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Camera apps and crypto art

Image: Sem Schilder / Protocol
Camera apps and crypto art

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 hot new thing in social apps (no, not Clubhouse) to everything you need to know about NFTs and crypto art.

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Best of Protocol

An oral history of #hugops: How tech's first responders built a culture of empathy, by Tom Krazit

  • It's hard when your job is largely invisible until something goes wrong. That's life as an operations engineer, though — and Tom has the fun, fascinating story of how people across the industry banded together to lift each other up even when the internet is down.

No editing, no hashtags: Dispo wants you to live in the moment, by Jane Seidel

  • Clubhouse is so January 2021. The new new thing is David Dobrik's Dispo, which tries to find a way to make a completely commoditized thing — taking pictures on your phone — fun and spontaneous again. And it's not just a flash in the pan: It's an app valued at $200 million.

A Bloomberg-backed 'tech co' is building campaign tools for the left and right, by Issie Lapowsky

  • The Bloomberg family is all in on tech and politics. But as Mike's Hawkfish firm shuts down, his daughter Emma is trying to build a campaign tech behemoth. Its ultra boring name — Tech co. — hides its huge ambition to build the ultimate platform for political organizing.

How Chess.com built a streaming empire, by Hirsh Chitkara

  • Chess.com's success is a combination of luck — who knew "The Queen's Gambit" would turn a world full of locked down viewers into aspiring chess masters? — and clever foresight. The way it tapped into network effects, used AI and embraced streaming is a playbook any company should look at.

Meet the billionaire mayor of China's glorious digital ghost town, by Zeyi Yang

  • It's both sort of heartwarming and sort of sad: A tech billionaire, who runs a hugely successful company, spends all his free time posting on a long forgotten social app that hardly anybody else uses. But it seems to create a private, closed space that's hard to find on bigger platforms.

Oracle and SAP hate Rimini Street. Now it's trying to stifle their cloud businesses, by Joe Williams

  • Rimini Street built a big business out of undercutting Oracle and SAP at maintaining software for corporations. That went pretty well. And now that the cloud is upending the way everyone does business, Rimini Street thinks it's found a way to extend its reach even further.

A MESSAGE FROM INTEL

Intel

In an interview with Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., Lantzach shares his take on edge computing: There are more innovations to come – and technology leaders should think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.

Read more

Best of Everything Else

Modern Health co-founder lawsuit: How Alyson Watson and Erica Johnson broke up — Business Insider

  • It's like a true-crime documentary, but about all the ways a co-founder relationship can go wrong. What happens when one founder decides to use their considerable power and energy trying to get the other one fired? And what happens when that's all happening inside a hugely successful startup?

'Mark changed the rules': How Facebook went easy on Alex Jones and other right-wing figures — BuzzFeed News

  • You should read this, and the ProPublica story about how Facebook helped the Turkish government silence one of its enemies. The takeaway from both is the same: Most of the time in tech, people trump policy. A few important leaders get to do more or less whatever they want. Which means putting the right people in charge — and the right safeguards around their whims — is absolutely crucial.

My year of grief and cancellation — The New York Times

  • Remember the Your Fave Is Problematic Tumblr? It was an early progenitor of cancel culture, letting you know all the reasons the people you liked were actually terrible. It belonged to the author of this piece, and this reckoning of how it worked and what problematic faves did to the internet is a fascinating dissection of what it means to be online now.

Steve Jobs stories — The Computer History Museum

  • This was maybe the most fun Clubhouse room yet: A bunch of people – including Steven Levy, Esther Dyson, and longtime Apple execs such as Andy Hertzfeld and John Sculley — spent an hour and a half sharing stories about Steve Jobs on the eve of what would have been his 66th birthday. The result is a pretty fantastic listening experience.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek chats with The Verge about Clubhouse, hardware and its exclusive podcasts — The Verge

  • So many good nuggets in this interview, but the one that has stuck with me is Ek's thoughts on his "ubiquity strategy." He roots for lots of platforms to win, because that's when Spotify wins: "I believe we're the only player that has that relationship where we're now on 2,000 devices, and we play nice on all of them."

Images from the Perseverance Rover

  • Thousands of them! Most of them blurry and/or of rocks, sure. But it's Mars. If it doesn't amaze you that NASA has a website filled with images captured tens of millions of miles from here, then I don't even know what to tell you. Also, if you need a new lock screen picture, there are plenty here to choose from. Just saying.

Crash Course

What you need to know about NFTs

First of all, that NFT stands for non-fungible token. And second, that they're the hottest thing going in the crypto world right now. If Bitcoin was the first killer app for the blockchain, a lot of people think NFTs are the second.

We talked a bit about NFTs on Monday, but if you're thinking of investing in digital Nyan cat GIFs or NBA highlights to diversify your portfolio, you'll probably want to know more. To get up to speed on all things non-fungible, here are a few places to start:

  • What are smart contracts and how do they work? To understand smart contracts is to understand Ethereum, and to understand Ethereum is to understand NFTs. (And the future of the internet, but we'll come back to that.) This guide from Decrypt is enough to make sure you never sound dumb talking crypto again.
  • Bleacher Report on NBA Top Shot. Let me get this straight: You can buy highlights, of players, doing sports, and they're … yours? Well, kind of. This is the new trading card, and it's by far the biggest NFT marketplace out there. This profile is also a pretty good intro to the space.
  • Esquire's profile of Beeple. Beeple, otherwise known as Mike Winkelmann, is the Banksy of digital art. Or maybe the Van Gogh? Anyway, he's been at the forefront of the NFT revolution, creating and selling digital art for years. And he's making a fortune.
  • The Defiant guide to digital art and NFTs. A rollicking 30-minute history of the rollicking digital art space, all the way from the simplest question — is a QR code art? — to the key moments in crypto art history, to where we are now. And it lands, I think, in the right place: Art is just art. Ultimately the tech won't change that.
  • The next big bet: Digital art. I'm sure you know who Anthony Pompliano is, but if you don't, all the context you need here is that Anthony Pompliano loves all things crypto. Here, he makes what amounts to the bull-est of bull cases for why digital art is going to change everything.
  • Nifty Gateway, OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, Hashmasks, and CryptoKitties. These are some of the biggest and most interesting NFT marketplaces, and a good place to start your shopping.

A MESSAGE FROM INTEL

Intel

In an interview with Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., Lantzach shares his take on edge computing: There are more innovations to come – and technology leaders should think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.

Read more

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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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