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Big Revolution - Some breathing space

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Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution. Come on in, it’s cold outside... Apologies for the delayed arriva
 
November 30 · Issue #278 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution. Come on in, it’s cold outside… Apologies for the delayed arrival today. Blame technical gremlins.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
  • Google’s Chinese search engine project was initially so secretive that it was barely written about internally to reduce the paper trail.
  • US millennials-focused site Mic has laid off most of its staff as it readies a deal to be sold to Bustle Media Group. These are tough times for VC-backed media companies, who largely haven’t been able to live up to the expectations of their investors.
  • European VC firm Atomico has launched an angel investment programme that sees it funding 12 well-connected individuals for 12 months to invest in early-stage companies. The first 12 include Second Home’s Rohan Silva, and Station F’s Roxanne Varza.
The big thought
DJ Khaled
Some breathing space on the blockchain
A couple of things happened yesterday that were at opposite ends of a spectrum.
News broke that boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled have settled with the SEC for promoting initial coin offerings without disclosing that they were being paid to do so.
Coupled with cryptocurrency prices’ fall to mere shadows of their former glory, it feels like the much needed crypto-shakeout is in full swing.
Indeed, my former colleague Jon Russell wrote yesterday about how crypto doesn’t seem to set to kill venture capital the way some claimed it would just a few months ago. The crypto hype bubble hasn’t quite popped entirely, but it’s resting on a needle.
Meanwhile, I had a call with a startup yesterday that reminded me that there is something worthwhile in blockchains and cryptocurrencies if you strip away all the overblown hyperventilating.
I won’t go into too much detail about what they do as they’re pre-launch, but this was a company with clear reason to use a blockchain (they needed a shared, indisputable record visible to their B2B customers), and even a legitimate reason to have a cryptocurrency attached that might actually work! It’s not ridiculously contrived or utterly pointless. A rare beast indeed.
Maybe with a bit of space and a lot less noise in the blockchain world, more startups like this will be able to surface.
The best thing the blockchain and cryptocurrency world can do is ditch the kids with their exclamations of ‘HODL!’ and obsession with 'lambos.’ Get rich slow.
One big read
An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands
A good look at the increasingly fraught relationship between Amazon and the brands whose products it sells.
One big tweet
Aram Zucker-Scharff
There are plenty of people at Mic who did good work in a bad system, but that good work was despite the system, not because of it.

At a VC-backed Media Startup journalists are just the Uber drivers of content creation.
9:37 PM - 29 Nov 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow for your weekend big reads.
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