👨‍💼 Tech under Biden


January 21, 2021

PLUS: The chicken sandwich war.

January 21, 2021
The Hustle
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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office yesterday. The real winner, though, was Amanda Gorman.

The Big Idea
President Biden

How will the Biden administration deal with tech?

President Biden will have his hands full in coming days as he wrestles with a slate of executive orders and an ongoing pandemic — but some of the most pressing questions concern Big Tech.

Here’s a breakdown of key issues, per CNET:

Antitrust regulation 

Facebook and Google are already facing antitrust action.

After suspending President Trump from their platforms following the storming of the US Capitol, big tech companies are under increased scrutiny. For his part, Biden seems to favor more regs than breakups.

In a speech on Tuesday, the Justice Department’s outgoing antitrust chief supported a House Democrats’ proposal to disallow any company with a 50% market share from making an acquisition in the same industry.

Section 230

Both major US parties want changes to the decades-old Section 230, which provides tech companies with liability protection for content on their platforms.

It’s for different reasons, though:

  • Democrats want the companies to moderate the platforms or be held liable
  • Republicans want to penalize companies for censoring content

Biden has said Section 230 should be revoked. Both Twitter and Facebook have said they want it updated, too… so we may see changes here, potentially to the detriment of startups.

Net neutrality

As a senator, Biden did not co-sponsor legislation related to net neutrality — the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally.

But CNET notes that the issue is popular among Democratic leaders, and going against it would defy a core principle of the party.

Rural broadband

A key economic goal is to rebuild America’s middle class, a task Biden calls “the moral obligation of our time.” To achieve this goal, he supports a $20B investment in rural broadband.

China trade war

Biden will also have to decide what to do with executive orders on TikTok and bans on various Chinese apps.

Expect a more confrontational approach, especially after the outgoing administration just labeled China’s treatment of its Uighur population “genocide” (a position Biden agrees with).

Tech and immigration

Biden has “promised to increase the number of visas for ‘permanent, work-based immigration’ and eliminate limits on employment-based green cards by country.” As president, he can strike down many of Trump’s most restrictive executive orders.

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Snippets
  • Will vaccines get the Prime treatment? The head of Amazon’s consumer business (Dave Clark) sent an open letter to President Biden, offering to help with the vaccine rollout.
  • Saved by the bell: Anthony Levandowski — the “thieving tech bro” and former Google engineer sentenced to prison for stealing trade secrets — received a last-minute pardon from Trump.
  • Jack Ma makes an appearance: After not being seen publicly for months, the Alibaba founder appeared on a video, saying, “We’ll meet again after the epidemic is over.” Alibaba stock jumped 8.5% after the clip aired on Wednesday.
  • LG hangs up on itself: The company’s smartphone business — yes, that exists — is likely to shut down or go up for sale after losing ~$4.5B over the last five years.
  • Netflix says, ‘I’m feeling lucky.’ Do you spend more time debating which shows to watch than actually watching shows? If so, you’ll be happy to know Netflix confirmed the release of a “Shuffle Play” button in the first half of 2021.
  • BlockRock? BlackRock — the world’s largest asset manager, with $7.8T of assets under management — may roll out funds that invest in Bitcoin futures.
Live Streaming
Transmit.Live ad

A sample Transmit.Live ad during a pro tennis match (Source: Transmit Live via WSJ)

Transmit widens the streaming landscape with its picture-in-picture ad platform

If you watch live sports, you know that ads of all shapes and sizes find their way onto the screen during the less-than-exciting parts of a contest.

Depending on the platform, these ad formats have come to be known as picture-in-picture, picture-by-picture, or — our personal favorite — double-box.

Recently, startup Transmit.Live raised $7m to bring these ads to live streaming video.

The company wants to capture early market share

Transmit offers media management and analytics services and can generate ad inventory during unplanned live breaks. It inked deals with ViacomCBS and the NHL, along with alternative broadcasters like FloSports and Esports platform Super League Gaming.

Impressively, Transmit has quadrupled revenue annually since 2018 and is on track to bring in $40m in 2021.

It’s not alone. Amazon’s Twitch and networks like Fox Sports already offer the picture-in-picture format, seen during creator streams and NFL, MLB, and NASCAR broadcasts.

