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News & Analysis

5 things you should know about tech today

- December 10, 2019 3 MIN READ

“Babe, do you think they had Pelotons in Gilead?” Source: Peloton

 

Hello Tuesday.

At least we think it’s you. Hard to tell through the smoke haze.

 

1.  Hit the road, Jack

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey is off to live in Africa for six months next year, impressed by the region’s burgeoning startup community.

https://twitter.com/jack/status/1199774792917929984

That’s fired up Prof Scott “Won’tWork” Galloway, who’s calling on Twitter’s board to replace its “part-time” CEO. *Grabs popcorn*

 

2. Pedal to the meddle

Remember Peloton, the exercise bike “tech” startup that listed in September at $US29? Yes, the bike that costs US$2000 with a US$480 annual subscription to watch exercise classes on a screen as you pedal. After initial wobbles, Peloton shares climbed as high as $37, with investors enthused as the company beat revenue estimates, up 103%, to US$228 million, even if the company still lost around $50m.

Peloton released a Christmas ad, titled “The Gift That Gives Back”, with a bloke giving his thin, young wife the bike. In a peak millennial moments, she spends the year anxiously documenting her year of exercise in video selfies before thanking him for changing her life. We admit to having some concerns about the future of any relationship that involves sitting together watching a year of exercise videos. Last week all hell broke loose, with lots of people got very angry amid cries of sexism and comparisons to the UK dystopian sci series Black Mirror. We thought more Stepford Wives.

The ad launched 1000 parodies, and more than 7 million people have watched the original (below) on YouTube, which no doubt has Peloton’s ad agency hi-fiving amid op eds on tech’s frat boy state of mind. The controversy wiped US$1.5 billion from Peleton’s market value overnight, although the stock has since recovered and is up around 6% again today to sits just under $35. The actress involved was then enlisted by Ryan Reynolds flog his gin. Those praising the actor for his opportunism seem to miss the irony in the notion of yet another man has come to the poor damsel’s rescue.

Decide for yourself.

 

3. Hint of Musk

Elon Musk had “his faith in humanity restored” after successfully defending the US$190 million  defamation case brought by British caver Vernon Unsworth over the Tesla boss calling him “pedo guy” on Twitter last year during the cave rescue of a Thai boys soccer team. The Los Angeles jury found Musk did not defame Unsworth following the four-day trial, telling the court “pedo guy” was something everyone said to each other growing up in South Africa.

Unsworth’s lawyer, Lin Wood said following the decision that: “This verdict sends a signal, and one signal only – that you can make any accusation you want to, as vile as it may be and as untrue as it may be, and somebody can get away with it.” More here.

 

4. Food for thought

The Michelin Guide is selling its restaurant booking platform Bookatable, to TripAdvisor and its bookings subsidiary, TheFork. as part of a broader deal to collaborate globally. All 14,000 restaurants featured in Michelin Guides around the world will now be singled out and featured on the TripAdvisor website and apps. The sale lets TheFork expand into the UK, Germany, Austria, Finland and Norway, with the 14,000 restaurants on Bookatable joining the 67,000 already on TheFork. The terms of  the deal are undisclosed. TripAdvisor bought local bookings platform Dimmi in 2015 and rebranded it as TheFork. All TheFork restaurants will also be bookable on the Michelin Guide digital platforms.

5. Amazon powers up

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced last week that its first renewable power project outside of the EU and the USA will be in Australia. It is one of six new renewable energy projects, with a combined capacity of 711MW, announced at AWS’s annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The company has pledged to run on 100% renewable energy target by 2030. No further details were released with AWS Australian & NZ MD Paul Migliorini, saying more on the Australian project would be provided “in due course”.