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Journalism Newley's Notes

NN201: Newest Page One Story — Podcast Appearance — 1 Billion Surveillance Cams — Bonus Puppy Content

2019 12 04wsjpage1

Sent as an email newsletter December 9, 2019.

👋 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.

📬 Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

Apologies for NN’s absence last week. After an enjoyable Thanksgiving…your faithful correspondent promptly fell ill. But I’m back now!

✍️ I’m proud to say I had another page one story (the second in a week’s time, following my piece on lending apps), this one out on Wednesday. The headline: U.S. Tech Giants Bet Big on India. Now It’s Changing the Rules.

And the first few grafs:

NEW DELHI – After Walmart Inc. sealed a $16 billion deal last year to buy India’s biggest domestic e-commerce startup, it got some bad news. India was changing its e-commerce regulations.

Foreign-owned online retailers would need to modify their supply chains and stop deep discounting. Those rules didn’t apply to Indian companies.

India, the world’s biggest untapped digital market, has suddenly become a much tougher slog for American and other international players.

It’s not just Walmart, but also the likes of Amazon, Google, and Facebook’s WhatsApp that are facing shifting regulatory sands.

Please give it a read.

📹 Meanwhile, my colleague Liza Lin and I had a story out Friday that has captured a lot of attention (it was even shared on Twitter by Marco Rubio. The headline: A World With a Billion Cameras Watching You Is Just Around the Corner. It begins:

As governments and companies invest more in security networks, hundreds of millions more surveillance cameras will be watching the world in 2021, mostly in China, according to a new report.

The report, from industry researcher IHS Markit, to be released Thursday, said the number of cameras used for surveillance would climb above 1 billion by the end of 2021. That would represent an almost 30% increase from the 770 million cameras today. China would continue to account for a little over half the total.

Fast-growing, populous nations such as India, Brazil and Indonesia would also help drive growth in the sector, the report said.

🎧 Other news: I was on the latest edition of the excellent Asia Matters podcast. In an episode called “What China’s ambitions tell us about tech in Asia,” I joined my ex-WSJ colleague Andrew Peaple and Julian Gewirtz of Harvard to share my perspective from India.

You can listen here, or search for “Asia Matters” on Spotify or in your favorite podcast app.

Okay – enough self-promotion. On to this week’s links…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

📈 1) Google Management Shuffle Points to Retreat From Alphabet Experiment [WSJ]

“Sundar Pichai’s appointment this week as chief executive of Google parent Alphabet Inc. effectively shifts the focus back on the company’s advertising profit machine and away from its “moonshots” and other potential new businesses.”

👓 2) Warby Parker Wants to Be the Warby Parker of Contacts [Bloomberg]

“At $440 for a year’s supply, the lenses will be slightly cheaper than many daily contacts but will be sold with what Warby says will be a much improved ordering process.”

⛺ 3) How Hipcamp Became the Airbnb of the Outdoors [New Yorker]

“Alyssa Ravasio, Hipcamp’s founder and C.E.O., is not a purist. For her, camping is a leisure activity, an escape valve, a business opportunity, a wealth-redistribution system, and a political strategy: an avenue to environmental awareness, engagement, even activism.”

🍎 4) Apple worth more than US stock index’s energy sector [Financial Times]

“Apple is now worth more than all large-cap US energy stocks put together.”

🧘 5) Buddhism scholars: Meditation apps are fueling tech addiction, not easing stress [Fast Company]

“…Buddhist apps, rather than curing the anxiety created by our smartphones, just make us more addicted to them and, in the end, even more stressed.”

🏎️ 6) These Guys Just Drove an E63 AMG Across America in a Record 27 Hours 25 Minutes [Road & Track]

“After leaving the Red Ball garage on the east side of Manhattan at 12:57 a.m. on November 10, it took Toman, Tabbutt and Chadwick 27 hours and 25 minutes to reach the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, in L.A.’s South Bay. In a car.”

💾 7) Version Museum [VersionMuseum]

“A visual history of your favorite technology.”

🗺️ 8) Map: The most common last name in every country [Reddit]

🏈 9) Sad/heartwarming dog-related story of the week: This college football player lost his parents before Senior Day, but he didn’t walk out alone [CBS News]

“A Michigan State University football player whose parents died before Senior Day walked out with his adopted dogs onto the field for the occasion.”

