March 1, 2023

Top stories today: 1) Tesla investor day, 2) Nishad pleads guilty, 3) new Windows 11 with AI Bing, and 4) Meta AR in 2027.

Hi, and welcome to today's Bay Area Times daily newsletter. Top stories today: 1) Tesla investor day, 2) Nishad pleads guilty, 3) new Windows 11 with AI Bing, and 4) Meta AR in 2027.

0. Data and calendar

All values as of 3 AM PT / 6 AM ET, other than S&P500 close (1 PM PT / 4 PM ET).

All times are ET.

1. Today: Tesla Investor Day at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET

What to expect:

  • Master Plan 3: Elon said it would include "the path to a fully sustainable energy future for Earth." In March 2022, he tweeted that "Main Tesla subjects will be scaling to extreme size, which is needed to shift humanity away from fossil fuels, and AI. But I will also include sections about SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company."

  • Robotaxis, open-source AI, super app? Those are all ideas that have been floated by Elon over the past years. In a recent earnings call, Elon said he expected robotaxi mass production to begin in 2024, but in 2019 he made a similar promise for 2020, so we aren't expecting precise dates here.

  • Announcements about updates to most of the existing product line. Including their solar products, Model 3, Model Y, Cyberbruck, and the revived Roadster. - The Verge

You can see the live stream on the Youtube link below, starting at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET:

2. FTX case: Nishad Singh pleads guilty to 6 counts

  • Maximum sentence of 75 years for the former Engineering Director of FTX. Just like the cases of CTO Gary Wang (plead guilty to 4 counts, max. 50 years) and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison (plead guilty to 7 counts, max. 110 years), Singh was likely facing more counts (11, as suggested by the plea agreement, or 12, like SBF) and reached an agreement to plea to fewer counts. - Plea document, WSJ

  • Sentences for Singh, Wang, and Ellison expected at <20 years. That would be reasonable given the guilty plea, the maximum individual sentence of 20 years, and Judge Lewis Kaplan's history of not being extreme on white-collar crime.

  • SBF in a horrible position, but could denounce Bitfinex and Tether as a way out: That's according to influencer Bitfinex'ed, who gave an exclusive interview to the Bay Area Times. Alameda and FTX were the top issuers of USDT, so SBF might know of potential crimes of the Tether group, which is being investigated by federal authorities.

3. New Windows 11 update includes AI-powered Bing in the taskbar

  • But is it really useful for anything? AI chatbots have not proven to be that useful in search, where Google's snippets (fast visual answers) perform better than slow AI-generated text. - Microsoft, The Verge

  • We're more excited about AI-powered Office, which should be coming out soon. Imagine asking for the AI to produce Excel sheets or PowerPoint presentations for you. That could really augment (or, in the future, replace) a lot of labor-intensive, some would say boring, white-collar jobs.

4. Meta aims to launch AR headset by 2027

Meta: 2021 demo of what AR glasses could generate.

  • Zuckerberg thinks AR will "redefine our relationship with technology." AR, unlike VR, has the potential to replace mobile phones. We can imagine a world where billions of people wear lightweight AR glasses. - The Verge

  • AR contrasts with VR, which users don't like. Meta's Quest had revenues of $2.2B in 2022, a slight decrease from 2011's $2.3B, and under 20 million headsets sold since its release. Meta is also struggling with Quest user growth and retention, as most users abandon their Quest after a few months.

5. Jack Dorsey-backed Twitter clone hits App Store in private beta

  • Not clear how it's different than Mastodon. Both are open-source and offer a way to create a federated social network, where anyone can pop up a new server. The current version of Bluesky is quite buggy too, but let's wait until they announce the open beta, before jumping to conclusions.

