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🚀 It's a (room temperature) superconductor summer
Why floating rocks are this week's biggest news!
📊 Earnings updates. Tech earnings season is in full swing! Here’s what you need to know from this week:
Apple beat analysts’ revenue expectations, but reported declining iPhone sales for the third straight quarter. Overall quarterly revenue was down 1% YoY, but the company saw an 8% jump in services revenue - more on this here.
Amazon had a strong quarter across the board, with 11% YoY revenue growth and improving margins. Investors were particularly excited about AWS (Amazon Web Services), the company’s cloud business, which had a couple of rough quarters but seems to be stabilizing.
Airbnb reported 18% YoY revenue growth and strong net income. The company also published some early thoughts on the results of 50 new features and upgrades unveiled earlier in the summer - the TL;DR is that prices are coming down thanks to clearer pricing tools and more discounts for longer stays.
Block (the company formerly known as Square) saw a 27% YoY jump in gross profit - largely due to strength in Cash App. Peer-to-peer transaction volume hit an all-time high, with 54M people making Cash App transactions monthly.
📱 Triller files for direct listing. TikTok competitor Triller has officially filed to go public on the NYSE. The company is best known for its short form video app, but it also offers pre-recorded shows (Triller TV), tools for creators and brands to promote and monetize their content, and live events (including a PPV fight club). Triller made $48M in revenue last year, the majority of which came from brands (taking a cut of their ads / sales on the platform or service fees). The company has raised $380M and has 550M registered users - the filing didn’t disclose engagement metrics.
👩🏻⚖️ TikTok adapts in the EU. In other TikTok-related news, the company announced new features to align with the EU’s new Digital Services Act. This law aims to protect user rights and prevent the spread of illegal content, and it will apply to most of the large social media apps, marketplaces, and search engines. TikTok’s major updates are removing targeted ads for users age 13-17, making it easier to report illegal content, and allowing all users to turn off personalized recommendations for videos (which is basically the entire point of the app?).
🔉 Meta doubles down on open source AI. Two weeks after the release of LLaMA 2 (open source language model), Meta released AudioCraft - a tool that generates realistic audio and music from text. It’s comprised of three models trained on music and sound (think sirens or an engine), but importantly doesn’t generate human voice. You can test it out on Replicate.
what we’re following 👀
“Date me” docs - the new alternative to dating apps?
A deep dive on the GPU shortage (with accompanying music video).
The economic case for generative AI.
The aftermath of the YouTuber giveaway turned riot in NYC on Friday.
The biggest news in the tech world this week? Floating rocks.
A team of researchers in South Korea claim to have created the first-ever room temperature superconductor, called LK-99. This is a chemical compound made from lead, phosphorus, and copper that can supposedly conduct electricity with almost no resistance, a feat previously only achieved at extremely low temperature or high pressure (today, superconductors are used in things like MRI machines).
One of the known qualities of a true superconductor is the Meissner effect - it expels magnetic fields. So if you put it near a magnet, you’ll see it float. The authors of the LK-99 paper provided a video to the New York Times that purports to show a small piece of the material levitating as proof of superconductivity.
The best way to describe this development? “Huge if true.” Room temperature superconductors would be a massive scientific breakthrough. This thread has some good examples of what could be enabled by this - it allows highly efficient energy transmission and storage, which has implications for everything from quantum computers to iPhone batteries to the global energy grid.
The big question now is whether this development is real. Some scientists are skeptical - there have been several past incidents (since the 1990s!) of labs claiming to have created a room temperature superconductor and later retracting it. The Korean papers haven’t yet been peer-reviewed or published in an official journal, though scientists worldwide are racing to replicate the results.
There are some promising early experiments - see Varda Space’s video from this Friday - but it’s still too early to call if this is the major breakthrough it appears to be. It’s possible that there are other factors causing the levitation that aren’t related to superconductivity. More to come here!
Scale AI - Ops Associate (SF, NYC)
Dropbox - Chief of Staff, BD* (SF)
Adverb - Early Career Investor (SF)
Bain Capital Ventures - Associate (SF)
DoorDash - Strategy & Ops Manager (SF)
OpenAI - Product Manager, API Experience* (SF)
Zip - Growth Strategy Associate (SF)
Primary Ventures - Senior Associate, Fintech (NYC)
Elemy - Biz Ops, New Ventures Associate (NYC)
Faire - Customer Marketing Intern (Remote)
Remoov - Sales & Social Media Marketing Intern (SF)
Creatify AI - Video Editor / Designer Intern (SF)
MosaicML - Research Scientist Intern (SF)
Eight Sleep - Mechanical Engineering Intern (SF)
Snowflake - Industry Go-to-Market Intern (San Mateo)
Choose - Business Developer Intern (NYC)
Palantir - Engineering Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
This weekend, we attended the World Dog Surfing Championships in Pacifica!
Pictured above are contestants Rosie, Derby, and Faith - who all did an incredible job riding the waves.
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.