even after the pandemic ends. "The truth is we all will not go back to offices, we all will not go back to campuses," Maggioncalda told Protocol's Penelope Blackwell. "And so, online work and online learning — among other things — are here to stay."
Investors evidently like Coursera's vision. In the latest in a string of eye-popping IPOs, Coursera stock jumped 36% by the closing bell yesterday, to $45 a share at a market cap of around $5.1 billion. That vote of confidence may not be just about the traditional classroom, though. Coursera's success has just as much to do with re-skilling, certifications and professional education.
"With remote work, if students can learn anywhere and get jobs anywhere, then suddenly all communities will have more equal access to educational opportunities and more equal access to job opportunities," Maggioncalda said. "And I think that might be more of what the world looks like after this pandemic."
Investor Ellie Cachette explained why she and a group of other investors are trying to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, using a phrase I'm betting she wishes she hadn't:
On Protocol: Bring it on, DocuSign, said Notarize CEO Pat Kinsel:
President Biden called out Amazon for using "loopholes" to avoid paying federal income tax:
ByteDance lawyer Prakash Shah unsuccessfully begged an Indian court to unfreeze the company's bank accounts, which were blocked for alleged tax evasion:
Speaking of Elon Musk, he's joining the board at Endeavor, the sports-and-talent brand that just announced it's going public.
The Army wants some HoloLenses. Microsoft will get up to $21.9 billion to make more than 120,000 headsets over the next decade. Also, the prototypes look extremely rad.
Squarespace bought Tock for $400 million, which sends a pretty strong signal about Squarespace's plans to host and digitize the restaurant business.
Hitachi is buying GlobalLogic for $9.6 billion. It said it plans to use the software developer to "advance" its IoT platform.
Micron or Western Digital might buy Kioxia for around $30 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. Current owner Bain Capital is reportedly considering an IPO too if the deal doesn't come off.
ByteDance might list Douyin, Reuters reported, with the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges reportedly in the running.
Of course there was going to be a "Tiger King" NFT, and of course it was going to be controversial. Joe Exotic is reportedly not a fan. But the digital trading cards are already on sale. And look, is it possible that I'm being duped by an April Fool's joke here? No, actually. Because there's no fooling on the blockchain.
Greg Goldfarb, who is VP of Products and Commerce at GoDaddy, admires the resilience and ingenuity of small business owners. "It is amazing to see entrepreneurs figuring out the new context really quickly to adapt and survive." We sat down with Goldfarb to talk about the rise in ecommerce, the impact of COVID-19, the major trends emerging this year and more.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.