👋 Smell ya later, Adobe Flash


January 5, 2021

PLUS: Disrupting the $42B ramen market.
January 5, 2021
The Hustle
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Doomed short video app Quibi is in talks to license its content library to Roku. This is the happy ending we need to start 2021.

The Big Idea
Adobe Flash logo

The end of Adobe Flash, one of the internet’s most iconic technologies

In the original The Wizard of Oz (1939), the film transitions from black and white to color when Dorothy transports from Kansas to the Land of Oz.

A similar thing happened to the internet in the mid-1990s.

The internet was once a land of text blocks and dreary backgrounds. But according to How To Geek, everything changed in 1996 when a company called Macromedia acquired an animation tool called FutureSplash and rebranded it as Macromedia Flash 1.0.

This led to a creative burst over the next decade

As Flash spread across the internet as a browser plug-in, designers entered the fray.

Browser games, interactive websites, web comics, and other colorful content took over the internet.

In 2005, Adobe acquired Macromedia for $3.4B and set out to make it even more ubiquitous.

Flash laid the groundwork for today’s video streaming world

With a file format called FLV, any browser that had the Flash player installed could play video.

As How to Geek reminds us, even now-massive sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and Hulu once depended entirely on Flash.

The beginning of the end

The downfall of Flash began in 2007, when Apple decided not to support it on the new iPhone. In 2010, Steve Jobs penned the famous open letter “Thoughts on Flash,” which laid out a savage critique of the technology:

  • Rapid energy consumption
  • Poor performance on mobile devices
  • Security dependence on one company (Adobe) made it a huge risk

Flash simply wasn’t made for the rising mobile world. And soon, new web standards (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) became the norm.

In 2017, Adobe announced it would discontinue Flash. Support officially ended on Dec. 31, 2020.

There won’t be a return to Kansas for this trailblazing internet tech. But if you feel nostalgic, projects like BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint and Ruffle have dutifully preserved Flash’s rich history.

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Snippets
  • FarmVille also joined Flash in the digital graveyard. Game maker Zynga shut down the popular Facebook game last week. Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus typed up a nice thread on FarmVille’s role in the evolution of gaming.
  • Two-hundred-plus Alphabet employees have formed a union that would be open to employees and contractors. The commitment includes 1% of their salaries going to union dues.
  • “Being a Chinese billionaire has been a dangerous job,” we wrote last week with regard to China’s regulators clamping down on Jack Ma and Alibaba. Now, Jack Ma is suspected missing after not making a public appearance in 2 months.
  • Fiat Chrysler and PSA (Peugeot maker) will go through with a trans-Atlantic merger. The combined entity will make 8.7m cars a year (more than GM) and create savings of — **grain of salt alert** — $6.1B, per company projections.
  • The Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan employee health care project dubbed “Haven” is disbanding after 3 years. Why? Each company has started down its own internal path.
  • Car-renting app Turo is driving towards an IPO in 2021 on the heels of its first profitable quarter.
 
Q&A
Immi founders

immi co-founders Kevin Chanthasiriphan (L) and Kevin Lee (R) getting their ramen on

How one startup hopes to shake up the $42B instant ramen market

Crazy fact: The global instant ramen market is worth $42B.

Another crazy fact: the industry is controlled by a handful of Asian food giants (think Nissin) and has seen almost no innovation in decades.

Looking to bring a fresh take on the food category, Kevin Lee (a former VC) and Kevin Chanthasiriphan (health tech and Facebook alum) just launched immi, a healthy instant ramen alternative.

We spoke with Lee to find out more about the food startup. Below is a lightly edited excerpt from our conversation.

Why ramen?

Instant ramen is a massive market, but the current offering is so unhealthy.

Big Asian conglomerates still sell the same high-carb, preservative-filled, and sodium-loaded instant noodles that they’ve sold for 60 years.

[Kevin] and I both grew up in families that ate so many packets of instant ramen without realizing how terrible they were for our health.

What makes immi different?

Immi’s ramen is the world’s first low-carb, high-protein instant ramen. Compared to traditional brands, immi is up to 75% lower in net carbs, up to 35% lower in sodium, and has 5x more protein and 3x more fiber.

