Welcome to another edition of Business Twitter, where we collect the best tweets to come out of Silicon Valley so you don’t have to. This article is part of a newsletter — if you want a weekly Business Twitter roundup sent to your inbox every Friday, subscribe here.
This week: Elon Musk and Michael Saylor announce the Bitcoin Mining Council, a privacy tech worker breaks down how our phones know what we want to buy, and seed round lessons from the founder and CEO of Loyal.
Here’s everything you may have missed from this week.
1. The Bitcoin Mining Council
Yesterday I was pleased to host a meeting between @elonmusk & the leading Bitcoin miners in North America. The miners have agreed to form the Bitcoin Mining Council to promote energy usage transparency & accelerate sustainability initiatives worldwide. https://t.co/EHgLZ9zvDK— Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) May 24, 2021
After Elon Musk made a very public break with Bitcoin when he announced that Tesla would not accept payments in the cryptocurrency, many argued over whether Bitcoin mining was harmful for the planet. Musk, who certainly says it is, announced this week that he met with Bitcoin miners to find more sustainable solutions, forming the Bitcoin Mining Council in the process.
The talks were hosted by MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, who tweeted that executives from Argo, Riot Blockchain, HIVE Blockchain, and Hut 8 Mining also took part.
Saylor’s thoughts on Bitcoin, meanwhile, can be summed up by his pinned tweet from last September: “Bitcoin is a swarm of cyber hornets serving the goddess of wisdom, feeding on the fire of truth, exponentially growing ever smarter, faster, and stronger behind a wall of encrypted energy.”
2. No one’s listening
I'm back from a week at my mom's house and now I'm getting ads for her toothpaste brand, the brand I've been putting in my mouth for a week. We never talked about this brand or googled it or anything like that.— Robert G. Reeve (@RobertGReeve) May 25, 2021
As a privacy tech worker, let me explain why this is happening. 🧵
We’ve all heard someone suggest that our phones are listening in on our every word, hoping to send us personalised ads based on a passing comment about some random object, like toothpaste.
First off, your phone isn’t listening to you. Second, the reason you’re seeing those ads is because of all the data tech companies collect about you, according to Robert G. Reeve, a privacy tech worker, who broke down how the process works in a recent thread.
“Your apps collect a ton of data from your phone,” Reeve wrote. “Your unique device ID. Your location. Your demographics. Weknowdis. Data aggregators pay to pull in data from EVERYWHERE. When I use my discount card at the grocery store? Every purchase? That's a dataset for sale.”
Reeve’s advice to those who don’t want their data out there? “Apple's latest updates let you block apps' tracking and Facebook is MAD,” he wrote. “They're BEGGING you to just press accept and go back to business as usual. Block the fuck out of every app's ads. It's not just about you: your data reshapes the internet.”
3. Lessons from a female solo founder
I've raised one of the largest seed rounds ever for a female solo founder, for a weird, moonshot company that doesn't quite fit in most VC's pre-ordained view of the world ;)— Celine Halioua (@celinehalioua) May 25, 2021
I've written a behemoth post on how this round happened, my mistakes, and - most fun - the bloopers!
Celine Halioua is the founder and CEO of Loyal, a startup seeking ways to fight aging in dogs. Halioua just raised a seed round and wrote a Twitter “behemoth” thread on what she learned from the experience.
“Don't try to learn all the patterns/social etiquette on your own,” she wrote. “Find a generous founder or VC to walk you through it. Don't be tempted to minimize timelines, $ to milestone, etc to satisfy the VC. You get labeled as an amateur + sets you up for failure.”
Halioua said she spoke with Greg Rosen, a partner at New York-based venture firm BoxGroup, for months before making a deal. Because her startup concept was rather out there, it took time to convince investors that a company treating the underlying causes of aging in dogs was worth it.
Some other takeaways according to Halioua: Don’t hide the risks of your startup idea, balance your investors in terms of levels of experience, and give compelling soundbites. “Learning to build my company during a global pandemic royally sucked - having a supportive VC base really helped,” Halioua added.