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Tech Bytes – Week of Mar 28

📰 Recent Top Tech News

  1. Microsoft wants in on Social Audio with potential $10Bn acquisition

  2. Slack Direct Message – Great Idea, for more spam?

  3. Intel to take on third-party manufacturing, hoping to regain its Chipmaker crown

The Takeaways

1. Discord, a company with more than 250 million users, primarily focused on video game fans, is now in talks with Microsoft to be acquired for $10Bn. Discord has the Live Social Audio functionality similar to Clubhouse, which is now becoming even more popular.

🔎 Our Take

  • Social Audio seems to be having its light in the sun, on the heels of the fast growing Clubhouse app. Facebook and Slack have reportedly been working on cloning similar features, such as being able to jump into an audio meetup session. Functionally, these are similar to a long audio conference, but the single-tap-to-join experience makes it surprisingly fun and enjoyable. Microsoft (and other tech platforms) will either be copying the functionality or acquiring other platforms that do this for them.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Compared to a Video blog, video conference or a video channel, Audio is a far lower stakes format, allowing you to join in, whatever you are wearing. It also makes for easier engagement, similar to listening in on a podcast while you drive. If you work with a community, consider a regular audio only session to keep your community engaged.

2. Slack, the chatting platform recently acquired by Salesforce for $25Bn, announced a new featured called ‘Connect DMs’, which allows users to connect to anyone outside your own company via slack. Within days, Slack removed this feature as users started reporting how easy it was to send abusive messages with no ability to block them.

🔎 Our Take

  • Slack (under Salesforce) needs to innovate to stay relevant, especially since Microsoft has been pushing Teams as a communications tool for businesses. While any new product launch has known issues, reversing course on a major release is a sign of not fully thinking through and planning for bad actors.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • When you are creating products or services with the idea to make it super easy, consider what negative actions are now also made super easy, especially when it gets to harassing strangers.

3. Intel announced that it will spend $20 Billion to create new factories (called ‘Chip Fabs’) in the US. These fabs will not only produce chips for Intel, but for other customers as well. This comes amidst a global Chip shortage, with car manufacturers putting cars in warehouses waiting for chips. Intel aims to be reach back to its “unquestioned CPU leadership performance” after 2024.

🔎 Our Take

  • The world needs more chips, and most of them are manufactured in Taiwan, and China. The global demand for electronics has gone up significantly, putting more strain on the supply. Intel would have ample demand to supply, though it might be competing with its suppliers, TSMC and Samsung. However, in a complex multi billion dollar industry, it is common to see suppliers competing and working together with clients, e.g. Apple and Samsung both compete on phones, while Apple uses Samsung displays in their phones.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Every business needs partners to work with, and in some cases might also be competing with them in some aspect. Figure out what your strengths are and play with them, while outsourcing your weak areas. Your best customers are the ones who come to you for your strengths, so focus on those.

Jargon Buster

  • ETH – short for Ether, the currency of the Ethereum blockchain network, the second most largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.

  • Ethereum has one key advantage over Bitcoin, in that it can store data in it, while Bitcoin cannot. Think of Bitcoin as physical coins you cannot write on, while Ether as a cheque where you can write a description as well. This data storage allows Ethereum to be used to buy and sell NFTs such as digital paintings, music, etc.

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