Three Things (5/15)

Monday, May 15th 2023


New chief at Twitter

Elon Musk announced in a tweet that Linda Yaccarino, former head of global advertising at NBC Universal, will be Twitter’s new Chief Executive Officer. She will work closely with owner Elon Musk, who will be both chief technology officer and executive chairman. 

Yaccarino steps in at a key inflection point for the company. With ad sales struggling, focus will be key in the first 100 days. Balancing the practical needs of the company and the vision of Elon will be a tall order. The Chief Marketing Officer of Forrester thinks this is an ideal hire: “There are very few people who wouldn’t be just seen as a figurehead CEO of Twitter and Linda Yaccarino is one of them…She’s a well-respected force in the industry whose credibility with advertisers speaks for itself.” (Bloomberg)

Financing for Forbes

Austin Russel, the 28-year-old founder of Luminar Technologies, agreed to purchase an 82% stake in the business media outlet, Forbes. The deal values the business at $800 million after terminating an agreement to go public via a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  

Russel joins the ranks of wealthy founders who have acquired news publishing businesses in the last decade (h/t Bezos and Benioff). Leveraging a century old brand and investing resources into technological capabilities to expand profits seems to be the playbook here. We wonder if Russel’s plans are solely economic or if his intentions expand beyond simply growing the business. 

Google AI

Google hosted its annual conference, Google I/O, last week and the focus was clear: artificial intelligence. The company showcased how generative AI can be applied across its offerings and suite of tools (Search, Gmail, Docs, Photos, etc.). Nearly every company harped on a central theme for their go forward AI strategy: responsibility and safety.  

The question we continue to ask ourselves is whether a new challenger or an old incumbent will win the AI arms race. This is a long game and Google’s AI conference, I mean, I/O conference, is a reminder that those with resources and scale may be impossible to compete with.

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