001: Deconstructing startups, hillbillies, and fake reviews

Don't you love the internet?

Hey! This is a newsletter about what I currently find interesting in the world.

New From Me - blog posts, projects, and updates

  1. I wrote a blog post about real estate and franchises in esports. Read it here.

  2. I’m in the first batch of Pioneer! The fourth week ends this Monday, and I’ll be writing about my experience in the tournament soon.

Interesting Reads - links from around the web

  1. Ryan tweeted about how he used to “deconstruct” startups in his writing to understand how these apps engage users so well. My favorites are those on Snapchat and Secret.

  2. I dug a little deeper on Ryan’s old blog and liked reading this really interesting post on Dumb Apps.

  3. Purdue University surveyed a group of of Chinese students in the US, asking questions on their perceptions of the US since arriving, how their perceptions of China changed since coming to the US, racism, politics, and much more. Read the report.

  4. The origins of the term ‘hillbilly’ comes from those who lived in rural areas near Appalachia and Ozarks. h/t Andrew

  5. Marc Benioff is buying Time Magazine for $190 million. Which tech CEO is next?

  6. The internet changed how consumers buy clothes. If it doesn’t look good on Instagram, they won’t buy it.

  7. Influencers are charging over $70,000 for fake negative product reviews. Legality and ethics were thrown out of the window, ladies and gentlemen.

In My Ears - podcast episodes I enjoyed

  1. Product Hunt Radio: The dark side of the web w/ Anil Dash and Allison Esposito || My favorite takeaway from this episode: “There’s this very tech mindset thinking that a box that I type in is a messaging app, and all messaging apps do the same thing. They can have very similar shapes and be completely different in purpose.”

Grinding Gears - new projects + teams I’m rooting for

  1. [Crypto] Handshake: You have no idea how excited I am for this. The Handshake team is building a peer-to-peer root DNS.

  2. [Crypto] Namebase: A sort of follow up to Handshake, Namebase is letting non-devs register top-level domains on the Handshake blockchain.

  3. [Crypto] Middleman: Create wallets for users that don’t have a web3 enabled browser.

  4. [Consumer/Communication] Facemoji: I got to play around with the beta this weekend. Super responsive team. Design your own avatar.

The Graveyard - what features, products, and companies shut down this week

  1. Telltale Games: This was a shocker because it was so sudden. 250 employees were laid off without severance pay, and only one week of insurance left. Use #telltalejobs if you’re hiring and reach out to these folks.

  2. YouTube Gaming: Technically, not everything is gone. YouTube is integrating YT Gaming into the main website. Esports and gaming will have a dedicated page at youtube.com/gaming.

  3. Path: I never used Path, but it clearly devastated a lot of users when the news got out this week. It was the Facebook alternative people always wanted, raising $500 million, only to shut down last week.

Thank you for your time. I’d appreciate it if you would forward it to a friend :)

Lama (tweet tweet)