February 1, 2022
Image: FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images
Good morning! This Tuesday, want to start a Silicon Valley mafia? Good news: You can. And maybe you should! Hi, I’m Owen Thomas, and the mafia you should worry about is Ramona the Love Terrier’s legions of adoring fans.
It began, as so many things do in these times, with a tweetstorm.
Ryan Breslow, sorely aggrieved that it took eight long years of struggle and strife for his online-checkout startup, Bolt, to become worth $11 billion, accused Stripe and its early backer Y Combinator of acting like “mob bosses.”
His proof? Stripe’s investors favored it over competitors. Y Combinator helped Stripe get customers. And Hacker News, Y Combinator’s Reddit-like house organ, didn’t feature a link to a story about Bolt as prominently as a link to a story about Stripe.
Thin broth, but still spicy! And it raised a question: How do we feel about Silicon Valley “mafias” — the kind that spoil your party rounds, whisper about your technical debt and downvote your links, not real gangsters?
Silicon Valley was built on mafias. If by “mafia” you mean “a group of people that worked together and decided to keep working together.”
But what if you don’t have a network? Silicon Valley has had various answers for that.
So is any of this that terrible? Not really, unless you have a problem with capitalism, maybe?
The good news is you can make your own mafia. People are doing it all the time. Silicon Valley’s restless work culture and abundant capital all but guarantee that someone will back your escapade. Bolt is reportedly raising fresh capital at a $14 billion valuation. If Stripe and Y Combinator really are mob bosses, they must be remarkably inept at it.
How tech is making sure shopping will never be the same
The future of shopping isn’t happening on Amazon.com, and it isn’t just happening in a Walmart or mom-and-pop shop near you. It’s merging the online and offline worlds to build a ruthlessly efficient, totally social world of commerce where everything is for sale and available any way you want it.
Join Protocol's David Pierce at 9 a.m. PT today as he and a panel of experts get into the details on how shopping works now, how the customer and seller experiences are changing and where there’s still room to innovate. RSVP here.
The concept of flex work isn’t new, but its widespread adoption is. Flex work helps all of us find some semblance of control in the middle of an uncontrollable pandemic. Giving options makes people happier and less stressed. This leads to a greater desire to participate, which helps us build our communities and culture.
Nayib Bukele has some lofty expectations for the price of bitcoin:
On the other hand, Dmitry Medvedev doesn’t think banning crypto is the best idea:
Even though leaders are listening, ThoughtExchange’s Dave MacLeod said workers are still leaving because they feel ignored:
Sony is buying Bungie for $3.6 billion. Bungie was the original developer of Halo, which shot Microsoft to fame.
Wordle has a new owner. The New York Times bought Josh Wardle’s word game for a price in the “low seven figures.”
So does what’s left of a crypto project Meta backed. Diem sold its assets to Silvergate Capital for $182 million.
Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital bought Citrix for $16.5 billion. The two firms have a prior relationship with Citrix.
Sonos bought T2 Software, a Bluetooth audio company. The startup has been working on a new standard of Bluetooth audio.
Meta is now part of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance. By joining, Meta is pledging not to enforce its crypto patents.
Tobias Lütke is joining Coinbase’s board. The move might point to Shopify playing a significant role in the future of crypto.
Chris Suh is Electronic Arts’ new CFO. Suh is replacing Blake Jorgensen.
Accenture made a couple leadership changes: Manish Sharma is the company’s new COO, and Yusuf Tayob is the company’s new group chief executive — Operations.
Dominic Perella is leaving Snap as chief compliance officer. Perella has been with the company for seven years.
ByteDance eliminated members of its Talent Development team in December, sources told CNBC. The employees who lost their positions could apply elsewhere in the company.
Grindr is reportedly off app stores in China. The company said it had trouble keeping up with the country’s Personal Information Protection Law.
Black game developers aren’t seeing a ton of diversity progress, they told The Washington Post. Developers of color said the field continues to go through a cycle of promises, little progress, then no change after issues emerge.
A new Big Tech book is coming, this time written by Wall Street Journal reporter Tripp Mickle. It’s called “After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul,” and it’s about Tim Cook, Jony Ive and how the company changed after Jobs’ death. It’ll hit shelves May 3.
Subscribers come for the hit show, but many don’t stay. People flocked to Disney+, Apple and others following the release of popular shows, but they only retained some of those subscribers in the long term, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Why post a selfie when you can post your avatar? Meta is adding 3D avatars to Instagram stories and direct messages so your virtual self can show up in messages, Instagram Stories and more.
Pinterest has a new AR feature. The platform is rolling out a tool that allows customers to see how furniture would look in their homes.
More self-driving trouble at Tesla. The company is recalling more than 50,000 cars over a new "rolling stop" feature in its Full Self-Driving mode, which the NHTSA didn't like one bit.
ReadySet’s Y-Vonne Hutchinson addresses how to talk productively about racism and bias at work in the book “How to Talk to Your Boss About Race,” which is out today. It covers ways to think about race at work and how to effectively talk to powerful leaders, while navigating any backlash.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to email@example.com, or our tips line, firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.
Correction: Making Moves was updated Feb. 1, 2022, to more accurately reflect that the decision to sell Diem was not made by Meta itself.