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

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Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to Serge Gainsbourg’s “Requiem pour un con”


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


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

Verizon’s data dreams, denied

Hi and welcome to the Insider Advertising newsletter, where we break down the big news in advertising and media news, including:

Jitters inside Verizon Media Group;

JetBlue picks a new agency;

Peloton malfunctions.

First, we’re seeking nominations for the world’s most innovative CMOs. Submit here.

And, if you got this email forwarded, sign up for your own here.


FILE PHOTO: A photo illustration shows a Yahoo logo on a smartphone in front of a displayed cyber code and keyboard on December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
FILE PHOTO: A photo illustration shows a Yahoo logo on smartphone in front of a displayed cyber code and keyboard

Verizon’s privacy problem

Privacy concerns are casting a big shadow over the ad world. It’s top of mind for every advertiser with Apple now limiting access to user data. It’s one of the big presenter buzzwords at this week’s IAB NewFronts, digital media’s big annual showcase.

And it’s loomed over Verizon, which just sold off its media and adtech properties, ending a years-long effort to stitch together its user data with content and tech to take on Google and Facebook for digital advertising.

  • Advertisers expressed frustration way back that Verizon wasn’t delivering on its promise to marry data and content (and they themselves were nervous about the approach backfiring in light of privacy concerns).
  • Verizon also lost its biggest champion of the vision, Tim Armstrong, and ended up writing down the value of its media properties and abandoning its streaming video service Go90.
  • Ultimately, it never dented Facebook and Google’s dominance – Verizon captures just 1% of the digital ad market.
  • “The whole premise was flawed – in the long term you can’t use consumer data without the perception of violating consumer data,” Brian Weiser, global president of business intelligence at WPP’s GroupM, told Insider. “The end of this effort was always very clear.”

It’s not been a great time for other companies that bet big on adtech.


JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo’s with new Mint business class.

JetBlue restarts its engines

JetBlue picked a new Omnicom ad agency as it seeks to cut costs and convince pandemic-weary consumers to return to the skies.

JetBlue is known for its unconventional ads to stand out as a lower-priced alternative. It offered customers discounts for stealing its own bus stop ads or sitting on a flight with a crying baby, for one.

But these are different times, and ones that will likely call for a decidedly different approach to its advertising.

Read the rest: JetBlue hired a new ad agency as it looks to rebrand itself in the pandemic


Peloton Tread+.
Peloton Tread+.

Peloton malfunctions

Peloton is facing backlash after reports that its accidents involving the Tread+ led to 38 injuries and one child’s death.

Bethany Biron spoke with 5 Peloton customers who experienced Tread+ issues dating back to January 2019. From her story:

Cary Kelly, a seasoned marathon runner, says she lost her footing two minutes into a workout on her Peloton Tread+ in May 2019.

When she fell, she says she landed facedown on the treadmill. According to Kelly, the machine then propelled her prone body backward so forcefully her legs broke through the wall. Unable to move, she says she remained stuck in this position as the treadmill belt continued moving beneath her, tearing into her skin on her face and neck.

“It seemed like a million minutes, like I was there forever,” Kelly told Insider.

By the time Kelly was able to extract herself, she says her body was covered in burns and her legs riddled with bone fractures, confirmed by X-ray scans after the accident. Kelly says the injuries made it difficult for her to walk and impossible for her to run for months.

Read the rest here: Some Peloton customers reported treadmill malfunctions, injuries, and safety concerns as early as 2019 – and said Peloton’s response was sluggish


Other stories we’re reading:

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider