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Big Tech hearings and Big Boat journeys

Big Tech hearings and Big Boat journeys

Good morning! This Sunday, here's your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was, from the tech CEO hearing to the great ship Ever Given.

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Best of Protocol

Monique Woodard is betting on the people Sand Hill Road keeps overlooking, by Megan Rose Dickey

  • Most venture capital money still goes to the same kind of people, with the same kind of background, building the same kind of things. Monique Woodard and Cake Ventures are making a different bet: that as the internet grows, its user base is changing, and that by betting on founders who are older, women and people of color, they can be ahead of the game.

Seven things to know about the Big Tech CEO hearing, by Emily Birnbaum and Issie Lapowsky

  • This was the 17th tech CEO hearing since the fall of 2017, and contained just about the same (high) percentage of yelling, grandstanding and chaos as the rest. But there were moments in which we got a glimpse of how Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey see their platforms and the world.

China's women gamers take on the haters, by Zeyi Yang

  • The story of Team Fire encapsulates a lot about the huge biases and roadblocks facing women in the esports world and on the internet in general. But Team Fire keeps fighting, and is determined to make the path easier for everyone who comes next. Here's hoping.

WhatsApp for work: Slack is turning into a full-on messaging app, by David Pierce

  • This rollout went … badly for Slack. Which says something both about the way Slack builds its products, and the way people see Slack. But if Slack wants to survive as Teams and other products continue to grow, it has to become more than just a way to chat with your coworkers. That's hard to get right, but Slack has to keep trying.

VR wants to save the live music business, one avatar at a time, by Janko Roettgers

  • Reggie Watts loves VR concerts. So do a lot of people, it turns out, and during a pandemic they've been a lifeline both for artists and fans. Along with the events in places like Fortnite and Roblox, this is a part of the music business that won't go away even when we can start crowding into clubs again. And with the tech starting to come out now, they're going to get even better.

Mark Warner is ready to fight for Section 230 reform, by Issie Lapowsky and Emily Birnbaum

  • From our excellent "Reimagining Section 230" event this week, this conversation gives a good sense of how Sen. Warner is thinking about reforming the internet. And how complicated it is to understand what, exactly, Section 230 reform would actually change about the internet.

A MESSAGE FROM GODADDY

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.

Read the interview

Best of Everything Else

The wild logistics of getting a giant cargo ship out of the Suez Canal — Wired UK

  • Is our global obsession with the Big Boat a sign that we've all been spending too much time indoors? Maybe. Probably. Almost certainly. But I am obsessed with the Big Boat. I know you are too.

How politics tested Ravelry and the crafting community — The New Yorker

  • We spend too much time talking about "the internet" as if it's made up entirely of Google and Facebook. But every platform of any size has to figure out what to do with politics, moderation questions and extremism. Even when all of that is happening on a knitting platform. We definitely have not figured out how to do community on the internet.

Facebook executives shut down efforts to make the site less divisive — The Wall Street Journal

  • I know this story's almost a year old. But it feels newly relevant, given how often it came up during this week's hearing and how squirrelly Mark Zuckerberg got when asked about it. It's a great way to understand exactly how power works inside of Facebook.

Pinterest and the subtle poison of sexism and racism in tech — Time

  • This story ties together so many threads about diversity and bias in the workplace, and all the ways — dramatic and subtle — that those things show up every day. This story is about Pinterest, but there's not much here that won't sound familiar to employees at most companies in tech.

Documents show Amazon is aware drivers pee in bottles — The Intercept

  • This week will go down in history as one of the dumber PR moves of all time. Amazon's aggressive tweeting at politicians only served to highlight the very things Amazon was trying to claim don't exist, and gave a lot of people reasons to share their stories. Ahead of a high-stakes union vote on Tuesday, Amazon put itself in a bad spot.

+500 original openers written by GPT-3 — Jan Antonin Kolar, Denis Valasek and GPT-3

  • This is both totally a joke … and genuinely useful? There are some fun AI-generated icebreakers in here for almost any occasion, personal or professional. And if it all goes totally wrong, you can always just blame the AI. It's a perfect Tindering system. And seriously, what artist would you enjoy more if you knew she was in the mafia?

A MESSAGE FROM GODADDY

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.

Read the interview

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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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