This Week in Tech - 10/4/15
This Week in Tech
The tech news even your aunt in the midwest has heard.It was a relatively light week for consumer-facing tech news, with most outlets still oggling their new iPhone 6s or trumpeting Occulus' cheap alternative. But a few worthwhile announcements crossed our radar:
- Netflix built a switch to let them "Netflix and Chill" with the press of a button, and then published what they'd done for users to copy. Use the Netflix Switch to automatically dim your connected lightbulb and silence your phone when you turn on the TV. It's great to see Netflix getting into the Maker game; their instructions aren't aimed at total noobs (you'll have to program a microcontroller, for one thing), but we're of the belief that even batting around higher-level ideas like this is a great way to inspire beginners to get going. Into the Netflix Switch but not ready to tackle the Particle Core? We're willing to bet Little Bits sells most of the components you'd need to make your own version.
- Speaking of buttons: Twitter finally made its Buy Button widely available this week. After Instagram and Pinterest both announced native buy buttons earlier this year - over a year after startups had introduced the concept independently - social shopping looks well on its way to maturity. The fodder this promises for Behavioral Economics PhD theses is as mind-blowing as the profits advertisers hope will materialize.
- Internet blogging platform Medium announced a massive raise this week, with participation from Google Ventures. What will they use all the money for? More font options, we're hoping.
This Week in Unicorns
At least we're not talking about bubbles!
Discussion of Unicorns - their existence, their status, prediction of the next ones, a history of the term in startup context, an extended analogy drawing out the medieval concept of the mythical beast and its qualities alongside the properties of the ideal startup - has been trending hard in tech news lately. This week, it even seemed to surpass Bubble Talk in its saturation. Here are some of the highlights:
- Last week, Tim O'Reilly argued that the valuation shouldn't be the marker that matters, but rather that "Unicorns" included billion-dollar ideas like Google Maps and the World Wide Web - ideas that fundamentally changed the landscape, regardless of whether they netted their creators Facebook kinds of money (though I'm pretty sure I'd feel okay letting Tim Berners-Lee pick up the check if it came down to it). O'Reilly argues that a "WTF" Unicorn:
- seems unbelievable
- has enormous impact
- spawns economic impact well beyond that able to be captured by its founders and investors
- We also saw a good deal of bitching and moaning about Unicorns and misaligned values systems, such as this one from Both Sides of the Table. There was also a good bit of private (and not-so-private) celebrating of Evernote's impending demise after the startup announced downsizing plans.
- FinTech startup SoFi raised over $1B, and the next day Fortune published an article advocating for "The Other Unicorns" - the ones who raise $1B or more, not just those with billion-dollar valuations. Something something unicorn inflation something.
This Week in This Week in Tech
We read all the newsletters so you don't have to.
- Bubble or no, MatterMark keeps charging ahead with their projections for the next big breakout startups. This week they revisited their 40 Fastest Growing Startups with 42 more (so maybe they've found the answer?). They also seized the opportunity when Li Jiang of Global Silicon Valley proclaimed "the Next 250 Unicorn Startups" (something something unicorn devaluation something) to run their own cohort analysis.
- But what was being read and shared most last week was, as usual, the words of the old founders, those all-knowing gods who deign to walk among us still. Caterina Fake, of Flickr, proclaimed The Age of the Cockroach on Medium, and several thousand people read and shared it within a few hours. You'd probably better read it too.
- Some Unicorns just won't die. At Stratechery, Ben Thompson explained why Facebook remains undervalued even with a P/E ratio of 88. I could explain P/E ratio but then I'd have deprived you the joy of looking it up and learning about it like I did.
This Week in Parisoma
Most entrepreneurs join our community in their early stages. We love watching them grow and flourish. This week:
- Evesleep is growing! They're looking for an Email Marketing Manager, User Acquisition, Business Intelligence, and Customer Care experts, and a Web Designer. Check them out.
- PARISOMA member Antony Courtney has been building Tabli, a tab-keeper for Chrome, as a side project. It's free & excellent. Check it out!