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Living in the metaverse

A person wearing a VR headset

Your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was, from IBM's failed cloud ambitions to the latest in the fight between Facebook and, well, everybody.

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The best of Protocol

How IBM lost the cloud, by Tom Krazit

  • You could argue that IBM Cloud never really had a chance. Some of the people who worked on it argue exactly that. The story of IBM over the last decade is a classic one: a company caught between its old success and the fast-moving future, and stuck choosing the wrong side of history.

Tolerance is not inclusion. Here's how to get inclusion right, by Megan Rose Dickey

  • If you haven't read through our most recent manual, The Inclusive Workplace, you're missing out. And here's where to start: with a look into what inclusion actually means, why it might be the most important element of diversity and inclusion work, and why too many companies get it wrong.

How Congress' parade of tech hearings totally lost the plot, by Ben Brody and Kate Cox

  • Another week, another tech hearing in which the most substantive thing that happened had nothing to do with policy. (This will be the "will you commit to ending 'finsta'" hearing, in case you're wondering.) And unfortunately, that has become an all-too-common reality of the government's relationship with the tech industry.

Marc Benioff created one of Silicon Valley's most unique cultures. Will it outlast him?, by Joe Williams

  • The Salesforce "ohana" culture is famous. And it's just as real, just as pervasive and just as all-encompassing as you've heard. But can that culture survive a shift to remote work, a Slack-led reinvention of how work gets done and (eventually) the end of Marc Benioff's run in charge?

How EA got into mobile — and figured out the future of gaming, by Nick Statt

  • Games have always been defined by where they're played. Consoles, PCs, mobile, Switch. But EA is helping usher in a new future, in which devices don't matter and services are everything. And one in which everything is free to play and yet far more lucrative in the long run.

Decoding China's latest World Internet Conference, by Shen Lu

  • The conference often referred to as "Wuzhen Summit" was more reserved and quiet this year than usual. Executives read from scripts, the mood was more somber and the stakes both for attendees and for the tech industry felt higher than normal. But it did offer a look at the country's ongoing priorities, from more cybersecurity to the ever-tightening internet control.

On the schedule

Is there innovation left in smartphones? (Tuesday, 10 a.m. PT)

Are smartphones really over? Join Protocol's David Pierce for a conversation about the future of the smartphone with Drew Blackard, vice president of mobile product management at Samsung, and Christina Cyr, CEO of The Cyrcle Phone.

The inside view with Bill McDermott (Oct. 12, 10 a.m. PT)

ServiceNow is quickly becoming one of enterprise technology's most well-known names. Protocol's Joe Williams will talk to CEO Bill McDermott to learn what's ahead for the company and how it plans to hit $15 billion in annual revenue.


We've more than quadrupled our safety and security teams to 40,000 in the last 5 years to stop bad actors and remove illicit content. It's working: In just the past few months, we took down 1.7 billion fake accounts & 7.1 million terrorism-related posts. But our work to reduce harmful and illicit content on our platforms is never done. We're working to help you connect safely.

Learn more

The best of everything else

On the internet, we're always famous — The New Yorker

  • As good a meditation as you'll find on what happens when everyone in the world suddenly gets to have an opinion about you, and voice it to you loudly and often. And the problem is, there's really no going back.

Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks — Yahoo News

  • Senior members of the Trump administration discussed killing Julian Assange in 2017, as the U.S. government seethed in response to WikiLeaks' work. And that's just the beginning of the conflict between a secret world and the organization determined to shine light on it. This is a wild story.

Epic Games believes the Internet is broken. This is their blueprint to fix it. — The Washington Post

  • We've heard Mark Zuckerberg's vision for the metaverse, and what life might be like in a digital world. Well, here's Tim Sweeney's. It's bigger, more open, has fewer ads and is all about creators and the things they make. It sounds pretty chaotic in spots, and it sounds like Sweeney's good with that.

Day one at the Every: An excerpt from Dave Eggers' new novel — Wired

  • Eggers' book "The Circle" still gets brought up in tech circles (even though the movie was pretty rough). That time, Eggers got a lot of things right about the super-surveillance world we were heading for. Now, what happens when the Circle, pretty clearly a metaphor for Google, merges with an Amazon-inspired company? You get The Every.

Facebook's documents about Instagram and teens, published — The Wall Street Journal

  • This week turned into the Battle of the Document Dumps, as Facebook pushed back against the WSJ's Facebook Files reporting, and the Journal defended its work. You should read through the documents, which are an interesting view into how Facebook goes about understanding itself, and offer a lot of evidence about what really happens on its services.

Working from orbit — Immersed

  • Paul Tomlinson is definitely living a few years ahead of the rest of us. He's been working 40 to 50 hours a week inside a VR headset for the last two years. And his lessons learned, pro tips and plans for the future are pretty wild. Is this the future we want? Who knows. But it might be the one we get.


We've invested $13 billion in teams and technology over the last 5 years to enhance safety. It's working: In just the past few months, we took down 1.7 billion fake accounts to stop bad actors from doing harm. But there's more to do. We're working to help you connect safely.

Learn 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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