That Was The Week 2021, #17
Mobile media consumption grew 460% between 2011 and 2021. TV was down 24% and desktop consumption down 29%, with radio down 19%. But it has only just begun as mobile eats all media.
- Mobile — It’s Only Just Begun
- Employees, Censorship or Reward
- The Creator Economy and Competition
- Internet Video — All Change
- Venture Capital and Disrupting Big Tech
- Growth Investors Invade the Seed Stage
- Startup of the Week
- Tweet of the Week
It is not exactly news, but mobile media consumption has been eating into TV, Radio, and Computer media consumption. Many predict what comes next after mobile, including AR, VR, brain implants, and more. But the truth is the media shift to mobile is only at the beginning. This week we collect articles on the fight between Google and Roku over Roku’s carrying of its YouTube.tv app. We also look at how Zoom, Google, and others seek to redefine the user interface for remote video calling. Additionally, we cover Facebook wanting to become the primary platform for creators, while Clubhouse is seen as a threat to Facebook.
All of these are early signs of mobile media accelerating, not declining. Enveloping more and more use cases. And dominating an increasing portion of the time we humans spend on media of all kinds.
The revenue previously owned by broadcast networks is rapidly being redirected to Amazon, Netflix, Google, Roku, Apple, and others.
Amazon is our startup of the week, having earned over $100 billion of revenue in Q1. Much of it is driven by Amazon Prime. Netflix missed its numbers but has almost 200 countries to still spread to.
Meanwhile, the software industry began to focus on employee treatment. Basecamp announced that it was moving away from offering employee benefits and at the same time banned political conversation at work. Yes, read that again.
Facebook banned employees from reading an internal report critical of its response to the Capitol “insurrection”.
In contrast, Lyft and Stripe, in an effort to retain employees, are moving towards annual stock grants rather than 4-year v esting.
This and more will appear in this week’s video.
Mobile — It’s Only Just Begun
The media consumption landscape in 2021 is shifting. What are the different forms of media consume and how have they changed?
Employees, Censorship or Reward
Basecamp, the maker of email app Hey, is banning social and political discussions at the company, its CEO Jason Fried announced today.
“Today’s social and political waters are especially choppy,” Fried wrote in a blog post. “Sensitivities are at 11, and every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target. These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It’s become too much. It’s a major distraction. It saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places. It’s not healthy, it hasn’t served us well. And we’re done with it at Basecamp.”
In his post, Fried makes it clear that Basecamp is not a social impact company. In Fried’s opinion, Basecamp does not need to solve social problems or “chime in publicly whenever the world requests our opinion on the major issues of the day, or get behind one movement or another with time or treasure.”
Beyond banning political and social conversations, Basecamp is also getting rid of certain employee benefits, committees, and 360 performance reviews.
You can read Fried’s full post here.
Facebook Stopped Employees From Reading An Internal Report About Its Role In The Insurrection. You Can Read It Here.
Last Thursday, BuzzFeed News revealed that an internal Facebook report concluded that the company had failed to prevent the “Stop the Steal” movement from using its platform to subvert the election, encourage violence, and help incite the Jan. 6 attempted coup on the US Capitol.
Titled “Stop the Steal and Patriot Party: The Growth and Mitigation of an Adversarial Harmful Movement,” the report is one of the most important analyses of how the insurrectionist effort to overturn a free and fair US presidential election spread across the world’s largest social network — and how Facebook missed critical warning signs. The report examines how the company was caught flat-footed as the Stop the Steal Facebook group supercharged a movement to undermine democracy, and concludes the company was unprepared to stop people from spreading hate and incitement to violence on its platform.
The report’s authors, who were part of an internal task force studying harmful networks, published the document to Facebook’s internal message board last month, making it broadly available to company employees. But after BuzzFeed News revealed the report’s existence last week, many employees were restricted from accessing it.
Lyft and Stripe have changed their compensation packages so employees vest their entire stock awards in one year, doing away with a long-standing Silicon Valley custom of requiring staff to stick around for four years before they have their full compensation in hand.
Stripe, an electronic payments startup that could go public as soon as this year, recently introduced a one-year vesting schedule for new hires, according to a copy of an offer letter reviewed by The Information. Publicly traded Lyft earlier this year implemented a one-year vesting schedule for existing employees after introducing the faster timeline for new hires in mid-2020, spokesperson Eric Smith said.
Tech companies are introducing accelerated schedules as they test new methods to recruit workers in a highly competitive job market and after stock market volatility made it difficult to price stock packages. Since the faster vesting schedules often go hand-in-hand with smaller equity grants each year, they can also save money for companies whose valuations are rapidly rising.
The Creator Economy and Competition
Welcome to the first edition of the Creator Economy newsletter from The Information.
Social media influencers have extraordinary power over culture and they are among the savviest entrepreneurs of our time. They are also multiplying: By late last year, some 50 million people considered themselves creators, according to venture firm SignalFire.
While the creator economy is booming, information about it is fragmented and sometimes hard to follow. This newsletter aims to cut through the noise with news, commentary and financial analysis on the creators and companies driving the industry. We’ll examine the biggest VC deals, go inside the big tech companies’ strategies and highlight creators moving up the charts. And we’ll keep you up-to-date on trends with short explanations (Curious why TikTokers are chanting “Sheesh”? Read on.)
