The chips are gone
Good morning! This Friday, the U.S. is starting to respond to the semiconductor shortage, Bumble had a monster IPO, how libraries became a tech problem and why Microsoft wants regulation … for Facebook and Google.
The global semiconductor shortage is making painfully clear to companies and governments around the world that, well, the semiconductor industry needs to get a lot bigger.
President Biden plans to sign an executive order calling for a review of the industry. "The review will be focused on identifying the immediate actions we can take," press secretary Jen Psaki said, "from improving the physical production of those items in the U.S. to working with allies to develop a coordinated response to the weaknesses and bottlenecks that are hurting American workers."
A review is not a plan, of course, and a plan is not a thriving semiconductor industry. In the long run, it seems likely that the U.S. won't be the only country to invest in semiconductor manufacturing — the EU is considering a deal with TSMC or Samsung to build an advanced foundry in the region — so supply might stop being an issue even if reliance on other countries is harder to overcome. But whatever happens, the current shortage is going to keep being painful for a while.
Bumble had quite a first day on the public markets, jumping more than 63% and valuing the company at more than $14 billion. So let's look at what could go wrong, shall we?
Here at Source Code we love a good corporate Risk Factor. And since we forgot to do it when Bumble filed its S-1, let's look at the unique perils of being a dating app in 2021:
Bumble's a perfect test case for an increasingly important kind of company, dealing in both online and offline life but only really able to control what happens online. It's an eternal question for dating apps: How do you care for your users when you're connecting them outside your app? And actually that's a meaningful one for everyone else to start asking, too.
Anna Kramer writes: Wonderful new technology always has a price, and the rise of the Libby app is the latest object lesson. If you don't know Libby: It's a cute virtual app for borrowing ebooks from your library, and it has become A Thing for basically everyone who has ever read a book.
Libby's growth has also contributed to a serious financial problem for public libraries. The crux of the issue: Ebooks are much more expensive than physical books, so more people reading digitally means way more spending for libraries.
If you've got a sense of deja vu reading this, you're right on the money. We hear versions of this story all the time: A new app transforms the way we engage with the world, saving people in a moment of crisis, and oh wait someone has an ulterior motive somewhere, and there's no regulation to stop it from happening.
One thing we have realized is that COVID-19 has accelerated three transformational trends that already existed before the pandemic, but are now dramatically reshaping healthcare: the concept of a networked healthcare system, the increasing adoption of telehealth, and the idea of virtual care and guidance. At the same time, we have seen consumers becoming much more engaged in their personal health and that of their families.
Microsoft supports legislation making Google and Facebook pay for news, Brad Smith said:
Steven Sinofsky raised an eyebrow at the whole thing:
And Google's Kent Walker had a similar response:
On Protocol: It's crazy that people have to turn to the internet to help pay their bills, GoFundMe's Tim Cadogan said:
David Schneider is now a general partner at Coatue Management, heading over from ServiceNow.
Medium staffers are unionizing, with a group of 140 employees set to be represented by the Medium Workers Union in conjunction with the Communications Workers of America.
Speaking of unions: SAG-AFTRA, the group that represents people in movies, TV and elsewhere, is now planning to cover content "created by certain types of influencers."
It's so passe to refer to gamers as "dudes in their mom's basement." Especially when it turns out that the gamer you think is a person might instead be a pig pushing a joystick with its snout and absolutely crushing it at Pong. And unlike most gamers, the pigs were even trained to put things away when they were done.
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 weekend; see you Sunday.