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What matters in tech, in your inbox every morning.

From YouTube drama to the joy of flight trackers

From YouTube drama to the joy of flight trackers

Good morning and welcome to Source Code Weekend Edition, your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was. This week: High drama on YouTube and the startups of the future.

Also: We have our first Protocol swag, made just for Source Code readers! All you have to do is refer 10 people to sign up for this newsletter (no cheating) and we'll send you a Protocol mug. Here's the link to send your friends and coworkers.

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! Onto the good stuff.

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The Best of Protocol

How will the startups created in 2020 be different from startups built before? by Biz Carson

  • Biz says: "It's clear between the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement that there's going to be a new normal. But what does that mean for startups? I was curious how companies will change during this time, and one thing became clear: There is no going back to the status quo."

A wall of silence holding back racial progress in tech: NDAs, by Emily Birnbaum

  • Emily says: "For every story you read about racism at a particular tech company, there are likely dozens more that won't ever come to light due to nearly ubiquitous NDAs that silence employees. In a survey of nearly 900 tech workers run for us by Blind this week, 68% said they're bound by NDAs and 38% said their NDA limits them from speaking out against injustice in the workplace. This story is only the tip of the iceberg."

The startup taking on Apple and Snapchat in a mini-app war, by me, David Pierce

  • I'd argue that one of the most interesting — and consequential — trends in tech over the last few years has been American companies trying to figure out how to copy WeChat. Intermingling messaging, payments and apps is a quick shortcut to huge power and oh-so-much money. Mini-apps, the apps within your apps, is one of the most copied features from WeChat. But nobody else has pulled it off! In writing about Koji, I mostly wanted to understand why.

Selling surveillance tech in the face of a civil rights movement, by Mike Murphy

  • Mike says: "This week, French manufacturer Parrot released its new Anafi USA drone that's meant to capitalize on anti-Chinese sentiments in the Trump administration by selling an American-made drone to the Army, first responders and enterprises. The most telling part of this story, to me, was when I asked founder Henri Seydoux about selling such a high-powered surveillance drone to police during this moment in U.S. politics. He told me, 'Unfortunately this is what the technology permits,' and said there's nothing he can do."

Why the social ad boycott didn't come for YouTube, by Sofie Kodner

  • Sofie says: "Looking at policy changes that YouTube made in response to an ad boycott in 2017, we get a glimpse into what could lie ahead for Facebook. Something interesting that didn't make it into the story: YouTube is now looking for ways to monetize edgy content, too, by matching it with edgy ads (like for R-rated movies). But it found that even with edgy ads, it's still hard to differentiate between the edgy-but-attractive content and the totally inappropriate."

A MESSAGE FROM PHILIPS

Philips

Stronger Care ... from anywhere, to anywhere

At Philips, we're pioneering stronger care networks with technologies we've spent decades innovating. With connected care solutions from telehealth to at-home monitoring, today's healthcare workers can face today's greatest challenges with smarter virtual tools. See how our telehealth technologies help doctors and nurses deliver care from anywhere, to anywhere.

Learn more here.

The Best of Everything Else

Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star: Losing Followers and Losing Ads — The New York Times

  • YouTube drama content is mostly nonsense, just like all reality-show drama. But this story, which gets into vlogging and makeup and business and the whole way the YouTube economy works, is something special. Taylor Lorenz's story is terrific, as is this timeline of the whole saga. Oh, and if you have 40 minutes and need some drama in your life? Watch this.

Zuckerberg once wanted to sanction Trump. Then Facebook wrote rules that accommodated him. — The Washington Post

  • Facebook's a hard company to understand. It's so big, has so many products and teams, and, as the Columbia Journalism Review reported this week, has a history of not telling the truth. Sometimes the shorthand is just "whatever Zuckerberg wants, Facebook does." But, as the Post found, what Facebook wants most of all is to keep growing, and even Zuck can't beat that.

Mirror Wanted to Be the Next iPhone. Instead, It's Selling to Lululemon. — The Marker

  • Come for the smart look at the future of fitness, and why Peloton and a few others are winning while others are crashing back to Earth. Stay for one of my favorite investor-pitch stories ever, including a faked prototype and a very different way of thinking about product design.

Foundering Podcast — Bloomberg

  • I will never, ever get tired of hearing stories about the wild ride of WeWork. Bloomberg's podcast on the company is now three episodes in, and the most recent one is my favorite yet. It looks at how Adam Neumann convinced his employees — and himself — that WeWork was truly going to change the world. By the end of the episode, even knowing what we know now about the crashing and burning and general disaster, I almost believed him?

Explore 'The Last Supper' — The Royal Academy of Arts (via Jason Kottke)

  • One of the most famous paintings ever, in insanely high resolution? Yes please. Actually, this one's a copy, because the original is in such bad shape (thanks, Napoleon). You can take Google's guided tour through the painting's many details, or look around the gigapixel image yourself. This is the best art-looking you'll do until museums open again.

Hamilton — Disney+

  • What, you haven't watched it yet?

One Person's Opinion

Matthew Prince, Cloudflare CEO

Cloudflare is one of those companies that most users never think about but use all the time. Matthew Prince, the company's CEO, seems to like it that way. This week, he told me that his job, and his company's, is to keep users and organizations safe online, a task that's bigger and harder than ever. He's also found himself at the center of some of the industry's most complicated moderation issues and has been watching carefully what Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Snap and others have been up to recently.

To hear my conversation with Matthew, check out this week's Source Code Podcast. In the meantime, here are a few of the best things in his life right now.

  • Cloudflare TV. "So much of our business in the past came from events and meeting people, and that's not coming back anytime soon. So we wanted to allow people to find creative ways to engage the audience. My favorite show is Cooking with Cloudflare, where our employees are interviewing customers about their favorite recipe, and then they cook it live on the air."
  • Running in the Park City mountains. "I grew up in the mountains of Utah, and as a kid I wanted to get as far from there as I possibly could. But since the pandemic hit, I've been back, and it's really magical. That's very much a happy place for me."
  • "The Splendid and The Vile," by Erik Larsen. "I'm not really a WWII history junkie, so I didn't know a lot about this story. But this book combines the political decisions and military decisions, but also who's having an affair and who's having a divorce and who's getting married. It's just a great profile of all the people involved."
  • The maccheroncelli at Seven Hills in San Francisco. "Very simple, but spicy, tomato-based pasta. The only downside of being in Park City has been that I don't get to go get the maccheroncelli. If you're in San Francisco, they're doing takeout, and they've been really great."
  • FlightRadar24. "It has this augmented reality mode, where you can point it at any plane flying through the sky and you can see where it took off and where it will land. There's something cathartic right now to seeing a plane going overhead and thinking: 'Oh, there are people who are still traveling, and work that's still getting done.' Hopefully we'll all be able to do that more."

A MESSAGE FROM PHILIPS

Philips

Stronger Care ... from anywhere, to anywhere

At Philips, we're pioneering stronger care networks with technologies we've spent decades innovating. With connected care solutions from telehealth to at-home monitoring, today's healthcare workers can face today's greatest challenges with smarter virtual tools. See how our telehealth technologies help doctors and nurses deliver care from anywhere, to anywhere.

Learn more here.

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.

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