Photo by Ishant Mishra on Unsplash
👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.
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🔌 My latest story, out Thursday: Cash May Be King in India, but Google Is Prince of Mobile Payments.
TLDR: India is the world’s biggest untapped market for digital payments. Google – known for its search business, not mobile money – is showing surprising momentum.
The story begins:
"The leading player in the battle for mobile payments in India isn’t either of China’s pioneers, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd. It isn’t Apple Inc., Visa Inc. or even PayPal Holdings Inc. It’s Google.
The Alphabet Inc. unit has for years tried to diversify its revenues beyond advertising by pushing into new fields like cloud computing and hardware. While its profits remain healthy, it needs new ways to make money as the specter of regulation looms at home and around the globe. Its booming new business in the world’s largest untapped digital market could be the engine of expansion that it has been looking for."
🎙️ I discussed the story on Friday’s edition of our “Your Money Briefing” podcast. You can listen or download it via Apple Podcasts and other platforms here.
Here are ten items worth your time this week:
⚠️ 1) There were two important and engaging tech stories from my WSJ colleagues this week. The first, by Dana Mattioli: Amazon Changed Search Algorithm in Ways That Boost Its Own Products [WSJ]
“Amazon.com Inc. has adjusted its product-search system to more prominently feature listings that are more profitable for the company, said people who worked on the project—a move, contested internally, that could favor Amazon’s own brands.”
👀 2) And the second, by Eliot Brown: How Adam Neumann’s Over-the-Top Style Built WeWork. ‘This Is Not the Way Everybody Behaves.’ [WSJ]
“Mr. Neumann muses about the implausible: becoming leader of the world, living forever, amassing more than $1 trillion in wealth. Partying has long been a feature of his work life, heavy on the tequila.”
“As I learned on his birthday, my son had decided three things about smartphones. 1. They’re infantilizing, a set of digital apron strings meant to attach you to your mother. (He was onto something there.) 2. They compromise a boy’s resourcefulness because kids come to rely on the GPS instead of learning Scout skills. 3. They make people trivial.”
⌛ 4) Can We Slow Down Time in the Age of TikTok? [New York Times]
“There is no Soylent version of thought and reflection – creativity is unpredictable, and it simply takes time.”
📸 5) An iPhone 11 Pro Review For Dogs (And Their Owners) [Buzzfeed News]
“I take more pictures of my dogs than I do of my kids. I feel no guilt in saying this. My dogs are often a lot more entertaining than my kids, who spend a lot of time doing homework and don’t have an irrational fear of Amazon boxes, large bags, or the wind. ”
🎧 6) The 100 best albums of the 21st century [The Guardian]
“We polled 45 music writers to rank the definitive LPs of the 21st century so far.”
🎬 7) The signature film of every major city [YardBarker]
“Even if you’re a casual movie fan, it’s impossible to visit a major city and not conjure the memory of a favorite movie that was shot there. ”
🌍 8) Music from Saharan Cellphones [Sahel Sounds/Bandcamp]
“Music from Saharan cellphones is a compilation of music collected from memory cards of cellular phones in the Saharan desert.”
🕹️ 9) USA PIXELART!! A map of the U.S. done in video game style, by Pixeldance. [Deviant Art]
🍪 BONUS CANINE CONTENT: @MeCookieMonster and a puppy – it just doesn’t get any cuter than this! [Twitter: @sesamestreet]
📖 Book I’m Currently Reading
“The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age,” by James Crabtree. Very much enjoying it.
💡 Quote of the week:
“The only interesting ideas are heresies” – Susan Sontag
👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,