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How Instagram Is Getting Teens to Share More; Snap Expands Subs

Earlier today, we published a story about Instagram’s internal efforts to take on TikTok. Our reporting found out that tests of TikTok-like changes to Instagram—which Instagram paused after an outcry from major influencers—were part of a broader initiative that began last year to simplify the app, code name Panavision. You can read more about the project...

Why ‘Battered’ SaaS Valuations Look Out of Touch With Reality

Valuations for publicly traded enterprise software companies such as Salesforce and Workday have plunged from pandemic-era peaks, thanks to rising interest rates and worries that customers will cut software budgets during an economic slowdown. But there are signs the sell-off has gone too far. For the first time since at least 2019, the enterprise...

How Instagram’s TikTok Envy Finally Backfired

Last month, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and other influencers stirred up a public relations firestorm for Instagram, complaining to their hundreds of millions of followers about the app's recent attempts to mimic TikTok. Those efforts were just part of a broader internal effort to take on the Chinese short-form video app, though. The Information...

The Shaky Mental State of Silicon Valley

Hi, welcome to your Weekend! Next month, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reconvenes after its summer recess, one of the matters up for discussion will be a resolution to decriminalize the use of psychedelics. While San Franciscans have never needed Board approval to partake in the wonders of nature, you can bet plenty of tech workers around...

The Founder Who Got High on a Rooftop and Came Down With a Business

Watching the app you built hit the 10 million-download threshold would be a career high for most founders. But for Ben-Zion Benkhin, it’s just another day at the office. Within the last two years, Benkhin, 26, has launched two wildly popular artificial intelligence–based apps. The first was Wombo.ai, which uses AI to create highly shareable, delightfully...

Can Creatives Survive the Future War Against Dall-e 2?

Earlier this year, Karen X. Cheng, a video director in San Francisco, was commissioned by a client to make an augmented reality dress for special events. The idea was to “hide” an animation of a beating heart within the dress, which an Instagram filter would reveal whenever a phone camera was pointed at the wearer’s chest. Cheng, who specializes...

Meet Axios’ New Owners: Old-Money Atlanta Billionaires Hungry for the Next Big Thing

The pitch Sebastian Thrun made to investors in 2014 was an alluring one. Thrun—former head of Google X, the company’s top-secret skunkworks—had already raised over $20 million for his buzzy online-education startup, Udacity. Now he wanted more. He promised to profoundly disrupt education through online courses that put students through a warp-speed...

‘It’s Just Bad News All the Time’: With the Tech Economy Buckling, Silicon Valley Therapists Are in High Demand

Over the last couple of months, David Mahabali has become highly skilled at lugging pillows, floor pads and blankets around the San Francisco Bay Area. He layers an assortment of them on the plush floors of McMansions in Woodside, spreads them across deep pile rugs in posh San Jose condos, and arranges them tidily in the living rooms of three-story...

Meet Our First Chief Commercial Officer, Karl Wells

It's been a busy few months at The Information. Our newsroom has been leading the narrative in coverage, from our early reporting on Netflix's dramatic move to advertising to our detection of the victims of the massive collapse underway in the private tech markets. Our scoops on major layoffs and cost-cutting have swung the stocks of some of the largest...

Fintech Investors Cherry-Pick Deals in Boom’s Aftermath

In October, QED Investors managing partner Nigel Morris addressed the CEOs of several dozen fintech startups in an Alexandria, Va., hotel at the venture capital firm’s annual summit. After two days of discussions—and a cycling trip in Shenandoah National Park—he had a message for them: “These are the salad days.” Money was flooding in from VC firms...

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