What I’ve Read This Week (June 7 2021 to June 13 2021)

Barrett Swanson writes about the world of TikTok influencers. This is a fascinating looking into this bizarre world of pageantry, depression and anxiety that all of this newly minted could disappear in an instant.

TikTok is a sign of the future, which already feels like a thing of the past. It is the clock counting down our fifteen seconds of fame, the sound the world makes as time is running out.

Patrick Klepek writes about video games developer The Brotherhood based out of South Africa and their new game Beautiful Desolation. The developers talk about how they develop games amidst rolling blackouts.

Rolling power outages are normal for The Brotherhood. One minute, the lights are on. The next, they’re not. It’s a big reason why their games are made using laptops; it allows them to jump from one power source to another, depending on the circumstances. Bischoff actually has an uninterruptible power supply device snuggled under his desk in case of a blackout.

Ben Sandofsky writes about the development of Halide and the business decisions that they made when making the latest version. The delicate balance between switching to a stable recurring revenue business in the form of subscriptions and not pissing off your existing users is a delicate one for iOS developers and Halide seems to have pulled it off. They offered both a pay-once purchase and a recurring subscription which seems to be the way to go.

Let’s talk about the ‘s-word’. How did that go? In brief: good! While subscribers outnumber Pay-Once buyers by almost five to one, Pay-Once revenue makes up 39% of total revenue. We really think that it’s important to cater to a segment of your users that would not even consider a subscription at any cost out of principle.

Geoff Huston explores the largeness of our current centralized internet and if it is necessarily bad for us. Spoiler: Yes, but also it is a little bit more complicated.

But are they necessarily bad? Does the combination of their unprecedented size and clear market dominance lead to business practices that are exploitative of their workforce? Or practices that are exploitative of their consumers? Or behaviours that are corrupt or collusive? Perhaps their size leads to a point of economic fragility where, were these enterprises to fail, other parts of our economy would fail as well, and we would be confronted with yet another major economic crisis with its attendant societal impact? The global financial crisis of 2008 has explored the concept of ‘too big to fail’ in the financial world. Do we have a similar situation with some, or all, of these digital service enterprises?

That’s all from me this week. See y’all next week!