Engagement is a key measure of health for social media platforms. It's measureed not only by how much time users spend there, but also how often they upload, share, comment and "like." Investors want to know that these platforms are integrated into users' lives so that advertising revenue can continue to grow. But some platforms, including Snapchat and Facebook, are seeing engagement decline. Jessi Hempel, a senior writer for Wired magazine, points to a gradual boundary setting with social media that she thinks a lot of people have been doing, intentionally or not. (08/17/18)
This summer, Marketplace Tech is exploring tech in movies. Today, we’re looking at the Bruce Willis classic “Armageddon,” which was the highest-grossing film of 1998. Willis’ character, Harry Stamper, is a "deep core" oil driller sent into space to drill a hole and drop a bomb in an asteroid hurtling toward Earth. We meet Harry on an offshore oil rig, managing a surly crew, with oil flying everywhere. It's a depiction of oil-drilling life that has stuck with the public, but has very little to do with reality. Eric van Oort, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Texas, talked to us about the space drilling technology in “Armageddon." (08/16/18)
How much do you pay for internet service each month? And what do you get for that price? The National Digital Inclusion Alliance found that lots of customers are paying about $60 a month for their internet packages. And, some get super slow internet speeds, while others get super fast speeds. Internet service providers say they’re working to upgrade networks for everyone. Today on the show, NDIA executive director Angela Siefer talks with us about what it means for families paying full service prices for outdated internet service. (08/15/2018)
The “creator” economy is made up of companies that host platforms, of social media, of marketing dollars, and of course, the talent uploading and sharing their music, comedy, photographs, and videos. Some of those creators make a living, but most of them don't. Gaby Dunn knows first-hand the emotional rollercoaster of the creator economy; of never being sure if her videos or other work will pay off by the time rent is due. And that's despite being a proven online success. Dunn has translated her online presence into a podcast, several book deals, and also a career as a prolific screenwriter, editor, actor, and comedian. We talk with her about what it means to make a career as a "creator," even though she's not a huge fan of the term. (08/14/2018)
In the past few months there has been a lot of debate over guns that can be made with a 3D printer, which would make it easier for people to get a gun. But there's also a push happening in the tech startup world that is focused on making guns safer. "Smart gun" technology has been around since the 1970s. While the tech has evolved over time, the idea behind it has stayed the same: that only the rightful, registered user of the gun can operate it. Marketplace Tech guest host Amy Choi talked with Alex Yablon, a reporter at nonprofit newsroom The Trace, to find out why this technology hasn't come to market. (08/13/2018)
To finish out our series on venture capital, we'll take a look to the future. Cryptocurrency may have its disruptive eye cast toward venture capital. The initial coin offering is a type of crypto-crowdfunding that startups can use to raise cash quickly without kissing the Silicon Valley ring. But do ICOs really have the potential to replace venture capital for startups? We go back to the time Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Yuliya Chernova, who covers venture capital for the Wall Street Journal, about the pros and cons of ICOs.