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Trouble in paradise | On Silicon Valley's struggles

In Silicon Valley it's always sunny - that's why it used to be the perfect place for much of America'
On My Mind
Trouble in paradise | On Silicon Valley's struggles
By Martin Wiesemborski • Issue #14 • View online
In Silicon Valley it’s always sunny - that’s why it used to be the perfect place for much of America’s fruit plantations. But recently dark clouds are appearing. A storm is brewing.
Well, that’s maybe a bit over-dramatic. But things are not looking too bright for many of Silicon Valley’s famous companies at the moment. 
⏱ tl;dr
Netflix reported its first quarter in a very long time where it actually lost customers.
Facebook got fined by the FTC for over $5 billion.
Superhuman and Zoom, two of the hottest startups right now, are facing a massive backlash due to security and privacy reasons.
Twitter, everyone’s favorite punching bag, has to once again deal with negative feedback on a redesign and an ever-growing toxic user base.
And even cat videos do not perform that well anymore.

Netflix and Ciao
Stranger things are happening at Netflix: For the first time in many many years, Netflix reported shrinking customer numbers. Might the biggest stream service lose The Crown? Could the House of Cards collapse? The future isn’t that Dark, but competition is rising. As are Netflix prices - one of the 13 Reasons Why this quarter was weaker than expected.  
With Apple+ and even more importantly Disney+, Netflix has to rely heavily on its original content. For 15 billion Dollar you can produce quite a lot of movies and shows. But against Disney IPs like Star Wars, Marvel and of course the classic Disney movies, it’s going to be tough. Netflix blames a ‘poor slate’ for the slow growth, as major titles like Stranger Things 3 only premiered in time for the third quarter.  
For binge-watchers like me, the increasingly fragmented streaming services market is bad news. In the US, you might want to sign up for Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO, HBO Max (for Friends) and maybe even Apple Plus, adding up to roughly 80 dollars a month. That’s insane and probably only a matter of time that some new player combines all these services into one offering and we’re back to cable companies (at least in the US).
But that’s not the only comeback: Piracy is back as well. People lost interest in illegally downloading or streaming media significantly over the last few years. Now, the number of pirated content is growing again and services like Plex make it profoundly easy to stream this content
Facebook still in trouble
I will just leave you with the headlines, as they paint a pretty clear picture of the shit Facebook is currently going through:
nilay patel
The main thing to know about the FTC fine is that Facebook put out a press release that frames it as a positive and necessary development https://t.co/eYnHKWfFKI
3:24 PM - 24 Jul 2019
Super-Fail
Superhuman and Zoom, two of the currently hottest startups, struggled in the last few weeks.
Zoom is supposed to be the video chat software for the enterprise, promising better quality and conference calls with up thousands of participants. Everything seemed to be perfect: massive growth, high investor interest, billion-dollar IPO.
But then news broke that Zooms secretly installs an internal web server without informing the user (why is a bit complicated and it is way too hot right now to explain). That’s obviously a no-go for enterprise customers, who have rigid security policies and a hidden backdoor is not something the IT Crowd will be happy about.
At first, Zoom defended its approach but after a few days of major pressure, they finally changed course.
Superhuman is another super-hyped startup, promising to radically change the email experience (by making it super-fast). Superhuman used to be cool new kid in the tech world - despite it’s $30 monthly fee people couldn’t wait to get an invite, with over 300k on the waiting list (in comparison: Slack, arguably the closest rival, costs only $8 a month per seat)
Then Mike Davidson revealed that Superhuman tracks not only the open rate but also the location of the recipients.
A running log of every single time you have opened my email, including your location when you opened it.
Oops 🙈
Superhuman was quick to promise a fix to this behavior but apparently only did so half-hearted as the follow-up article by Mike points out. Superbad…
Next up: Twitter
Even cat videos don't guarantee success anymore
One man, eight years, nearly 20,000 cat videos, and not a single viral hit | The Outline
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Martin Wiesemborski

I'm a freelance UX designer, information architect, and digital consultant. Think of this newsletter as everything that is on my mind (hence the name): New and emerging tech and design trends, tools and ideas that I stumble upon and think are worth talking about.
📬 Sent out every Friday.

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