source-codesource codeauthorDavid PierceNEWSLETTER LayoutWant your finger on the pulse of everything that's happening in tech? Sign up to get David Pierce's daily newsletter.64fd3cbe9f
×

Get access to Protocol

I’ve already subscribed

Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

Where should we send your daily tech briefing?

×
Protocol Source Code
What matters in tech, in your inbox every morning.

What’s next for Silicon Valley, electric vehicles and the workplace

Image: Stamen Design / Open Street Map / Protocol

Silicon Valley

What’s next for Silicon Valley, electric vehicles and the workplace

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 search for the next Silicon Valley to Superhuman CEO Rahul Vohra's thoughts on the future of work.

(Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to get Source Code every day.)

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

Best Of Protocol

'An overnight success 10 years in the making': Atlanta is the future for Black leaders in tech, by Anna Kramer

  • This debate over Silicon Valley's demise is kind of pointless. The answer's simple: No, it's not dead. But Silicon Valley doesn't have a monopoly over smart people and successful companies anymore. Many cities are vying to be the place where a more diverse, more mature industry takes root. Atlanta has a big lead, and big ambitions.

Why gig companies should be scared of a Biden administration, by Emily Birnbaum

  • Proposition 22 was a big win for companies like Uber and DoorDash, and they've spent the last few weeks saying they're about to go nationwide. But as Emily found, the incoming Biden administration might have something to say about that. Keep an eye on who Biden appoints to run key labor agencies, and the battles they pick in the early days.

After loan default and asset transfer, The Void's future looks uncertain, by Janko Roettgers

  • The pandemic has accelerated a lot of tech trends, but stopped at least one dead in its tracks: Location-based VR, which looked like part of the future of gaming, is now basically dead in the water. Even The Void, one of the biggest players, has barely been able to keep the lights on.

Facebook's new content moderation report only proves the case of its moderators, by Issie Lapowsky

  • Facebook moderators say that they're crucial to the platform, and deserve to be treated as such. Facebook's own data seems to bear that out: CTO Mike Schroepfer said that AI moderation tools are getting better, but that humans will always be core to the process. And when they're not involved, things go badly.

Inside YouTube's plan to win the music-streaming wars, by me, David Pierce

  • For years, YouTube has been the biggest platform for the music industry. Which the music industry always kind of resented. But YouTube's spent years, and huge amounts of money, improving that relationship by learning how to operate very differently from your average tech company.

A MESSAGE FROM SYNCHRONY

Synchrony

Contactless payments are no longer a nice to have.

At Synchrony, we understand the challenges of running a business. Our financial and technology solutions, like touchless payment tools, help you offer your customers more tailored experiences, so they keep coming back.

Learn more about our solutions.

Best of Everything Else

California wants its Imperial Valley to be 'Lithium Valley' — Businessweek

  • The future requires a lot of lithium. We've covered what an abundance of the metal has done to Bolivia, and now the land-grab might be coming closer to home. There's a lot of money to be made in a fairly boring part of California, it turns out, and everyone wants in.

These 11 EV startups are chasing Tesla. They can't all win. — The Wall Street Journal

  • As Tesla's stock continues to go through the roof, the math for other CEOs is increasingly clear: It's worth spending anything if you can beat — or even match — Tesla in the electric-vehicle space. This is a good look at the companies likely to try. And it's true, they're not all going to win. But there's room for more than just Tesla.

The rise and fall of getting things done — The New Yorker

  • What does it mean to "be more productive?" Cal Newport investigates a century's worth of that question, and comes to a fascinating conclusion: Maybe knowledge work should work a little more like an assembly line, and maybe that would be better for everyone involved. Every manager struggling to keep everyone afloat should read this.

Huawei, 5G, and the man who conquered noise — Wired

  • Part history of Huawei, part table-setter for the 5G war that's really only just beginning and part profile of a scientist who spent years working on a problem nobody else cared about and somehow ended up at the center of everything.

Masayoshi Son talks about learning from mistakes and turning them into success — The New York Times

  • Masa Son is not afraid to speak his mind. This is as good an interrogation as I've seen into what tech's biggest investor thinks, how he works, and how he sees the future. You'll also never hear a tech bigwig admit to being wrong as easily as Masa does. (Even though he's right an awful lot, too.)

One Person's Opinion

How to remote-proof your company culture

Rahul Vohra spends a lot of time thinking about how people work: partly because he's the CEO of Superhuman, partly because Superhuman builds tools people use for work and partly because, well, he seems to just enjoy thinking about it. And thanks to the pandemic, as he's been rethinking Superhuman's internal culture and its product, he's had a lot on his mind.

Vohra came on this week's Source Code Podcast to talk about everything from the current email renaissance to the new systems and tools Superhuman is using to better handle remote work. Here are a few of the resources he said have been particularly useful in the process:

  • Bain's RAPID framework. "Because you don't want to just keep kicking the can down the road and discussing the same thing for five minutes every Wednesday. That's not going to help. You actually really do have to make the decision before the next team meeting."
  • Google Docs and Notion. "If it's a really thoughtful thing, use Google Docs. And then when something has to be memorialized, it turns out Google Docs isn't particularly good. Actually it's mostly Drive: Drive makes it next to impossible to find any documents. So we tend to memorialize our decisions, once they've been made in Google Docs, into Notion."
  • Jeff Bezos' "Invention Machine" method. "For reversible decisions, it should be anybody other than the CEO. For non-reversible decisions — which are relatively few and far between — the decision-maker should be the CEO."
  • "The Great CEO Within," by Matt Mochary. "We ended up using the decision making process outlined in this really great book. [Mochary] was a very successful CEO and has become a really popular CEO coach here in Silicon Valley."
  • Jeff Morris on Twitter. "When he was analyzing Superhuman, he had this tweet that said, 'Superhuman is a productivity tool on the surface. But for people who use the product everyday, Superhuman is closer to a wellness product.' The best productivity tools are wellness products."

A MESSAGE FROM SYNCHRONY

Synchrony

Contactless payments are no longer a nice to have.

At Synchrony, we understand the challenges of running a business. Our financial and technology solutions, like touchless payment tools, help you offer your customers more tailored experiences, so they keep coming back.

Learn more about our solutions.

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.

Recent Issues

Remembering Tony Hsieh

Up and to the right