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It’s all ‘appening this week: Elon Musk has completed the Twitter deal, causing joy and dismay as the world wonders what he is going to do with his new toy. Twitter’s shares are up, but Netflix’s are way down, so we take a look at the woes facing the streaming giant. Elsewhere, we look at the launch of Column, a fintech bank that hopes to disrupt financial services. Our Stat of the Week looks at Snapchat’s continued innovation in AR, while What’s dAppening runs the rule over Coinbase’s NFT marketplace (beta) launch.

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🎬 Takes

🎩🐦Twitter – Jubilation and Despair as Elon Musk Buyout Confirmed

The deal is now done. Yesterday, Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion cash offer. It’s important to note that this is not one corporation buying another, but an individual taking sole control of one of the world’s most important social networks. And while Twitter’s 217 million daily users lags behind Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, its political and cultural influence is staggering. As we said last week, Musk is a polarizing figure and this is pretty obvious when you look at what’s trending on, yes, Twitter. Perhaps #RIPTwitter is jumping the gun, but we still can’t shake the feeling that ‘world’s richest man buysTwitter’ sounds like the plot outline for a dystopian novel. Let’s stick to what we know though: Musk has called Twitter a “digital town square”, and he wants to reinforce that sense of it being a space for all sides of public debate. Musk’s free speech ideals however conflict with previous Twitter policies on harassment, fake news, “incitement of violence”, etc., and the biggest looming change is likely related to moderation (with one former president perhaps eyeing a return). On a less controversial note, Musk wants to cut down on bots and bring more transparency. He has openly called for Twitter’s algorithm to go open-source, allowing users to understand how and why certain posts show up on their timelines. The full “potential” he’s promising remains to be seen. Running a mammoth social network is not rocket science. It is so much harder and might just be Musk’s biggest challenge yet. #ElonTimeComing Read more here.

📺🕳️Netflix – Streaming Platform Loses Subscribers for First Time in 10 Years

Netflix announced a net loss of 200K subscribers for Q1 2022 in an earnings call that sent shockwaves through Wall Street and posed several questions for the future of the world’s biggest streaming platform. Within 24 hours, Netflix’s stock had plunged 37%, wiping over $50 billion off its value. The shock loss of subscribers (analysts had predicted a net gain of 2.5 million) was attributed to several factors: Increased competition from both streaming rivals and traditional cable and television services; rising inflation, with many of us tightening our belts; password sharing – Netflix estimates 100 million accounts are shared by different households; and the war in Ukraine, with the streaming service losing 700K Russian accounts in March, for example. In terms of the less quantifiable stuff, some, including noted television expert Elon Musk, have had their say on the quality of the content on the platform. Rivals like Disney+ can call upon IP, like Marvel and Star Wars, with a ready-made fanbase. While Netflix has had success with known ‘brands’ like The Witcher and original content like Bridgerton, it usually has to build fandom from the ground up. Anyway, the question is, what comes next? Well, Netflix has two arrows in its quiver. The first is going to target password sharing, so no more mooching off your mom’s account when you live 500 miles away. The second idea is to offer folks the option of a cheaper service financed by ads. Regardless, it might just be a quick fix, and we will have to wait and see if Netflix is experiencing a bump in the road or facing a truly existential threat. #NetflixUpsideDown Read more here.

🏦🧑‍💻Column – Plaid Co-Founder Launches Bank to Disrupt Fintech Industry

“We are both the bank and the technology provider.”. Those words came last week from William Hockey, the co-founder and former CTO of Plaid, and their importance to the fintech industry cannot be overstated. For context, fintech companies face a myriad of complications when they try to mimic the financial services carried out by traditional banks. When you see those snazzy fintech companies offering loans, for example, the loan will have to be backed by a ‘real’ bank in order to get the necessary federal deposit insurance required by the Fed. On top of that, fintech companies have to work with a series of middleware vendors and core processors to move money from A to B. And if you’re a traditional bank looking to act like a fintech company, you have the same problem in reverse. In short, fintech has an expensive and cumbersome supply chain that’s ripe for disruption. So step forward Column, a real bank (it has one physical branch in California) launched by Hockey that is built as a fintech company from scratch. This means, in theory, it will have all the legal and regulatory benefits of a bank while availing of its bespoke fintech technology that cuts out (most of) the intermediaries. It’s one of the great ironies of this age of fast-moving finance that the core mechanics behind it all remain slow, complicated and expensive. Column is hoping to change that. Hockey has been tight-lipped on his grander vision for Column, but he has hinted that there is more to come. It’s worth keeping an eye on how this plays out. #ColumnFintechBank Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week – 250M Daily AR Users on Snapchat

While Netflix hogged the headlines with its Q1 earnings results, Snapchat was celebrating its Q1 numbers and the fact that it was growing faster than Facebook and Twitter. However, we are way more interested in how Snapchatters are using the app. And as it turns out, a staggering 250 million of its 332 million daily active users are engaging with AR. We have praised Snapchat before for its AR experiences, notably in shopping, and it’s quietly been building a product that differentiates itself from other social media platforms. That innovation in the AR field is starting to reap the rewards. Not just in user growth but also through partnerships for AR experiences with companies like Disney. Snap is hosting its annual partner summit this week, where it will announce new products and services, and we are genuinely intrigued to see what they have planned for the next step in AR. It’s been leading the way among social media platforms in this field, and it’s a bet that might pay off even more in the long run. #SnapUsersAR Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

👨‍💻🚀Coinbase – Social NFT Marketplace Has Live Beta Launch

The long-awaited Coinbase NFT marketplace has finally arrived. Well, it is, in fact, in “limited” beta, but we can get a glimpse into Coinbase’s vision for its social NFT marketplace. The “social” aspect is important here, as it refers to both the style and structure of the platform (some have pointed out its similarity to Instagram) and Coinbase’s goal of going beyond the buying and selling of NFTs by creating a community element, allowing users to follow creators, post comments, and so on. Anyway, there’s certainly a lot to like so far, including commission-free NFT transactions (for a limited time only). There’s also some downside (no minting yet). Some have wondered whether Coinbase is too late to the party and whether it can gather enough momentum to rival OpenSea. Others have pointed to Coinbase smartly playing the long game. For our part, we will reserve judgement until Coinbase rolls out several more planned features (drops, minting, token-gated communities) so that it becomes a fully-rounded web3 eco-system. #CoinbaseNFTs Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

It’s a 🇺🇸 celebration over here at 3Advance this week! Our spectacular Mobile Engineer, Sandip has been enjoying his first full week in the United States after claiming a spot in the Diversity Visa Program – or as it’s more commonly known, the Green Card Lottery. We hired Sandip in January of 2021 and he has been a stellar member of the 3Advance team, working from his native Nepal. Now, we’re excited to announce we are re-hiring him as a full-time W-2 employee after he relocated to Austin, Texas! 🤠 Along with Shawn and Rishi, that makes three of our team that now live in or around ATX. But back to Sandip! 3Advance – and the United States – are lucky to have such a talented, dedicated professional and we’re excited for his continued growth and success. Sandip joins fellow immigrants Darren and Paul who’ve had quite a run and like Alexander Hamilton, we get the job done