Elon Musk, king of the internet
Image: Daniel Oberhaus (2018) / Protocol
Good morning! This Tuesday, Elon Musk runs the internet, NDAs are under scrutiny, Salesforce has diversity troubles, Clubhouse is banned in China, and we found your new laptop.
Elon Musk controls the universe. Or at least, the part that's online. This is not a conspiracy theory, it's just a fact. He tweeted about liking Etsy and its price spiked. He spurred the GameStop rally with a single "Gamestonk!!" He made Darude's "Sandstorm" a hit two decades after its release. And he helped raise the price of a Dogecoin from 0.007 cents as of Jan. 27 to 8.1 cents yesterday (that's a roughly 115,000% increase) with a series of increasingly meme-heavy tweets about the cryptocurrency.
Quick Dogecoin refresher, because I've gotten some questions: Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency originally designed as a satire.
But the crypto on Musk's radar yesterday was Bitcoin. Musk is also a longtime Bitcoin bull, and he's now putting his money where his tweets are: On Monday, Tesla announced that it bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin in January, and wrote in a 10-K filing that it may now purchase or hold digital assets "from time to time or long-term." The company also wrote that it expects "to begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment" for its products.
We've never seen a CEO like Musk, with this combination of market-moving power and willingness to use it for fun and profit. Benedict Evans called Musk "a bullshitter who delivers," which is as good a description as I can think of. Is he the new model for a modern major tech CEO? Who knows. But I bet there's a generation of them about to try to emulate the strategy.
NDAs have loomed over tech employees for decades. In recent years, tech employees have begun to break them to tell the truth about what goes on in the industry, and California could soon make that much easier.
A new bill introduced in California yesterday called the Silenced No More Act would protect workers who speak publicly about any form of workplace abuse that qualifies as discrimination, regardless of whether they'd signed an NDA. That could dramatically shift the balance of power in the industry. But in what way? That's hard to know; it's under an NDA.
For years, activists have said that NDA rules need to change and forced arbitration clauses need to end. Regardless of whether the bill passes in California this year, Ozoma and other leading industry activists say they're focused on federal reforms in the long run.
On Protocol: Cynthia Perry left Salesforce amid what she called consistent discriminatory behavior:
Masa Son and Jack Ma have an interesting way of keeping in touch, Son said:
Adobe's Shantanu Narayen keeps in touch with his whole company via email:
Community standards matter more than top-down ones, Reddit's Steve Huffman said:
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.
Brad Flora is a new group partner at Y Combinator. Janelle Tam is also the firm's new Series A program director, Alex Petersen is its senior legal counsel, Ryan Choi is the director of the Work at a Startup program, and Nic Dardenne and Matt Bogrand are principals at YC Continuity.
Dan Riccio is now working on AR and VR projects at Apple, Bloomberg reported, having stepped down as head of hardware engineering.
Nagraj Kashyap is the new managing partner of SoftBank's Vision Fund, joining from Microsoft's M12 venture fund.
The Rust Foundation is now in operation, governing the most beloved programming language of software developers. Ashley Williams is the interim executive director.
Reddit raised $250 million in a new round that doubles its valuation to $6 billion.
Helbiz, the scooter and bike company, is going public via a SPAC. It's also getting into ghost kitchens, because that gave it 2020 startup bingo.
DoorDash bought Chowbotics, a company building automated food prep tech. I see your ghost kitchens and I raise you robot kitchens!
WordPress bought Parse.ly, the popular analytics tool.
EA bought Glu Mobile for $2.4 billion, which gives it a huge leg up in the mobile gaming race.
I bet you thought your remote setup was good enough by now. Well, you're wrong. Because you don't have the new Expanscape Aurora 7, which has an Intel i9, tons of RAM, built-in GPU, and oh yeah, seven freaking screens. Sure, it weighs about 26 pounds and only gets an hour of battery life, but who cares? Where are you going? Seven screens!
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.