December 6, 2021
Photo: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash
Good morning! This Monday, Twitter is in focus mode, Activision Blizzard won’t be at the Game Awards, and the State Department was hacked by someone using NSO Group spyware.
It’s been quite a seven-day stretch for Twitter employees, huh? Let’s recap:
In Agrawal’s first note to his new team, he said what CEOs usually say: You’re all great, and I’m just here to help. But he also intimated that maybe Twitter hasn’t always helped itself. “Our critical challenge,” he wrote, “is how we work to execute against [our strategy] and deliver results.”
Twitter’s new leadership says a lot about its new strategy. It’s now working in a “general manager” model, essentially shaping the company’s core operations around three people.
This is all about focus. Twitter, like a lot of tech companies, has at times in the past been hamstrung by a fairly flat hierarchy and a lot of overlapping teams. One way to solve that is to put fewer people in charge. This new setup also gives Agrawal a clear inner circle as he adapts to the new gig.
Twitter has a lot to do in the next couple of years. The old regime made big promises earlier this year: The company aims to “double development velocity” in the rate it ships products, more than double its daily active users and more than double its revenue. (You’ll notice these goals map fairly neatly to the three people at the top of the org chart, by the way.) And it has to do all of that while continuing to work on fighting misinformation, helping new users get situated and making the platform less … cesspool-ish in general.
But what it really needs is a hit. Sure, more users equals more ad views equals more revenue. But Twitter is desperately searching for a second killer app: its AWS, its Instagram, its Android. Finding 100 million new Twitter users is going to be tough without a breakthrough new hit.
Remember in 2011, when Larry Page said Google would be putting “more wood behind fewer arrows”? That meant reorganizing to simplify teams and product lines, and preventing the company from spreading itself too thin. My guess is that’s what’s next for Twitter as well. Dorsey was a deliberator, an experimenter, a … maybe not always super-focused leader. Agrawal seems to be signaling that it’s time to rein things in so Twitter can speed them up.
Comcast’s powerful network keeps people connected. Since 2017, Comcast has invested more than $15 billion to continue to grow its smart, reliable network. As the technology advances, this network will become even more resilient, faster and more secure.
Rebranding gives a company another shot at saying what it’s all about, said Brentos Fernandez, partner at VC firm Listen:
Elon Musk and SpaceX are quickly becoming too powerful, the European Space Agency's Josef Aschbacher said:
FTX U.S.’ Tristan Yver thinks NFTs can make learning about crypto less scary:
Amazon isn’t good at personalizing the shopping experience, said ecommerce consultant Juozas Kaziukenas:
TechNet’s Carl Holshouser thinks Congress will get chip funding in this year:
Twitter reopened its San Francisco and New York offices today. It’s the second time this year that the company is opening its doors again.
The fourth annual Space Summit is happening tomorrow. Morgan Stanley is hosting the event in New York.
Venture Summit also starts tomorrow. Tons of VCs are expected to speak at the three-day event.
Crypto leaders are expected to testify on Wednesday. That includes Circle’s Jeremy Allaire, Bitfury’s Brian Brooks and Coinbase’s Alesia Haas.
The Game Awards are on Thursday. The invite-only event will take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The Alliance for the Future of the Internet isn’t all sorted out. The White House is expected to introduce plans for the group, but digital rights leaders and government officials said they’re confused about the proposal and want to refine it.
It was a wild weekend for crypto. Tech stocks are down thanks to omicron-related fears, but crypto is even more volatile right now: nearly every coin, from bitcoin to ethereum to dogecoin, dropped big over the weekend before stabilizing a bit.
Trump's tech company said it raised $1 billion. The Trump Media & Technology Group framed the fundraising as "an important message to Big Tech that censorship and political discrimination must end."
Activision Blizzard won’t be at the Game Awards. This follows Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all saying that they are reevaluating their relationship with the company in light of the allegations against the CEO and reports of toxicity in the workplace.
Halo Infinite looks like a winner. The game officially lands on Wednesday, but early reviews of its campaign mode are incredibly positive. Maybe clear your weekend just in case?
The U.S. is trying to fight ransomware attacks, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone told The New York Times. It’s the first time the country has publicly said the military is taking action against those sorts of attacks, but he wouldn’t say exactly what the U.S. is doing to combat them.
State Department leaders were hacked using NSO Group spyware. An NSO spokesperson told Reuters that if one of its customers had used NSO software to do this they would be “terminated permanently and legal actions will take place."
Erica Brescia left GitHub. Brescia’s been the company’s COO for over two years.
Alex Spinelli joined Google as a VP. He’s a former Amazon exec who worked on Alexa, and most recently worked at the chatbot company LivePerson.
Some people want a puppy for Christmas. Others want a bunch of coding problems. Luckily, there’s a gift for that.
TCGPlayer architect Eric Wastl created Advent of Code: an Advent calendar of programming puzzles for people of all coding levels. They can be done in any programming language, and a new one drops every day until Dec. 25. Merry code-mas!
In the last 10 years, Comcast has invested $30 Billion – and $15 billion since 2017 alone – to grow and evolve America’s largest gig-speed broadband network, building more route miles and running fiber deeper to customers’ homes to help millions of people stay connected when they need it most.
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