Hello friends and welcome again week in review!
Last week, we talked about how YouTube has managed to skate while Facebook has been bogged down by concerns about the platform’s responsibility. This week, we’re looking at another slippery slope with Apple dancing along its edge.
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After hitting that sweet trillion-dollar valuation first, then crossing two trillion, Apple knows full well it’s a long road to becoming the first quadrillion dollar company and they’ve got some work to do to get there. Controversial choices have to be made. Jokes aside, Apple’s business is actually changing significantly as it approaches mega-scale and the company is flirting with growth strategy that can either be seen as bold and aggressive or seen as a bit down the line. can go.
As Apple’s diversification business moves consumers to buy new iPhones toward getting them to lock into the subscription software services on said devices when they buy Apple devices, they’re pushing a bit more than before. starting to give.
This week, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called on Apple to put ads for its services in its Settings app, launching a criticism that Apple was not playing by its rules. His complaint was probably intended to focus more on Apple’s anti-competition allegation, but my first takeaway after seeing an ad for a free trial of Apple Music inside the Settings app was, “Hey, Apple’s not that small? “
For a $2 trillion company, prompting consumers to buy something inside a section of an app when they’re trying to fix something seems like a pretty embarrassing growth hack. Sure, it’s just an ad slot, a slip up, but a lack of spam and crapware has long been a hallmark of the Apple device ecosystem. Sure, over the years you might not have liked their standard calculator or stock app pre-installed, but it wasn’t anything but annoying, but as Apple Music, a slew of services including News+ After the paid subscription with array starts pushing the paid subscription. TV+, Fitness+, Arcade, iCloud+ and others, one starts to wonder where it all leads.
Apple is starting to build out more complex customer products that reside outside a single app; Its iCloud+ service now mixes backup with more sophisticated privacy features in Safari that are only available to paying customers. Different tiers of an Apple One subscription bundle these services together at a discount that can be shared with family members. And of course, to Sweeney’s point, all of this is going to be very frustrating for developers who are trying to compete with a product that has the advantage of a forever home court, but that doesn’t hurt those consumers. This leads to a less welcoming platform for those who only want tools that bring them fairly to the broader web and all its stakeholders and services.
For a broad disclaimer, I’d say that Apple is criticized so much over the smallest of things because they’ve done a pretty solid job of streamlining positive consumer experiences with their devices in general, and other consumers too. Companies have become accustomed to seeing these little things snowball. In wrong incentives that slowly destroy a product. That’s why seeing a couple more promotional push notifications than usual or a seemingly false ad or a few too many introductory offers raises a few red flags.
It’s certainly no crime to turn Apple into a service business, but it’s important to realize that the prospect of doing so requires a fundamental change in how their relationship with consumers looks. We’re only starting to get a taste of some of those changes today, but they may become more visible down the road.
I’m going to be playing around with this section a bit over the next few weeks so it’s less cold synopsis and more context… let me know on twitter if that’s your jam or if you prefer more headlines and less bloating 🙂
Twitch hack spells future trouble for game streaming kingpins
Amazon’s gaming-focused streaming service had a bad week as hackers released a trove of source code and creator payout data. This is a huge competitive disadvantage for Twitch and leaves Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming with a spreadsheet of data to hunt down particular streamers on their platforms. This is probably a demoralization for the streamer base, with streamers now able to see how much more than some of their competitors are getting paid by the streaming giant.
Twitch’s outright edge in the game streamer wars is slowly waning as a result of YouTube and Facebook’s efforts to attract viewers. Twitch is still the default, though many early-career streamers choose and YouTube and Facebook are miles behind in this department, with their success largely coming from dumping money into paid partner programs to bring popular content creators on board. , which means that the data that has just been leaked is invaluable to them.
Terrible week of Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp
Facebook has been having a really bad few weeks but this past one was just plain brutal. When the company was waging a PR war against a whistleblower, the service suffered its most brutal outage in the past decade, taking down all of the company’s global services and breaking its internal equipment in the meantime . Everything was down for several hours, which means a lot of confusion and frustration, especially for users who rely heavily on WhatsApp for their business or social lives.
As I wrote last week, Facebook probably doesn’t deserve to be the only Internet media platform that’s being dumped universally, but with so many people furious, I guess company executives can’t see the fact. They feel that they are being treated unfairly and are not even trying to self-reflect. Facebook’s brand is in a state of fairly constant decay at this point, but the idea that it could spread to its subsidiaries like Instagram should be a reason leadership and shareholders realize it’s too important to meaningfully ignore. .
Paying real money for fake shares of real startups
I can’t say it’s as impressive as the above two bits, but I don’t want to repeat a saga I covered this week that really looks like it shows where we are in this bull market. VisionRare, an NFT platform for “fantasy startup investing,” was born earlier this week and I covered its launch with considerable skepticism. It was essentially a pitch to treat venture capital investing like fantasy sports and to get people competing to build their own portfolios full of synthetic NFT stocks of startups.
A lot of investors and entrepreneurs chimed in after my launch post and detailed all the ways they were likely to be sued, and it seems the founders listened. Less than a day after it went into public beta, they closed the market with a free-to-play version promising an eventual return. As the NFT market is (and often is) full of weird money, a lot of top NFT project founders spend an awfully long time with lawyers ahead of time to mechanize them so they don’t get saddled with these tough choices after launch. be. Speaking of weird money, it generative art piece sold this week for $6.9 million and it Frog 420 ETH ($1.5 million) gone, enjoy your weekend!
Some of my favorite reads this week from our newly-named Nerdshala+ subscription service:
Global startup raised $158 billion in third quarter
“…As the back half of 2020 began and the venture capital and startup world discovered that COVID and its associated economic impacts were set to miss the massive upstart technology market, investors were able to pour large amounts of cash into new companies. The world has been busy. The acceleration of capital deployment has generated more unicorns, more mega-rounds and simply more available dollars than ever before in startup history…”
Getting the Details in Your Pitch Deck
“…Every interruption, we host a session we call Pitch Deck Teardown. It’s an inspiring workshop where the founders in the audience send me their decks, and I walk through a curated set of them as an exceptional VC I walk in front of a panel that critiques the deck slide by slide. This year at Nerdshala Disrupt 2021, we’re joined by Maren Bannon, Co-Founder and Managing Partner Jan Ventures; Vanessa Larko, Partner at NEA; and Ben Ling, Founder and General Partner Bling Capital…“
Top VCs look at how to raise your first dollar
“…Index Ventures partner Nina Achdijan urges founders to first consider whether they really need to raise venture capital. ‘This is an unprecedented time to become an early-stage entrepreneur. More capital than ever before’ and there is a willingness from consumers and businesses to accept the technology,’ she said. ‘And clearly, there are a lot of platform changes that are very exciting for early-stage entrepreneurs. But the first thing you need to do is Ask yourself: Do you really need to raise venture capital? There are so many incredible businesses that can be built that don’t really need VC funding.'”
Thanks for reading, and again, if you’re reading this on the Nerdshala site, you may get it in your inbox newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny