What's Appening: Super Bowl Tech Tales 🏈🎶

Super Bowl LVII Tech, Google’s AI Disaster, Spotify Defeats Elmo, App Stats, Crypto VS SEC

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In this week’s What’s Appening, we talk about tech and football. Over 100 million people tuned in to watch the Chiefs win Sunday’s game, but tech played a role in Super Bowl LVII almost as essential as MVP Patrick Mahomes. We’ll break down all the interesting tidbits, including Rihanna’s royalty NFTs and the extraordinary tale of a $7 million TV advert providing a link to a tech founder’s Twitter account. Elsewhere, we report on Google’s disastrous launch of AI assistant, Bard. We also have good news for those who like to keep their Spotify recommendations ‘pure’. Our Stat of the Week crunches the numbers of paid app subscribers. And What’s dAppening reports on the war between the SEC and the US crypto industry.

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Takes 🎬️

🏈📱 Super Bowl LVII – Rounding Up the Tech Stories from NFL Showcase

Super Bowl Sunday has been and gone, and that means we get to report on the weird and the wonderful techie stuff from the big event. If crypto was the big talking point from the coveted ad slots last year, then it was (mostly) notably absent this year. But a web3-related ad still provided one of the most interesting highlights beyond the game itself. A 30-second advert running on Fox from blockchain gaming company Limit Break – at the cost of $7 million😲 – promoted a free digital collectible for viewers, but there seemed to be a mistake with a QR code bringing many viewers to the CEO’s personal Twitter account instead of the game’s NFT mint page. That must be the most expensive promoted tweet in history. Rihanna’s pregnancy reveal 👶 was the talk of the town, but we were a little more interested in another NFT story relating to her opening track for the half-time show, Bitch Better Have My Money. NFTs were sold in the lead-up to the Super Bowl, allowing holders who paid $210 for 1 of 300 mints to have streaming royalties for that track. The holders will now enjoy a 0.0033% cut of the royalties for a song that has been streamed almost 700 million times. Does this provide an insight into how NFTs can be used for artist-fan engagement? Elsewhere, there was double pain for hometown fans of the losing team, the Philadelphia Eagles, as Comcast’s Xfinity broadcast suffered an outage in some districts of the City of Brotherly Love during the game. For some cool tech stuff, we go back to Fox’s broadcast, which used AI technology to manage parts of its production. In particular, there was the use of XtraMotion, an AI-assisted camera technology that slows down the frames of the shots, helping the broadcaster pick out the important plays and moments. Finally, there was a bit of buzz about Apple Watch, too, as many fans downloaded the AQ app, measuring real-time ‘fanxiety’, i.e., their state of anxiousness as the game ebbed and flowed. #SuperBowlTech Read more here.

🤖👎 Google – Bard AI Presentation Seen As An Expensive Disaster 

Just as we were publishing What’s Appening last week, news broke that Google had released details of its answer to ChatGPT, Bard. To us, the news felt reactionary, as if Google was rushing to showcase a product in order to take some of the gloss off Microsoft’s moment in the spotlight. As it turns out, we were right: Google suffered a disastrous demo presentation where Bard gave a demonstrably wrong answer to a simple question. The demo faux pas caused investor panic and created a $100 billion drop in Alphabet’s stock price. But perhaps more importantly, it reinforced our assertion that momentum is fully behind Microsoft as it incorporates OpenAI technology into its suite of products. #BardLuckStory Read more here

🎸👶 Spotify – ‘Exclude from My Taste’ Is a Win for Suffering Parents

Parents, does your child’s taste in music wreak havoc on your Spotify algorithm? Perhaps they dig a bit of Sesame Street’s Elmo or subject you to the horrors of Cocomelon (if you know, you know😉), and that might not mesh well with the neo-Hungarian death metal you usually rock out to 🎸. Well, Spotify now has a fix for that. It has launched an ‘Exclude from My Taste Profile’ feature, allowing you to omit certain playlists from your mix recommendations. Basically, it’s saying, “keep nursery rhymes out of my algorithm”. It’s not foolproof, though, as it only impacts playlists and not individual songs and albums. But it’s a welcome improvement. #HandsOffMyMusic Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 2%

🤳📸 Apps – Less Than 2% of App Downloads Convert to Paid Subscribers

This week, we have been diving into the data of app subscribers, looking at the numbers crunched by RevenueCat in its State of App Subscriptions 2023. The report is a treasure trove of information for any app startups looking to convert free users to paid users. As hinted, it can be a tough ask, with fewer than 2% of downloaders converted to paid plans across all apps in the study. There are plenty of green shoots, though, as RevenueCat points to the success of free trials for paid subscriber conversions. There’s a subtle art to that, too, however, so we would recommend you visit RevenueCat’s website for the full report. #AppySubscribers Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

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

👮🚫 SEC – US Crypto Industry Rails Against Unclear Regulation

Want to raise the ire of someone involved in the cryptocurrency sector? You just need to utter two words – Gary Gensler. The chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission is regarded as something of a villain for the industry, and at times it feels like it is with good reason. He has embarked on a “crackdown” recently, hitting exchanges with fines for offering staking services, going hard on some stablecoin projects, and suggesting that more was to come for those “not following the law”. But here’s the problem: the law is either unclear or non-existent. The US does not have a solid regulatory framework for crypto exchanges and their services, and thus the SEC has been accused of “regulation by enforcement”. What this means is that the rules are clarified after the fact, usually in tandem with a juicy fine. Gensler has some cheerleaders, but critics, including lawmakers on Capitol Hill, believe the SEC’s actions will drive web3 innovation away from the United States to other countries or promote offshore entities. Worse still, they claim the SEC does little to help retail investors and will eventually hurt them. They ask: Where was the SEC’s tough oversight before FTX collapsed? It’s a darn good question. As we have said before, crypto and web3 need regulation – and the American web3 sector will thrive when it gets it. Regulatory purgatory, as some have termed it, serves nobody. #CryptoVsSEC Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance...

We just concluded the design phase of our likely most impactful project of 2023: Brightn. For two months, we worked with Jeffrey Johnston, creator of the Living Undeterred Project, and Emilie Mauricio, who’s running the Brightn app project with us. During this oh-most-important phase of the project, we designed the user experience for the future app together, and mapped out the functionality and features of the apps that will go live this Summer. To learn more about the project, or get an insight into our process, just ask! We are so proud to take part in this mission to Brightn the lives of young adults across America… Watch this space.

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