January 2021 archive

Weekly#413

  • Benedict Evans: The great unbundling
  • Bill Gates: It’s not too soon to start thinking about the next pandemic
  • Clubhouse announces plans for creator payments …raised around $100 million led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz at a $1 billion post-money valuation
  • Most of the World’s Pilots Are No Longer Flying for a Living
  • How the chaos of 2020 will shape the next decade, according to 8 design experts
  • More than 260 airports around the globe are currently at risk of coastal flooding, and dozens could be below mean sea level by the turn of the century, the research published in the journal Climate Risk Management found.
  • Apple says there are now over 1 billion active iPhones…with 1.65 billion Apple devices in use overall
  • Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature will be enabled by default and arrive in ‘early spring’ on iOS
  • Facebook predicts ‘significant’ obstacles to ad targeting and revenue in 2021
    •   Facebook also highlighted two broad economic trends that it says it has benefited from during the pandemic:
      • The “ongoing shift toward online commerce”
      • “The shift in consumer demand toward products and away from services
  • Google spells out consequences of Apple’s privacy push and IDFA changes
  • Google has been testing a new API (a software interface) called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) that acts as an effective replacement signal for third-party cookies. The API exists as a browser extension within Google Chrome.
  • Tesla reports its first annual profit…Tesla made a $721 million profit thanks to $1.58 billion in regulatory credits.
  • WhatsApp adds biometric authentication to its web and desktop versions
  • Tesla is willing to license Autopilot and has already had ‘preliminary discussions’ about it with other automakers
  • Tesla Model S refreshed with a radically redesigned interior and 520-mile range
  • Starlink Now Own a Quarter of All Active Satellites…SpaceX adds laser links to Starlink satellites to serve Earth’s polar areas
  • Peacock hit 33 million signups before The Office even arrived
  • YouTube has paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and others over the last three years
  • HBO Max hits 40 million US subscribers…two years ahead of schedule
  • Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring
  • Plex is launching a game subscription service filled with Atari games
  • How WallStreetBets Pushed GameStop Shares to the Moon
  • Mobility has reached a tipping point. More than 250 new models of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) will be introduced in the next two years alone, and as many as 130 million EVs could be sharing roads the world over by 2030

Weekly#412

  • Second Order Thinking
  • The Global Risks Report 2021 [WEF]
  • Davos Agenda 2021
  • The next big thing in retail comes with Chinese characteristics“…Fitch, a ratings agency, thinks the market for live-stream retail neared 1trn yuan ($153bn) in 2020, double the prior year’s amount…” (Paywall: Economist)
  • 5 ways brands are adapting to shifts in video viewership to drive results
  • Amazon offers Biden help to speed up vaccine distribution
  • Elon Musk is donating $100M to find the best carbon capture technology
  • Netflix Tops 200 Million Subscribers for the First Time…Streaming giant said it added a record 37 million subscribers in 2020 (Paywall: WSJ)
    “..With over 500 titles currently in post production or preparing to launch on our service and plans to release at least one new original film every week in 2021 with extraordinary talent, we’re confident we’ll continue to have a great content offering for our members…”
  • SpaceX anticipates reaching the milestone of 10 uses for at least one Falcon 9 first stage later this year.
  • Walmart’s e-commerce chief is leaving to build “a city of the future”…Marc Lore, the founder of Jet.com, helped Walmart become the No. 2 online shopping site after Amazon.
  • Virgin’s rocket reaches orbit for the first time, deploys satellites
  • Microsoft invests in Cruise in new $2 billion round
  • WeChat advances e-commerce goals with $250B in transactions
  • Spotify’s big bet on podcasts is failing, Citi says
  • Video game spending increased 27% in 2020
  • Apple testing vapor chamber thermal tech for next-gen iPhone
  • Smartwatches can help detect COVID-19 days before symptoms appear
  • Facebook was going to compete with Google for some advertising sales but backed away from the plan after the companies cut a preferential deal, according to court documents.
  • How Volkswagen’s $50 Billion Plan to Beat Tesla Short-Circuited…”…What they didn’t consider: Electric vehicles are more about software than hardware…With the shift to electric, computing has become the heart of the vehicle, with a central processor managing the battery, running the electric motors, brakes, lights and other critical systems as well as additional features such as entertainment or heating in the seat..
  • Google Closes Loon, Its Plan to Use Balloons for Web Access (paywall: WSJ)
  • USPS banking could help the at least 7 million American households that are unbanked
  • The DeLorean might be coming back as an electric car
  • Sequoia Holdings says employees can draw part of salary in cryptocurrencies
  • Augmented Reality Used in Knee-Replacement Surgery in a U.S. First…Data streamed through smart glasses allow for precise removal of bone and cartilage and accurate positioning of knee implants (Paywall: WSJ)

