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NEWS YOU CAN USE

$100M seed rounds.  Fred Wilson’s latest blog is about all the seed financings happening at $100M valuations and how these are more likely than not a bad idea.

Always be selling.  a16z Future blog post talks about the rise of creator economy platforms that make it easier for creators to collect payments but don’t help creators actually sell ­– the “here’s why you should subscribe/pay/join, and here’s what you’re paying for” that is the key to success.

No welcome home.  Renters who left cities during Covid now find that they are priced out of their apartments as they try to return in many major metropolitan areas across the U.S.

New dating rules.  The new rulebook for first dates seems to be sweatpants and no makeup, a sea change brought on by Covid and the desire to portray ‘authenticity.’ 

It keeps going and going…Bitcoin broke through $68,000 for a new high closely followed by Ether which also clocked in a new high at around $4,800.

Stealing from Robinhood.  A social engineering scheme pulled off by a hacker gained access to the email addresses of approximately 5M customers and the full names of approximately 2M customers at the trading app.

Organic food fraud.  According to this article in the New Yorker, there is no way to prove that something is grown ‘organically.’

Apple’s privacy changes have uneven hand.   The changes hurt Snap and Facebook but didn’t effect Google and Twitter as much.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON

What’s in a name.  Staples Center in LA is getting a new name after Crypto.com paid around $700M for the naming rights.  The home of the LA Lakers will be Crypto.com Arena starting this Christmas.

Retail space.  Okta, the identity management software company, recently signed a lease for retail space in New York City.  CEO Todd McKinnon said that this will help Okta showcase its software to executives, an interesting marketing strategy for a software company.

Self-serve.  Apple is launching a self-service repair program in 2022 in which you will be able to fix your own device’ screen, battery and camera using genuine Apple parts and tools.

Meta copycat.  Meta’s new prototype haptic feedback glove that they showed off yesterday may be a rip off of HaptX’s technology.  HaptX released a statement that Meta’s prototype was “substantively identical” to their own patented technology.

Bitcoin goes to the movies.  AMC Theaters now accepts online payments in Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin – and Dogecoin is coming soon to a theater near you.

Speak up.  Racket, an LA-based company that lets you record your voice and create audio posts called “Rackets,” which can be no longer than 99 seconds, raised $3M in seed funding. 

AI judging algorithms.  Fairness is a NYC-based company rolling out a “Fairness-as-a-Service” solution for algorithmic decision-making that raised $4.5M in seed funding.  Their AI fairness solution is for any company that uses algorithms to make important decisions in industries like finance or insurance.

Spotify and audiobooks.  Spotify is acquiring audiobook distribution company Findaway to expand its catalog and creator tools like they did with podcasts.

CRYPTO CORNER

Pulp lawsuit.  Miramax is suing Quentin Tarantino over his recently announced plan to sell certain Pulp Fiction content as NFTs.  Miramax still owns the rights to the director’s 1994 classic and their attorneys have sent a cease-and-desist letter seeking to block the sale.

NFT loans.  NFTfi is a loan marketplace that allows NFT holders to borrow against their NFT assets in the form of peer-to-peer cryptocurrency loans and recently raised a $5M Series A funding round led by 1kx, an early-stage crypto fund.

Gary Vee books another win.  Gary Vaynerchuk racked up more than 1M preorders of his upcoming book which was one of the industry’s biggest advance orders for a single title in a 24-hour period.  How he pulled this off was less about the book and more about the gift he promised with every purchase of 12 print copies: a mystery NFT.

No longer a longshot.  The crypto caper of the century may be pulled off at today’s Sotheby’s auction for one of the 13 original copies of the United States Constitution.  ConstitutionDAO started as a longshot bid but now is looking more and more like a winner as it has now raised $27M  and counting – a comfortable cushion above Sotheby’s upper estimate of a $20 million price tag for the Constitution.

Robinhood crypto revenues fall.  The broker’s crypto revenues fell to $51M in the third quarter v. a record $233 million in the second quarter.  This makes the launch of their crypto wallet which has attracted 1M users to its waiting list a key move to expand the scope and number of coins available on the platform.

Bold billboards.  Ads with the slogan ‘Missed Doge? Get Floki’ are plastered all over the London Underground subway stations in a bold advertising move by the crypto company.

Creamed.  DeFi lending protocol Cream Finance suffered its 3rd hack in a year in a flash loan attack that resulted in the loss of funds worth around $130 million.

Solana high.  Solana, an Ethereum competitor, hit a record of $12.7B in Total Value Locked (TVL) in all of the DeFi projects on the protocol.

COOL NEWS

Smart clothing?  Researchers in UCI's Henry Samueli School of Engineering detail how they integrated advanced metamaterials into flexible textiles to create a system capable of battery-free communicationbetween articles of clothing and nearby devices.

Icelandverse.  If you haven’t seen the satirical video of Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of the metaverse from Iceland’s tourism authority, check it out here.

NappucinoCoffee and naps together are a powerful booster for alertness, according to studies in England and Japan which have shown that if you drink coffee immediately before napping and sleep for 20 minutes or less, you can focus on work better than if you took a regular nap or just drank coffee. 

Echoes of Blade Runner.  An $800M development in Flushing, Queens, is poised to open in February which will have upscale retail chain stores, cafes and restaurants that will be unrecognizable to most Americans.  The Tangram project will include the U.S. flagship location of Xiao Long Kan Hot Pot, a restaurant popular in China, and machi machi, a Taiwanese cafe known for its bubble teas as well as the first New York City location for Miniso, a Japanese-inspired purveyor of housewares and stationery.

Allure of pumpkin spice.  A team from Johns Hopkins University has been researching the science behind pumpkin spice's appeal – unsurprisingly, it found that it has a lot to do with how we associate smells and flavors with fall.  The more interesting fact is that pumpkin spice flavoring doesn't actually contain any pumpkin.

Long wait.  The official trailer for the Wheel of Time, Amazon's adaptation of Robert Jordan's iconic 14-book series of epic fantasy novels is out.  The series debuts on Amazon Prime on November 19.

Bigger kindle, yay!  Review of the new 11th gen Kindle Paperwhite which sports a larger 6.8”screen.

Online dating gets audio.  The Hinge dating app is adding audio recording features and will also let users send voice notes to their matches. 

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