Wiser! #44: Pinterest start a TV channel; Clubhouse unveils new features (but is it too late?); Robinhood lose data for 7 million users; plus more
In this issue of Wiser!;
- the Attention Economy. Everyone wants a piece and Pinterest are the latest
- Is it too late for Clubhouse?
- Robinhood's data breach exposed data for 7 million users
- Alphabet becomes the latest $2 trillion company
- Crypto markets hit all-time highs
- Lemonade to buy Metromile
The Attention Economy: Live shopping on Pinterest TV
The issue for social media platforms is their reliance on advertising revenues. Targeted advertising has been their gravy train. However, with the move towards greater privacy, and Apple's decision to give users the ability to opt-out from being tracked, social media needs to find new sources of revenue.
Hence the trend towards real-time, influencer lead, online shopping. Imagine that you're watching your favourite celeb online and they're wearing something you like. And up pops a button giving you the option to buy the same thing. It's like QVC meets Love Island. The social media platforms give the influencer a space on their platform to sell products.
This is the trend for live shopping and it is growing as one of the latest ways for social media platforms to get the attention of an already digitally-saturated audience. If you want to see its impact on eCommerce, look West to China where live streaming has grown in popularity.
In 2019, over a third of China’s online shoppers made a live stream purchase in a sector that hit nearly $165 million in 2020.
Firms are expected to shift digital ad spending onto influencer marketing to the tune of about $13.8 billion in 2021, up from $9.7 billion in 2020. This is already happening in China where the top influencers have their own shows and appear each night for 4 hours at a time, selling highly curated products, often at deep discounts.
The point is that every social media platform is vying for the attention of their users in the so-called Attention Economy. Pinterest is no different as they evolve into a go-to platform for streaming e-commerce sales.
To read the full article about Pinterest and TikTok and the growing social media trend towards live-shopping, go here.
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Better late than never for Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is rolling out a new feature that lets users replay live audio rooms. They will have the ability to fast forward to the interesting bits or listen at 1.5x or 2x speed. The feature is called Replay and will remove the dependence on having to tune in live for any show, basically making it more like a podcast. This comes 2 months after Clubhouse introduced HoneyDrip, a digital space for creators to share exclusive photo and video content directly with subscribers via links posted in the room's chat.
Since launching in April 2020, at the height of lockdowns when the world was stuck at home with time on their hands, the competition has picked up. Twitter has launched Spaces and Facebook has come in with Live Audio Rooms. Given their significant scale advantages, it is tough to see how Clubhouse can differentiate itself.
As I was putting this issue to bed, Clubhouse announced their latest results. Net revenue for Q3 is up 8 fold on the same quarter in 2020 but is (only) $1.8million for the quarter, against a net loss of $5.4 million.
The Wiser! take: Sounds good...but, IMHO, it's too late. This would have been the feature to build into the 1st generation of the app when launched in April 2020. Ingenious users have found ways to record their Clubhouse sessions already. And competition from the bigger platforms is in play. How can Clubhouse differentiate itself and carve out a unique space when it has lost its first-mover advantage?
Current stats from mid-2021 report that Clubhouse has 10 million active weekly users on the platform. But when I ran a poll with over 20,000 views from my Linkedin audience this week, only 7% said they used it and, more worrying for Clubhouse, 45% said they had used it but not any more.
Robinhood data breach exposes 7 million users
Trading platform Robinhood has reported that personal information for more than 7 million customers was accessed during a data breach on November 3rd. The company said it does not appear that Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or debit card numbers were exposed, and no customers have had “financial loss” due to the incident.
Robinhood has had a rocky 2021 so far; in January, it halted trading as Reddit users helped push up the prices of so-called meme stocks like GameStop and AMC Theaters. The incidents led to a congressional hearing where CEO Vlad Tenev testified along with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman and trader Keith Gill aka RoaringKitty.
The company began trading on the Nasdaq exchange in July, with the worst market debut among 51 US firms that raised as much money or more than Robinhood, according to data from Bloomberg. In its S-1 filing, Robinhood acknowledged a recent SEC Enforcement Division inquiry and that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California had executed a search warrant for Tenev’s phone.
Wiser! opinion: Readers of Wiser! know that I'm no fan of the trading platform that has gamified the risky business of options and crypto trading to a demographic that is largely men under the age of 35 with little or no previous experience of investing, let alone gambling in these high-risk segments. This incidence of cybercrime is not unique to Robinhood and there's no suggestion that I've seen to point the finger at incompetence by them. This is (just) the latest incident and a timely reminder, if ever we needed it, that this is only going to get worse. What you can do is check your passwords, make sure that they are not "123456" and change them regularly.
Here's the Premium Members' article that unpicks the Robinhood business model. 👇
Alphabet joins the $2trillion club
Google's parent company, Alphabet has become the third US company to join the $2 trillion club, joining Apple and Microsoft. Alphabet is one of the big winners from the pandemic after its market value doubled as lockdown pushed more people online. Its stock has increased more than any other of the biggest US tech stocks by revenue, up around 70% in 2021.
A big winner is Alphabet's YouTube business that brought in $7.2 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter alone, up 43% from the previous year and more than Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn combined.
Not bad for a company worth (only) $23 billion when they went public in 2004. Source: Bloomberg
Nvidia files gaze patent for vehicles
The idea is that the gaze technology will determine what the driver wants to do in the car by relating it to what they are looking at. Using sensor data and a spatial map of the inside of the car, Nvidia can determine where a driver is looking. They can then correspond this to voice command and minimise any distraction from the driver's attention on the road.
Source: Patent Drop
Lemonade to buy Metromile
I genuinely didn't see this one coming but it makes great sense. Within days of Lemonade announcing the launch of Lemonade Car (insurance), they go and buy Metromile.
The reason is simple. Lemonade's car insurance product is built around telematics (which is the analysis of data about a driver's driving behaviour that is used to price an insurance premium). Metromile have a decade of experience building a telematics platform geared towards providing a unique customer experience.
Which makes them a great fit for Lemonade as they move into the ultra-competitive US auto insurance space.
👉 Here are the interviews I had with Metromile CEO Dan Preston and with Lemonade CEO, Daniel Schreiber. 👇
Amazon pays back the drivers tips they "stole"
140,000 Amazon Flex drivers in the USA have been sent compensation totalling $60 million. This comes after a court ruling in Feb this year found that Amazon had been "stealing" their tips. The way it worked was that Amazon reduced the hourly rate of a driver by the same amount that they had been tipped. For example, if the driver was on $18/hour and they got $6 in tips, Amazon reduced the hourly rate to $12 for that hour. Shame on Bezos, who was at the helm when this practice was introduced by Amazo!
Bitcoin and Ether demand outstrips supply
Bitcoin and Ether have hit new price highs last week as the market cap of all cryptocurrencies briefly touched $3 trillion. To put that into perspective, Apple and Microsoft, the 2 largest companies in the world, have market capitalisations of around $2.5 trillion each (give or take). That's a 280% year on year increase for the market that continues to see demand outstrip supply. When I wrote this article called Cryptocurrencies Explained back in April, the market cap for the whole market was only $1.88 trillion.
Sources: New York Post, Washington Post
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