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In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover the first few days of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. There have been jokes based on sinks, plenty of firings, ideas for the future, ghosts of the platform’s past, misinformation, and in true Twitter fashion – everyone still seems very unhappy. Elsewhere, we analyze why Apple is getting heat from other tech companies, developers, and customers. We cast our eye over the excellent revamp of the Amazon Music App. Our Stat of the Week tries to parse out some Musk-conomics. And What’s dAppening looks at how Ridesharing Protocol could throw down the gauntlet to Uber and Lyft’s dominance in the sector.   

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Takes 🎬

🐤 📆 Twitter – Elon Musk’s First Week in Charge Is Predictably Chaotic

Where do we start? As everyone knows, Elon Musk became the owner of Twitter last week, but the fireworks that ensued grabbed headlines around the world. Musk promptly sacked Twitter’s board, and he took the title of CEO and sole board member, proclaiming himself “Chief Twit”. He scared off some big advertisers and celebrities, and some previously inactive controversial accounts magically reappeared. He announced that a ‘Moderation Council’ would be formed to judge content and to determine the return of previously banned accounts. Later, as if to test the water on the new ‘anything goes’ Twitter, he shared an article with blatant misinformation about the Paul Pelosi attack; he later deleted the tweet. Next up was a proclamation on verified (blue checkmark) accounts, which Musk claimed should cost $20 per month. He also suggested that he could bring back the Vine app (wow!), which Twitter acquired in 2012 and mothballed in 2016. So, what’s our take on all of this? Well, taking a side is not what we’re here for but we are eagerly waiting to see what Musk will do to address some of his legitimate qualms: Twitter is broken for many users: Bots have ruined a platform that is supposed to thrive on discourse. Moderation is important, but it’s also subjective. How different his new moderation council will be is still impossible to say, but it might not be all that different to what we have today. You can’t make everyone happy (but please Elon, stop fanning the flames!). Musk tweeted that a possible version of Twitter will allow users to determine content tastes like a “movie maturity rating”. He’s also correct in that Twitter was underperforming in terms of monetization. As to that last point, we want to highlight that one of his biggest backers in terms of funding was Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. For us, this might be the most intriguing detail in Musk’s crazy first week as Chief Twit. We know Jack (Dorsey, Twitter’s founder) and Elon are close and he’s also working on a web3 social network – that spun out of Twitter originally! More collaboration might be coming here. #ChiefTwit Read more here.  

🍏📱Apple – iPhone-Maker Upsets Just About Everyone with App Store Rules & Ads

Sort of a good week for Apple, which announced it had (again) hit record revenues for a quarter, all the more impressive when fellow Big Tech companies were getting mauled for disappointing results. But while the money rolled in for Apple, so too did the list of grievances from users, developers, and businesses. For a start, there was the unpopular “fix” for its App Store review process, which has caused consternation among developers and startups trying to launch a new product. There was also a more aggressive approach from the company on the famed 30% App Store commission, with Apple setting out that it expected that fee for everything from in-game purchases of NFTs to money paid to creators on social media. Telegram was one of the first big names to take a stand on this, pulling its pay-to-view post feature from the iOS app in protest. Spotify weighed in, too, claiming the biggest barrier to its audiobook roll-out was Apple’s policies. Finally, Apple made a mess of its App Store ad placement roll-out, which, among other things, seemed to be spamming users with online gambling content. One report showed online casino adverts placed in the ‘suggested’ section beside gambling addiction therapy apps. Not a good look, and Apple responded by pulling gambling ads. #GoodAppleBadApple Read more here.

🎵🎧Amazon – Challenge to Spotify and Apple Music with Revamped Amazon Music App

Amazon seems to be making a bigger push to grab a share of the music and podcasts market. The company announced a host of new benefits for Prime members via the Amazon Music App. This includes increasing the number of songs on the catalog from 2 million to 100 million. There’s a renewed focus on podcasts, too, with Amazon offering members access to its top podcasts without adverts. The latter move is a direct challenge to Spotify, whose user base must still listen to podcasts ads (as part of the broadcast) despite being Premium members. In addition to the extra benefits for Prime Members, Amazon has also taken a shot at revamping the Music App’s look and design, which includes a neat little podcast preview feature. #AmazonMusicRevamp Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week – 423,700 Blue Ticks 

💲☑️ Number of Verified Twitter Accounts Shows Monetization Potential

Back to Twitter for our stat of the week. The idea of paying for verified status might seem like an Elonesque way of ruffling feathers, but there is real revenue at stake. Consider that there are 423,700 verified accounts on Twitter (a stat sourced from World of Statistics): At $20 a month, that’s $240 per year per account – or over $100 million, representing around 2% of Twitter’s annual revenue. You can see why Musk thinks it’s such a good idea. #PayForTheTick Read More here.   

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

A dApp is a decentralized app. Here’s the latest in web3, NFTs and blockchain apps.

🪙🚕 DEC – $9 Million Raised in Seed Funding to Build out the Rideshare Protocol Trip

It’s no secret that we are firm believers in the disruptive power of web3 here at 3Advance. To understand some of our thinking, consider the following premise: Some of the world’s most prominent tech companies are effectively just networks, and web3 could turn them into decentralized protocols. Uber is one of those networks, and it is ripe for disruption from a decentralized web3 rival. This week, DEC (Decentralized Engineering Corporation) secured $9 million in funding to start building the Rideshare Protocol (Trip) on the Solana Blockchain. The idea is to create a more equitable rideshare market, with space for DEC’s own Teleport company and any others that wish to join. DEC’s founder has thrown a lot of shade at Uber, saying the ridesharing giant acts as a monopoly, creating poorer conditions for riders and customers alike. Instead, DEC wants us to reimagine the industry, allowing businesses and customers to interact in a decentralized marketplace. It might take a while for it to reach fruition, but we really like what DEC is doing here. #RidingWithWeb3 Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

While we’re actively recruiting developers (React and React Native), our first port of call is to recruit our next Product Manager trainee. This is an opportunity for anyone who’s might be early in tech, or interested in a career switch, or has even tried their hand at a startup, but wants to really learn the practice (and realities) of product development. This is six-month full-time, fully paid program that also includes sponsorship of Product School certification. And like our most recent trainee, we hope it turns into a full-time permanent position on our team. So if you know anyone – better still, if you are someone suitable, submit your application here. This will be open only for the next two weeks.   

📺 Check out the What’s Appening video series!

Don’t forget, this week’s video episode will be released shortly on YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. There’s also the mini-recap on TikTok and Instagram. As always, we appreciate y’all following along on any of these social platforms and we’d love to hear your feedback.