Best of TechMac 2021 – TechMac

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Best of TechCrunch 2021 – TechCrunch

Simply once we thought issues couldn’t get extra surprising than a pandemic that shut down the world in 2020, 2021 entered the chat.

As we began to navigate a “new regular,” we additionally began difficult the techniques round us with developments in crypto, web3, the metaverse and a lot extra.

When taking a look at our top-performing tales of the yr, rather a lot stood out. Some tales have been to be anticipated, like product launches and main outages (ahem, Fb). Others have been deep analyses and interviews on totally different sectors of the trade. It was laborious to slim down a prime 10.

As an alternative of spitting out a listing of TechMac’s top-performing tales, we requested our employees to vote on their favourite tales of the yr, added evergreen content material and our prime TC+ articles for a well-rounded 2021 record. Get pleasure from!

Workers picks

1. Air-con is likely one of the biggest innovations of the twentieth Century. It’s additionally killing the twenty first

What began as a small Twitter Areas interview with about 180 listeners shortly (and really unexpectedly) became one among TechMac’s top-read tales of 2021. Danny’s e-book opinions gained traction this yr, however nothing piqued readers’ pursuits (see the feedback for proof) fairly like unpacking the modern-day air conditioner. Danny’s Areas interview with Eric Dean Wilson centered on his e-book “After Cooling: On Freon, International Warming, and the Horrible Value of Consolation,” exploring the earlier than, throughout and after story of A/C — and the way damaging the comforts of chilly, clear indoor air can truly be.

2. OnlyFans’ porn ban is crypto’s alternative of a lifetime

Twitter erupted when OnlyFans introduced its ban on “sexually express content material” in mid-August in an try to adjust to its buyers and banks. On the time, the choice left creators feeling betrayed, and consultants questioned if OnlyFans might even survive the transition. Though the choice has since been suspended, the tech neighborhood’s fast resolution to the continuing regulatory points the porn trade faces was easy: crypto. For these of you new to the world of crypto, this real-world antidote will enable you perceive the “why” behind the push for cryptocurrencies. And for these of you well-versed on the subject, Lucas weighs each the alternatives and potential challenges crypto and porn face.

3. Elon Musk mentioned it was ‘Not a Flamethrower’

That is in all probability our “most 2021” headline. Many people are — perhaps a bit an excessive amount of — accustomed to the Tesla CEO’s identify in headlines for wacky, meme-like conduct or commentary. However what makes this story fascinating is the real-life risks behind Musk’s money-spinning gag merchandise. Musk offered a restricted run of flamethrowers again in 2017 in an effort to boost consciousness and funds for his startup, The Boring Firm, which launched in 2016. Nevertheless, Musk knew numerous international locations had a ban on flamethrowers and thus labeled the product “Not a Flamethrower.” Downside solved? Not even shut. TechMac contributor Mark Harris highlights an American who was incarcerated in Italy for the possession of Not a Flamethrower.

4. Medium sees extra worker exits after CEO publishes ‘tradition memo’

It’s protected to say this yr introduced a lot disruption to at the moment’s company ecosystem. Not solely are workers difficult work-life stability, the wealth hole and firm tradition, however they’re additionally taking a stance on social and political initiatives. Natasha spoke with numerous former and present workers at Medium after CEO Ev Williams posted a “tradition memo,” which ended up tripling churn on the firm. Nevertheless, after talking to 1 engineer, Natasha discovered that there was a long-standing “historical past of problematic points at Medium, with a wave of exits that appear to be clearly triggered by the memo.” This text not solely explores the downfall of Medium’s firm tradition but in addition the way it pertains to corporations who despatched out comparable memos, like Coinbase and Basecamp.

5. TikTok simply gave itself permission to gather biometric knowledge on US customers, together with ‘faceprints and voiceprints’

TikTok took off within the thick of the pandemic as many individuals in 2020 turned to the platform for his or her day by day dose of viral movies, dances and tendencies whereas in quarantine. Nevertheless, now greater than ever, social media customers are conscious of information assortment as rising issues of privateness rights emerge. TikTok modified its privateness coverage in June to permit the seize of customers’ biometric knowledge, which incorporates faceprints and voiceprints. At first look, the brand new privateness coverage is on par with many different social networks’ use of information assortment. However Sarah breaks down why the brand new coverage is alarming, TikTok’s historical past with the U.S. authorities, previous biometric privateness violation lawsuits and the coverage replace’s buggy rollout. This text is an effective place to begin for the continuing data-privacy points social media customers face.

