ICYMI: The Man Behind Netflix’s Big Spender Strategy for Content Read Now

Startups Culture E-commerce

Sophia Amoruso Wants to Retire ‘Girlboss’ for Good; Danielle Baskin Is Tech’s Most Prolific Prankster

Hi, welcome to your Weekend: Christmas Eve edition!

It’s over: another holiday shopping season, in the books. We’ve already shared The Information’s tech-adjacent gift picks, an overview of Silicon Valley’s annual gifting arms race, and our last-second NFT-buying guide, so I won’t bombard you with any more gift-related journalism this week. 

With one exception: I have a New Year’s wine deal to recommend. Given our present circumstances, with friends and family everywhere testing positive for Omicron, you may be a heartbroken holiday shut-in again this year. If that’s the case, take some solace in a $99 three-pack of wine, hand-selected by the San Francisco restaurateurs behind Quince and Cotogna, and delivered to your house by Good Eggs (available for Bay Area customers only). My family’s delivery just arrived, and I’ve already got my drinking plans in order: we’ll be uncorking a Curto barolo on Christmas eve, a bubbly La Spinee pét-nat on New Year’s, and a nascetta from Anna Maria Abbona during some happy hour in between.

This has been a long year, and it’s ending on a rough note. Hopefully, the bottles above and the stories below can provide you with both sustenance and diversion. Stay healthy out there, folks!

‘The Only Way to Find Out If You’re a Pariah Is to Stick Around’: Sophia Amoruso Looks to the Future

Sophia Amoruso was once synonymous with “girlboss,” a term she popularized with her best-selling 2014 memoir of the same name. Then the Nasty Gal founder became associated with less welcome words, like “bankruptcy” and “toxic workplace.” Now, five years after stepping down as CEO of the company she founded, Amoruso is trying to reframe both the narrative and her mindset. “I think the last five years have been kind of like my feet weren’t touching the earth,” she tells Josh Duboff. “And then they touched the earth again.”

How Silicon Valley’s Most Prolific Prankster Mirrors the Industry She Parodies

Danielle Baskin “verified” influencer’s houses, sold Elizabeth Holmes costumes at the Theranos trial, and created a full-blown hygienic panic with a fictitious toothbrush-sharing company. She’s Silicon Valley’s unofficial court jester, and, in true Valley style, has even turned her antics into a full-fledged business operation. Here, she explains how she created a one-woman, startup-spoofing army. 

A Startup Founder Moved to Las Vegas for the Weather, Then Developed Political Ambitions

In this week’s “Decamped,” we chat with Madison Campbell, co-founder and CEO of Leda Health, a startup that gives sexual assault survivors free self-administered examination kits. Campbell moved from New York to a Las Vegas suburb for the climate and financial perks, but she’s also found a bustling food scene, a new market for Leda, and the chance to run for political office. 

The Endorsement

Reporter Margaux MacColl on NFT horse racing:

One of the few times I rode a horse as a child, I was thrown onto the ground, covered in dirt and shame. I spent years regarding them as dangerous, untamable beasts. But this week I regained the upper hand by buying a horse myself — in the metaverse, of course, where it can’t hurt me. The crypto game Zed Run, which raised a $20 million Series A in June, lets users purchase “thoroughbreds” in the form of non-fungible tokens and enter them in free or paid races. To begin, I headed to NFT marketplace OpenSea and spent $40 on a pink horse, aptly named Pink Winner Girl. After reading her stats and family history, I understood why she was the cheapest available: she had never won a race. Plus, the name of her father was so NSFW, I gasped. But I told myself that she was an underdog, a fighter, and I entered her in a race with hope in my heart. It was a 2,400-meter sprint that I watched in 3D mode, which animated the gem-colored animals so I could see them gallop across the finish line. As I scanned the leaderboard, I immediately felt better about my horse’s pedigree; Pink Winner Girl was competing against stallions named Famous Anus and Whoresh. As it so often is in reality, life in the metaverse proved unfair: my filly limped in second-to-last place. Still, I got more serotonin from that three-minute event than I thought possible from NFTs. 

