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Mapping Playboy's Digital Reinvention, Where NFTs Are the Magazine and the Metaverse Is the Mansion

Hi, welcome to your Weekend!

For most of our kids’ lives, my wife and I have avoided giving them much technology. We’re not puritanical about it, but we saw little upside in letting our two girls own their own phones, tablets, smartwatches, or gaming consoles.

But now that they are 12 and 10 years old, the daily drumbeat to let them have all of the above has become deafening. (Plus, I’m sick of them absconding with my phone to watch TikTok!)

So when is the right time to let various tech enter our children’s lives? What are other tech-savvy parents deciding about social media apps, VR headsets and Fitbits? Those are the types of question that inspired The Information Weekend to create a tech and parenting survey of our readers.

If you haven’t done so already, please fill out the survey today. It should only take you 7 minutes—10 if you have more than two offspring. We’ll send you the results of the survey when they’re released.

Your fellow parents thank you! Now, onto the adult stuff...


the big read

The Bunnies Have Left the Mansion: Inside Playboy’s Quest to Reinvent Itself as a Tech Company

In this week’s cover story, Annie delves inside the digital transformation of the storied media company. With the hiring of CMO Rachel Webber in 2018, Playboy began pivoting away from the ubiquitous magazines of yore and going all in on today’s buzziest tech phenomena: subscription platforms and Web3. But solving one problem only creates another: the competition is no longer raunchy reads like Penthouse and Hustler, but tech juggernauts like Meta Platforms and OnlyFans. So the central question remains—will a tech overhaul be enough to keep The Bunny afloat?


decrypted

The Boys Who Cried ‘Dox’

Margaux breaks down one of crypto’s most misappropriated terms: “doxxing.” It used to be that doxxing meant publicly releasing private information with the intent to harm someone. But with the rise of Web3, the meaning of the term has fractured. Now, doxxing can mean revealing publicly available information about powerful people (what Buzzfeed's Katie Notopoulos recently did) or even just revealing one’s own identity. That recasting of the original meaning, Margaux argues, comes with the potential for real-world harm. 


10 questions

Ro Khanna’s “Dignity in a Digital Age” Looks to Spread Tech Wealth Beyond the Valley

Before Khanna was Silicon Valley’s congressman, he was a kid from the economically diverse town of Holland, Penn., where he saw blue-collar families struggle with lost jobs and the crippling devaluation of their skills. Stuck at home during the pandemic, Khanna began to think again about those families, and about other people he’d met in rural America. In our 10 Questions series, he talks about the resulting book, “Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us.” 



Watching: A real-life rom con

It’s been two weeks since its release on Netflix and we still can’t stop thinking about “The Tinder Swindler,” the Felicity Morris-directed documentary about a truly jaw-dropping romance con. News that the film’s real-life villain, Shimon Hayut (aka Simon Leviev), is now selling messages on Cameo and has signed with a Hollywood talent agent who calls herself the D-List Diva, only makes the film’s acidic after-taste linger longer. You don’t have to be a Tinder user or even a single person to relate to the unfortunate—yet beautiful, independent, and yes, intelligent—women who were the victims of Leviev’s lying, gaslighting and bullying. You just have to have lived through the Trump years.


Reading: A tech take on the “vibe shift”

In both reverent and mocking tones, the Internet’s been buzzing over Allison P. Davis’s new story for The Cut, entitled “A Vibe Shift Is Coming.” If you wondered what this piece about our ever-changing cultural mores has to do with technology, Charlie Warzel has your answer in his Atlantic newsletter. Essentially, Warzel argues, our expanding digital universe (including the metaverse) and so-called “vibes” are one and the same. They’re both invisible, ephemeral, and involve “a small handful of people building the future and dropping it into peoples’ hands while telling them: Here is the future. You’re welcome.” Will we survive the next vibe shift? Do we have any choice?


Noticing: Paradigm hires an anonymous teenager

Either high schoolers are getting smarter, or the VC world is getting easier to crack. Top-tier crypto fund Paradigm just hired a new research engineer known as Transmissions11, who, according to his bio, attends high school “in his spare time.” As part of Paradigm’s ongoing commitment to have a staff composed entirely of Twitter handles, Transmissions11 will work alongside anonymous research partner samczsun and fellow research engineer Frankie, whose picture on Paradigm’s team page is a cartoon robot. 


Makes You Think


Turning JPEGs into NFTs and NFTs into feature films—whatever happened to books, Reece?


Until next Weekend, thanks for reading!

—Jon

Weekend 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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