Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, May 10, 2020.
👋 Hi friends,
India’s Jio Raises Even More Money
💸 Remember a couple weeks ago when I wrote about India’s Jio – part of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance empire – getting a big $5.7 billion investment from Facebook?
Well, Jio execs have continued to raise funds to try to trim the debt they’ve accrued building out their huge 4G network.
These new investors are betting, like Facebook, that they can get a piece of a huge digital platform in India that is growing to comprise not just mobile connections, but music, video, payments, and even – as the Facebook deal to link up WhatsApp with grocery shops shows – e-commerce. (You can bet Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart have taken note.)
The bigger trend, which I’ve written about over the years: India’s internet economy is still poised for massive growth as hundreds of millions of people start to consume online. Global investors want a piece of that.
On to this week’s links, where we have – I am happy to say – GOOD NEWS. The Covid–19 situation remains, especially in the U.S., troubling. But there is positive news out there. Read on.
Here are ten items worth your time this week:
💪 1) Some interesting new consumer technologies are emerging amid the pandemic, from realtime audio chat apps (Clubhouse) to a boom in video conferencing (Zoom, etc). But don’t forget that the key to all of this – the key to our connectivity – has withstood mammoth pressures: the internet. It’s kept running throughout. Thank god.
🦙 2) Maybe, just maybe, llamas can help us fight Covid–19.
🚶♀️ 3) Seattle is permanently making about 20 miles of streets off-limits to most vehicle traffic, after earlier closing them down to let people walk and bike with sufficient physical distance. File under: how the coronavirus is changing cities.
🎼 4) More than 100 people from Juilliard’s community of students, alumni and artists, even while locked down, came together to create an online performance called “Bolero Juilliard”.
👏 5) An Adoption, a Pandemic and an Evacuation. That’s the headline on a powerful, beautifully written story about love and hope by The New York Times’s Maria Abi-Habib. If you read just one story this week, make it this one.
♟️ 6) People stuck inside, combined with the suspension of sports, are powering a “modern chess boom,” my WSJ colleagues report. Among those getting in on the game are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joe Biden.
😎 7) People are creating cool online diversions. One I’ve been enjoying, given our locked-down world in which international travel is verboten: a website called Drive & Listen. Select a city to see video filmed while driving around in that location – while simultaneously hearing the sounds playing on local FM radio in real-time. Mesmerizing. I have grooved to Bob Marley on Melodia FM while virtually cruising around Barcelona, enjoyed some B–52s while taking a tour through sunny Los Angeles, and more. (Note: the website works better on desktop computers than on mobile devices.) BONUS LINK: Point-of-view video from a train zooming though Switzerland, with a techno music soundtrack.
😂 8) Shot: Comedy persists even amid the pandemic! Steve Carell is in a new Netflix sitcom called “Space Force,” and the trailer is excellent. It’s out May 29.
📕 9) Chaser: And high brow humor, too! My new favorite Twitter account is Bookcase Credibility (@BCredibility), which analyzes the way books and bookshelves appear behind experts being interviewed over video.
🐕 10) Dog-related video of the week: this pup’s owner was in the hospital for five weeks. When he returned, the dog didn’t recognize him…until he did.
💡 Quote of the week:
“If you’re efficient, you’re doing it the wrong way. The right way is the hard way.” – Jerry Seinfeld.
👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,