Americans to Social: Why Can’t I Quit You?

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Description automatically generatedThis Week: Hello from Singapore. I miss the SF fog already. 100% written by me – no human or AI ghostwriters were involved in writing this newsletter! The images? Now that’s another story.

Americans are NOT Happy With Social Media: That’s what Pew found when it asked about how the US sees social platforms and tech companies. Over 80% thinks the platforms censor political viewpoints, two thirds think social media has a negative impact on the country, but interestingly only half of Americans want more regulation.

Instagram Woos TikTok Creators: A Massive Instagram update aims to help smaller creators by changing the ranking algorithm, favoring the original over reposts, linking to the original creator in those reposts, and drop-kicking aggregators to the curb. They also recommended caping Reels at 90 seconds. These are just the first of many product changes coming from Meta and YouTube to incent TikTokers to switch.

This One Move is 80% More Likely to Kill Your Events: Amazon hosts a lot of conferences about AWS. I’m sure there’s an expert internal team building the conference plan, crafting sessions, and recruiting speakers. But now the big boss has an editorial edict: Up to 80% of your coverage must be about Generative AI ($). I’ve run a lot of media businesses, both as content lead and CEO, and this is absolutely the wrong way to manage creative content teams. Not only will these “edicts from on-high” devalue the in-conference content and disappoint attendees, but it will also push your conference organizers out the door. Suggesting a content quota is OK – and in this case your teams would probably have gotten close anyway – as AI is hot. But demanding? That’s the first step on the path of irrelevance – both for your conference and your core business.

CapCut Ban Could Kill Short Form? I’m a fan of Taylor Lorenz, but this paragraph from her story on the potential demise of CapCut is uninformed: “That, in turn, could lead to the collapse of the entire short form video ecosystem, say creators, users and experts. With short form video becoming the primary way young people express themselves online, a ban of CapCut would stifle self-expression for millions of young people, the experts and creators note.” <*sigh*> There are many alternatives to CapCut, and I guarantee that we’ll see a flood of new and updated vertical video editors launched in, oh, 258 days. YouTube already has YT Create – while not nearly as richly featured as CapCut, it’s a good start. Snap is probably doubling down on Story Studio, while the ultimate copyshop, Meta, must be on the case too. Short form videos existed before CapCut’s spring 2020 debut and will exist afterwards. Aside, I’ve been talking about the CapCut risk for almost two months, so beyond the irrational exuberance this is really nothing new.

How You Invite Users to Invest: Newsletter platform Beehiiv just announced a $33M raise from NEA and set aside $1M in the round for its users to participate – at the exact same valuation ($224M). THIS is how you do aligned venture for community startups. Contrast that with Substack, who enticed its users to invest at a previous valuation that had already been considered too rich by professionals. Venture is inherently risky, and neither Substack nor Beehiiv are likely to pay out much to investors. But at least with Beehiiv you get the same terms as the big guys. So far, it seems to be a success. I just tried to reserve $100, and they’re already oversubscribed by $755k. Plus, they had me at the email headline:








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