AR/VR Culture

It's Silicon Summer, Baby

Hi, welcome to your Weekend! 

This is Jillian Goodman, The Information’s opinion editor, taking over for your usual newsletter-er, Jon Steinberg.

The official start of summer isn’t for ten days yet, but here at Weekend, we’re already in full sunglasses mode. I’m filling in for Jon this week while he enjoys some much-needed vacation, and by the time you read this (travel gods willing), I will be off enjoying sun and seafood on a Mediterranean island. 

Many of you probably have your own plans already set, but just in case, we’ve got an encyclopedia of inspiration for you, courtesy of some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful players. Why not try wing foiling (an activity somewhere between windsurfing and kiteboarding) like investor Julien Codorniou? Or maybe you’re more in the mood for a crisp martini? Order the one at Mustards Grill in Napa Valley, a favorite of Snap Inc.’s Jim Shepherd. We’ve got something for every interest, from A (Angel City FC, LA's newest sports franchise) to Z (rest up, aka get some zzz’s!).

That’s not all—Flora Tsapovsky writes in with a dispatch from metaverse camp, where kids spend their days building holographic augmented reality environments and, oh yeah, playing outside a bit, too. And Inspired Capital’s Alexa von Tobel gives us a view into her mobile life in this week's Screen Time, including a peek at her family enjoying a festive Memorial Day Weekend parade. 

Find everything you need for your own “Silicon Summer” below. 


silicon summer

The ABCs of Summer: An Encyclopedic Guide to Silicon Valley’s Time Off

A Silicon Valley summer features the classics, of course—camping, canoeing, baseball and so on. But leave it to the techies to come up with vacation plans that are more, shall we say, innovative than the old standards. For our comprehensive summer guide, Annie asked tech leaders and investors how they’re spending their summers. Their answers were anything but elementary. 


silicon summer

A Silicon Valley Summer Camp Wants Kids to Ditch the Canoes for Holographic Coding

Continuing our summer theme, we go inside a Bay Area summer camp, which could not be more different from the “Parent Trap” fantasies of our youth. Camp Integem, a “holographic AR summer camp,” trades the cabins and campfires for coding classes. It’s a pre-professional program, Flora explains, part of the rapidly expanding universe of coding camps and crypto classes that are giving kids a head start on…wherever the metaverse is going.


the big read

Tokens for We but Not for Thee: How a DAO Turned Against One of Its Earliest Investors

What happens when a decentralized autonomous organization worth over $370 million disagrees with one of its investors and decides to, well, just kick them out? Margaux investigates the tale of Merit Circle DAO which ousted investor Yield Guild Games, returning their money. Though just once instance, Merit Circle’s coup could have lasting ripple effects. “If a DAO successfully reneges on a SAFT [simple agreement for future tokens, a standard deal structure for token investments],” noted crypto fund Galois Capital, “it will embolden other DAOs to do the same, resulting in greater levels of politics and a chilling effect on future investments into DAOs.”


screentime

Screentime: LearnVest’s Founder Thinks the Future of Finance Is on Your Phone

In this week’s Screentime, Alexa von Tobel, the founder and managing partner of Inspired Capital, unlocks her phone for Margaux. The main conclusion? Von Tobel loves crypto, and the proof is all over her phone. From trading currencies on Gemini to admiring her non-fungible tokens on the POAP app, von Tobel has fully bought into the idea that the financial technology of the future will fit in the palm of your hand. But, it's not all business—von Tobel and her kids also watch their fair share of Lizzo dance TikToks and lego building YouTube videos. 


Watching: The Twitter bowl-in-bowl saga 

On June 6, communications professional Chi Nguyễn discovered that a ceramic bowl she owned had gotten hopelessly stuck inside another ceramic bowl she owned. There was only one place to turn to. “Twitter, I need your help,” she tweeted. The masses didn’t let her down. Her plea garnered thousands of ideas, from the helpful (“use a rubber mallet”) to the not so much (“politely ask the smaller bowl to leave”). Nguyễn periodically updated her thread with every method she’d tried, giving her ever-growing audience a much-needed break from doomscrolling. Twenty hours, 150,000 likes, and one minor chip later, Nguyễn finally succeeded in freeing her bowls. 

Reading: How migrants use TikTok for research 

When Nasreddine Benmadi decided to migrate from Algeria to Spain, it wasn’t a book or a website or even a particularly knowledgeable friend he turned to for advice. It was TikTok. For Rest of World, Betsy Joles writes about the dozens of migrants documenting their journeys on TikTok and Instagram, posting videos with crucial tips and recording which routes are safe. The videos have become both an invaluable resource and a headache for content moderators, who have an obligation to “remove content facilitating smuggling.” The result is a constant battle to avoid censorship, in which migrants employ coded hashtags to convey sensitive information and practice strategic ambiguity about the legality of their journeys—sometimes at the expense of showing the full, brutal truth about their travels. 

Noticing: Anthony Hopkins picked this moment to get into NFTs 

With the crypto market continuing to flounder and weekly sales of non-fungible tokens having declined by a little more than 70%, Anthony Hopkins—the knighted Welsh actor and recipient of multiple Academy, Emmy and BAFTA awards—this week announced his intent to get in on the NFT action. Even better, he did so on Twitter, changing his screen name to “AHopkins.eth” and telling his followers, “I’m astonished by all the great NFT artists. Jumping in to acquire my first piece, any recommendations?,” accompanied by a photo of himself looking ponderous with hands clasped and wearing some kind of elaborate vest chain. No great explorer can venture into the wilderness alone, however, so Hopkins tagged the dream team—Reese Witherspoon, Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Fallon—to ask for their guidance. Fallon responded with his own Thinker-esque photo and a message ending in two magic words: “DM me.”


Makes You Think

Some possible friction points with iOS 16. As Notopoulos said, “So many grandparents are going to see things they never wanted to see.” 


Until next Weekend, thanks for reading.

—Jillian

Opinion Editor, The Information


Jon Steinberg is the Weekend Editor at The Information. He is a former editor-in-chief of San Francisco magazine and senior editor at New York magazine, where his work won many National Magazine Awards.
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