Jack Dorsey, king of the creators
Image: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Protocol
Good morning! This Friday, Square's Tidal acquisition might make more sense than you expect, how Etsy thinks about working with small businesses, and Plaid sees every company as a fintech.
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Your nobody-saw-this-coming deal of the week: Square buying a majority stake in Tidal for $297 million, and turning it into a new joint venture with Jesse Dorogusker at the helm. As Protocol's Ben Pimentel, Tomio Geron and Janko Roettgers report, there are two ways to see the acquisition:
In reality, it's both. But it's mostly the second thing. Dorsey already runs one company that is pushing hard into giving creators ways to grow audiences and make money — I'm talking about the newsletter-sending, Spaces-having, Super Follow-building company Twitter is becoming — and now he runs another.
Dorogusker is a telling choice of leader for Squaredal (as I like to call it) in its first days. He's Square's head of hardware, ran Apple's accessories team before that, and in both cases a big part of his job has been figuring out how to build ecosystems.
Thinking of the industry holistically is a familiar playbook, not to mention one that's applicable way beyond the music business. What Squaredal is setting out to build sounds a lot like what Apple Music has intermittently tried to be: a place for musicians to share their music, but also sell merch and tickets, interact with fans, share behind-the-scenes content and monetize it all. Combining Tidal with Square, under the watch of the guy who also runs Twitter? It all kind of makes sense.
Anna Kramer writes: Tech companies just won't stop talking about small businesses. It seem almost every fight involving Square, Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon and all the others seems to invoke small business to make someone's point. (Seriously! Epic versus Apple, Facebook versus Apple, Amazon versus Shopify — they all do it.)
Etsy has a better case than most when it argues that it really does serve — and need — a thriving small-business community. So I asked Etsy's chief product officer, Kruti Patel Goyal, how to suss out the real friends from the fake ones. It boils down to the business model, she said: If a company exists just to serve other local businesses, it's probably a much better friend.
If you think about creators of all kinds as small businesses — which they increasingly are — Square may come out of the Tidal acquisition looking pretty good on this front. It's also a useful lens to apply to Facebook's argument that its targeted ads really help small businesses. Does Facebook depend on the success of small businesses? Are local shops central to its business model? Those are questions we should be asking.
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.
On Protocol | Fintech: Fintech eventually comes for everyone, Plaid's Eric Sager said:
Joanna Geary, Twitter's director of curation, had a great explanation for how those Trend descriptions work:
Donald Trump will be back on YouTube, but not anytime soon, Susan Wojcicki said:
WarnerMedia's Jason Kilar defended ad-based streaming, for one simple reason:
GM is reportedly looking to build another battery factory in the U.S. Sounds like it's going to be in Tennessee.
Brad Smith will reportedly testify to the House antitrust subcommittee about antitrust and the news business next Friday.
Coursera is filing to go public, TechCrunch reported, after having a huge year helping users transition to online learning.
Hopin raised another $400 million, valuing the company at $5.65 billion. Has any company grown faster during the pandemic than Hopin?
India's Wipro bought London-based Capco for $1.45 billion. The British tech consultancy employs around 5,000 consultants.
Here's another one for the "surprisingly sensible reasons for Square to acquire Tidal" list: The music industry is all over the crypto scene. First Portugal The Man launched its own cryptocurrency for superfans, and now Kings of Leon's new album, "When You See Yourself," has dropped as an NFT that comes with some special extras. So I'm assuming Jay-Z's next album will be an NFT exclusively sold on Tidal and paid for via Square Cash. The future!
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.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to email@example.com, or our tips line, firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your weekend; see you Sunday.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Jesse Dorogusker's name. This story was updated on March 5, 2021.