☁️ Can Cisco best Amazon?


August 10, 2021

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The Hustle

NASA is taking applications for crew members in a series of missions to simulate life on Mars at its Johnson Space Center in Texas. Honestly, it sounds like a win-win: you get all the clout of being an astronaut but you don’t even have to leave Texas.

Today’s rundown:

  • Cloud battles: Can network equipment giant Cisco take on AWS?
  • Fake Tom Cruise: How a TikTok parody account spawned a deepfake ad startup.
  • F*** You Pay Me: The new platform that’s like “Glassdoor for influencers.”

Let’s do it.

 
The big idea
Cisco raining on Amazon

Can Cisco beat Amazon’s cloud business?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is firing on all cylinders right now.

The world’s leading cloud computing business saw sales hit ~$15B in the latest quarter (+37% YoY).

While many are happy with the service AWS provides — namely allowing companies to offload data center costs — there is a huge catch.

If a company wants to…

… move data to another cloud provider (e.g., Google, Microsoft), it has to pay an ominous-sounding “egress fee.”

A few weeks ago, Cloudflare put AWS on blast for charging way above market egress fees. Some see this as an anticompetitive move to lock in customers.

Enter Cisco Systems

Per The Information, the $234B manufacturer of network equipment is working on a subscription service that allows companies to move data off of AWS and onto more affordable private data centers.

It is not yet known if the project (internally called Cloud Stack) will actually launch. With cloud spend expected to hit $332B+ this year, it’s probably an easy market to convince your boss to go after.

While many startups prefer the turnkey cloud option, private data centers make more sense for mature firms like Walmart, Netflix, and Apple.

Cisco better move fast

Other old guard tech firms — like Dell, HPE, and VMware — offer services that help users move data off and between clouds.

Back in March 2000, Cisco actually passed Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable firm, with a market cap of $500B.

If successfully launched, Cloud Stack could be a road back to those dot-com bubble highs… without the subsequent crash, of course.

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SNIPPETS

Bad Apple: WhatsApp and others push back on Apple’s child safety tech. #privacy

Growing the Google-verse: Google plans to add a new 5-building campus specifically for hardware development. #big-tech

Big-time labels: Snorkel AI, a data labeling platform that uses AI, just raised $85m. #emerging-tech

Loss of fiat: The CEO of Binance US has left his post after just 3 months. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Games on games: DraftKings announced plans to purchase Golden Nugget Online for $1.56B. #ecommerce-retail

Time for action: A recent UN climate report highlights the urgent need for action — check out 5 key takeaways. #clean-energy

 
 
Emerging Tech
deeptomcruise

Not all deepfakes are bad

At least that’s the premise behind Metaphysic — a startup born out of a TikTok parody account called deeptomcruise.

The company uses deepfake technology to create ads that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Early examples include:

  • A campaign for Gillette featuring 1989 pre-draft Deion Sanders
  • A campaign for the Belgian Football Association bringing 2 former managers back to life

Good deepfaking takes hard work

Metaphysic co-founder Chris Umé says the process to create deeptomcruise included:

  • 2.5 months training an AI model on images and videos of Cruise
  • Shooting base videos with a Cruise body and voice double (actor Miles Fisher)
  • 2-3 days to combine the footage

The finished product leaves viewers baffled that it’s not the real thing (just watch this Dave Matthews Band cover).

When done right, Umé believes the tech can lead to more creativity…

… but it’s easy to get it wrong.

For instance, a recent documentary about Anthony Bourdain received backlash for not informing viewers about AI-generated dialogue.

As Metaphysic and others work out the ethical guardrails, we’ll be looking out for new deepfake use cases, and of course, more deeptomcruise.

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Get Paid
FYPM letters

F*** You Pay Me exposes influencer pay gaps

In the 1990 film “Goodfellas”, Paulie Cicero expects to be paid. Any excuse is met with, “F*** you, pay me.”

This iconic retort is now the name of a new service designed to get social media creators what they’re owed.

F*** You Pay Me (FYPM)…

… was launched by model and creator Lindsey Lee Lugrin, and ex-Facebook data scientist Isha Mehra.

The platform is for influencers and creators to share their experiences with brands, like a “Glassdoor for influencers,” per The New York Times.

The info includes payment per post — something that can be difficult to negotiate and fluctuates wildly from person to person. There are also gender and race disparities.

FYPM has 2k+ reviews…

… of 1.3k+ brands such as Amazon, Disney, and Shein. But to get in, you have to:

  • Be an influencer — defined as someone who promotes brands in exchange for money, discounts, or free products or services — or an influencer’s agent
  • Create an FYPM account
  • Agree to contribute at least 1 anonymous review

Lugrin was inspired to create FYPM after realizing the $1k she received from Marc by Marc Jacobs wasn’t enough for an image that appeared on web ads and billboards.

Other freelance industries struggle with pay transparency, too

Example: Freelance journalists often share publication rates via online documents or social media (newsletter Study Hall shares rates, too).

Need more of this vibe in your life? There are a surprising amount of “F*** You Pay Me” candles for sale. Manifest that money!

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AROUND THE WEB

🐻 Wild story: A bear was caught on video just chilling in a Ralphs grocery store in California this past weekend. It walked the aisles, but made no purchases.

🏀Wow: Former Olympian Lusia “Lucy” Harris is the only woman to have ever been officially drafted by the NBA. Listen to this 6-foot-3 legend share her incredible story. 

🕯️Wait, what: Ikea has meatballs. Ikea has candles. Ikea has… candles that smell like meatballs?

🐾 Wholesome: Petfinder Names is a Twitter feed of adorable, adoptable animals with unusual names like Ms. Dump Truck, Brita Filter, and Maximum Destruction.

🖼️ On this day: In 1793, exactly 1 year after Louis XVI was imprisoned amid the French Revolution, the world-famous art museum, now known as the Louvre, opened in the former Louvre palace.

📚Useful site: What Should I Read Next helps you choose your next read. Just input a book or author you like and it’ll provide suggestions.

 
 
Meme of the day
cloud meme

The floppy disk definitely thought it was the one (Source: KT Connections)

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