🐶 10) Dog-related video of the week: This is the most Indian photo bomb [Twitter: @Tim_Kimber]

💡 Quote of the week:

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Raymond Chandler

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 189: Our Amazon-Gojek Scoop; Spying via LinkedIn; Mr. Bubz Anniversary

2019 09 02clouds

The latest edition of my email newsletter has gone out to subscribers. It’s pasted in below. To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox, sign up here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief – and few people unsubscribe!

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

🔌 🍨 My latest scoop, with my colleagues Julie Steinberg and Jon Emont, is about Amazon and Gojek in Indonesia. The story, out Wednesday, begins:

Amazon.com Inc. Indonesian ride-hailing startup Gojek Group have held preliminary talks on a partnership, according to people familiar with the matter, which could expand the online retail giant’s services into a populous new market.

The companies have discussed an arrangement by which Amazon would make a sizable investment in Gojek and tap into the Jakarta-based company’s delivery infrastructure in Indonesia, one of the people said.

Click thorough to read the rest. Bloomberg and Reuters, among others, followed with pieces of their own.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇨🇳 1) How China Uses LinkedIn to Recruit Spies Abroad [New York Times]

“‘Instead of dispatching spies to the U.S. to recruit a single target, it’s more efficient to sit behind a computer in China and send out friend requests to thousands of targets using fake profiles.’”

🚓 2) You can now find out if Amazon’s Ring has partnered with your local police [CNET]

“Ring has released an official map detailing every police department that’s partnered with it, showing how widely and rapidly it’s been cozying up to law enforcement. ”

📱 3) Google unearths 2-year iPhone spyware attack [Financial Times]

“Apple’s prized reputation for protecting its customers’ security and privacy has taken another hit, with the discovery that iPhone owners were susceptible to more than a dozen software vulnerabilities for at least two years.”

🌯 4) Kiwibots win fans at UC Berkeley as they deliver fast food at slow speeds [SF Chronicle]

“The Kiwibots do not figure out their own routes. Instead, people in Colombia, the home country of Chavez and his two co-founders, plot ‘waypoints’ for the bots to follow, sending them instructions every five to 10 seconds on where to go.”

🍎 5) Apple Opens Door to iPhone Repairs by More Outside Vendors [WSJ]

“Apple Inc. is launching a new product-repair program in the U.S. in which independent businesses can repair Apple products using the same parts and tools as the company’s authorized service providers.”

🆕 And: “Separately, Apple said Thursday it plans to host a Sept. 10 event at the Steve Jobs Theater on its corporate campus, where it is widely expected to unveil products including three new iPhone models.

🌐 6) Startups’ new frontier: Optimizing your friendships [Axios]

“Now ‘personal CRM,’ which applies the same techniques to personal relationships, has become one of the hottest app categories in Silicon Valley…”

🧬 7) Search For ‘Gay Genes’ Comes Up Short In Large New Study [NPR]

“A huge new study finds a faint hint of genetic variation that may be linked to same-sex behavior. The study broadly reinforces the observation that both biology and a person’s environment influence sexuality, but the results reveal very little about that biology.”

🎼 8) The Ultimate List of Work and Study Music [LifeHacker]

“Here are some of my greatest sources of background music for work, studying, and creativity.”

🌌 9) The Complete Galactic Plane: Up and Down [Astronomy Picture of the Day]

“Is it possible to capture the entire plane of our galaxy in a single image? Yes, but not in one exposure – and it took some planning to do it in two.”

🐺 10) 1 year later and Mr Bubz is still the greatest video to ever hit the internet [Twitter: @elvishpresley]

💡 Quote of the week:

“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.” – Truman Capote

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Categories
Journalism Tech

Amazon Holds Talks With Indonesian Ride-Hailing Startup Gojek

2019 08 29amazon gojek

That’s the headline on my newest story, out yesterday, a scoop with my colleagues Julie Steinberg and Jon Emont.

It begins:

Amazon.com Inc. and Indonesian ride-hailing startup Gojek Group have held preliminary talks on a partnership, according to people familiar with the matter, which could expand the online retail giant’s services into a populous new market.

The companies have discussed an arrangement by which Amazon would make a sizable investment in Gojek and tap into the Jakarta-based company’s delivery infrastructure in Indonesia, one of the people said.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.” A spokesman for Gojek didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

There is no guarantee a deal will result.

