Wardrobe by AI. Gun safety startups. Hands-free Cali cars.

The new piñata

Hi there,

When we asked you which company would be viewed as a net negative in 10 years, you all clearly voted Facebook as the overwhelming "winner."

Yes — sentiment has certainly shifted on Facebook recently, especially among much of the tech glitterati and media. 

But sometimes, the blame that FB takes is pretty unfair.

With Facebook's new algorithm change, some publishers have seen their traffic plummet, and in at least one case I saw, a publisher has shut down.

I say good riddance. More below but first...

Algorithms are in this season

AI is working its way into our wardrobes. Companies like Stitch Fix use algorithms to identify trends and suggest new designs for inventory.

Tommy Hilfiger is also getting into AI-driven fashion via a partnership with IBM and FIT.

For more about how AI is redesigning the fashion industry, check out our Future of Fashion Report.

Facebook part 2

Some publishers built companies that were finely tuned to Facebook's old algo.

And so they saw a steady stream of traffic cuz they'd figured out how to essentially game Facebook.

Or in fancier terms, they'd optimized themselves for FB's algorithm, all while claiming they'd built some fancy algorithms or had figured out some unique insight about human behavior.

Now that FB has changed the algo, we get to read about a bunch of them complaining.

But let's be real here. 

First, if your entire business is reliant on 1 other party, that's a poor way to manage a business. That risk and stupidity is not Facebook's fault. It is yours. As VC Fred Wilson once said, don't be someone else's b1t<h.

Second, these places that are suffering massive traffic declines are for the most part not journalistic outfits at all. What they do is often called "social publishing." 

These are not real companies so much as they are good growth hacks whose time has ended. Ultimately, they are parasites that should have found a second host beyond FB, but they didn't or couldn't.

So when you see an article talking about how Facebook is punishing publishers, take it with a grain of salt. They're mostly taking out the trash — which is long overdue.

Safety tech

With gun reform efforts in the news again, the public and private sectors are looking for ways to improve gun safety.

We look at startups working to make firearms safer and smarter, using technology from fingerprint-enabled gun locks, to smart ammo, and more.

Ghost ride the whip

Driverless cars will be on California roads as early as April, thanks to regulations passed by the state's DMV this week. The cars won't be completely autonomous for now — they'll require a remote operator during the test phase.

We take a look at 28 industries that autonomous cars could turn upside-down.

Last chance

With Future of Fintech ticket prices going up today, a few people reached out asking if we could extend the discount.

And because we love you, we are offering 20 tickets at yesterday’s discounted prices.

Use discount code lastchance to save $500.

The Industry Standard

CB Insights data is the most trusted by those in the industry and the media. A few recent hits.

CNN. Kara Yurieff (@kyurieff) writes about Facebook’s new job postings expansion and quotes Marcelo Ballvé (@ballve), CB Insights’ VP of Intelligence.
Reuters. Heather Somerville (@heathersomervil) reports that DoorDash has raised $535M in a funding round led by SoftBank and cites CB Insights data.
TechCrunch. Megan Rose Dickey (@meganrosedickey) writes about the Kapor Center for Social Impact’s Leaky Tech Pipeline and references CB Insights data.

I love you.


P.S. On March 6, we'll be diving into the top trends to watch in food tech this year. Sign up for the briefing here.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

Breaking up the boys' club. Female investors and entrepreneurs are pushing back against “blockchain bros.”
New York Times
Bad bots. With malicious bots accounting for nearly 20% of all internet traffic, social media companies and the government have their work cut out for them.
Alexa, buy that. The voice shopping market is expected to grow to $40B by 2022 in the US alone.
The new LinkedIn? Facebook is rolling out job posts to 40+ countries.
Coin and punishment. Craig Wright, who once claimed to be Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, is being sued for stealing $5B in bitcoin from his former business partner.
The Verge

Pulling ahead. India is reclaiming the top spot from China as the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
Wall Street Journal
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