Aldo's Notes 2020 05 22

The One with Facebook and Giphy, the Passion Economy, the Inside Story of Instagram, Rogen moves to Spotify, PR and traditional media, time spent on social media.

Hello World

this week:

Facebook buys GIPHY

Facebook has announced to have acquired GIPHY for a reported $400M price tag.

GIPHY is to become part of the Instagram team.

GIPHY bills itself as a platform to make everyday conversations more entertaining.

It does so by having a huge library of GIFs created by its users through the app.

Facebook claims all functionality for the API and the users will remain untouched.


How the Passion Economy will disrupt [a lot of] industries

I have been reading a fascinating essay from Li Jin.

It’s part 1 (can’t wait for the next part) of a deep dive into the impact that ‘passion’ projects can have on established industries such as ‘media, education, and countless other industries’.

Li defines the Passion Economy as “New digital platforms enable people to earn a livelihood in a way that highlights their individuality. These platforms give providers greater ability to build customer relationships, increased support in growing their businesses, and better tools for differentiating themselves from the competition. In the process, they’re fueling a new model of internet-powered entrepreneurship.”

An example is online teachers using platforms such as Outschool or gamers streaming on Twitch and making a living out of it.

The analysis of the impact on other industries is through the lens of Clayton Christensen's disruption theories.

In this context, disruption can be:

  • new-market disruption, creating consumption by currently non-consuming users

  • low-end disruption, targeting over-served customers and offering a simpler (maybe cheaper) product which does without the unnecessary bells and whistles

The Passion Economy allows ‘workers’ to disrupt industries by taking on non-production.

Interests and skills previously under-monetized and under-utilized can now thrive thanks to the emergence of new business models.

The elimination of intermediaries and of friction in payments systems allows individuals to receive income directly from users of their product.

From a consumer’s perspective, the Passion Economy allows individuals to access a type of product that was previously likely too expensive or too comprehensive.

Think of the cost and amount of content provided by a subscription to The Wall Street Journal and similar titles. Now there are a number of individuals publishing high-quality research/analysis with a much more narrow focus on a specific subject for a fraction of the price.

At first glance, some of the disruptive offerings may seem to lack the quality of the incumbents.

What matters is that, for a portion of the users, the disruptive product excels in certain characteristics that are important to them while lacking in other characteristics that are not as important.

Below is a chart from Li Jin’s newsletter with examples of incumbents and disruptors in various industries.

What I find fascinating is that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are ‘incumbents’ ready to be disrupted.


The inside story of Instagram

I have just finished reading ‘No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram’ by Sarah Frier.

I strongly recommend the book to anyone interested in social media and the impact it has on our lives.

It chronicles the genesis and rise of Instagram from a simple app to the cultural juggernaut that it is today.

What adds a further layer of intrigue is the relationship between Instagram and Facebook after the acquisition of the former by the latter.

Not only that, the relationship between two very different founders and two very different company cultures.

It’s a story of conflict and compromises between idealistic beginnings and the gritty reality of belonging to a public company.

With material sourced from hundreds of interviews, it’s a fascinating insight into the inner workings of Silicon Valley.

Must read.

No Filter, the unfiltered story of instagram

Rogan moves to Spotify

Major news from the world of podcasting.

Joe Rogan is moving to Spotify.

From September 1st the podcast will be available on Spotify and all other platforms.

From the end of the year though, all the content will be available exclusively on Spotify as part of a licensing deal that The Wall Street Journal reports as being worth more than $100 million.

Announcement: the podcast is moving to @spotify!
Starting on September 1 the podcast will be available on Spotify as well as all platforms, and then at the end of the year it will move exclusively to Spotify, including the video version.
It will remain FREE, and it will be the exact same show. It’s just a licensing deal, so Spotify won’t have any creative control over the show. They want me to just continue doing it the way I’m doing it right now.
We will still have clips up on YouTube but full versions of the show will only be on Spotify after the end of the year.
I’m excited to have the support of the largest audio platform in the world and I hope you folks are there when we make the switch!
May 19, 2020

This announcement has major implications for the future of podcasting.

Platform exclusivity goes against the (up until now) openness of podcasting as a medium.

A great take on the topic can be found on ‘The open podcast ecosystem is dying — here’s how to save it.’ by Nathan Baschez.


PR on Traditional Media not as good as it used to be?

An interesting tweet from Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of Coinbase.

Essentially he is saying that the effort made by companies to get their message across traditional media is not worth what it was a few years ago.

The atomization of audiences and the availability of owned-digital channels points to a world where it is much more effective to broadcast the company’s message on YouTube/podcast and other channels.

Some major publishers are still able to move sizeable audiences, still important especially for smaller companies, but many publishers no longer have the clout to influence destinies.


Instagram, Snapchat leave Facebook behind

eMarketer is forecasting that the COVID-19-influenced growth of social networks will benefit Instagram and Snapchat more than Facebook.

The most recent update of the forecast sees Instagram adding more time spent by users than Snapchat while Facebook lags behind.

Facebook is still leading with 34 minutes of average daily usage by US users.

Instagram is now estimated to be at nearly 30 minutes while Snapchat is at 29.5 minutes.

In other words, the gap is narrowing.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat: Growth in Average Time Spent per Day by US Social Network Users, 2020 (% change, Nov 2019 vs. April 2020)

Have a great week!

Aldo Mencaraglia