A last waltz for Yahoo and AOL, and Elon’s crypto comedy show

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This week: A last waltz for Yahoo and AOL

Yahoo Jerry Yang and David Filo in 2007

With all the big news this past week about Donald Trump’s Facebook account, Apple’s courtroom battle with Epic, and the Bill and Melinda breakup, you might have missed another important development in tech: the sale of Yahoo and AOL.

Iconic is an apt description for both Yahoo and AOL. The companies helped create the internet as we know it today, with decades-long histories that have spanned the administrations of about a half dozen US presidents and just as many transitions of technology standards. (Remember the ubiquitous 3.5 inch AOL floppy discs?)

As Insider columnist Adam Lashinsky writes, the slow decline that befell both companies is the result of a long list of causes. Yahoo’s fall from grace is particularly instructive when you consider all the trends the company recognized early on but never capitalized on, allowing other companies to steal the show. Lashinsky writes:

“It bought a Web 1.0 company called GeoCities that could have been the next MySpace or Facebook but wasn’t. The same goes for Flickr, the preeminent photo-sharing site of its day later outshone by Instagram. It even beat Google to the punch by acquiring the original search-based ad auction company, Overture, only to be overwhelmed by its competitor.”

Read the full story here:

Yahoo escaped a slow death inside Verizon to teach us one final lesson about the internet


Elon’s crypto comedy show

elon musk dogecoin pumping stocks 4x3

Elon Musk, the self-declared Imperator of Mars, is due to host comedy show “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, a must-see TV event that has apparently, and fittingly, fueled a surge in the price of dogecoin – a cryptocurrency that was created as a joke.

As Insider’s Margaux MacColl reports, the venture capital world is getting serious about the crypto boom, especially with the news that Andreessen Horowitz is launching a $1 billion crypto fund.

Of course, there’s a risk that blockchain tech could obviate the need for VCs altogether. Instead of giving away equity in their company in exchange for a venture firm check, a crypto startup could simply issue its own currency through an “initial coin offering” and raise capital all by itself.

Now that’s a crypto joke that VCs might not find very funny.

See also: Elon Musk is pumping stocks, cryptocurrencies, and the energy of 49 million loyal followers to dizzying heights. Experts break down the risks of his incessant tweets, from legal trouble to losses for small investors.


Snapshot: Blast off

It looks like something from a new action movie, but there are no special effects in this video of Britain’s Royal Marines training with a jet pack.

A Royal Marine in a jetpack launches from a fast boat to board a Royal Navy ship.
A Royal Marine in a jetpack launches from a fast boat to board a Royal Navy ship.

The “Jet Suit” made by the UK’s Gravity Industries is still experimental and the British military has not committed to buying the technology. But the video, based on three days of training drills conducted by 42 Royal Marines, offers a fascinating glimpse of how jet packs could be used for military operations.

In the video, a Jet Suit-equipped Royal Marine blasts off an inflatable raft and lands on the deck of a nearby ship. He then throws down a rope ladder to let fellow soldiers board the vessel, part of a maritime operation known as “visit, board, search and seizure.” Trust me, you’ll want to watch this video.


Vernacular watch: “Separation contract”

By now you’ve probably heard that Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, the First Couple of tech, are getting divorced. Instead of a prenup the pair have something called a separation contract, an incredibly detailed private document created without court involvement that couples draw up when they want to live apart. There’s at least $146 billion in net worth at stake, much of it earmarked for philanthropic causes, so while the terms of the contract will likely remain private, the ramifications could be widespread.

Recommended readings:

Google’s new security default for all users is part of its path to eliminating passwords entirely, according to a product exec

Leaked financials: Sequoia-backed grocery delivery unicorn Getir is in talks to raise a pre-IPO round at a $7 billion valuation

Melinda French Gates has an investment firm called Pivotal Ventures that is a quiet powerhouse in the venture industry.

Peloton just recalled its treadmill, but customers reported injuries and safety concerns as early as January 2019

5 top VCs reveal the favorite cybersecurity startups in their portfolios, after investors pumped a record $7.8 billion into the industry last year

Meet Elizabeth Yin, the VC reforming the industry by openly sharing what may be some of venture’s ugliest secrets


Not necessarily in tech:

The wealthy invested in ‘hidden gem’ locations during the pandemic, propelling property prices in smaller cities to new heights


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– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider