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Big Revolution - Don't pin your hopes on hype

Welcome to Tuesday's Big Revolution. Yesterday I was barely online, and didn't get much chance to kee
September 11 · Issue #198 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s Big Revolution. Yesterday I was barely online, and didn’t get much chance to keep up with the news. Researching this newsletter this morning reminded me how it’s as useful for me to write it as it is for you to read it – we all get to keep up with what’s happening.

Big things you need to know today
  • Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a concept for an autonomous electric vehicle. The small van/car convertible is designed for dense urban environments. To quote TechCrunch, it’s “an all-electric autonomous concept vehicle that can change from a toaster-looking cargo van to a dung beetle-esque people mover.”
  • Apple continues to prepare a big push into content by acquiring the rights to two family-focused films. Bloomberg has the details, but there’s no word on when we might see the launch of a big original video offering.
  • One more rumour ahead of tomorrow’s Apple event: the new iPad Pro may switch from sporting a Lightning connector to USB-C. If true, could this be a test ahead of switching the iPhone over next year? I hope so – ‘one charger for everything’ would be brilliant, as more laptops move over to USB-C. The new iPad Pro may be unveiled tomorrow, or at a possible separate event next month.
The big thought
Credit: Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
Don’t pin your hopes on hype
If you’re a young tech startup wondering why the press won’t give you any coverage, ask this: do you need any coverage?
Just look at Pinterest – it keeps well away from the Silicon Valley hype machine and focus on slow, steady, growth. But with 250 million monthly active users and being on track to exceed $700m revenue this year (up 50% on last year), it’s (as described by The New York Times) “a unicorn (that) just doesn’t act like one.”
Pinterest is now something of a household name that runs TV ads, so you could argue they don’t need press. But I didn’t read a single article about them until they were already a decent-sized startup, a few years ago. They grew without hype, and have continued to grow the same way.
Being based in the North of England, I’ve long been frustrated that many of the region’s biggest and most successful tech companies don’t shout about their achievements more.
As someone who wants to see the region’s tech sector grow and become better recognised, it seriously annoys me that London companies with flashy smiles and good stories get more coverage, even if their underlying business isn’t very strong.
Just look at the companies of Tech Nation’s Northern Tech 100 list – barely a well-known name among them. That wouldn’t likely be the case if they were in London.
I’ll maintain that these companies should shout more, if only to help attract more talent to the region. But from a founder’s point of view, it’s a reminder that there are great companies built all over the place, and as Pinterest shows, hype is no substitute for true success.
One big read
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
The New Yorker interviews Mark Zuckerberg at home and work about his life and the challenges he faces.
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow. If you like this newsletter, please share it with a friend and encourage them to subscribe, or even share this issue on social media by sharing the ‘view online’ link at the top of this email. Thanks for helping Big Revolution to grow!
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