Defogging Our 2021 Amnesia
Clubhouse, billionaires rebranding & Slack-based drama vie to be the story of 2021
Katie Benner, Tom Dotan, and Eric Newcomer look back on 2021 in Techmeme headlines for our final episode of Dead Cat for the year.
We discuss some of the biggest stories of the year:
In January, Microsoft said Russian hackers accessed some of its source code and the U.S. government pinned the SolarWinds hack on Russians.
In February, Elon Musk drove Clubhouse listeners (and journalists blocked by Marc Andreessen) to YouTube as they tried to listen to the live interview on the platform. It would represent a peak moment of cultural relevance for Clubhouse.
In March, Stripe’s valuation climbed to $95 billion. (And we talked about Stripe’s critics on Y Combinator-owned Hacker News and the coverage of Stripe’s hiring practices in Protocol.)
In May, Antonio García Martínez declared that Apple had fired him over the culture war backlash to his book Chaos Monkeys.
In June, the New York Times wrote about tough working conditions at Amazon. Later this year, a tornado would rip through an Amazon facility, killing six and raising further questions about how Amazon protects its workers.
Also in June, Andreessen Horowitz launched its much-discussed Future — a publication that hasn’t yet taken Silicon Valley by storm but has put every venture firm on notice that they need to think about getting in the content business.
We talked about Robinhood’s IPO in July and the rise of meme stocks.
And we discussed how big tech executives don’t seem to want to worry about the present. Jeff Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in July as he spends more time on Blue Origin; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rebranded his company to Meta in October; and Jack Dorsey left behind moderation challenges at Twitter in late November and then renamed his financial services company Square to Block, hoping to emphasize the company’s crypto ambitions.
Finally, Tom, Katie, and Eric offer some predictions for what 2022 holds, though no one seems quite sure after this strange year.
My favorite tech headline aggregator, tweet tracker, and conversation setter — Techmeme — has been generously featuring me on their home page as part of a round-up of interesting tech newsletters. So I wanted to return the favor.
I check Techmeme literally every couple of hours and rely on it to do my job. And in a genuine coincidence, Techmeme served as an easy-to-navigate archive for this week’s podcast.
It’s a free news aggregator for tech industry folks that’s updated constantly to show the most important tech stories of the moment and the commentary surrounding those stories. They also publish a daily newsletter with stories from the past day, which is useful if you forget to visit the site.