Hi, welcome to your Weekend!
If you’re reading this from somewhere along the Mediterranean or the East End of Long Island, you’re apparently not alone. As my colleague Erin Woo reports in this week’s cover story, a sizable chunk of tech’s investing class has traded deal-chasing for chaise-lounging recently.
While a summer slowdown is sort of the norm for tech—it is mid-July after all, who wants to close deals?—some suspect that the Valley’s Griswolds act is also a clean excuse. “I think it has way way less to do with the fact that it is ‘summer’ now and more that no one knows how to price in this market.”
That’s what our “intern” Sam Lessin—the Slow Ventures VC married to my boss Jessica—wrote in for The Information’s sharp new Forum site. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. It’s got positive early-2000s-message-board vibes that others are already admiring.
And while you’re at it, take a minute to fill out your Profile for our new reader Directory. Next week, I’ll share some data about our readers’ favorite weekend destinations. Expect sand.
the big read
‘If I Miss a Deal, It’s—Whatever’: Venture Investors Throw in the Beach Towel
It’s summertime and for Silicon Valley’s VCs—if not its startup founders—the living is easy. “Almost the entire industry has closed their laptops and gone to Europe,” said Katelin Holloway, a founding partner at Seven Seven Six. But while the dealmakers are taking a long-overdue breather, founders are left to sweat it out. Erin reports on our summer of disconnect.
‘The Truth Had Been Distorted Beyond Recognition’: Lulu Cheng Meservey on Joining the Activision Board and Defending Free Speech on Substack
More outspoken than even her company’s founders, the 36-year-old head of communications at Substack is making a name for herself as a ferocious free-speech fighter. Adam Lashinsky chats with Meservey about her willingness to defend bad takes on the internet and her two-way vetting of Activision.
my life's work
How an Invite and a Pivot Changed Everything for the Founders of Atoms
To call Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim’s startup journey “improbable” would be an epic understatement. When they arrived at Y Combinator from Pakistan in 2015, they weren’t yet fluent in English. Seven years later, they’re the inspirational figures behind Atoms, the craft sneaker brand and mask manufacturer whose wares have been worn by Brad Pitt, Serena Williams, and Colin Kaepernick.
Watching: Stars throwing shade at their VFX team
If you ever find yourself publicizing a Marvel film that is heavily dependent on visual effects, maybe don’t dump on the VFX artists? That’s essentially what “Thor: Love and Thunder” director Taika Waititi and star Tessa Thompson did in a “Notes on a Scene” video they recorded for Vanity Fair. The VFX community was not pleased, with defenders taking to Twitter to slam Marvel’s poor working conditions, low pay, and bad bedside manner. If either Waititi or Thompson have apologized, they’ve kept their mea culpas analog.
Reading: A made-for-Bollywood cricket scam
Indian cricket is no stranger to match-fixing scandals. But the sport has never seen a scam quite as brazen—and hilarious—as the one pulled off by a group of farm laborers in a remote village of Gujarat. Using five HD cameras, some clever video editing and a live YouTube feed, the group faked a pro cricket season for an audience of Russian gamblers. The details, as captured by the Times of India, are pure Holly—or Bolly—wood. We’d cast Dev Patel as the group’s plucky ringleader who, having just returned from eight months working in a Russian gambling pub, hires 21 of his closest friends to pretend to be pro cricketers, umpires and BBC announcers, and then watches the rubles flow in.
Noticing: The legal complaint of the century
You’ve no doubt heard that Twitter is suing Elon Musk. But have you read the actual legal complaint? It is the “Gone Girl” of court filings: a page-turning two-hander written by a legal department with so many axes to grind, they should automate an ax factory. “Musk apparently believes that he—unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law—is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away,” writes the Twitter legal team. (One legal commentator’s reaction: “Real, genuine, Biglaw joy.”) Musk’s lawyers have already begun to rebut the claims. But the comebacks have been a little lackluster lately.
Makes You Think
This way, they can still add value from the beach!
Until next Weekend, thanks for reading.
Weekend Editor, The Information