Click through to read the rest.

The story was followed by Bloomberg and Reuters.

Categories
Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 180: Streaming Video Wars; Apple’s Privacy Push; YouTube Under Fire; Silly Dogs in Churches

2019 06 10landscape

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

🆕 My latest story, which came out Tuesday, is about the streaming video wars here in India.

🎥 The headline: Netflix and Amazon Trail a Local Video Rival in India That’s Now Disney-Owned. It begins:

To win in India, home to many of the world’s next billion internet users, Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are copying the tactics of a video-streaming service built for the local market.

Hotstar dominates the Indian market. Launched four years ago by media conglomerate Star India as a mobile-first streaming platform for watching cricket, movies and TV, it now has 300 million monthly users – roughly 10% more than YouTube, India’s second-biggest video content platform. While only three million users pay for access, that is still more than Amazon has, and more than twice as many as Netflix. Walt Disney Co. now owns Hotstar.

Netflix and Amazon, shut out of China and facing stiff competition in the maturing U.S. market, are adopting the strategies that fueled Hotstar’s success – low prices that the average Indian viewer can afford and loads of local content in multiple Indian languages.

Click through to read the rest.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🔒 1) Apple Touts New Privacy Features Amid Scrutiny of Tech Giants [WSJ]

My colleague Tripp Mickle reports from Apple’s annual software developers’ conference:

“Apple Inc. sought to tout itself as a digital-privacy crusader with an anonymous login system and tools that prevent apps from tracking a user’s location, a push that is designed to further differentiate it from Google and Facebook Inc., which have built their fortunes on tracking user activity and behavior.”

🍎 Other new Apple stuff, via my colleague David Pierce:

  • There’s a new iPad OS
  • The iPad is getting copy-and-paste, and thumb drive capability
  • Mac is retiring the iTunes app
  • Apple Watch is getting an app store
  • There’s a new Mac Pro starting at…$6,000

🚫 2) YouTube just banned supremacist content, and thousands of channels are about to be removed [The Verge]

“YouTube is changing its community guidelines to ban videos promoting the superiority of any group as a justification for discrimination against others based on their age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, the company said today. ”

🎙️ 3) Related: The Making of a YouTube Radical [New York Times]

“The radicalization of young men is driven by a complex stew of emotional, economic and political elements, many having nothing to do with social media. But critics and independent researchers say YouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos with exposure and advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens.”

🌊 4) Towing an Iceberg: One Captain’s Plan to Bring Drinking Water to 4 Million People [Bloomberg Businessweek]

“Making use of his unusual skill set, he plans to harness and tow an enormous Antarctic iceberg to South Africa and convert it into municipal water.”

🌷 5) Post-it note war over flowers deemed ‘most middle-class argument ever’ [Metro]

“The row, which kicked off on a street in London, first began after someone left a note on a tree simply stating ‘please don’t pick my flowers’.”

📱 6) When Grown-Ups Get Caught in Teens’ AirDrop Crossfire [The Atlantic]

“As more teens get their own iPhones and a rising number of schools crack down on social media, AirDrop culture has gone mainstream – and more adults are getting caught in the crossfire.”

✂️ 7) The cutting-edge of cutting: How Japanese scissors have evolved [Nikkei Asian Review]

“Inside Tokyo stationery stores, scissors are undergoing a quiet evolution.”

🧵 8) Complete Knot List [Animated Knots]

“Follow along as ropes tie themselves, showing just the essential steps, so you can master a knot in no time.”

📻 9) Learning to Listen, in a Los Angeles Cafe Built for Vinyl [New York Times]

“Japanese-style listening bars, where D.J.’s spin carefully selected records for a hushed audience, are arriving in America.”

😂 10) Sometimes dogs just wanna play…at the most inappropriate times. [Instagram: dogsvideos1]

💡 Quote of the week:

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,
Newley

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Netflix and Amazon Trail a Local Video Rival in India That’s Now Disney-Owned

2019 06 06 hotstar netflix amazon

That’s the headline on my most recent story, out Tuesday.

It begins:

NEW DELHI—To win in India, home to many of the world’s next billion internet users, Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are copying the tactics of a video-streaming service built for the local market.

