Hello friends! That’s what Lucas always starts with, right?
Lucas is away for a few weeks, so I will be working on Week In Review until he returns. TL; DR on me: My name is Greg and I’ve been with TechCrunch for a long, long time. I joined around the time Twitter found the vowels in its name and people thought Facebook’s valuation was ridiculously high at $ 15 billion. (For reference, Facebook’s market cap topped $ 1,000 billion last month.)
Enough about me! Want this in your inbox every week? Register here. Oh, and by the way Sarah Perez’s popular This Week In Apps column is now a weekly newsletter. Sarah reigns supreme and does a damn good job of summing up everything you need to know about the app world, so be sure to sign up, so you can get it in your inbox every Saturday morning.
And now here’s a quick rundown of what you might have been missing this week.
The big thing
While Zoom has been around since 2011, its growth in 2020 was just on a whole new level. The pandemic blew up Zoom in the hall of fame of the product name as a verb pretty much overnight, with “Zoom next week” joining the ranks of “Xerox this for me?” or “Photoshop it” or “Google it”.
With rapid growth, of course, comes growing pains.
Among these pains was a significant increase in trolling. The idea of ”Zoombombing” was born, in which unapproved participants block a Zoom call and flood it with nasty images, hate speech and whatever else they can explode before the (often unfamiliar) moderator with the Zoom interface) can’t figure out how to lock it.
As of April 2020, Zoom tweaked its settings to make meetings a little less zoomable by default – but at this point, legal action had already been filed. Fourteen lawsuits were filed, in fact, and later condensed into one. The lawsuits argued that the company had not done enough to prevent Zoombombing, as well as user data shared with third parties without the user’s permission.
This week, Zoom agreed to an $ 85 million settlement, along with a promise to add even more guarantees against potential crashes. This is an interesting example of how massive / sudden popularity can cause new problems … but, well, given that Zoom’s market cap has grown from $ 34 billion in March 2020 to $ 118 billion this week, I doubt anyone is too crushed on this.
Google presents the Pixel 6 in preview
Google’s next flagship Android phone is coming! When? To be determined. How many? Good question! The company withheld an unusual number of details in its first official acknowledgment of the Pixel 6’s existence, presumably to keep the focus on the custom AI-centric system on a chip they are building for it. We know it has a big camera bump (or “camera bar,” as they call it) and there will be two models (Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro). But beyond that, we’re stuck on leaked specs for now. Fortunately, said leaks have been pretty accurate so far.
Robinhood’s Wild Ride
Robinhood went public this week – and, perhaps rightly so for the app which played a sizable role in GameStop / AMC / etc. Even mananza stock earlier this year, its early trading days were kind of a roller coaster. It opened at $ 38, slipped on day one, to hit $ 70 on day two. As I write this, it’s slowly coming back to earth with a current price of around $ 53. As for the root cause of volatility… as Alex Wilhelm said: “It’s happening in 2021; we just have to get used to it.
Pokémon Go players are crazy
Because the fundamental concepts of Pokémon Go (Talk to strangers! Go out in large groups!) Among other things, they increased the radius of the real world in which players could interact with the landmarks in the game, allowing you to do more while moving less. This week they started rolling back those changes as a “test”… and, well, people are crazy. The company presumably has reason to go back on the basis of the data… but from the outside, with the pandemic still ongoing, it looks like a bad decision. Niantic has responded to the community outcry by forming an internal team to look at options, promising updates by September 1.
WhatsApp gets self-destructive single view photos
This week, WhatsApp adopted its internal Snapchat with the introduction of the “view once” mode, which allows users to send photos and videos that can be viewed once before destroying themselves. Be aware, however, that you probably don’t want to use it to send those top secret documents (and / or butt photos); unlike Snapchat, WhatsApp won’t even notify you if the viewer takes a screenshot.
Amazon wants to pay you $ 10 to scan your palm
Last year, Amazon began allowing customers at its cashless grocery stores to pay for their goods by waving their palm prints on a biometric scanner. Now they’re paying new customers $ 10 to scan their print and get on board. This story has been very popular on the site this week, and I’m wondering if it’s because people are crazy that Amazon is gobbling up all this biometric data or because they want the $ 10. Probably a bit of both.
Twitter is killing fleets
RIP fleets. Less than a year after Twitter decided too much needed to clone Snapchat Stories, the company ditched the concept. Why? He said he hoped it would attract new users; instead, the only people using it were the ones who were already pretty hardcore.
Square acquires Afterpay
The space to buy it now and pay later has become very important very quickly, and Square wants to be part of it. This week, the company announced plans to acquire Afterpay, a company that lets you split big buys over 6 weeks with no credit checks or interest, for a whopping $ 29 billion.
Google’s new Nest cameras
Google has some new Nest camera gear coming later this month, including a few things you might be surprised they haven’t already, like a battery-powered outdoor camera and a projector-enabled projector camera. the movement for your porch.
Elon’s big ship
The good news: This week, SpaceX built the largest rocket in history, with its fully stacked Starship rocket reaching an absurd height of 390 feet (or 475 feet if you count the launch pad). The less fun news: It’s not going anywhere just yet, because this assembly was just a fit test – assemble it, take it apart, make sure nothing broke. A real launch of this gigantic setup isn’t expected until the end of the year, but it should be quite the show.
Five factors founders should consider before choosing their VC
We’ve heard it a number of times lately: With so much capital flooding the market, now is the time for founders to use their judgment as to who they let invest. But what should we think about? Agya Ventures co-founder Kunal Lunawat has a few notes, ranging from how a VC understands your vision, to their background, to good ol ‘gut instinct.
Avoid these common financial mistakes so your startup doesn’t die on the vine
Startups are tough enough without trying to handle some fucked up finances. In this article, Zeni founder Swapnil Shinde describes three different financial traps that are easy to fall into, but avoidable: fragmented finances, old data, and founders who don’t know when / what to delegate.