Dopamine fasting is Silicon Valley’s hot new trend. Is it backed by science?
- He’s gotten a number of his clients — many of them Silicon Valley executives — to adopt dopamine fasting, which he says is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an evidence-based treatment approach that helps people change unhelpful ways of thinking that influence their behavior.
- Brewer said he doesn’t question whether Sepah’s proposal is accurately classified as CBT (it is) or whether Sepah is right to say that if we don’t take breaks from overstimulating technologies, we’ll seek out ever-higher doses of stimulation (that’s basic habituation).
- It’s much better, Brewer says, to teach your brain that a given activity — like scrolling through social media for hours on end — is not actually very rewarding.
- “I recommended dopamine fasting be done during nights, weekends, and vacation periods because that’s realistically when people have time to practice,” he told me.
Jeff Bezos asked Michael Bloomberg months ago if he’d consider running for president
- Sometime after Amazon pulled the plug on plans for a New York City headquarters in February of this year, the city’s former Mayor Michael Bloomberg received a call from a top company executive.
- Bezos was calling with a question for his fellow billionaire and media mogul: Would Bloomberg consider entering the 2020 presidential race?
- But he had a question of his own for Amazon’s CEO: Would Bezos reconsider his decision to cancel plans for an Amazon headquarters — dubbed HQ2 — in New York City?
- Now, months later, Bloomberg is in fact on the cusp of entering the race for the Democratic nomination as he’s watched the party’s leading moderate, former Vice President Joe Biden, struggle.
- Some believe a Bloomberg candidacy could actually boost Warren’s chances of landing the nomination by weakening Biden (who top Amazon spokesman Jay Carney once worked for when he was vice president).
The New HBO Max is competing with Netflix by giving you Friends and Game of Thrones for $15 a month
- HBO Max will have plenty of competitors, including Netflix and Apple and Disney’s new streaming services.
- WarnerMedia’s new HBO Max streaming service, which will feature all of HBO’s programming plus new shows, and repeats of old ones like Friends, will launch in May, and cost $15 a month — the same price that the existing HBO service costs.
- It’s facing competition from Netflix, which already has tens of millions of US subscribers, as well as new competitors like Apple and Disney, who have aggressively priced their soon-to-be launched services.
- WarnerMedia hopes to bring in HBO Max subscribers by promoting the stuff they can already get on HBO, plus a combination of old shows like Friends, Big Bang Theory, and South Park.
After a wild 8 years, Facebook’s former VP of communications is switching to venture capital investments
- Longtime Facebook communications VP Caryn Marooney has taken a job as a general partner at Coatue Ventures, which recently launched a $700 million early-stage venture fund.
- Instead of staying in the tech comms world, Marooney is joining the New York-based hedge fund that has branched out to Silicon Valley with growth equity and now venture efforts.
- Coatue Ventures is also adding two other partners: Michael Gillroy, who is coming from the Canaan venture capital firm and will focus on financial tech; and Jamie McGurk, who was previously at Andreessen Horowitz and will build out platform services to portfolio companies in both the growth and venture funds.
- While Coatue Ventures’ fund was only announced in late summer, its earlier growth fund has invested in companies like Snapchat, Spotify, Instacart, and Airtable and has tried to use data analytics to differentiate itself from competitors.
Silicon Valley billionaires keep getting richer no matter how much money they give away
- All but one of the world’s 20 wealthiest tech figures have seen their net worth grow by billions of dollars in 2019, as observed by Business Insider.
- Tech billionaires are under pressure from one another and from activists to give away more of their money earlier in life to solve today’s problems, rather than donating small portions (or not) upon their death to foundations that slowly dole out their money when they can no longer control it.
- Even Bill Gates, whose foundation is seen as the most serious in the world of tech philanthropy and gives away about $5 billion a year in grants, has a net worth that increased by $18 billion in 2019.
- At the time that Allen signed the Giving Pledge, for instance, in 2010, his net worth was only $13.5 billion.
Twitter got rid of political ads. Will it help or hurt social media’s influence on politics?
- Some people consider Dorsey’s move to be a direct response to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has so far very publicly refused to ban or even restrict political ads on his own platform.
- Twitter’s decision felt like an easy thing to do on a relatively small platform that I don’t think of as a place where people serve me a ton of political ads.
- And so for someone to ban political advertising — which has been this week in the news with Mark Zuckerberg saying he would allow politicians to lie — is a big deal.
- Twitter political ads don’t actually seem like they’re that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
- For people like Kara, Twitter’s decision is a big deal because it means Twitter is finally reckoning with its role in democracy, and that might push Facebook to do the same.
Google says it won’t use your Fitbit data to target you with ads. But what else will it do?
- The search giant’s $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit raises questions about data privacy and antitrust.
- Google’s parent company Alphabet announced Friday that it is acquiring wearable smartwatch maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion, marking the search giant’s latest push into the health market.
- Google’s acquisition raises concerns about data privacy for Fitbit users.
- Google acknowledged this potential consumer anxiety in its blog post on the announcement, focusing a significant chunk of the relatively brief statement on trying to ensure the public that it will safeguard people’s Fitbit data.
- A Google spokesperson responded to a request for comment about privacy concerns with a message that mirrored the blog post, saying that the company will “empower Fitbit users to review, move, and delete their data” and that it will provide tools for them to do so.
Sony is closing Vue, its pay TV streaming service you never used
- But here’s news about one streaming service that’s shutting down: Sony’s Playstation Vue, which offered a digital version of the cable TV bundle, will close up shop in January.
- Sony was one of the first so-called “virtual mvpds”: bundles of network programming delivered over the internet that replicate what traditional pay TV distributors like Comcast sell.
- At first, digital TV bundles, which retailed for $20 to $40 a month depending on the channels, seemed like they might be appealing to people who wanted to get live TV but didn’t want to buy it from a traditional cable company, or who had a pay TV subscription but wanted to spend less money.
- Intel did announce plans to launch its own streaming TV service and spent time and money lining up content deals and building hardware for it, and then abandoned its plans.
Can employee activism change Google? Revisiting the employee walkout one year later.
- November 1 marks one year since the Google Walkout For Real Change when nearly 20,000 employees in 50 cities left their offices at exactly 11:10 am around the world in a coordinated protest against the company’s alleged abuse of power.
- Later in the episode, former Google employee Liz Fong-Jones explains why she quit her job as an engineer there, how the organization changed in the 11 years she worked at Google, and what she’s doing now to make sure workers’ voices are actually being heard.
- With the negative press about retaliation at Google, do you think the company is concerned about worker retention?
- I think that that’s going to be the thing that actually causes Google to have to change the way it does business.
Twitter political ads ban policy is here — and it’s already messy
- Twitter says it will allow ads with messages about issues such as civil engagement, the economy, the environment, and social equity, but they can’t advocate for or against a specific political, judicial, legislative, or regulatory outcome related to those matters.
- For-profit organizations — ExxonMobil or Walmart, for example — can run cause-related ads, but they’re not supposed to be ones aimed at driving a political outcome but instead tied to the organization’s “publicly stated values, principles, and/or beliefs.” In other words, Exxon can run an ad showing the benefits of fracking, but they can’t run an ad that promotes a piece of legislation that would allow fracking somewhere.
- For one thing, while Twitter won’t allow ads that advocate for or against a specific political cause, the policy’s a lot squishier about ads containing disinformation.