Hotstar dominates the Indian market. Launched four years ago by media conglomerate Star India as a mobile-first streaming platform for watching cricket, movies and TV, it now has 300 million monthly users—roughly 10% more than YouTube, India’s second-biggest video content platform. While only three million users pay for access, that is still more than Amazon has, and more than twice as many as Netflix. Walt Disney Co. now owns Hotstar.

Netflix and Amazon, shut out of China and facing stiff competition in the maturing U.S. market, are adopting the strategies that fueled Hotstar’s success—low prices that the average Indian viewer can afford and loads of local content in multiple Indian languages.

Netflix is churning out Indian-language dramas, love stories and thrillers and slashing its monthly rates. Amazon has signed up local stand-up comedians and backed a “Sex and the City” clone about a group of women in Mumbai that is broadcast in three Indian languages.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
India

Newley’s Notes 178: Tsu-NaMo; Fake Pelosi Vid; SF Blues; Beagle Puppies

abstract

🇮🇳 Well, it’s official: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is back.

In a big way.

Official results out Thursday showed he’s won a sweeping mandate for another five years.

🌊 “NaMOMENT,” “Yes! Prime Minister,” “Modi Tsunami,” “Modi Magic,” “Tsunamo.”

Those were among the newspaper front page headlines on Friday. I posted some photos of them here on Newley.com.

🤔 So, what does Modi’s reelection mean for U.S. firms, like Amazon and Walmart, that are pouring billions of dollars into India?

For my latest story, I spoke with several folks to answer that question. The lede:

U.S. technology firms recently facing pushback in India, the world’s biggest untapped digital economy, can expect more scrutiny following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resounding re-election, according to executives and analysts.

“Electorally there’s no gain in mollycoddling Amazon and Walmart,” one senior executive at a tech firm told me.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🔍 1) Facebook on fake Pelosi video: Being ‘false’ isn’t enough for removal [Politico]

“Facebook said Friday that a video doctored to depict House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slurring her words will remain on the social network because false information alone does not violate the site’s rules.”

🕵️ 2) In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc [NY Times]

“Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.”

🔮 3) Amazon Is Working on a Device That Can Read Human Emotions [Bloomberg]

“Amazon.com Inc. is developing a voice-activated wearable device that can recognize human emotions. The wrist-worn gadget is described as a health and wellness product in internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg.”

🌁 4) How San Francisco Broke America’s Heart [Washington Post]

“Tech isn’t what everyone talks about in San Francisco. It’s money. Real estate, income inequality, $20 salads, the homeless, adult children unable to move out, non-tech workers unable to move in.”"

🎸 5) Sofar Sounds house concerts raises $25M, but bands get just $100 [TechCrunch]

“Tired of noisy music venues where you can hardly see the stage? Sofar Sounds puts on concerts in people’s living rooms where fans pay $15 to $30 to sit silently on the floor and truly listen.”

⛵ 6) ‘It could change everything’: coin found off northern Australia may be from pre–1400 Africa [The Guardian]

“…the most likely scenario is that the Portuguese, who looted Kilwa in 1505, went on to set foot on Australian shores, bringing the coins with them.”

🌏 7) What Changed My Mind About Climate Change? [The Bullwark]

“As Cato’s director of Natural Resource Studies (and later, as a senior fellow and eventually vice president), I maintained that, while climate change was real, the impacts would likely prove rather modest and that the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions would greatly exceed the benefits. I changed my mind about that, however, because (among other things) I changed my mind about risk management.

⚔️ 8) An illustrated guide to all 6,887 deaths in ‘Game of Thrones’ [Washington Post]

“And after eight seasons of continually rising body counts, we can definitively confirm — “Valar Morghulis” — all men must indeed die.”

📊 9) How Data (and Some Breathtaking Soccer) Brought Liverpool to the Cusp of Glory [NY Times Magazine]

“Analytics has famously influenced the tactics in professional baseball and basketball in recent years. Ultimately, it may have just as great an impact on soccer, which traditionally hasn’t relied on statistics to figure out much of anything.”

🐶 🤩 10) When food is life [Instagram video: doglover_s]

🐱 😂 BONUS LINK: UPDATE – FOUND CAT – NEED OWNERS ASAP!! [Craigslist]

💡 Quote of the week:

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.” – Carl Sagan

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,
Newley

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Modi’s Re-Election Means More Scrutiny for U.S. Tech Giants

2019 05 26modi tech

That’s the headline on my newest story, out Friday. It begins:

NEW DELHI – U.S. technology firms recently facing pushback in India, the world’s biggest untapped digital economy, can expect more scrutiny following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resounding re-election, according to executives and analysts.

