View profile

Big Revolution - Awkward showboating

Greetings from a Manchester to London train, on which I'm traveling to a client meeting in the city w
April 3 · Issue #37 · View online
Big Revolution
Greetings from a Manchester to London train, on which I’m traveling to a client meeting in the city we Brits lovingly refer to as ‘the big smoke.’
After a few days of reduced service over the Easter weekend, we’re back to a full edition of Big Revolution…

Big things you need to know today
Credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash
- Apple plans to replace Intel CPUs in Macs with its own by 2020, Bloomberg reports. This will be no surprise to longtime Apple watchers, and the move will help the company bring iOS and MacOS even closer together. Intel shares were down following the news, despite the fact investors should have seen it coming eventually.
- Intel wasn’t alone. Tech stocks as a whole were down in the USA. Axios blames another anti-Amazon tweet from Donald Trump.
- And Trump is apparently deadly serious about taking on Jeff Bezos. Vanity Fair quotes sources, including one saying: “He gets obsessed with something, and now he’s obsessed with Bezos… Trump is like, how can I f___ with him?”
- If you run a gay dating app, the last thing you should do is lose the trust of gay people. So Grindr is facing a backlash after BuzzFeed’s report that it’s sharing users’ HIV status with third party app optimisation firms. However, Grindr says it “doesn’t sell personally identifiable information to third parties or advertisers.”
- Instagram has raised the ire of third-party developers, by cutting their API access rate without warning. There’s no word from Facebook about why this has happened, but if you use a third-party Instagram app that has starting acting weirdly, now you know why.
- Vox’s Ezra Klein has clinched an interview with Mark Zuckerberg about his ‘hardest year.’ Although Klein sets the interview up as being about Facebook’s problems on a broad scale, he has faced criticism for not probing deeper with Zuck on topics like Cambridge Analytica.
- Facebook says it’s going to delete videos it saved that users uploaded but never posted. I mean, it had to really, didn’t it?
The big thought
Credit: Piotr Cichosz on Unsplash
Awkward showboating for Jeff
If there’s one thing in tech that has made me wince in recent months, it’s the desperate race North American cities have entered to become home to Amazon’s second HQ.
As the race began, we saw cities in the USA and Canada promise all flavours of moon-on-a-stick to Jeff Bezos, if he set up a presence in their cites. And the stunts were varying degrees of silly. NYC lit landmarks in Amazon orange; Tuscon, Arizona, sent a 21-foot cactus to the company’s Seattle HQ (it was rejected); one town even offered to rename itself ‘Amazon.’
The Wall Street Journal reminded me of this desperate race yesterday, with its (paywalled) update on how things are going for the 20 finalist cities, as Amazon makes low-key visits to scope them out.
It’s understandable that cities want Amazon. Its 'HQ2’ would bring lots of jobs, and the caché of a giant, successful, business with a big future. But I wonder what Jeff Bezos made of all the stunts. I felt they were more for cities’ own citizens than for Amazon’s benefit.
Inward investment is generally based around low-key negotiations, focused on things like financial incentives, support to help relocating staff settle in, etc. It generally doesn’t involve city mayors posting 'unboxing’ videos about why they love Amazon so much.
Yes, the stunts were largely theatre for local residents. Elected officials signaling to voters: 'we’re doing something for you! We’re trying!’ 
With 50,000 jobs, plus $5 billion in construction investment, on offer from Amazon, cities are bound to be keen. But when they lose a big chunk of dignity, and only just stop short of officially renaming the mayor 'Alexa 'IloveJeffBezos McAmazon,’ it’s just one more sign that big tech companies have an uncomfortable amount of power in the world right now.
One big read
The Inside Story of Reddit's Redesign The Inside Story of Reddit's Redesign
Wired really is doing a good job of giving people reasons to convert to paid subscribers. Sorry if I’ve given you enough Wired links in the past few days that you’ve reached the end of your free quota, but they’re putting out some good stuff right now.
This is a good look at the challenges of giving a fresh new look to the self-described ‘front page of the internet.’
One big tweet
Maybe capitalism is broken, but San Francisco is definitely broken…
Alexia Bonatsos
You know capitalism is broken when you’ve got 20 VC-subsidized, unused scooters lying around South Park, next to a homeless person dying in the street
5:44 PM - 2 Apr 2018
That’s all for today...
Don’t forget, if you’d like to support Big Revolution, you can choose to become a member for $5 per month. It’s like buying me a coffee every month for sending you these packed emails every day.
Just hit the ‘become a member’ button below. Thank you!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $5 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Martin SFP Bryant
You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue