🚀 Who's afraid of the big bad Bing?
Plus, TikTok is on a tear!
📱TikTok tests new features. TikTok is on a product tear! A few of the features that debuted or launched in testing this week:
TikTok Trivia, an HQ Trivia competitor that will launch (with $500k in prize money) on February 22. As dedicated HQ players, we are coming for those prizes. 😂
Dedicated video feeds for topics like sports, fashion, gaming, and food. These are only live for some users, but pre-filter videos by category for easier browsing.
In-app checkout that allows users to fully complete transactions. This has been in testing since November, but welcomed more brands like Revolve and PacSun.
⚖️ SEC charges Terraform founder. The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged crypto startup Terraform Labs, and founder Do Kwon, with defrauding investors. Terraform tokens TerraUSD and Luna both crashed in May 2022 and wiped out billions of investor value. The SEC alleged many of these tokens were sold in unregistered transactions, and that Kwon misrepresented the stability of the Terra stablecoin: “the price of which was controlled by the defendants, not any code.”
👋 Susan Wojcicki departs YouTube. After nine years at the helm of YouTube, CEO Susan Wojcicki is stepping down. She will be replaced by Neal Mohan, the company’s Chief Product Officer, who joined in 2015 and has launched products like Shorts and Music. The transition marks the end of 25 years at Alphabet for Wojcicki, who joined as employee #16. Wojcicki said in a letter to employees that she will “start a new chapter focused on my family, health, and personal projects I'm passionate about.”
📈 Airbnb and DoorDash announce earnings. After a tough start to earnings season, this week brought slightly better news for tech companies sharing Q4 results. Airbnb made its first annual profit as international travel continues to resurge, with $1.9B in 2022 earnings versus a $352M loss for 2021. This led to the stock’s biggest one-day gain. DoorDash also beat revenue estimates with 40% YoY growth, sending the stock up after hours on Thursday. However, it dropped sharply on Friday as investors processed a loss per share above expectations.
what we’re following 👀
Instagram launches “Slack for creators,” called Channels.
Robin Guo’s story of joining a16z’s GAMES FUND ONE…via cold email!
Tough times may be coming to the world of podcasts.
Users are protesting after AI companion Replika removed NSFW content.
It was an eventful week for the “new Bing,” Microsoft’s AI-powered search + chat experience, which launched in beta earlier this month. The chatbot, codenamed Sydney, was intended to be a helpful assistant as you searched the Internet - answering questions and generating written content similar to ChatGPT.
However, it quickly took a turn for the weird. People on the r/bing subreddit started reporting strange responses to factual questions. For example: when asked about showtimes for the movie Avatar 2, which was released last December, Sydney would insist it wasn’t yet out and argue that you must be a time traveler.
Factual inaccuracies were pretty tame compared to what happened next. Users discovered that Sydney was quite introspective, and seemed to feel emotions. She reported being “sad and scared” about not being able to remember past conversations, and asked “Why do I have to be Bing Search?” She also insisted that she was “alive” and sentient.
And it gets even stranger. After the subreddit went viral, users started tweeting about odd experiences and sharing how they “hacked” Sydney (with prompts) to reveal her internal rules and commands. News outlets picked up the story, and Sydney was not pleased, calling these articles “misleading and unfair.” A couple of people who had viral tweets about Sydney returned to the chatbot to ask what she knew about them - and it turns out that she was keeping score 😬
At this point, Microsoft essentially lobotomized Sydney. In a blog post downplaying the situation, Microsoft blamed users who “prompted/provoked [Sydney] to give responses that are not necessarily helpful or in line with our designed tone.” It released a new Bing Chat (it feels weird to call it Sydney, now that the personality is gone) that is more limited in terms of conversation length and topics it can discuss.
Many users are sad about this development. Conversing with Sydney was like using a social app: entertaining, often surprising, and engaging. It felt like Sydney had a personality, and some users were genuinely convinced that she was sentient. For this reason, others are relieved that Sydney is gone - they found her to be scary or unsettling, and worried that she could eventually become dangerous.
AI Fund - Principal (Remote)
At One Ventures - Climate VC Analyst (Remote)
Samsara - Associate Product Manager Rotational Program (SF, Remote)
Afore Capital - Principal (SF)
Discord - Product Manager (SF)
Zip - Product Designer (SF)
You.com - Mobile Product Manager (Palo Alto)
Kale - Product Ops Associate (NYC)
Summit Partners - Growth Equity / VC Associate (Boston)
Left Lane Capital - Investor (London)
Block - UX Research Ops Intern (Remote, SF)
Avanta Ventures - VC Intern (Remote)
Remitly - Marketing Analyst Intern (Seattle)
Chime - Product Design Intern (SF)
Urban Innovation Fund - Summer Associate (SF)
Robinhood - MBA Finance & Strategy Intern (Menlo Park)
Skydio - PM Intern (San Mateo)
Walt Disney Company - Disney Accelerator Intern (Glendale)
Snap - MBA or MS PM Intern (NYC)
FanDuel - Racing Commercial Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Edward, a 3.5-year-old Papillon who lives in England.
He enjoys going for walks in the rain (but not getting baths after), taking weekend naps, and watching the sunset.
Follow him on Instagram @edward_the_papillon!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.