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Why Silicon Valley is freaking out over audio tech

Hello, and welcome to this Wednesday’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech. I’m your host Alexei Oreskovic.

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Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to“Ring the Alarm” by Tenor Saw.


This week: Silicon Valley is freaking out over audio tech

sound wave tattoo



FREDERIC J. BROWN / Getty Images


If you needed any more proof that 2021 is the year of audio, have a listen to NASA’s latest release, direct from Mars’ Jezero Crater! The 60-second audio clip, captured by the Perseverance Rover, is the first-ever recording of sounds from the surface of another planet. The sound is basically just Martian wind (what did you expect to hear?), but it’s a pretty amazing thing to hear

Closer to Earth, audio tech is booming.

Streaming music company Spotify held a big presser Monday to unveil a bunch of new bells and whistles for its audio “creators.”

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you’ve probably heard of Clubhouse by now.

Insider columnist Adam Lashinsky has a smart take on the audio-based social network here. And Melia Russell has written a great story chronicling how the founders of Clubhouse rebounded from failure to a $1 billion valuation.

After weeks of positive press coverage thanks to cameos by Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, Clubhouse has hit a patch of negative press due to security lapses and revelations about its ties to China.

Meanwhile, the attack of the Clubhouse clones is already underway, with Facebook, Twitter and Mark Cuban all racing to develop their own audio-based social networking services. And Clubhouse itself, which now has 10 million weekly users of its iPhone app according to MSNBC, may be getting closer to releasing an Android-version of the app.


You need to be 35 years old to be President of the US according to the Constitution. But no such rule governs when a person can become a venture capital investor. And Gen Z — those youngsters born between 1995 and 2010 — are already getting into the VC game, as Insider’s Margaux MacColl reports.

The VCs on the list range in age from 19 to 25 and followed a variety of paths to venture capital, from launching their own startups to working in finance. All are incredibly ambitious and have leveraged social media in innovative ways.

gen z vc

Nik Sharma, Sujude Dalieh, Josh Richards, and Rahul Rana

Courtesy of Nik Sharma, Sujude Dalieh, Josh Richards, Rahul Rana



“Give my regards to your puppet master”

Elon Musk phone



Joe Skipper/Reuters


— Tesla CEO Elon Musk, responding to a Washington Post article about how his various endeavors, including running a space exploration company and frequent travel, may be affecting Tesla’s operations. Musk’s comment appeared to be a jab at arch-rival Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post and whose Blue Origin space company competes with Musk’s SpaceX.


Towing a trailer with an electric car has an obvious drawback: all that extra weight will drain your car’s battery.

The sleek-looking, aluminum trailer pictured below is specially designed for use with Teslas and other EVs to solve that problem. According to Polydrops, the maker of the P17A trailer, a 2018 Model 3 Tesla was able to tow the 1,200-pound trailer for 245 miles on one charge during its tests.

P17A travel trailer polydrops

The P17A travel trailer.


Polydrops



The trailer can accommodate a full size mattress, and has a built-in battery and rooftop solar panels that can supply 260 to 520-watts of solar energy — enough to power the interior lights, heater and air conditioner, power outlets and optional fridge for up to six nights off the grid. 

If you splurge for all the options, the P17A will run you about $36,000 — about the cost of buying another Tesla.


Recommended Readings:

3 takeaways from Uber’s Supreme Court defeat, which shows the dangers of tech getting creative with regulation

They launched a $1 billion startup together. Then they broke up. How the relationship between Modern Health’s cofounders died.

Here are the 5 most important takeaways from the US Senate’s grilling of SolarWinds, Microsoft, CrowdStrike and FireEye over what could be the biggest cyberattack in history

Gaia was a wildly popular yoga brand. Now it’s a publicly traded Netflix rival pushing conspiracy theories while employees fear the CEO is invading their dreams.

Amazon insiders predict which of their peers will gain — and lose — the most power now that Andy Jassy will be CEO


Not necessarily in tech:

2 years ago, Walmart secretly signed off on a plan to build thousands of health clinics. Now it’s slowing its ambitious push into healthcare.


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

And as always, please reach out with rants, raves, and tips at [email protected]

— Alexei



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