Weekly#411

  • 9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2021 and Beyond
  • Countries experiment with special remote-work visas for Digital Nomads (Paywall: WSJ)
  • The priority for workplaces in the new normal? Wellbeing
  • CES 2021 Summaries
  • Cyberpunk Rollout“…Making Cyberpunk would require CD Projekt to invest in new technology, new staff and new techniques they hadn’t explored before
    …tried to develop the engine technology behind Cyberpunk 2077, most of which was brand new, simultaneously with the game, which slowed down production…
    While The Witcher 3 was created by roughly 240 in-house staff, according to the company, Cyberpunk’s credits show that the game had well over 500 internal developers…”
  • PC sales finally saw big growth in 2020 after years of steady decline…In total, 91.6 million traditional PCs were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • AT&T is killing off the online-video service formerly known as DirecTV Now and introducing a no-contract option for the newer online service that replaced it.
  • Qualcomm will acquire chip company founded by Apple execs for $1.4 billion
  • BMW becomes the latest automaker to shut down its subscription service…Access by BMW was a $2,000-a-month service that launched in 2018
  • Ford unveils new self-driving test vehicle for 2022 launch
  • Windows 10X is now Microsoft’s true answer to Chrome OS
  • Apple Plans Upgraded MacBook Pros With Return of Magnetic Charging
  • Blue Origin successfully launches and lands key crew capsule test in first mission of 2021
  • Apple Considers Foldable iPhone; Minor Changes Planned for 2021 Models
  • Telegram adds 25 million new users in just 72 hours
  • 2020 was second-hottest year on record, NOAA says
  • Nuclear fusion tech developer General Fusion now has Shopify and Amazon founders backing it
  • YouTube and WhatsApp inch closer to half a billion users in India
  • Upgrade launches checking accounts and debit cards
  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX starts testing Starlink broadband service in the English countryside
  • Chips Are in Hot Demand—and That’s a Problem (Paywall: WSJ)
  • FAA Approves First Fully Automated Commercial Drone Flights (Paywall: WSJ)
  • Deliveroo may be heading for an April initial public offering at a valuation of $13.6 billion.
  • Amazon, Walmart Tell Consumers to Skip Returns of Unwanted Items…using artificial intelligence to decide whether it makes economic sense to process a return.
  • Cowen analysts wrote that they estimate Amazon’s ad revenue to rise to $26.1 billion in 2021, and rise to $85.2 billion by 2026.
  • Rediscovering RISC-V: Apple M1 sparks renewed interest in non-x86 architectures


Weekly#410

  • Chip Shortage Hits Global Automakers
  • Introducing Amazon Marketing Cloud (beta)
  • The world’s cryptocurrency is now worth more than $1 trillion
  • Apple allegedly working with Hyundai on electric car for 2027…Apple’s Self-Driving Electric Car Is at Least Half a Decade Away
  • Amazon Pantry is being discontinued as Amazon consolidates its grocery delivery services
  • Google’s plan to replace tracking cookies goes under UK antitrust probe
  • Mercedes unveils Hyperscreen, a curved 56-inch screen for its flagship EQS electric vehicle
  • Roku acquires Quibi’s content
  • Roku is becoming the most powerful company in streaming…51.2 million active accounts, adding around 14 million accounts over the past 12 months.
  • Chinese search giant Baidu to make electric cars
  • Xbox: The Oral History of an American Video Game Empire…The original product was ungainly, over-budget and nearly canceled. Here’s how it became a hit and reshaped an industry
  • Mandatory WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update Allows User Data to be Shared With Facebook
  • Apple’s App Store had gross sales around $64 billion last year and it’s growing strongly again
  • The First Pig-to-Human Organ Transplants Could Happen This Year
  • Microsoft is building a new Outlook app for Windows and Mac powered by the web
  • Google’s iOS apps haven’t been updated in weeks. Could Apple’s privacy labels be the reason?
  • Amazon Makes First Aircraft Purchase to Expand Cargo Network…Retailer will buy 11 767-300 planes from Delta, WestJet…Amazon expects fleet to have more than 85 jets by end of 2022
  • Their observations, plus a bit of cosmic geometry, suggest that the universe is 13.77 billion years old—give or take 40 million years. A Cornell University researcher co-authored one of two papers about the findings
  • Epic Games buys a huge mall for its new global HQ
  • Haven, the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture to disrupt health care, is disbanding after 3 years
  • Study finds brain-activity of people coding isn’t quite like when they use language, or do math
  • How The New York Times Is Adapting to Life Without Third-Party Cookies

Weekly#409

  • Top digital marketing trends and predictions for 2021
  • Spotting the signals
  • The year shopping changed forever…At the end of last year, only around 13 percent of retail purchases — excluding auto and gas sales — were made online, according to Mastercard. By the end of 2020, that figure stands at around 20 percent, or $1 out of every $5…
  • How coronavirus has shaped the home of tomorrow (Paywall : FT)
  • What Did 2020 Do to Retail?
  • Your Most-Played Song of 2020 Is … White Noise?“…Ambient music, background noise and calming sound effects have soothed the anxious, isolated and sleep deprived this year…”
  • The Hidden Tradeoffs of Working From Home
  • Tech’s top seven companies added $3.4 trillion in value in 2020
  • The Apple car, briefly explained
  • EarlyBird’s new app lets families and friends ‘gift’ investments to children
  • Elon Musk says SpaceX will attempt to recover Super Heavy rocket by catching it with launch tower
  • Fluence, the energy storage systems developer, is now worth over $1 billion after QIA investment
  • Amazon acquires podcast network Wondery
  • Student-founded Develop for Good surpasses 25,000 volunteer hours connecting students with nonprofits
  • Best new board game apps of 2020
  • The best video essays of 2020
  • The Turing Test is obsolete. It’s time to build a new barometer for AI
  • Study Finds More Than $100 Billion Spent on App Stores in 2020
  • What we have learnt about the limits of science
  • Human Development Report 2020 [PDF]
  • Automation nation: 9 robotics predictions for 2021
  • Why retailers everywhere should look to China
  • Responsible Marketing with First-Party Data
  • Decoding Decisions [PDF]| Think with Google