Newley's Notes

NN147: My Newest Page One Story; Amazon = Monopoly?; Space Elevators; Dogs of Twitter

Edition 147 of my email newsletter went out Sept. 9. (I’m late in posting it here.) Subscribe to receive future editions before they’re posted here.

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

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This week was a very satisfying one for me. I story I’d been working on for months ran on the front page of the Journal on Wednesday. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

It’s about how India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has spent billions of dollars building a brand new high speed mobile carrier offering data for extremely low prices – and how millions of people here have gotten online for the first time (and why that’s important to the likes of Amazon, Walmart, Facebook and Google).

More below…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

📡 1) By me: Two Years Ago, India Lacked Fast, Cheap Internet—One Billionaire Changed All That [WSJ] – The lede and first graf:

India’s richest man is catapulting hundreds of millions of poor people straight into the mobile internet age.
Mukesh Ambani, head of Reliance Industries, one of India’s largest conglomerates, has shelled out $35 billion of the company’s money to blanket the South Asian nation with its first all–4G network. By offering free calls and data for pennies, the telecom latecomer has upended the industry, setting off a cheap internet tsunami that is opening the market of 1.3 billion people to global tech and retailing titans.

The story, with images shot by the excellent Mumbai-based photographer Sarah Hylton, received a lot of attention on social media. I also liked the responses (some 137 comments and counting) to the story on Hacker News, a Reddit-like site for tech news and discussion.

🗳️ 2) Social media/D.C. story of the week: Lawmakers demand more action from top Twitter, Facebook execs – Axios’s David McCabe sums up the Capitol Hill hearings featuring Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: “With the midterms approaching, policymakers and Silicon Valley are both trying to avoid a repeat of the 2016 cycle, during which Russian operatives spread content on socially divisive issues ahead of Election Day.”

📵 3) Facebook-related story of the week: More than a quarter of Americans say they’ve deleted the Facebook app from their phones [Recode] – “Let’s just say Americans’ relationship with Facebook is increasingly complicated,” Rani Molla writes.

🤑 4) Finance story of the week: Lehman’s Lessons, 10 Years Later [WSJ] – A decade of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, my colleague James Mackintosh provides five lessons.

🛒 5) Law-related story of the week: Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea [NY Times] – “With a single scholarly article, Lina Khan, 29, has reframed decades of monopoly law,” David Streitfeld writes.

🛰️ 6) Crazy space-related story of the week: Japan starts space elevator experiments [Electronics Weekly] – Arthur C Clarke’s dream could become a reality. (Thanks, Colin R., for the pointer following our discussions of this idea many years ago!)_

📸 7) Insta-story of the week: Instagram is building a standalone app for shopping [The Verge] – The app “will let users browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow and purchase them directly within the app,” Casey Newton writes.

✍️ 8) Religion-meets-journalism op-ed of the week: The Biblical Guide to Reporting [NY Times] – “Some people might think that Christians are supposed to be soft and acquiescent rather than muckrakers who hold the powerful to account,” Marshall Allen writes. “But what I do as an investigative reporter is consistent with what the Bible teaches.”

🍟 9) Prank of the week: Friends hung poster of themselves at McDonald’s, and no one noticed for weeks [CTVNews] – “Maravilla said he noticed that there were several photos on the Houston-area restaurant’s walls of people smiling while consuming McDonald’s products. He said the pictures contained ‘literally no Asians,’’ and decided he and Toledo should rectify that situation.” More is available in their YouTube video.

💗 10) Two dog-related Twitter feeds you should be following: At I’ve Pet That Dog, ten-year-old Gideon shares images of pooches he encounters, and relates fun facts about them. And Thoughts of Dog contains, well, what the author imagines the canine in the profile pic (a delightfully dopey yellow lab eating a piece of watermelon) must be thinking. For example, this recent gem:

gooooob morning. i had a dream. that i was chasing my tail. and started spinning so fast. i went back in time. and high-fived a dinosaur

What’s new with you? Just hit reply and share your news. I love hearing from folks.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

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