Deplatforming the President

2021 tech birthdays, Teams Forever, and go easy on yourself

It’s been a long and historic week, and there are long weeks to come. If you haven't already, be sure to tell your teams (and yourself!) that another traumatic thing happened to us, and just because that seems normal these days, it's not. It's not okay. Allow yourself to stress and doom-scroll. Allow yourself to unplug. Work may suffer in the coming days and weeks, that's okay.

Last Friday we decided to buy a house, sell our house within 5 days, and I’m writing this from a hotel room where my family is currently doing virtual school + work all week. I called multiple hotels and chose the one with the fastest internet speed, and we currently have 5 people doing Zoom meetings with blazing speeds at a <10% capacity Hyatt Place who cut us a sweet deal. After 10 months of barely leaving the house, this is quite a change.

Lots will be written and analyzed about what happened in the coming decades (and centuries). But a key theme will be the role of social platforms in a democratic and capitalist society. Unchecked power and weak leadership made platforms the catalyst for what culminated this week, and although I’m encouraged by some of their moves, all platforms have a long way to go to contribute more to culture than they take.

Here’s the key stuff I’m tracking this week…

The President is De-Platformed: Trump banned from Facebook indefinitely. Trump suspended indefinitely from Snapchat. Twitter Faces a Trumpless Future. YouTube Restricts Trump. TikTok Removes Trump videos.

Teams Forever: If 2020 was the year of the video meeting, 2021 could be the year when the apps that went mainstream during the crisis cement their position at the center of working life, writes Financial Times. Slack, Zoom, Teams and others are all iterating as they plan for post-pandemic demand and continued use of this software in our workplaces. According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft's chief executive, Teams is on its way to becoming a digital platform as significant as the internet browser, or a computer operating system. And Dell has announced their new monitors will feature a dedicated “Teams button.”

Facebook Pages are Changing: Facebook is introducing a cleaner Pages design for public figures, with a focus on bios, posts, and important info. Comments from Pages will be bumped to the top of the comments section, and users will be able to follow Pages directly from comments and recommendations posts. Facebook is also removing Likes and focusing on Followers to simplify the way people connect with their favorite public figure Pages. Unlike Likes, Followers of a Page represent the people who can receive updates from Pages, which helps give public figures a stronger indication of their fan base. If successful, these changes could come to brand pages, so it’s worth monitoring. Read more here.

Enterprise Software Going Viral? In 2019, The Atlantic wrote about how parents were beginning to use enterprise software and apps like Asana and Trello to assign their children chores. But the latest consumer trend of using enterprise software features teens signing up for Notion project manager accounts! They’re creating Notion boards that mimic Tumblr feeds and making TikToks showing off how they organize school, friends, movies, and more. What’s next, Microsoft Teams?

Recommended Reads of the Week: The Generation that Doesn’t Believe Helen Keller Existed; 13 Times Jon Ossoff Was Such A Millennial On Twitter; Leading Through Anxiety

Instas of the Week: @deuxmoi is a supermarket tabloid-style gossip account almost as good as @weeklyworldnewsofficial.

Tweets of the Week: @stupidgoogiepic features hilarious curated Google Maps images and @every_mtstop shows pics from every Metro Transit bus stop in Minneapolis, updated every half hour.

Quick Hits:

Wanna feel old? Check out these tech birthdays in 2021:

  • TikTok: 3 years

  • Lyft: 9 years

  • Snapchat: 10 years

  • Instagram: 11 years

  • Uber: 12 years

  • Twitter: 15 years

  • YouTube: 16 years

  • Facebook: 17 years

  • Tesla: 18 years

  • Google: 23 years

  • Netflix: 25 years

  • Amazon: 27 years

  • Apple: 45 years

  • Microsoft: 46 years

  • Intel: 53 years

  • HP: 82 years

  • IBM: 110 years

Wow. Time flies. These aren’t exactly “new and emerging” companies. What are the new ones to watch? Look for that hot take here in the next month.

We’re coming up on CES next week, so you’re going to be seeing lots of gadgets and emerging technology buzz in the news. This year I’m attending CES virtually, which will be an experience. Vegas isn’t my favorite, but I’m skeptical about chatting with booth vendors from my hotel couch. But I do love some robots, so I’ll be there.

And just another reminder: the next two weeks will be filled with history — good and bad. Go easy on yourself and your people. 2021 only happens once.

See you on the internet!
Greg