🤔 Wiser! #97: What Happened In Tech This Week

🐦 Wiser! #97: Elon The Twit | Meta’s Woes | Hot Or Not | Hennessy’s Web3 Café | Interpol’s Metaverse

Sunday 30th October

This is the Medium edition of Wiser!

Welcome to this round-up of what happened in tech this week. This is the Sunday edition of the Wiser! Newsletter on LinkedIn.

Email subscribers got a longer, fuller version of Wiser! delivered straight into their inboxes early on Friday morning. They’ve already got a two-day head start on you.

To read the full-colour, longer version of this week’s Wiser!, go here.

This week’s email was sent out a few hours later than usual because I held back to catch the overnight developments on Elon Musk and Twitter. The deal has closed, and Elon is about $47 billion poorer as a result.

Premium subscribers can read all about it in my article called “The Bird Is Freed”. There’s a preview at the end of this issue of Wiser!

I’m also covering:

  • Meta’s woes continue as the pivot to the Metaverse continues to drag the Facebook business down,
  • Interpol have joined the Metaverse with a virtual reality environment for law enforcement training (a bit like Accenture are doing for staff onboarding),
  • Global brandy brand Hennessy has launched an exclusive Web3 social club with limited entry via NFTs,
  • Remember Hot or Not? It’s got a lot to answer for!
  • Apple have clarified their rules on NFT purchases on Apple devices. It’s not gone down so well!

Plus: As always, there’s a ton of other stuff from across tech, some tips and tricks, and other stories, content and stuff I think you’ll find interesting and of value.

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. Every week, 15k readers like you get Wiser!

ATB, Rick

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Meta’s Woes Continue

Ouch! Meta Facebook has now lost $600 billion in market capitalisation in 2022.

  • The firm is down 75% from its all time high valuation of $1.08 trillion a year ago when it was the 5th largest company in America. Today, Meta Facebook doesn’t even make the Top 20. It’s value is around $263 billion, less than Home Depot!

The boss, Mark Zuckerberg, has seen his own personal wealth decline $100 billion over this same time period. Bless!

Why Is This? Because the pivot to the Metaverse is draining all its cash.

  • The virtual reality division lost $3.7 billion in the last quarter, beating the previous quarter’s loss of (only) $2.8 billion. And it’s going to get worse!

Meta said in a press release that it expected the reality lab operating losses in 2023 to grow “significantly” year over year. Remember, the virtual reality business already lost around $7.9 billion last year.

How Are Sales? Whilst costs keep going up, income is trending down.

  • Revenue from virtual reality was only $285 million in the quarter, missing analysts expectations by over $120 million. Worse still, revenue was down $180 million from the previous quarter.

These are terrible numbers and the market didn’t like any of them. The share price bombed 23% in after hours trading!

For tweets, more headlines and to see Jim Cramer cry as he admits he got it wrong on Meta, continue reading here…


Apple’s new policy for NFTs is a “tax on crypto”

Backstory: Apple has made a number of changes that will have a massive impact on the trade of NFTs in its ecosystem.

The short -take on the new policy is that users who buy and sell NFTs on apps featured in its App Store must use Apple’s in-app payment system.

This is a one-way transfer of value from the holders of the digital asset to Apple.

  • The key line is this: “Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality with the app.”

Here’s The Thing: Apple takes a 30% cut of all in-app purchases. This is what happens when you “own the rails.”

With these new guidelines, Apple is making it crystal clear that all NFT activity has to go through the App Store and customers/users/creators have to pay the 30% levy.

What that means in reality is that the value of a digital asset is depreciated by 30% every time it’s sold on.

To see the reaction of Metaverse guru, Matthew Ball and the CEO of Epic, Tim Sweeney had to say about it all, plus the latest headlines on what happened at Apple this week, continue reading here…

The Bird Is Freed!

So, it’s finally happened. Elon Musk owns Twitter (although I won’t fully accept the news until I receive the $162.60 that the world’s richest man owes me for my 3 Twitter shares.)