Reading: The year in 41 questions

Should we send billionaires to space? Is the war on terror over? And, of course, what happened to Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend? These are a few of the 41 questions curated into the New York Times Opinion’s aesthetically pleasing roundup of the year’s best debates. The package gives an excellent snapshot of what everyone’s been arguing about this year, from the erudite to the inane. Each question is taken seriously, and addressed with welcome brevity. “The Year in 41 Debates” is just as applicable for the most in-the-loop individual as it is for someone who took the year off Twitter (lucky you).

Watching: Neo returns for a Matrix remix. 

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a predilection for remakes, and usually, the sequels can’t hold a candle to their predecessors. But The Matrix Resurrections, arriving this week to theaters and HBO Max 18 years after the original trilogy, could be an exception to the rule. “It’s less of a reboot than a remix, and this time, it’s a bop,” writes Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times. Don’t have two hours and 28 minutes to spare over the holiday weekend? At least enjoy this viral clip of Canadian sweetheart Keanu Reeves, talking extensively about everything—literally everything—he loves about being from Toronto. 

Noticing: Mom, the billionaires are fighting again!

Jack Dorsey went to war with venture capitalists this week, dismissing their precious Web3 as “centralized” and calling investors a “problem.” The Sand Hill Road avengers assembled in an instant: the Winklevoss twins pointed out Dorsey’s hypocrisy, Chris Dixon responded with zen platitudes. Elon Musk seemed to… agree with Dorsey? Love him or hate him, the ex-Twitter and current Block CEO brought up arguments that the crypto industry has struggled with for years. Is something really decentralized if VC firms own large chunks of it? Is something truly revolutionary if power is wielded by a select few? But these are questions for another day, because this tech war ended as so many do: with Marc Andresseen blocking Dorsey on Twitter.

Makes You Think

A truly New York-in-2021 moment

Until next Weekend, thanks for reading! Happy holidays, everybody.


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.
Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
The Briefing Entertainment E-commerce
Pinterest’s Tardy CEO Shakeup
Ben Silbermann. Photo by Bloomberg.
What timing! No one could say they were surprised that Ben Silbermann is stepping down as CEO of Pinterest—that’s something we’ve expected for a while. After all, while he and his co-founder, Evan Sharp, built the business into a public company worth $13 billion—even after the stock plunge of recent months—Silbermann lately has been grappling with falling user numbers in the U.S. No, what is...
Latest Briefs
FCC Commissioner Calls on Apple, Google to Remove TikTok From App Stores
Email App Front Doubles Valuation to $1.7 Billion
Disney’s Board Renews Chapek’s Contract for Three Years
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Amazon's logo on a tent at Cannes this week. Photo by Reuters.
Amazon’s Ad Staffers Flee Amid Complaints of Bloat, Bureaucracy
In the years immediately before Covid-19 sidelined the global advertising festival in Cannes, Amazon kept a low-key presence at the annual gathering of ad and tech people.
Crypto Markets
Tech’s Worst-Timed Deals: Six Acquisitions That Have Not Improved With Age
As tech valuations collapse to a fraction of where they were last year, executives likely have a few regrets.
Art by Clark Miller
Scene and Heard Crypto Culture
‘The Last Great Party’: With Crypto Winter Coming, NFT Lovers Try to Stave Off Reality
Ten days before NFT.NYC began last Monday in New York, I interviewed the conference’s founder, Jodee Rich, about how the crypto market’s collapse would impact this year’s gathering.
Tesla's Fremont factory, in a photo taken in May 2020.
Exclusive Autonomous Vehicles
At Tesla, Returning to the Office Creates New Problems
On the evening of June 8, speaking from Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., Elon Musk addressed a few dozen of the electric car maker’s employees in person, and thousands more in a livestream.
Signage at VidCon 2016. Photo by Shutterstock
VidCon Returns as Chill Falls on Creator Economy
VidCon, the annual gathering of social media creators, fans and industry representatives, will descend on Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday for the first time since 2019.
From left: Brooke Hainey & Keith George, co-founders of Cortina; Bennett Carroccio, co-founder of Canal; Conner Sherline, founder of Disco.
Startups to Watch Startups E-commerce
Three Startups That Help Online Retailers Cut Out Facebook Ads
Direct-to-consumer brands that rely heavily on Facebook and Instagram ads have been reeling ever since Apple’s 2021 privacy changes made it harder and more expensive to land new customers.