In this episode I cover the WeWork/Meetup/Softbank world domination saga, the sad state of affairs of online journalism, and has Apple had enough of Electron?

Questions for you:

  1. Who should buy Meetup?
  2. Should we all produce less content?
  3. Will Apple only allow users to install from the App store in the future?

Let me know at:


Welcome to the weekly squeak, your weekly geeky squeak with me. Chris Chinchilla, just a short episode this week. I have some interviews in process, but none quite ready and I want to keep the momentum going because I feel like I’ve lost a little bit over the past few weeks and I want to make sure I sort of get back into it. [00:00:23] So let’s start with just a handful of small links and ins updates, and then I will see you next week. So my first article is from the Columbia journalist review by Daniel Tavor of, and this is about Newsweek, or I liked the title, sort of, although it necessarily, um, kind of relate to what the body of the subject is about. [00:00:44] Really. Maybe, I’m not sure. Um, dropshipping journalism. Um, it’s sort of about Newsweek and about how the quality of journalism and Newsweek has rapidly declined. All the pressure on journalists has forced the quality to decline, uh, kind of rush for the clicks, the rush for headlines that are controversial, the rush for pumping out as much content as possible and where it does quality long form researched content fit into all that. [00:01:13] The article is interesting. I mean, it’s about a specific publication and it is also most specifically about the website. The magazine is a little different, although there is some coverage on the magazine and it has suffered as well. The interesting thing I found here, and this is not a new story, I’ve, I’ve read this before about other publications. [00:01:33] Is that the owners of lots of old, um, publications in the past few years have kind of become more obsessed with data and metrics and not necessarily from publishers. They’re from, I don’t know, uh, investors. They’re from, um, venture capital companies. They’re from marketing companies. They’re, they’re people who are obsessed with the data. [00:01:53] And I suppose online journalism has allowed us to be obsessed with the data, possibly to a point of extreme. And I suppose this, this tickled something in my mind because. And I don’t work for Newsweek. Uh, of course, I don’t work for anything nearly as repeatable. Although if you read the article, maybe you would wonder if actually are not that different. [00:02:16] And especially that there’s some of the technical content and some of the technical sites I’ve written for it, she paid better than the sites like Newsweek. Um, and this is also not a new phenomenon. Even big technical publications or tech news publications, as I like to call them. Pay less than some of the more technical outlets. [00:02:33] I tend to write for them, which is why I do it that, to be honest with you, but I suppose this is great rush for content and I’m contributing to it myself. I’ve had a lot of work recently doing marketing blogs. I’ve started to wind it down a bit. So it was, my wife said, as many people I know, this constant rush to pump out as much content as possible. [00:02:51] And what is it doing to the internet, to writers, to the value of writers. The more we create, the less valuable they become, of course. And how do we stop. The, the, the, the training, the ship, and now it’s in momentum. If everyone is just racing with each other, stick out to compete on cost, quantity of content, not necessarily quality. [00:03:14] How do we stop it? Ah, it’s like the, Whoa, it’s very reflective actually, of a sort of microcosm of the economy itself. This constant rush for growth and we kind of know it’s hurting us, but how do we stop? You kind of need everyone stop and that’s hard to coordinate. So, yes, this is an article specifically about this fact at Newsweek, but it triggers me to think about this a lot, and maybe I will, if I ever get time, write more about this subject, uh, just to add to the noise out there. [00:03:44] Of course. Yeah. And, uh, I mean, this is, this is a whole thing. We like to have our opinions. It kind of told this is what we should do now. But there’s so much of it. How do we all, as we all compete, yes. Had we all compete for hearts, for minds, for revenue, it is very, very difficult. And in all this maelstrom, where is the space for the long research piece that people are trying to write books that take months to write the longterm research pieces that are getting harder and harder to fill in sand outlets? [00:04:12] Where will it all end? Aye. You know answers in an email or in a tweet or in a blog post if you like. Please, you can find more details at dot com slash contact next, a a few articles around the subject of SoftBank and we work. I think I started this story last week, but I have been keeping an eye on SoftBank for some time. [00:04:31] I’ve always been somewhat skeptical of the company. This is particularly an article on vice from Edward . How SoftBank. Well, how soft, how we works in, Oh, maybe I should just read the title. We went to implosion. That shows how SoftBank is breaking the world, and this is something that I have always found interesting in why, and no one has really noticed what SoftBank was doing before they invest in lots of companies, lots of big companies that have not really made money, and seemingly the owner has limitless pockets. [00:05:00] There’s actually a quote in the article. About how he just doesn’t actually seem to care if these companies lose money, which is kind of crazy. I still don’t entirely understand. They, SoftBank got their money from in the first place and why it’s near limitless. But I suppose if Uber collapses, you have lots of empty vehicles and lots of, um, suddenly. [00:05:22] Unemployed, although of course there’s the argument whether they’re employed anyway, drivers, if we