  • Do users really care about decentralization? Generally, no, especially after Elon bought Twitter and unbanned Trump and other notable figures. Very few people are hit by bans, so, unfortunately, these decentralized Twitters are unlikely to succeed. - Techcrunch, The Verge

Mozilla leads $1-2M seed of Mastodon app Mammoth

  • We also think it's unlikely Mammoth will succeed. For the same reasons as Bluesky and Mastodon itself: users don't care about decentralization, and the product is mostly a clone of Twitter. - Techcrunch

Twitter now bans "wishes of harm"

  • That's probably legal speech in the U.S. if it doesn't intend to incite "imminent lawless action," the current Supreme Court test for illegal speech. Previously, Elon had promised to allow legal speech on Twitter, although this is a very borderline case. - Engadget

6. Substack reaches 2M paid subscribers and 20M MAUs

  • But revenue per paid subscriber is only around ~$10/year, according to our internal estimates, given they get a 10% cut and paid newsletters usually hover around $100/year. - Substack, Axios

  • Growth is linear, not exponential. That is very common in media and in the newsletter business.

  • Competition is all around the corner. We ourselves use Beehiiv, which has great customer support, customizations, and a referral program, and there's also the open-source Ghost.

7. FBI director reaffirms China lab leak "likely"

  • In line with the FBI's October 2021 report affirming they had "moderate confidence" in the lab leak hypothesis.

  • And China is not helping the investigation: "I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we're doing, the work that our U.S. government and close foreign partners are doing. And that's unfortunate for everybody." - Fox News

China threatens Elon over lab leak tweet

  • China increasingly can't be trusted. Still, is the best path for the West Vivek Ramaswamy's idea of declaring economic independence from China? Probably a top-down approach would be bad, as the economic impact would be too severe. It would still be great if American businesses could start investing in the Americas and perhaps Africa, other than China or its neighboring regions.

8. Elad Gil predicts many startups will run out of cash starting at year-end

Because they raised big rounds in 2021, and those should cover 2-4 years of runway:

9. Other headlines


  • Rivian misses estimates: revenue $1.7B for the year, losses $6.8B.

  • Instacart's revenue rises 50% in Q4, $2.5B in 2022, as it prepares for IPO.

  • HP's revenue falls 19% to $13.8B in Q4.

  • Typeface AI gets $65M for AI-powered marketing creation (B2B focus).

  • PromptLoop: AI inside Excel and Google Sheets.

  • Google Pixel Watch launches fall detection, already present on the Apple Watch.

  • Salesforce is paying Matthew McConaughey $10M+/year as their creative adviser.

  • Bain Capital Ventures raises $1.9B in two new funds.

  • How Duolingo reignited user growth: gamification, referrals, models, vectors.

  • Fulfil, startup offering robotic micro-fulfillment center solutions, raises $60M B.

  • 6G terabyte broadband expected in 2030.


  • Goldman "considering strategic alternatives" for unprofitable consumer division.

  • CHIPS Act: semiconductor companies can now apply for their share of $53B.

  • CHIPS Act: gov't subsidies have a poor record; OK when focused, for national security.

  • FDA approves drug accepting historical patient data as control data, a first.

  • U.S. office occupancy at 40-60%, vs 70-90% for EMEA and 80-110% for Asia.

  • Axel Springer to phase out print, focus on U.S. assets (POLITICO, Insider, Brew).


  • Visa, Mastercard pause new crypto deals after tough 2022.

  • Arthur Hayes, former Bitmex CEO, gets a NY Mag profile, saying he still runs the co.

Washington and more

  • Supreme Court likely to cancel $400B in student debt relief; decision exp. in June.

  • Trump well ahead of DeSantis in more polls.

  • Ukraine aid under threat as more Congressmen question officials.

  • Chicago mayor Lightfoot becomes 1st to lose re-election in 40 years as crime persist.

  • TikTok ban is a target of new GOP House bill.

  • More FOX lawsuits are coming, says former FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann.

  • Finland starts building fence on Russian border to prevent migration, attacks.

  • Iranian warships park in Brazil -- still being ignored by most in U.S. media.

  • Andrew Tate lobbying Romanian lawmakers from prison.

10. Interesting tweets, memes, and images

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