Shared some thoughts this week on a crucial question for consumer social startups: are you a content network or a context network?
Content networks like TikTok and Reddit engage users with the content alone - you don't need to know the people involved to be entertained or interested!
Context networks like Facebook or Snap feature content that’s only interesting if you know the people who posted it (e.g. your friends or family members).
Where an app falls on this spectrum should determine its KPIs, growth strategy, and resource allocation. More here on what those metrics are + how to optimize them!
💰 Twitter launches Blue. Twitter’s paid subscription is finally here! For $2.99/month, Twitter Blue members can enjoy a variety of premium features, including ad-free articles, custom navigation, and the ability to “undo” tweets (still not an edit button, but we’re getting closer). They’ll also get early access to new features that Twitter is testing, like 10 minute video uploads and pinning DMs.
👎 YouTube hides dislikes. It’s the end of an era on YouTube. The platform has long been one of the only social apps that allows users to downvote content (unlike Twitter, IG, Facebook, etc.). The button will still be there - you just won’t be able to see how many other users disliked a video. According to the YouTube team, this change is intended to “better protect creators from harassment.”
⚡ Rivian pops in IPO. Electric vehicle startup Rivian was met with a warm reception from public investors. The stock ended the week up 66% from its IPO price, and Rivian is now the second most valuable car company in the U.S. (behind Tesla). Rivian has only delivered 150 vehicles, though it has ~55,000 orders for its electric truck and plans to produce 1,000 this year. Amazon will be one of the largest customers, with a deal to purchase 100k Rivian vehicles for its fleet.
🌍 DoorDash acquires Wolt. DoorDash announced that it’s paying $8.1B to acquire food delivery service Wolt, a seven-year-old startup based in Finland. Wolt’s primary market is Europe, where DoorDash currently has no presence. Investors are split on whether the purchase price is too high given Wolt’s (relatively) low GMV, though sentiment was largely positive - DoorDash stock closed the week up 23%.
You may be shocked that it took me so long to get to the week’s biggest news: the re-release of Red, featuring the 10 minute version of “All Too Well.” For the uninitiated, this is one of Taylor Swift’s most iconic breakup songs, and the extended version took the Internet by storm.
It was a brutally evocative character assassination (I’d hate to be Jake Gyllenhaal’s publicist, even Sour Patch Kids is coming for him) and a fascinating case study on the power of TikTok. Swift was famously absent on the app until August 2021 - and I suspect she joined to activate her fanbase before this re-release.
Over the past few months, she’s executed a brilliant growth strategy. She uploads her songs to use as Sounds on the app, and then likes and comments on videos that use them. This prompts her fans to make more content, with the hopes of catching her attention - but their videos also reach other users, who are inspired to make their own.
Now, a song Swift wrote a decade ago (“Enchanted”) is one of the most popular Sounds on the app. And once you release the Swifties, there’s no stopping them. My entire FYP is now reaction videos to the album - videos tagged #redtaylorsversion have 750M views in <2 days. Taylor Swift has created a viral loop that would make most consumer startups jealous!
what i’m following 👀
Why are VC firms becoming registered investment advisers?
Olivia shares the origin story of Depop - Gen Z’s favorite social shopping app.
An interview with Sam Lessin, a VC buying stakes in creators’ future earnings.
Firstmark’s Lisa Xu on why DAOs are well-positioned to solve the challenges of Web2 communities.
While Discord’s roots are in gaming, the company has broadened its scope in the last few years - and has received a particularly warm welcome from the crypto community. If you’ve bought an NFT (or even just poked around crypto Twitter), you’ve probably been invited to join at least one Discord server!
This week, CEO Jason Citron indicated that the company was moving further into crypto, tweeting a screenshot of a crypto wallet integration. Two days later, he seemingly walked this back - responding that the company has “no current plans to ship this internal concept...Web3 has lots of good but also lots of problems we need to work through at our scale.”
Why? There was enormous (and somewhat unexpected!) backlash from non-crypto Discord users, with hundreds of people tweeting that they were cancelling their premium subscriptions to the platform. Users shared different reasons for wanting Discord to stay away from crypto - but the most common ones were fear of crypto scams and concerns around the environmental impact of crypto.
I’ll be curious to watch this evolve! The comments section of Citron’s tweets felt like a battle between “legacy Discord” (the gaming community) and “new Discord” (including the crypto community). Gamers don’t want their platform co-opted by something that some of them see as a Ponzi scheme, while Web3 fans see mainstream crypto adoption as inevitable and largely applauded Citron’s suggestion.
If you’re interested in learning more about Discord, Mario Gabriele (The Generalist) and Packy McCormick (Not Boring) collaborated on an awesome deep dive this week.
Coinbase Ventures - Investment Associate* (Remote)
Tap - Chief Meme Officer (NYC, Miami, Remote)
Fig - Full-Stack Engineer (SF, Remote)
Carta - Strategy & Biz Ops Associate (SF)
Amplitude - Revenue Strategy & Operations Analyst (SF)
Snowflake - Corp Dev & Ventures Associate* (San Mateo)
TikTok - Associate Product Manager (Mountain View, LA)
ShopShops - Social Media Manager (NYC)
*Requires 3+ years of experience.
Variant Fund - Venture Intern (Remote)
Leland - Social Media Intern (Remote)
Contra - Community Intern (Remote)
Atomic - Venture Intern (Remote)
Zoom - E-Commerce Marketing Intern (SF)
Dremio - Sales Ops Intern (Santa Clara)
Snipfeed - BD Intern (LA)
Rivian - Business Ops Intern (LA)
Monday.com - Social Impact Coordinator Intern (NYC)
FanDuel - Data Analytics Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet June, a five-month-old Brittany who lives in Texas and Arkansas!
She enjoys playing in the leaves, hanging out with her friend Arlo, and going on hikes.
Follow her on Instagram @june_the_brittany!