I’m Kaya Yurieff, a reporter at The Information who will be bringing you regular insights about this rapidly-evolving space. You can read some of my past coverage of the creator economy here. I’m thrilled to be writing this and look forward to your feedback.
Facebook is pivoting. As hanging out with friends moves away from the Big Blue App and into messenger apps and private groups, the company has to figure out what to do with its giant public platforms on Facebook and Instagram. And Mark Zuckerberg seems to have his answer: become the home for all creators everywhere.
Zuckerberg announced a laundry list of new creator-focused featuresyesterday: A shop that’ll allow creators to sell merch directly on Instagram, a marketplace for matching creators and brand deals and an affiliate marketplace for people who want to hawk products and get a cut.
- That’s on top of all the new tools Facebook has rolled out for people who want to make money on the platform, whether it’s through newsletters or stickers or audio.
- A lot of Facebook’s creator tools are coming to Instagram first, but the Facebook app is still its biggest priority and opportunity.
This is about social media becoming less social and more media.
Today’s Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.
Internet Video — All Change
Microsoft, Zoom and Google are all trying to redesign video calls. Today, Zoom announced a feature called “Immersive View” that can put your meeting attendees into a virtual conference room, or put their rectangles into digital art frames on a wall.
First, there was Gallery View. Millions of employees all over the world, sent home in March 2020, fired up whatever crummy video chat software they used only to discover that a group video chat inevitably descended into chaos as the software tried to “intelligently” switch to whoever’s speaking, only to become a blur of faces. Gallery View turned everyone into rectangles on the screen, all the same size and all visible at once. Any video chat software that didn’t have Gallery View quickly built something like it.
Since then, a new industry of startups, like Hopin and Shindig and Airmeet, has found lots of ways to make large-scale digital events much better. (And they’ve raised huge sums of money to do so.) Meetings, however, have mostly remained rectangles on screens. Now, though, a bigger shift may be in progress. Last week, Google rolled out new tools for users to resize their own rectangle (and thus avoid the dreaded, and exhausting, effect of staring into a mirror all day), and pin and sort other people’s rectangles. And on Monday, Zoom announced a feature called “Immersive View” that can put your meeting attendees into a virtual conference room, or put their rectangles into digital art frames on a wall. Teaching Zoom school? Put the kids in a virtual classroom, six to a row. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than rectangles.
Roku and Google are at it again: In an email to its users and in a statement sent out to media Monday, Roku accused Google of anti-competitive behavior. The statement suggests that the search giant was using carriage negotiations for its YouTube TV service to enforce changes that would benefit its free YouTube app as well, and ultimately harm Roku’s business.
Roku’s timing for these allegations was impeccable: With Congress taking a closer look at possible anti-competitive behavior by the major tech companies, the last thing Google needs right now is more bad press. And with a deadline for the renewal of YouTube TV on Roku looming this week, the streaming device maker clearly hopes that Google will cave.
However, Roku’s allegations were also a bit vague; a closer look at them reveals long-existing fault lines within the streaming and smart TV industry. So what are the two companies fighting about?
Roku has removed the YouTube TV app from its channel store after the two companies failed to come to an agreement over distribution. The removal comes on the heels of Roku’s accusations that Google engages in anti-competitive behavior.
Earlier this week, Roku accused Google of anti-competitive behavior, but said it was hopeful to reach a new contract agreement. Google denied Roku’s “baseless” allegations. Roku also claimed that this is not the first time Google has abused its market power. Google allegedly forced Roku to add a row of YouTube search results to its universal search UI.
“Google is attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users. Given antitrust suits against Google,” said a Roku spokesperson.
Google painted the removal as a heavy-handed negotiation tactic.
Venture Capital and Disrupting Big Tech
Who Disrupts the Disrupters?
Aggregators, Web3, and Disruption Theory
We’ll mix some classic strategy theory with some future tech to figure out if and why Web3 poses a real threat to Web2.0’s giants, covering:
- The End of the Beginning?
- Big D Disruption
- Revisiting the Computing Paradigm Assumption
- Disrupting the Undisruptable
- The State of Web3
- Web2.0 Giants’ Web3 Comps
Our journey starts with a debate over whether the big tech companies can be disrupted at all.
Capital raises, along with expectations, getting bigger, VC funder says — CFO Dive
Capital raises have gotten larger over the past few years but so have investor expectations, Christoph Janz, founding partner of venture fund Point 9 Capital, said in a SaaStr webcast.
“In terms of valuations and round sizes, we almost see a shift,” said Janz, whose company provides pre-seed, seed, and A, B and C round investments to tech companies. “What used to be called a seed is now a pre-seed, what used to be called a Series A is now a seed, what used to be a Series B is now an A, and what used to be an A is now a B.”
Growth Investors Invade the Seed Stage
Global venture funding hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2021, per Crunchbase data. But, along with a surge in late stage funding, we also saw a marked increase in early-stage funding last quarter, with $39 billion invested in nascent startups, up from $25 billion in the fourth quarter and $22 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
Startup of the Week
Company makes $8.1bn profit for quarter as positive economic reports suggest US shaking off worst of pandemic recession
Amazon’s sales increased 44% to $108.5bn in the first three months of the year as the company’s pandemic boom continued into 2021.
The sales figures from the online shopping and web services giant came after the release of slew of positive economic reports that suggest the US is shaking off the worst of the pandemic recession.