work implodes, you have lots of empty real estate. Um, I actually almost feel it was something that popped into my mind over the past couple of weeks that if we were types is, um. It could actually be the trigger for a recession that is due to come because they have so much empty real estate. [00:05:43] Then, I don’t know. Uh, there’s also a lot of demand for real estate too. Maybe that will get filled very quickly. Who knows? But it was something that was concerning to me. And he often, the triggers can come from the strangest places, but, um, if, if something has become what we work is not, it’s not something that you could argue is to become too big to fail. [00:05:59] Not really. But, um, if something very big fails and it can cause a vacuum that is a programmatic vacuum. And I suppose the question is, ah, how did we let this happen? How’d we get so excited about these companies? How, how does the, it actually relates a little bit to the last story. This constant quest for growth, uh, that we constantly have has, um. [00:06:21] Caused all sorts of, um, all sorts of, yeah. Problems I guess. And the article also poses a question that, uh, that a lot of these companies talk about chaining for positivity and these sorts of things. And I don’t if anyone ever really thought that, uh, Uber or we work, we’re really doing that. [00:06:36] But that’s the mantra that they, they push and promote. Um, and why should we believe them when basically they have no motivation to actually make money compared to their competitors because of this bank rolling. But when the cards are on the table, when it comes to something like an IPO. Then we suddenly realized how bad it really was, and it calls you the jitters all throughout the system. [00:06:57] And the article does dig into how SoftBank continues to make money anyway, and they actually doing on loan refinancing, which is a horrible business. They actually make money out of other people defaulting on loans and then use that to, ironically. Fund projects that probably also need loans. I’m not sure if that’s part of the model, but anyway, any article also digs into some of my other issues, especially with we work in that they branded themselves as this very disruptive business when really they weren’t that just a real estate business, but also that they took over lots of other companies, um, who they are now. [00:07:28] Also kind of burying along with them and more of that in a minute. And thus bringing down other companies that were doing just fine. I suppose they didn’t have to accept the, uh, the take of takeover bits, I guess would be the argument there and causing a bigger implosion all because they just had this lots of money that they really didn’t have to worry too much about a venture capital. [00:07:49] Is I think has been a somewhat broken model for some time. Interestingly, I was having this discussion with some people this week in that there are actually plenty of, of pretty good tech companies that do just a riot. They’re not huge. They’re not, uh, constantly pushing. They’re not making billions, but they do all right. [00:08:07] They have a good number of employees. He plays a happy, they put out good products, companies like 37 signals who make base camp, who have for many years. Done this and you don’t hear about them very much because they don’t have crazy news to share, but they are still there. They are still ticking along. [00:08:21] We have a really hear about disease. One’s making these giant kind of splashes and crashes and maybe that’s something else we should do. Maybe we should focus more on the companies just doing a good job. I didn’t relate to news is now an article by Alex Lee on wired. About meetup, one of we work’s acquisitions. [00:08:39] It made a lot of sense at the time. Uh, we work had a network of offices that people could use to run their meetups. It kind of seemed like a match made in heaven, and you can actually go back. I’ll post a link in the show notes to an interview we did with Scott, one of the founders of meetup before they were bought actually, so pre 2017, I guess. [00:08:59] I think maybe just a few months before actually, it seemed like a really interesting match. Um, and for a period of time it worked quite well. We didn’t, we worked in, really changed, meet up very much. But I guess the, the, the woes of the parent company, you have bought woes on the child company, um, meet-up increased their fees again recently. [00:09:20] In fact, in that interview we discussed how business model, it’s kind of interesting that people who do all the work pay them money. Uh, and I see this as a constant point of friction. And when meetup organizers ask people to pay or commit, because a lot of people who attend meet up do not realize that people actually have to pay to host meetups. [00:09:38] And sometimes there is a little bit of a lack of respect there because they don’t realize this. And the prices just went up. Basically, the more popular your group is, the more you have to pay, but the more popular your group is, it’s not necessarily reflect. You’re making any kind of revenue out of it. [00:09:52] Getting sponsorship from meetups is quite difficult, and just because you have a large group of members doesn’t even mean people come to the groups. So it’s kind of a complex business model. And apparently meet up. He’s going up for sale again, um, and has laid off 25% of his workforce. I’m possibly of the opinion that they should just maybe spin out independently again. [00:10:12] Um, but I don’t know if that would really help their financial issues. I am not sure how well they were doing back then anyway. I don’t know if there’s any other obvious people to take it over. Um, possibly. Actually, this is going to be an interesting one. The LinkedIn, LinkedIn started doing their own form of, uh, events recently. [00:10:32] I haven’t seen the picture pop up, but, um, but there was more for business events and whereas