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The way we buy stuff now

The way we buy stuff now

Good morning! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. This Sunday, here's your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was, from a deep look inside the future of retail to the warped state of venture capital.

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As always, let me know what you think, and what you'd like to see more of in our weekend edition. I'm, or you can just reply to this email. Thanks! On to the good stuff.

Best of Protocol

Our latest manual: The Retail Resurgence

How a young, queer Asian-American businesswoman is rethinking user safety at Twitter, by Anna Kramer

  • What does Twitter want to be? What's it supposed to look and feel like to use? Christine Su is a big part of the company's attempts to answer that question. I'm particularly fascinated by the idea that Twitter can build a product that helps people apologize. That'd be a new one on the internet.

Intel shuts down its AR/VR volumetric capture stage, by Janko Roettgers

  • Are you in the market for 10,000 square feet of VR studios, complete with 100 8K cameras and home to some of the coolest stuff ever made in VR? Intel might have something for you. The pandemic continues to complicate everything about the VR industry.

Republicans are flooding the Georgia runoffs with millions of dollars in digital dark ads, by Issie Lapowsky

  • Whenever you talk to Facebook or Twitter about how they think about election years, they'll tell you it's always an election year. The questions about political ads, bias and how information moves online never go away and never become low-stakes. And with so many eyes on Georgia's January runoffs, the stakes are even higher than usual.

Building your own website is cool again, and it's changing the whole internet, by me, David Pierce

  • Blogging is back! But this era of blogs — and independent publishing, and online businesses, and in general anyone who wants to own their own space online — has to reckon with an internet that looks very different from the pre-Facebook world.



An unprecedented year has accelerated the adoption of a decade's worth of breakthroughs. This is your guide to what's changed. The New Enterprise manual is presented by Micron.

Read more.


Join Protocol's David Pierce and 800+ amazing speakers at Web Summit, the world's largest technology conference, from Dec 2-4. Click here to book tickets.


Best of Everything Else

Inside the spectacular startup failure of Oomba — The Verge

  • I don't even know where to start with this one, except to say: I promise that you will not read a crazier startup story this year.

How venture capitalists are deforming capitalism — The New Yorker

  • We've already talked about this a couple of times this week, but it's going to be one of those stories that comes up a lot over the coming months and years. Its central thesis: The venture game has turned into one where the most money always wins, and that the real world continually proves otherwise.

Secret Amazon reports expose the company's surveillance of labor and environmental groups — Vice

  • It's not particularly shocking that Amazon spends a lot of energy tracking its employees. Amazon tracks … everything, obsessively. But its relentless focus on anti-union and social justice groups has now led it to go as far as hiring actual Pinkerton operatives to spy on warehouse workers. And that is pretty shocking.

How misinformation 'superspreaders' seed false election theories — The New York Times

  • We spend so much time — in the news, on Twitter, in front of Congress — talking about specific pieces of social content and how they should be treated. But the more consequential issue, I think, is how that content moves. This is a great look into how a small number of very influential people can take almost anything, no matter how crazy or provably untrue, and turn it into a story almost everyone knows about.

China's surveillance state sucks up data. U.S. tech is key to sorting it. — The New York Times

  • Palmer Luckey told me recently that while he thinks tech companies should be willing to work with the government more, he feels for the tech employees who built things for one purpose only to see them used for government surveillance, war and other things far outside their intended scope. This story gets at that exact tension: Should Nvidia and Intel be responsible for how their tech is used around the world?



An unprecedented year has accelerated the adoption of a decade's worth of breakthroughs. This is your guide to what's changed. The New Enterprise manual is presented by Micron.

Read more.

Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to, or our tips line, Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.

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