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From What I've Read This Week...


Weekly Newsletter of what I've read and thought was interesting. I am a Venture Partner at Contrary Capital. Read more at karthiksuresh.me

Issue #4 - May 9, 2018

NEWS
Facebook F8 conference. The biggest news by far this week is Facebook's F8 conference: they announced the launch of Instagram Video Chat (moving from static pictures to a more social aspect...I like this direction they are taking), Oculus Go, and Facebook Dating. I think its extremely interesting that Facebook is launching their new dating feature especially after the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle... it has a very 'Big Brother' feel to it; nonetheless it can crush the existing competition (Tinder, Bumble, etc.) and become the giant in the online dating world.

Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger both agree its not wise to invest in cryptocurrency. Great interview here as well: Link

Facebook is launching Instant games with In-App purchases. Facebook is allowing game developers to access and monetize their games on their huge platform in addition to running games on the Play store and/or the App store.

China is looking inwards for tech growth. Excellent article that summarizes the main reasons as to why China is placing a large emphasis on helping their "homegrown" tech giants like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent instead of helping foreign tech companies grow in China.

Google is (re)creating its own SMS chat app. Key point: "[Google] would love to have a direct competitor to Messenger or WhatsApp, but they weren't able to figure out that challenge of getting enough users for it to really take off...What they [are] doing is a backup strategy of getting the functionality they were looking for on Android by shifting the work and control to carriers."
Google will be using RCS (Rich Communications Services) instead of the standard SMS to provide services like high-res photos & videos, read receipts, plus the ability to see when a person is typing a reply.

T-Mobile acquired Sprint for $26B. They will try to compete with behemoths Verizon and AT&T.


Interesting Articles
Elon Musk's response to disappointed analysts. Tesla has not been doing well as of late...naturally Wall Street pundits looked to the high cash-burning finances and asked him about it during Tesla's earnings call last week. So naturally Elon cut them off and conducted a 23-min Q&A during the call with a little known YouTuber named Galileo Russell who asked great crowdsourced questions.

WhatsApp is doing 65 Billion messages per day

Funny article about wealth perception in the Silicon Valley.

Physically stronger Norwegian men are more likely to find a partner. A scientific study found that men with higher physical strength (handshake grip strength) were more likely to be married.


STARTUPS
Dosh raised $44M in its Series A. Backed by Paypal, Dosh is essentially a cashback rewards system thats designed to help brand loyalty. While the app doesn't seem all that revolutionary, their user numbers drew my attention: ~3M new customers in the past 4 months!

Tame just closed $550k in its seed round. Tame is an app that allows users to plan out conferences and large-events in an easier way. Currently they are operating on a freemium model but will roll out a premium version in the future.

Slack hits 3M DAU's. In the past half-year, Slack has gained 2 Million users and now has 3 Million paid users. However I think a lot of free users will start to move to other free competitors that allow more than 10k messages to be viewed before becoming a paid subscriber.
     
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Cool Video of the of the week:

Using a Neural Net to play Mario Kart
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