Thinks 804

Cory Doctorow: “Here is how platforms die: First, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die. I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a “two-sided market,” where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, hold each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them…Surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they’re locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they’re locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.”

Meritech Capital: “In 2021, private companies were raising at 100x ARR and best-in-class public companies were trading close to 100x NTM (next-twelve-months) revenue. Today’s world couldn’t be more different. Typically, at the beginning of a year we do a post summarizing the characteristics of the past year’s IPOs in an attempt to understand “what it takes to go public”. Because there were zero high-growth SaaS IPOs in 2022 we’ve decided instead to benchmark the high-growth SaaS companies that currently trade at the highest ARR multiples. Our aim is to help CEOs and management teams understand what it takes to earn a premium multiple in the public markets.”

NYTimes: “Advancements in digital advertising technology were meant to improve users’ experience. People interested in shoes are intended to get ads for sneakers and loafers, and not repeated pitches for courses teaching seduction techniques. And the technology is supposed to filter out misleading or dangerous pitches. But lately, on several platforms, the opposite seems to be happening for a variety of reasons, including a slowdown in the overall digital ad market. As numerous deep-pocketed marketers have pulled back, and the softer market has led several digital platforms to lower their ad pricing, opportunities have opened up for less exacting advertisers. “Anytime you lower the barrier to entry, you’re going to get lower-quality entrants,” said Jessica Fong, an assistant marketing professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.”

WSJ: “Generative AI in all its forms will insinuate technology more deeply into the way we live and work than it already is—not just answering our questions but writing our memos and speeches or even producing poetry and art. And because of the financial, intellectual and computational resources needed to develop and run the technology are so enormous, the companies that control these AI systems will be the largest, richest companies…Based on the runaway success of the ChatGPT AI—perhaps the fastest service to reach 100 million users in history, according to a recent UBS report—it’s clear that being an aggressive first mover in this space could matter a great deal. It’s also clear that being a successful first-mover in this space will require the kinds of resources that only the biggest tech companies can muster.”

Fortune has the inside story on ChatGPT: “There have been chatbots before. But not like this. ChatGPT can hold long, fluid dialogues, answer questions, and compose almost any kind of written material a person requests, including business plans, advertising campaigns, poems, jokes, computer code, and movie screenplays. It’s far from perfect: The results are not always accurate; it can’t cite the sources of its information; it has almost no knowledge of anything that happened after 2021. And what it delivers—while often smooth enough to pass muster in a high school class or even a college course—is rarely as polished as what a human expert could produce. On the other hand, ChatGPT produces this content in about a second—often with little to no specific knowledge on the user’s part—and a lot of what it spits out isn’t half bad. Within five days of its release, more than 1 million people had played with ChatGPT, a milestone Facebook took 10 months to hit.” Technology Review has the backstory: “OpenAI’s breakout hit did not come out of nowhere. The chatbot is the most polished iteration to date in a line of large language models going back years.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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