They expect Mr. Modi’s government to continue tightening restrictions on American titans such as Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc. and Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp.

U.S. firms have been pouring billions of dollars into the country of 1.3 billion people in part because, unlike China, India has provided a level playing field for foreign firms at a time when hundreds of millions of people are getting online thanks to cheaper mobile data and smartphones.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
India Journalism

India Antitrust Watchdog Sniffs Around E-Commerce Players

india_ecommerce_amazon_flipkart

That’s the headline on my newest story, a scoop out yesterday with my colleague Rajesh Roy.

The lede and first few grafs:

NEW DELHI–India’s antitrust watchdog is assessing the domestic e-commerce sector, a step that could have consequences for Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart, which dominate online sales in the country.

In a questionnaire dated May 17, the Competition Commission of India says it is seeking to understand the evolution of the e-commerce industry, the sector’s methods and strategies, business practices and “implications for competition,” according to a copy reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Ernst & Young is conducting the study, according to the 14-page document, which is marked confidential.

The questions cover the percentage of products sold by categories, inventory practices, how pricing decisions are made and total sales volume, among other subjects.

“What if tomorrow Amazon takes over Walmart-controlled Flipkart or vice versa? Wouldn’t there be a complete monopoly? This needs to be checked,” said an official at India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs who declined to be named. The ministry oversees the Competition Commission.

A spokesman for the Competition Commission of India didn’t respond to a request for comment about the questionnaire Tuesday. Representatives in India for Ernst & Young, Amazon and Flipkart also didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Amazon, Facebook and Walmart Need to Watch Their Backs in India

2019 02 01 india gate

That’s the headline on a story I wrote Tuesday with my colleague Rajesh Roy. It begins:

Hoping to match China’s success at protecting and promoting homegrown tech titans, India has plans to continue tightening restrictions on Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc., Facebook Inc. and other foreign firms that have come to dominate the country’s budding internet economy.

As hundreds of millions of people get online for the first time, and with national elections due in the coming months, Indian policy makers are upping the pressure on American rivals and changing policies to favor domestic players.

The secretary of India’s Telecommunications Department, Aruna Sundararajan, last week told a gathering of Indian startups in a closed-door meeting in the tech hub of Bangalore that the government will introduce a “national champion” policy “very soon” to encourage the rise of Indian companies, according to a person familiar with the matter. She said Indian policy makers had noted the success of China’s internet giants, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. , the person said. She didn’t immediately respond to a request for more details on the program or its timing.

Asked about the comments, she said in a WhatsApp message that the idea is to promote Indian companies “to become global champions."

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Amazon, Walmart Foiled as India Tightens E-Commerce Rules

Screen Shot 2018 12 30 at 1 18 39 PM

That’s the headline of a story I wrote Thursday with my colleague Corinne Abrams. It begins:

India is tightening restrictions on foreign e-commerce companies operating in the country, in a new challenge to Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. as they bet billions on the nascent market.

Current rules forbid non-Indian online sellers from holding their own inventory and shipping it out to consumers, as is typically done in other countries. Instead, the foreign sellers have found a work-around, selling online what are effectively their own products but held by their affiliated local companies.

Click through to read the rest.

We wrote more about the issue Friday in another story, which began:

American firms are plowing billions into India’s internet economy in part because, unlike China, India promised a level playing field for foreign firms to compete against local companies. Now that field may be tilting toward domestic startups amid a global backlash against U.S. tech titans, according to analysts and industry officials.

With national elections approaching early next year, India’s government said Wednesday it is tightening restrictions on foreign e-commerce players, the latest move in recent months that restrains their freedom to operate compared with local firms. The new rules present a fresh challenge to Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. as they aim for growing slices of a market where many of India’s 1.3 billion people are starting to shop online thanks to inexpensive smartphones and data.

Vinay Kesari, a Bangalore-based technology lawyer specializing in regulatory matters who has worked with U.S. tech firms, said such moves to rein in foreign tech companies have been highly unusual and may be a sign of more to come.

“I’ve never seen anything like this happening,” he said. “All bets are off at this point.”

Click through to read the rest.