This is the reason this week’s Friday issue of Wiser! is a little late. The news broke yesterday and I wanted to capture the immediate aftermath of Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

We now have the world’s richest man having total control over a social network. Mark Zuckerberg has total control over Facebook, the world’s largest social network, and that hasn’t gone too well (teen suicide and self-harm rates up, loneliness levels up, polarisation of society up.)

Musk has lofty ambitions for Twitter, the relatively small but influential social network he just bought for around $47 billion, inc costs and fees. Creating a mature and civilised debating chamber for respectful discourse is far easier said than done. It has so far escaped mankind in the digital age.

This week’s article for premium subscribers to Wiser! is called The Bird Is Freed, a reference to an Elon Musk tweet on news that the deal was done. Read it here…


Do You Remember HotOrNot.com?

Not So Hot: John Pargin tweeted this at the weekend about HotOrNot, a site I had long forgotten about.

But the tweet jogged my memory from 2 decades ago and a time when the Internet was still largely unused by the vast majority of people.

  • Pargin tweeted: “I have a theory that an old 2000-era website accidentally destroyed the world, and I’m dead serious about it. Facebook and YouTube both began as straight-up copies of this site, both looking to take advantage of a phenomenon that breaks the human brain: HotOrNot.com”

(don’t bother trying the URL, it’s not there anymore)

Pargin’s point is that this immature website was the catalyst for two of the biggest and most influential social networks in the world today.

Both Facebook and YouTube modelled themselves on the way Hot or Not learnt about the individual preferences of users whilst also demonstrating addictive human behaviour that kept users online.

These are the origins of the technology that now grabs the attention of users like bees to honey. The same human behaviours that we see today in its most extreme form across social media.

If only we (society) had known the slippery slope we were on over 2 decades ago!


Hennessy (The “H” in LVMH) has released details of their digital and in-real-life NFT project called Café Eleven, an exclusive Web3 members-only social club.

This is a real-world use-case for NFTs and Web3 that doesn’t involve pixelated cartoons or animated apes.

What Is It? Cafe Eleven is a collaboration between the world’s leading cognac brand and the Web3-based social community called “Friends With Benefits.” This digital social club will launch during Art Basel Miami Beach in December.

To find out more, watch this…

Brand Strategies for the Metaverse

We are on the cusp of the next generation of the Internet. That much we know. But do we know what’s coming next? Not so sure, are we?

The clues of what’s to come are in the use-cases of what’s happening today. I’ve tracked, analysed and documented the use-cases for over 250 global brands and their NFT, blockchain and virtual reality projects…so that YOU can be better informed about what’s coming next.

Check it out here…

Apple’s Strategic Advance Into Ads

Apple has paused App Store ads relating to gambling after developers and App Store users complained about the frequency of gambling ads.

Apple also announced this week that users and advertisers must make an in-app purchase when they want to boost a post on apps like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

That’s more of the 30% App Store fees going Apple’s way. I wrote about Apple’s Unfair Advantage in Advertising here.

🍎 And remember when Steve Jobs said this about no ads on Apple!? 👇


Interpol Enters The Metaverse

It sounds like a joke, but it’s not!

The internal crime agency, Interpol, has launched what it calls its ‘global police Metaverse’.

It’s a serious effort to teach members how to do police work in a virtual environment. Find out more here.

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w/About Wiser!

Wiser! is a weekly newsletter that makes sense of what’s happening and what’s coming next in the tech economy. From disruptive technologies, like blockchain, crypto and artificial intelligence, to emerging trends, like Web3 and the Metaverse. Plus, there’s a big focus on BigTech and the impact of social media.

The purpose of Wiser! is simple, to help you stay interested, informed and entertained… and one step ahead of your competition. Using easy and engaging language, I make sense of it all so that you don’t have too.

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The original version of the 97th issue of the Wiser! newsletter can be found here.



Rick Huckstep - Making Sense Of Tech

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