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In this week’s What’s Appening, we take a somber look at the mass layoffs (confirmed and expected) across the tech sector. We start with the debacle at Twitter, where a trigger-happy Elon Musk had to U-turn on some layoffs. But Twitter is not alone, as Meta, Stripe, and Dapper Labs vow to cut staffing levels. Elsewhere, we hail our buddies at Budibase, a startup from Northern Ireland offering low-code development tools. We also have news of a useful update for WhatsApp. Our Stat of the Week looks at the largest Bitcoin whale – and it might not be who you think it is. And What’s dAppening looks at Instagram becoming an NFT marketplace.

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Takes 🎬

🤝📉 Big Tech – Twitter, Meta, Stripe, and Others Start Laying Off Employees

We will start (reluctantly) with Elon Musk and Twitter. While layoffs didn’t hit the Musk-proclaimed 75% level, reports suggest it he may have cut half its global workforce (something that was ungraciously cheered on by Musk supporters on the platform). Of course, because it’s “Elon”, things took a turn – it transpired that some of those employees must be rehired because they were working on Musk-approved projects crucial to Twitter’s future. 🤦🏻‍♂️ This followed the “$20, no $8” back-and-forth regarding “Blue” pricing, and the multiple (inappropriate) tweets he posted, then deleted. His indecisiveness is another disturbing Sign o’ the Musk Times. It’s almost like he’s running this tech titan like it’s a brand-new startup – “move fast and break things”. Now it’s important to highlight that Twitter’s workforce is not alone in getting broken up. Mass layoffs are happening across the board, and the end is not yet in sight. Meta is expected to lay off “thousands” of workers in the coming weeks; Stripe is cutting staff by 12%; Dapper Labs, the NFT-focused blockchain company that we partner with, is decreasing its workforce by 22%. Of course, none of this is surprising. To put it into perspective: Meta is worth somewhere between 75%-80% less than it was at its 2021 peak. Some have pointed to Apple holding firm, with record Q2 profits leading to a remarkable position where it is valued more than Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta combined. But Apple, too, could feel the pain further down the line – it has already cut iPhone 14 production. Times are tough in the tech industry, but this has happened before, and will happen again. Previous mass layoffs have resulted in many successful startups rising from the ashes. Uber, Ethereum, and Airbnb all appeared at times when optimism was low, and layoffs were rife. This is little consolation to most of those who lost their jobs, but the tech sector will rebound, and opportunities will re-appear. Hopefully sooner rather than later. #TheGreatLayoff Read more here.  

📰 💪 BudiBase – Our Belfast Buddies are Building the Next Low-Code Web App Builder

We just reported about the broad downturn in the tech industry, but that doesn’t mean that innovation has stopped. Growth and investment in low-code and no-code tools and development platforms have grown significantly over the last few years and at 3Advance we’ve embraced these tools when possible. We love low-code platforms like Zapier, Airtable, Notion (see below!) and we even integrate them into our deliverables. For example, we usually build within ReTool for creating admin panels for managing content and users within our apps. While it’s not perfect, it allows us to spend time on what’s important – the product. We’re always searching for new and better options, so we perked up at news of a $7 million investment in Budibase, a Belfast-based startup that offers users a low-code platform to rival ReTool. Budibase is open source, and its key selling point is clearly its flexibility, allowing users to build low-code products or create an app from scratch. We love hearing success stories from Paul and Darren’s hometown – well, where they both went to school, and Budibase is one of several tech companies bossing it within the underrated Northern Ireland tech sector. Needless to say, we’ll be going deeper on this one. #BuildWithBudibase Read more here.

💬 🤝 WhatsApp – Global Launch of “Communities” Group Organizer Feature

On November 3rd, WhatsApp announced a global roll-out of a new feature – Communities. It allows larger ‘community’ groups to be compartmentalized and reorganized in different hierarchal structures, as well as offering other improved community features like bigger (up to 32 people) video call groups and in-chat polls. As 3Advance’s Senior Developer Conor pointed out to us, it’s the kind of feature that would come in handy for an admin of a soccer club, allowing them to organize chat groups – teams, kids, parents, coaches, fans, etc. – into different groups while remaining in one overarching “Community”. We can see various other uses for this, ranging from schools to neighborhoods to the workplace. So, it’s a big hats off to WhatsApp here for delivering a logical and much-needed feature with the minimum of fuss. #CommunityWhatsApp Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week – 210K BTC 

🐳👮‍♂️The Biggest Bitcoin Whale? The United States Government

Yesterday, the Department of Justice released details of the seizure of 50,676 Bitcoin linked to the Silk Road fraud, providing testimony about the raid on the home of James Zhong in November last year. At the time, the BTC had a value of over $3 billion, and Zhong had hid it in a circuit board in a popcorn tin (🍿don’t you just love crypto?🤣). Anyway, some Twitter sleuths pointed out that the “Feds” have now obtained over 210K BTC (worth over $4 billion today) from various seizures. That total constitutes about 1% of the max supply of BTC, making the government the biggest BTC whale (that we know about). #FedWhales Read more here.  

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

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

📷🖼️ Instagram – Big Push Into NFTs with Creator Marketplace Roll Out

In a previous What’s dAppening, we highlighted how Reddit was onboarding Web 2 users to web3 with its NFTs. Well, Instagram is following the same pathway with the announcement of its NFT marketplace feature, which allows creators to create, mint, and sell NFTs on the platform. This is, of course, part of Meta’s wider NFT road map (announced in the summer) and we have seen some tentative toe-dipping by Instagram and Facebook already, but it is perhaps the most significant step yet. Insta will start with public testing limited to a select number of creators, but it will soon lead to its 1 billion+ users having instant access to a de facto NFT marketplace. We want to make a special mention of Polygon here. Instagram has chosen the Ethereum sidechain (it’s a little bit more than that) as the primary blockchain partner for its NFTs, although it will eventually be extended to other networks like Solana. Polygon has been at the heart of several major partnerships – Starbucks Odyssey, Reddit NFTs, Stripe web3 payments – that we have covered in this newsletter in recent weeks, and it may just end up being one of the main drivers of web3 adoption. #InstaNFTMarket Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

The World Cup is almost here, so it’s time for the 3Advance World Cup Sweepstake! What’s a sweepstake you ask? Well, it’s simple: Pick a team, and if your team wins, you win… In the case of an Office World Cup Sweepstake, each player is randomly assigned a country, and there might be prizes offered for 1st, 2nd or even last place. 😉 So, this year Darren decided to create a Notion page for organizing and running the sweepstake, oh so easily. Cos this is what Notion does. And this is what Darren does. Everyone at 3Advance will be assigned a country, and then someone will win it all! But we’re not keeping all the fun for ourselves: We went one further, and we converted the page into a Notion template you can use for your office (or other group) too! So, if you love Notion and you love the World Cup, head on over to the 3Advance World Cup Sweepstake Template, hit “Duplicate” so you can run your very own office sweepstake! Enjoy! ⚽️     

  → 🏆 Run your own World Cup Sweepstake! Download our free Notion Template 

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