Salesforce Ventures has invested $300 million in Automattic, a company that was started by Matt Mullenweg, a close friend. Our firm, True Ventures, is the earliest backer of Automattic. I am delighted to see two of my favorite people, Bret Taylor (now at Salesforce) and Matt, will get to engage more often. Matt shared his thoughts about the investment, and what it means for Automattic and WordPress, the open-source software platform that now runs 34 percent of the web. Congrats team Automattic and Matt. (Also, TechCrunch interviewed Matt and is worth a read.)

Taxing Personal Data

What about a tax on the sale of personal information, including the use of personal information for ad placement? To be clear, I’m not talking about a tax on collecting information or on using the information collected. I’m talking a tax on two-types of commercial transactions; selling information about individuals to third parties, or indirectly selling information to third … Continue reading Taxing Personal Data

Snap & Climate Change: Is there a link?

Snapchat announced that in 2018 an average of 3 billion snaps were sent every day. A single snap produces 0.1g of CO2 meaning that in just 24 hours Snapchat generates the carbon equivalent of 1 car driving for 54 years. This is, of course, microscopic in comparison to carbon emissions generated by the aviation industry or agriculture – but it’s not nothing. Joe Hearty, R/GA London Experience Design Director argues that we have underestimated the impact of digital on climate change and it is only going to increase. Check.

A new (tech) front in US-China​ Trade war?

“Firms such as Huawei, Tencent, ZTE, Alibaba, and Baidu have no meaningful ability to tell the Chinese Communist Party “no” if officials decide to ask for their assistance,” said Christopher Ashley Ford, assistant secretary in the State Department’s bureau of international security and nonproliferation. His speech is another shot across the bow in the US-China trade war. What I am surprised is that there is no mention of DJI, which just might be the biggest eye in the sky for China. The Information has the analysis, but the speech transcript removes all ambiguity about how US is thinking about Chinese technology.

“It just ushered in something we take for granted now, which is online gaming, online communities, games as a service, games that you can’t finish because the content keeps coming,” says Peter Moore, former president and COO of Sega of America, “It was groundbreaking, but I think we broke the ground for somebody else.” Sega’s Dreamcast was a trailblazer and it died mere 16 months after it was released into the world. This is its story.

Tesla’s SolarCity gamble has gone wrong

“If he hadn’t bailed out SolarCity, his whole debt-laden empire might have cracked. Yet without the bailout, Tesla would be far more healthy….In the second quarter of this year, SolarCity installed only 29 megawatts of solar panels—far below the 10,000 megawatts in annual installations that Musk had promised.”

Vanity Fair

Bethany Mclean who made her name writing about Enron long before others is explaining the challenge faced by Tesla and Elon Musk due to the 2016 SolarCity acquisition. The much ballyhooed Solar Roof is a flop, and the whole thing seems to be coming apart at seams. Worth a read from a reporter, who has a habit of finding big stories before others.