Trump Jr. and Wikileaks had a DM party
Honestly, 2017 is starting to feel like a parody future out of Silicon Valley but here we are: The Atlantic has uncovered that Donald Trump Jr. have been DMing (Direct Messaging) on Twitter about the 2016 election.
Yes, Wikileaks, once the bastion of transparency, was quite literally asking Trump Jr. to leak information to them via Twitter DMs - which is a bizarre turn of events. Behold, this message that arrived mid-2016:
“Hey Don. We have an unusual idea,” WikiLeaks wrote on October 21, 2016. “Leak us one or more of your father’s tax returns.” WikiLeaks then laid out three reasons why this would benefit both the Trumps and WikiLeaks.
...wow! Trump Jr. replied a handful of times but stopped when Wikileaks escalated its pushing for leaking documents and collaborating - but despite the non-response Wikileaks continued to prod him:
Shortly after midnight [on election day], when it was clear that Trump had beaten all expectations and won the presidency, WikiLeaks sent him a simple message: “Wow.”
As WIRED writes, this shouldn't be surprising, but it is weird to see it in action despite Wikileaks' Twitter account acting like a political troll over the last few years. The beautiful irony of all of this is that Twitter, at one point, almost killed direct messages.
Softbank's awkward Uber investment
SoftBank is throwing its money around lately and Uber is now no exception: the board has approved a $1 billion investment in the company as well as a offer to buy up to $9 billion in shares from early investors -- making them liquid for the first time.
The awkward part of this deal is the bizarre PR angling from both sides... and the fact that the deal isn't actually done yet - it's just been agreed that the deal can be done:
"After a long and arduous process of several months it looks like Uber and its shareholders have agreed to commence with a tender process and engage with SoftBank. By no means is our investment decided. We are interested in Uber but the final deal will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding for SoftBank [...]"
So: the deal isn't actually done, despite the numbers being publicly thrown around. What's interesting is this deal is specifically focused on helping early employees and others cash out, something which is being encouraged heavily.
Uber was founded in 2009, which means many early employees (yes, including Travis) and investors have had value locked up for almost ten years without being able to get liquid - and many have stuck around at the company as a result.
Of note is that the deal is also structured to specifically reduce Travis' influence over the company and his ability to control the board -- by letting him cash out on a lot of his equity.
Generally speaking, the primary way to get liquid is to go public but that comes with new issues: needing to please an entire new class of investors every quarter. Uber, unlike many companies, was always structured in a way that it is able to defer this for as long as possible to retain control.
If the deal goes through (it almost certainly will) Softbank will be Uber's largest investor, which would help it maintain its valuation and give it a lot more time to get into the black before having to go public.
Nintendo Switch gets streaming apps
Look, this is minor news but I mostly wanted an excuse to say that I recently gave into the hype and got a Nintendo Switch -- it might be one of my favorite hardware products ever. Being able to play Zelda on the go, then just dock and keep playing on the TV is magic and streaming services on this mean it's also the ultimate entertainment device. I should write more about how Nintendo nailed this in the future.
Amazon is turning Lord of the Rings into a TV show
I can't decide if this is a good or bad thing but hey, it's happening.
A fun explanation of Kubernetes
If you've heard about the 'developers best friend' but never really understood it (like me) this fun comic by Bloomberg explains why it's such a big deal.