#27: Look, I’m not going to call him the next Steve Jobs



Today’s post is brought to you by DONUTS (and written by Alec Liu). Not sure what DONUTS is? Well… stay tuned, you’re in for a treat.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on Snap these days, and that opinion generally veers toward hater-ish, as we’ve discussed anecdotally.

Then there’s this guy who says the problem with Snap is that it’s too “sexy.” (In unrelated news, Playboy brings back the “sexy.”)

So this post by Stratechery is very refreshing (but what is up w/that name, “Stratechery,” how are you even supposed to pronounce that?):

Snap goes on to explain how its concentration in western markets, particularly the United States; the quality of its ad units (especially relative to Facebook); and the depth of engagement it drives with the most desirable demographic for advertisers, set the company up well to capture enough advertising that not only justifies the company’s increasing costs but actually provide a profit — as long as the company keeps innovating.

To summarize, Snap’s strategy is to:

  • Deliver innovative and differentiated products that…
  • Cost a lot to deliver but…
  • Capture the best customers…and PROFIT!

That’s definitely not Twitter; indeed, the real analogy for Snap is from another part of technology entirely: it’s Apple.

Lots of good stuff elsewhere in the post, too.

But yo, haters gonna hate, I guess (Snap hater #1):

But also, the problem might be me lol. (Snap hater #2):

(If you were wondering, jb is obviously Justin Bieber. Look, I am kind of a basic bitch, OK?)

Anyway, Snap being the new Apple obviously plays very well for poor schmucks like me who need to find narratives to blather about every day.

Especially if Mark Zuckerberg is going to fill the role of Bill Gates.

Because everyone loves a good rivalry.

Trump ketchup

As we hinted at yesterday a bit, shit’s getting real as Donald Trump actively learns on the job a few weeks into his presidency. We called it the Great Moderation, exemplified by Xi Jingping’s powerplay over that late night booty call to Taiwan.

And so Donald reaches. Then overreaches. Retreats, recovers, and then, it appears, adapts.

One thing DT has probably learned is that you can’t take China head on like that. And so they went back to the drawing board:

Under the plan, the commerce secretary would designate the practice of currency manipulation as an unfair subsidy when employed by any country, instead of singling out China, said people briefed on or involved in formulating the policy. U.S. companies would then be in a position to bring antisubsidy actions themselves to the U.S. Commerce Department against China or other countries.

The currency plans are part of a China strategy being assembled by the White House’s new National Trade Council, which seeks to balance the goals of challenging China while still keeping relations with the country on an even keel. To do that, measures taken against China would also apply to other nations.

But as one of my colleagues duly noted:

We probably need to have a convo about whether the yuan should be devalued a chunk, instead of trying to force it higher.

Of course, for Trump, that’s not really politically feasible for a guy whose campaign was built on Making America Great Again by bringing back manufacturing.

As Quartz noted on China:

It could just stop controlling the yuan value altogether—and let the market set its value instead. But its window of opportunity to do that without angering the US, one of its biggest trade partners, slammed shut in November, when Donald Trump won the election. Since the yuan will almost certainly drop sharply in value if the PBoC lets it float, there’s a fair chance he would label the yuan’s decline a “competitive devaluation” and erect trade barriers to Chinese goods. Since China’s financial stability depends increasingly on its trade surplus, the Chinese government isn’t likely to run that risk.

But Beijing, for one reason or another, hasn’t had the confidence to allow the market liberalization of the Yuan.

In any case, where politics fails, markets might prevail. China still has lots of tools at its disposal and lots of capital reserves. But the trend is clear:

Anyway, Xi ain’t the only strong foreign man Trump is at loggerheads with these days.

What will the administration do now, after playing friends with Putin up until inauguration day, now that he’s apparently deploying scary missiles and stuff.

Tough job, that presidency thing.

There was also some kind of fun, kind of scary Trump news, you know, where that guy took a selfie with the dude holding the nuclear codes at Donald’s resort in Florida, where he was chillin’ with Shinzo Abe. (I only found out less than two years ago that the Japanese president’s name is pronounced AH-bay, not AY-buh.)

This is what the so-called nuclear football actually contains:

“There are four things in the Football. The Black Book containing the retaliatory options, a book listing classified site locations, a manila folder with eight or ten pages stapled together giving a description of procedures for the Emergency Alert System, and a three-by-five inch card with authentication codes. The Black Book was about 9 by 12 inches and had 75 loose-leaf pages printed in black and red. The book with classified site locations was about the same size as the Black Book, and was black. It contained information on sites around the country where the president could be taken in an emergency.”

(H/T US Uncut)


If you can’t beat em, merge w/em, says Elon Musk.

For all you single men and women out there, Pornhub has a Valentine’s Day special.

You can watch soccer on Facebook now. (Wasn’t Twitter supposed to do that live sports thing? Well one thing Twitter definitely isn’t is Facebook.)

Netflix is teasing us with new Stranger Things photos.

Did they ever figure out what that strange odor in Texas was?

A rich guy had a party.

A guy who hangs out with powerful people took some money he wasn’t supposed to.

Joseph Stiglitz shades Facebook. Because toilets are better.

Some banks allow you to do stuff with your phone now, and what you to know that it’s a really big deal.

PewDiePie screwed up.

If you live in NYC, you can buy your Valentine’s Day gifts at Duane Reade.

A blueprint for achieving socialism or something.

Google’s self-driving car engineers got paid fuck-you money.

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Delightfully indulgent.

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