Finest evergreen

With only some days left in 2021, we appeared again to see what we lined this yr that we are able to proceed to study from sooner or later. NFTs aren’t going anyplace, but, in order that was on the prime of our evergreen record, together with privateness legal guidelines, how Zoom results your mind and the way classes in progress advertising from Cam Sinclair director of Ammo, a Perth-based progress advertising company.

1. In case you haven’t adopted NFTs, right here’s why you need to begin

This new(ish) wave of crypto has grown exponentially over the previous yr. When Cooper Turley wrote this text in February 2021, he mentioned, “The estimated complete worth of crypto artwork has now handed $100 million in response to cryptoart.io/knowledge — only one vertical of a rising ecosystem of NFTs.” The estimated complete worth now, December 2021, is over $2 billion. In case you don’t know a lot about NFT’s, this text is a good place to begin.

2. This instrument tells you if NSO’s Pegasus adware focused your cellphone

Are you involved that your cellphone was focused by NSO’s adware? You in all probability shouldn’t be, however in July of 2021, a listing was leaked that contained, “50,000 cellphone numbers of potential surveillance targets was obtained by Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Tales and Amnesty Worldwide and shared with the reporting consortium, together with The Washington Submit and The Guardian.” Zack writes about how Pegasus will be delivered and how one can inform in case your cellphone has been focused.

3. New York Metropolis’s new biometrics privateness legislation takes impact

In July of 2021, Zack additionally reported on a brand new biometric legislation taking impact in New York Metropolis. This legislation limits what companies can do with the biometric knowledge they accumulate. Zack says, “The transfer will give New Yorkers — and its hundreds of thousands of holiday makers every year — higher protections over how their biometric knowledge is collected and used, whereas additionally serving to dissuade companies from utilizing know-how that critics say is discriminatory and infrequently doesn’t work.”

4. That is your mind on Zoom

We’ve all been working from residence, faces seen by colleagues on infinite video chats, so it was nice to learn Devin Coldewey’s breakdown of a research Microsoft carried out about how your mind wants a break. When discussing the research, Devin says, “Through the assembly block with no breaks, folks confirmed larger ranges of beta waves, that are related to stress, anxiousness and focus.” Right here’s to scheduling assembly breaks in 2022!

5. Australian progress advertising company Ammo helps startups calibrate their efforts

TechMac Specialists launched this yr with the primary focus being progress advertising. Anna Heim interviewed Cam Sinclair, Ammo’s director, they usually talked about when corporations are prepared for progress advertising, errors to keep away from when branding and extra. Sinclair says, “At Ammo, we don’t measure time, we measure outcomes. In the beginning of each undertaking we outline what success seems to be like with the shopper. Each shopper is totally different, and we’re attentive to that.”

TC+ Favorites

1. Subscription-based pricing is useless: Sensible SaaS corporations are shifting to usage-based fashions

Kyle Poyar, accomplice at OpenView, contributed this text about usage-based pricing fashions in January of 2021. Poyar says, “Utilization-based pricing would be the key to profitable monetization sooner or later.” The article continues with 4 suggestions to assist corporations with this mannequin. Whereas we don’t need to give all the suggestions away on this abstract, one of many suggestions that Poyar writes about is choosing the right utilization metric.

2. Nubank’s IPO submitting offers us a peek into neobank economics

In November, Alex and Natasha wrote about Nubank’s IPO submitting, specializing in the economics of neobanking and Nubank’s monetary well being. If you wish to take a deeper dive into Nubank, you’ll be able to learn Marcella McCarthy and Danny Crichton’s TC-1 right here.

3. How does former Higher.com CEO Vishal Garg nonetheless have a job?

Mary Ann was busy within the month of December, with one among her focuses being information from Higher.com (like after they laid off 9% of their employees). Whereas it will take rather a lot to shock Mary Ann and Alex, particularly after this, they have been shocked that Garg hadn’t been requested to utterly step down. They mentioned, “Some surmised that he had super-voting shares and thus might vote to maintain himself within the function of CEO regardless of what others voted. However after digging into the S-4 filed by Higher.com’s SPAC accomplice, Aurora Acquisition Corp., in November, we realized that’s not the case.”

4. How ought to SaaS corporations ship and value skilled companies?

Roger Hurwitz, a founding accomplice at Volition Capital, contributed an article about how you can cost for skilled companies and why that pricing could also be totally different from different SaaS methods. Hurwitz compares a three-year impression of two pricing methods on this article.

5. 5 crucial pitch deck slides most founders get improper

Jose Cayasso, co-founder and CEO of Slidebean, opinions “250 to 300 investor decks each single month” and makes use of this expertise to show others what the must-haves are for a slide deck. His first suggestion is a go-to-market slide, and he consists of why and the place within the deck it ought to seem with an instance of 1 within the full article.

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