Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 181: Google Maps Trouble; Slack’s IPO; MH370 Mystery; Dogs Practicing Yoga

2019 06 30HK

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

🇭🇰 I spent much of last week in Hong Kong, where we held our annual WSJ D.Live tech conference. It’s a gathering of tech executives, venture capital investors, startup founders, WSJ journalists, and more. (And yes, the event happened during the city’s massive protests, injecting an added element of excitement.)

In one on-stage event, I interviewed Guarav Gupta, chief operating officer of India’s Zomato. You may well have heard of it. It’s a popular platform for food delivery, food ratings, and more. We talked about the company’s push into smaller Indian cities, their expansion abroad, and even the potential for an IPO. You can watch the video here.

🆕 Separately, I had a scoop last week about a new private equity firm targeting Southeast Asia startups. The lede:

A new Southeast Asia-focused private-equity firm launched by a group of seasoned technology executives has hit the first close of its debut fund, the latest sign of investors’ growing enthusiasm for startups in the populous region.

Among the co-founders are Nick Nash, formerly group president of Singapore-based Sea, and Oliver Rippel, who was previously head of business-to-consumer e-commerce at Naspers.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

📍 1) Millions of Business Listings on Google Maps Are Fake—and Google Profits [WSJ]

“…Google still can’t seem to stop the proliferation of fictional business listings and aggressive con artists on its search engine. The scams are profitable for nearly everyone involved, Google included. Consumers and legitimate businesses end up the losers.”

📈 2) Slack Shares Jump in Trading Debut [WSJ]

“Slack Technologies Inc. surged in its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange, the latest technology firm to jump into a hot initial-public-offering market.”

🖥️ 3) Bodies in Seats [The Verge]

“At Facebook’s worst-performing content moderation site in North America, one contractor has died, and others say they fear for their lives.”

🛩️ 4) The Drone Iran Shot Down Was a $220M Surveillance Monster [Wired]

“Global Hawks are massive surveillance platforms, in operation since 2001, with a wingspan of more than 130 feet and a maximum takeoff weight of more than 16 tons…”

📺 5) Samsung’s security reminder makes the case for not owning a Samsung smart TV [The Verge]

“‘Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks,’ a (now deleted) tweet from the company’s US support account read alongside a video attachment that demonstrated the laborious process.”

❓ 6) A gripping longread: What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane [The Atlantic]

“In truth, a lot can now be known with certainty about the fate of MH370. First, the disappearance was an intentional act.”

🇨🇳 7) Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds [New Yorker]

“A leading sci-fi writer takes stock of China’s global rise.”

🍜 8) A local’s guide to Bangkok [Washington Post]

“It’s the center of industry, finance, government, retail and education for all of Thailand, so everything comes together in fascinating, and often creative, ways.”

🐱 9) Cat filter accidentally used in Pakistani minister’s live press conference [BBC News – Thanks, PB!]

“Facebook users watching the video live commented on the gaffe, but Mr Yousafzai carried on unaware of his feline features.”

🧘 10) Army Dog Unit practices Yoga for #YogaDay2019 [India Ministry of Defense on Twitter]

💡 Quote of the week:

“Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. Living is the constant adjustment of thought to life and life to thought in such a way that we are always growing, always experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new. Thus life is always new.” – Thomas Merton

💥 Was this message forwarded to you? Sign up here.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Tech Thailand

Google Map of Thailand Twitter users

View Map of People on Twitter in Thailand in a larger map

Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) has created a Google Map of Thailand Twitter users. Could be a helpful resource if you’re looking for tweets from various parts of the country.

Bangkok Thai politics

Bangkok’s red shirt protests on Google Maps

Here’s a Google Map of red shirt protest sites. The map (embedded below) also includes the locations of various clashes and blasts that have occurred here in Bangkok over the past weeks.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the points or the descriptions of the various incidents, but the map is helpful in gauging the scale of the space red shirts have occupied.

The map was created by Bangkok resident Richard Barrow, who has also been posting his observations about the protests on Twitter.

View Bangkok Dangerous – Red Shirts Rally March-April 2010 in a larger map

(Cross posted to


Google Maps Thailand expands functionality

As this Youtube video (embedded below) explains, Google Maps Thailand now incorporates data from Bangkok’s public transport organizations and suggests modes of transport other than driving.

I can’t verify it yet, but the new functionality should allow users to get walking, driving, and mass transit directions to various destinations in the Thai capital.

CNNGo has more info. Those who read Thai should be able to see the new features in action at