meetup does have this kind of aspect of, uh, what not just business event. You have gaming events, which I go to a lot, social events or these sorts of things. The other obvious one would be Facebook. I don’t know if anyone would want that to happen. [00:10:50] The meet up is nice, independent, maybe event bright, so now here’s a few people that could buy meetup, but actually being independent would probably be more interesting and better and less controversial and concerning. If you refer back to the article I was just talking about, we work also acquired a few other companies or what happened to them remains to be seen. [00:11:10] Of course. I don’t really know how much that we were acquisition help to meet up, to be honest with you. Um, I found the fact that you were able to hire rooms that we were never very helpful. I could never find anything available on the days I wanted it available despite Berlin having five. We works, I think, um, or, yeah, and even then we did run them. [00:11:31] Getting in and out of the buildings was insanely complicated. You kind of needed someone who was a member there really. So I don’t know how much benefit it brought to them, possibly something they regret now, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Again, if you have any ideas on the future of meetup, then please let me know at dot com slash contact or on Facebook, Chella and finally a bit of a niche topic for me, nine to five Mac. [00:11:59] So this is obviously a Mack article. By Benjamin myo. Apple is rejecting electronic-based based applications from the app store. I have predicted this would come, I don’t think I’ve vocally predicted it for some time. Apple is getting stricter and stricter with what it lets in to the Mac app store. [00:12:16] And with the advent of catalyst disability to create a Mako MCOs, versions of, of iPad applications. I kind of saw this coming electron, if you don’t know, is a way of creating native in quote, very heavy quote Mark applications from web technologies. So Slack is a sort of an electron application. [00:12:36] Um, that’s probably the most famous one. Lots of chat applications actually are. Electron has got better, but it still has its problems. And it can be very memory heavy applications and CPU heavy applications. If people like Slack do a good job of porting, then it can be okay. But a lot of people just whack it in an electron shell and off you go. [00:12:55] So there’s a lot of bad applications made possible by electron. So again, what this will mean, what this will lead to, who knows whether they there. The highlighting certain API APIs, but it’s an automated system, so it’s not very subtle, but of course it requires the electronic community to, to do the work, to, to remove the API as that Apple wants out and whether the community will do that is of course, another question. [00:13:25] And whether there will be a constant kind of arms race between Apple and the electron community. Where the Apple will continually push people to use catalyst instead, which so far the results have applications made with the catalyst have not been great. So there’s not a tremendous amount of motivation there. [00:13:41] I checked out the Twitter version Amond straight back to two. Terrific. It really was pretty shonky. I think the concern here, the growing concern of a lot of macro S users, especially users like myself, is, is just the beginning of other trends. Um, at the moment, does it matter because you could install the application from somewhere else. [00:14:00] You could just download it from the company’s website. That will they come a time when you can’t do that. And that is a bigger concern to many people. If everything has to go through the app store, the slows down development, it means certain applications will be harder to develop. And it’s walled garden that Apple is famous for, will slowly but surely come to the macaronis and possibly kill it. [00:14:23] So who knows? That was my links for the week. A few small events to tell you about. Oh beans cotton next week from the 12th to the 14th, running some meetups in the, the, the traditional meaning of the sentence. Um, if you’re into tech communications and down there come say hi. Uh, I will be at data natives here in Berlin and running a site event with the theme foundation actually on the 19th of November and in am going back to five G tech victory in Riga. [00:14:54] From the 27th to the 29th of November to hear all about progress or lack there of 5G. Check out those at one other quick thing on to tell you about a few things to promote. I have been working on my second book. It’s coming along nicely, a bit behind schedule of course, but it’s still coming along nicely. [00:15:16] But I may little interactive role play game sometime back that I forgot to tell anyone about. This is based on my one day the world ended world, I suppose, where the world ends for some random reason and it allows kind of experimentation around what came next. I made a little sort of, uh, every session is unique, raw play game. [00:15:35] Uh, it’s on itch. You can find it on. Only have one project there at the moment. Basically, it’s an app with some very simple rules. You generate a random reason why the world ended. You generate a random world that comes next, and some random players and the players have to discover how the world ended. [00:15:56] Um, as sort of a, something of a sandbox game, fairly simple. Um, if any of that sounds appealing, then check it out, it’s pay what you feel, uh, but all, what do you feel appreciated. That is the weakest week for another week. I will have a few, have a few interviews scheduled coming up very soon. [00:16:14] Um, interviews with actually some projects by some ex Uber engineers, a, an APM monitoring application monitoring project. Also with Grafana and a whole bunch of other people coming up very soon. So until next time, if you have been, thank you very much for listening.