Still, live-streamed TV is on a hot streak…

… and the space will likely see massive growth in the coming years:

  • eMarketer expects 154.4m live-video viewers in 2021, up from an estimate of 126.7m in 2019
  • Ad spending on smart TVs could hit $18.3B by 2024, up from $8.1B in 2020

The ads work, too. Transmit notes that after viewing picture-in-picture ads, 94% of viewers recall featured brands, and 74% recall specific messaging.

Unfortunately for consumers, this likely means one thing: more ads.

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SPONSORED

Monogram is bringing surgical robots and 3D-printed custom implants to market 

They’ve already raised $16.7M from 3 successful financing rounds — and this round, they’ve already scored $1.6M (in just 5 days).

Click here to invest in Monogram’s newest round.

Why is this such a cool opportunity? 

Because they’re making one of The Hustle’s favorite moves: Injecting modern-day problem-solving into a traditionally slow-moving industry.

  • Every Monogram orthopedic is custom 3D-printed, which allows them to be more fitting, accurate, and stable (Generic knee had up to 270% more movement and generic hip had up to 634% more movement than Monogram’s)
  • Their robotic surgical assistants use machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence to avoid soft tissue, making for less invasive surgeries
  • They built a 350 sq. st. cadaver (yes, that kind of cadaver) lab in Austin to perfect their products

Monogram expects its first revenue in 2021 with 2 active distributors and 8 patent applications currently awaiting approval.

Get in on their round today and score 5% bonus shares when you invest $5,000+ and 10% bonus shares when you invest $10,000+.

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Snap Money
pumpkin explosion

Cam Casey blowing up a pumpkin with a Coke bottle… Sure, why not? (Source: YouTube)

Snap’s plan to beat TikTok: Pay people millions

In November 2020, Snap — the $76B social media firm — announced Spotlight, a new feature that would dole out $1m a day as an incentive for Snapchatters to make viral videos.

For years, Snap has focused on private communications and eschewed the virality of other platforms (Spotlight doesn’t have like and follower counts).

However, the rise of TikTok has completely changed the equation.

Snap is attracting leading talent from other platforms…

… but also just regular people.

A recent article from the New York Times highlights some pretty crazy money-making stories:

  • TikTok star Cam Casey has been posting his stunts — like blowin’ up Coke bottles — on Spotlight. Sometimes, he’ll grind out 120 videos a day, hoping to catch a viral wave and get paid. To date, he’s pulled in $3m!
  • A merchandising associate at Lowe’s posted a video of her sister deep frying a turkey that popped and earned her $500k.
  • An 18-year-old high schooler has earned $1m from unboxing vids.

More TikTok talent has jumped onto Spotlight

But as more Snap creators eat from the pie, the payouts are already falling.

Can Snap turn these viral moments and big payoffs into actual careers?

“For Spotlight to succeed, it can’t just pay creators, it must also bestow fame,” writes the NYT’s Taylor Lorenz. “Followers are their own type of currency, and in some ways just as valuable as dollars.”

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Chicken fact(s) of the day

KFC, Shake Shack, and Mickey D’s 🐔 (Source: the respective food chains)

Chicken is blowing up. In the year through November 2020, there were 213 chicken sandwich announcements across America’s top restaurant and convenience chains, up 22% YoY, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some recent chicken sandies you may have seen or eaten:

  • Shake Shack’s Korean-style iteration
  • McDonald’s chicken McGriddle
  • KFC’s new “best chicken sandwich ever” (we’re calling false advertising here)

Fast-food burgers actually still outsell chicken sandwiches 3-to-1. However, America’s broader dietary habits have skewed toward poultry since the early ’90s, with 1.4B more units of chicken sold than beef last year.

Chicken looks to be the future of fast food: It’s less costly than beef, which appeals to budget-conscious consumers. But restaurants do have to install new equipment to batter the chicken fillets.

The rise of chicken really shouldn’t surprise anyone… we all knew it was getting real when KFC released the Double Down monstrosity in 2013:

Bacon and cheese sandwiched between 2 deep-fried chicken cutlets… just how Mother Nature planned it (Source: Wikipedia)

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