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Our best look yet at how Apple organizes itself


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 Google antitrust case to a wild CEO email.

Also, join us on Thursday for our event on the future of TV. Protocol's Janko Roettgers will moderate a panel of Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi, Cinedigm president Erick Opeka, Wurl CEO Sean Doherty and CBS News Interactive GM Christy Tanner on whether cord cutting has reached a tipping point in 2020. It's going to be great! Sign up here.

(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, or you can just reply to this email. Thanks! Onto the good stuff.

Best of Protocol

Alloy promised Democrats a data edge over Trump. The DNC didn't buy it. Now what? By Issie Lapowsky

  • Coming into this election cycle, all anyone could talk about was data — and particularly what Democrats needed to do to out-data the Trump campaign. Alloy, as Issie writes, was one of the most exciting answers to that question, and raised millions of dollars to pull it off. But when questions came up about whether its data was as good as advertised, it had to scramble. It's still scrambling.

Expensify's CEO explains how he made the decision to tell all his customers to vote for Biden, by Biz Carson

  • So you're the CEO of a company. Would you, on the night of a debate and just days ahead of a hugely consequential election, email every single one of your users telling them who to vote for? Expensify's David Barnett would, and did, and doesn't regret it one bit. Also: There's a fascinating bit in this story about how Expensify debates sensitive issues, with good lessons for any company.

Loyalty first: Why tech companies are clamoring to give you credit cards, by Shakeel Hashim

  • Have you noticed that everybody suddenly offers a credit card? Venmo and PayPal, sure, that makes sense. But Apple? Samsung? Razer? Shakeel's piece digs into why everybody's super into plastic — and it turns out it's less about transaction fees and more about loyalty, loyalty, loyalty.

The DOJ went narrow on Google. That may be good news for the rest of Big Tech, by Emily Birnbaum

  • Tuesday's antitrust complaint against Google feels like it was already 65,000 news cycles ago, but don't lose track of this one. Google's being accused of all kinds of things but only being prosecuted for a small fraction. What's in there — and what isn't — has big implications for all the folks at Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

Why Joe Biden might kill the DOJ's case against Google, by Bradley Tusk

  • Here's the other weird thing about the Google case: Is it even going to exist in a few months? We've talked to a lot of people who say yes, that a Biden administration might be even harder on tech. But Bradley makes the case that politics could well trump prosecution.


TV's Tipping Point

Join Janko Roettgers on Wednesday at noon ET to answer the question: Has TV reached a tipping point? You will hear from industry experts including Tubi founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi, Cinedigm President Erick Opeka, Wurl CEO Sean Doherty and CBS News Digital EVP and GM Christy Tanner. The event is presented by Roku.

RSVP here.

Best of Everything Else

Inside Foxconn's empty buildings, empty factories and empty promises in Wisconsin — The Verge

  • I don't think anyone thought this would go particularly smoothly, right? But this long exegesis of exactly what's happening between Wisconsin and Foxconn, and how promises of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs turned into a strange unoccupied orb and a lot of workers stuck in limbo, is crucial reading nonetheless. (If you haven't seen "American Factory" on Netflix yet, it's a great complement to this story.)

Robert Lighthizer blew up 60 years of trade policy. Nobody knows what happens next. — ProPublica

  • The trade wars have come for almost everyone in tech, whether you make 5G hardware or just want to show people silly dances on the internet. So Lighthizer's is a name you should know. This story looks at how his moves over the last several years have changed America's place in the world, forced a lot of companies to rethink the way they do global business, and left a lot of folks unsure of what happens next.

Taking back our privacy — The New Yorker

  • This is a profile of Signal CEO (and cool name-haver) Moxie Marlinspike. But it's also an exploration of how the internet would change if privacy became one of its core values. Marlinspike's theory — that privacy is messy, that encryption will allow bad things to happen online, and that that's a tradeoff worth making — is a fascinating one.

Robinhood's addictive app made trading a pandemic pastime — Businessweek

  • I am obsessed with Robinhood. Not the trading itself, but the way in which Robinhood's story has laid bare exactly how powerful designers and developers are. Simply by changing the UI, gamifying certain parts of the system and incentivizing people to trade more, Robinhood changed the way a whole generation of people thinks about the stock market.

How Apple is organized for innovation — Harvard Business Review

  • Apple has never operated quite like other companies. I can't remember ever seeing such a detailed, insidery look at how it's structured, why Apple went for a functional infrastructure even with more than 100,000 employees, and how it's tried to scale like crazy without losing its corporate culture.

One Person's Opinion

Ashley Boyd, Mozilla VP of advocacy

With less than two weeks left until the election, it feels like the stakes for social-media companies keep getting higher, and everything Facebook, Twitter and others do (and don't do) is under a microscope.

One of the people peering into that microscope is Ashley Boyd, the VP of advocacy at Mozilla. She's part of the team at the Mozilla Foundation working on a number of initiatives to try to make the internet better. Through the Unfck the Internet program and other initiatives, she wants to fix political ads, change how we talk about privacy and frame the conversation about what the internet really should be like. She also has some very specific ideas about how Twitter and Facebook should be operating between now and Election Day.

We talked about all that and more in this week's Source Code Podcast. And, as always, Ashley shared a few of the things she's into right now.

  • Lakewood, by Megan Giddings. "I just finished this novel about a young Black woman who becomes a paid participant in a series of painful human experiments. She needs the money to pay her family's mounting medical debt, but she knows from the beginning that something is very wrong. With clear references to the horrific Tuskegee Experiment, this interpretation raises potent questions about consent, manipulation and racism in our modern culture."
  • Am I the Asshole? "I'm addicted to reading Am I the Asshole? posts on Twitter, drawn from the higher-volume Reddit sub. This is humanity on full display and the responses (including from science fiction author N.K. Jemisin!) are mostly wise, witty and on point. I read the (appropriate) posts to my family and we discuss them over dinner. My mother-in-law would vote for a different type of etiquette training."
  • Halloween costumes. "My daughter and I are creating her Halloween costume: Bad Janet from 'The Good Place.' With a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness, we've been able to find all the pieces for this leather-jacket-wearing, phone-addicted, sassy character's outfit at home."
  • The WeCroak app. "It delivers a daily reminder about impermanence. The app's notifications include quotes reminding us that death is inevitable. It's a sober, and helpful, reminder to focus on what's most important!"
  • Freestyle cooking. "The crushing demands of daily pandemic cooking means I'm finally cooking without a recipe. I take to the kitchen every night and let inspiration (or desperation) lead me. For me, letting go a bit is a breakthrough in cooking and life."



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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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