We’re paying homage to the old packaged instant noodles but with a significantly enriched nutritional profile.

Are there plans to expand outside of Ramen?

Absolutely. Asian food is the fastest-growing cuisine in the US right now. We want immi to be the leading better-for-you Asian American food brand.

Once we do ramen right (and add more flavors), we can move into other verticals like Asian snacks.

As an example: Siete Foods is a Mexican-American food brand that started by making a healthier grain-free tortilla. They did so well that they’ve raised $90m to expand into other categories (e.g., sauces).

(Read the full Q&A here.)

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SPONSORED

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Their omni-directional VR gaming treadmill — Omni One — has already raised over $4M in just 1 week on SeedInvest (and Mark Cuban is an investor, too). 

Investors see huge potential in Virtuix. Here’s why:

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That’s a 40% discount — the kind of deal you’ll probably never see again. This offer only lasts until 1/15 so get it while you can.  

The future of gaming →
Battleground Stock
FuboTV ad

Another streaming war: Stock pickers are feuding over FuboTV

For those in the streaming biz, 2020 was a blast from start to finish.

But for the sports-focused streaming service FuboTV, that blast was particularly wild.

Since going public in October, FuboTV has seen its stock skyrocket almost 500%, only to plummet 50%+ from its mid-December high of $62.

Much of the yo-yo-like volatility comes as Fubo has turned into what the investment community calls a “battleground stock,” with long and short analysts bitterly debating the company’s future.

Fubo bulls point to recent earnings and acquisitions

In Q3, Fubo reported subscriber growth of 58% year-over-year to 455k and revenue growth of 71% to $61.2m. It also saw total content hours streamed increase 83% to 133.3m.

In December, Fubo bought fantasy sports software company Balto Sports with the aim of pairing Fubo’s content with Balto’s tech to build a live-sports gambling platform.

But it’s hard to gamble when you don’t have much to gamble on

FuboTV recently lost the rights to networks that host games for the NBA, the MLB postseason, and the sports-gambling event of the year: March Madness.

Add to that a shrinking market for live TV along with popular competitors like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV — with 3m+ and 4.1m subscribers, respectively — and FuboTV bears have a point.

In a real zinger, LightShed Partners’ Rich Greenfield gave FuboTV stock an $8 target, saying it “may be the most compelling short we have ever identified in our career as analysts.”

Ouch.

Check out more related coverage here:

  • The rise of Roku
  • Who will win the streaming wars?
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Inside The Hustle

As we ease our way back into post-vacation work chats and Zoom calls, Scott Nixon — the GM of our Daily email — hit one of our Slack channels with the perfect meme to capture the mood:

Source: Clearly a genius on the internet

The Hustle Says

We’re sitting down with Immad Akhund, founder of Heyzap, to reverse-engineer his $45M exit. If you’re a founder, you won’t wanna miss this — reserve your spot here.*

New year, new me gadgets. This list from ZDNet caught our eye (is this the year Sam finally gifts us a Tile so we stop losing our office key???).

Want to invest in the company that’s disrupting a $180B market? Check out Cytonics — they’re developing first-in-class therapies to treat osteoarthritis, which will affect 25% of the US adult population by 2030.*

2021 is the year of meditation, and we can think of no better soundtrack for your next sesh than Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.

*This is a sponsored post.

Flash fact(s) of the day

There have been countless Flash-enabled sites over the decades. Here are some of our favorites:

Teletubby Funland 

A Flash browser game in the late ’90s that took the characters from Teletubbies — one of the UK’s biggest children’s shows — into a debaucherous wasteland of drinking and devil worship. The BBC tried to take it down, but the site was protected by free speech laws.

Time Warner’s Road Runner website

In terms of flexing what a Flash website could do (including burning holes in your eyes), Time Warner’s 2003 Road Runner portal packed in 20 different content areas and integrated Google search with smooth video loading.

Homestar Runner

Gizmodo calls Homestar Runner  the “quintessential Flash animation series.” It has since transitioned to YouTube but is fondly remembered by the OGs that caught the original animated series from 2000 on.

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