Image: Hans Eiskonen / Protocol
Good morning! This Monday: why so many companies with no revenue are going public at huge valuations, what to make of the NFT craze and what Biden had to say about the Amazon union vote in Alabama.
Who says you need to make money to be a great business? Well, not the tech industry, like, ever.
It's easier than ever to make a fortune without making a nickel, thanks to the SPAC boom, generally frothy IPO markets and a seemingly endless flow both of venture capital and investors looking to cash in.
SPACs look set to keep coming, too. More than $130 billion has been put into blank check companies since last year, the Journal found. If things keep going like this, according to one estimate we could see more than 1,000 SPACs raise more than $300 billion this year.
But some people are calling the top of the SPAC market. Orso Partners' Nate Koppikar told Institutional Investor that, "If this continues for another week or two, the SPAC market is dead." And a lot of folks are pointing to the overhyped and under-delivering Lucid Motors SPAC (which was one of those zero-revenue unicorns) as a sign of things to come.
Of course, in the time it took me to write this newsletter I'm sure another dozen SPACs hit the market. So who knows when we'll actually hit the top?
Anna Kramer writes: Just days after Beeple's "Everydays: The First 5,000 Days" NFT went up for auction at Christie's, the price surpassed $3 million. And there are still 10 days to go before the auction closes!
The crypto-art market is very frothy and unstable, is the short version. (Lotta froth generally right now, it seems.) Many of the recent big-ticket art buys might not be worth all that cash. But in the long-term, NFTs might revolutionize how we buy, sell, and verify all sorts of products in the art, music, and sports industries. So I talked to Vlad Ginzburg, the CEO of digital-asset marketplace Blockparty, about what's hype, what's here to stay, and why you should care.
Why would people pay for a digital thing, when it's just pixels they could copy and reproduce without ownership?
Before we can really think about what else NFTs will do, we need to accept that blockchain is just not the answer to all the world's problems, Ginzburg said:
And then there's the environmental impact. As crypto of all kinds continues to grow, so does its energy use. That includes NFTs, and the problem is quickly becoming unsustainable.
Ted Lasso won a Golden Globe! Big day for Apple, bigger day for literally everyone in tech whose favorite show of 2020 just got a nice boost.
Streaming services dominated this year's Golden Globes in general, in a year where going to see a movie meant turning on your TV and the awards show red carpet was just people being really really dressed up on a Zoom call:
There were some awkward Zoom moments during the ceremony, and lots of long-overdue calls for more equity and diversity in Hollywood. And Amy Poehler answered a question I've had for 12 months now: When everything's in my living room, what's a TV show and what's a movie?
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.
Warren Buffett dropped his annual letter on Saturday, and said that even though there's more innovation than ever around the world, he's still pro-America:
President Biden supported the Amazon union vote in Alabama:
Donald Trump, meanwhile, picked up his old narrative about Big Tech:
The era of mass appeal is giving way to the mini-community, said Andreessen Horowitz's Chris Dixon:
Tech-government antagonism is a mistake, General Catalyst's Katherine Boyle said:
Microsoft Ignite runs Tuesday through Thursday, and should include plenty of new stuff for developers everywhere.
Is Robinhood planning to go public? Bloomberg said yes, and that it could file at any time.
A few more earnings results this week, including from Zoom, Snowflake and HPE.
Everyone in tech spent their weekend goofing around with MyHeritage's Deep Nostalgia feature, which lets you upload your old photos and turn them into AI-generated moving pictures. It matches old still photos with modern videos of people moving their head, and deepfakes your great-grandmother into something kind of like a GIF. It's cool, slightly unnerving and totally worth checking out.
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 day, see you tomorrow.