Social media subscriptions need a selling point. So far, it’s not working. – Protocol

Twitter and other social networks want people to pay for content. But they’ll need a marquee feature to convince users to subscribe.
Twitter offers three paid features: Twitter Blue, Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows.
Click banner image for more Subscription Week 2022 coverage
Cate Bonacini is a self-described Twitter super user. Bonacini runs communications for the Center for International Environmental Law, so she likes to keep up with journalists talking about climate on the platform. When Twitter launched a subscription service, Twitter Blue, Bonacini thought that would help her stay on top of the news. She subscribed.
Twitter Blue debuted last June and offers Twitter faithfuls the ability to undo tweets and read ad-free articles for $2.99 a month. Bonacini said the service improved her Twitter experience in some ways, letting her more easily read long Twitter threads with the subscription’s reader mode. The ability to undo a tweet before it’s posted gives her a few extra seconds to catch a typo. She likes the bookmarking feature, which allows her to add posts to a folder.
But she said Twitter Blue hasn’t improved her experience enough to make the subscription worthwhile. She already subscribes to most of the news outlets that offer ad-free articles on the platform. Bonacini also thinks reader mode should be free, especially because it helps people with visual impairments.

“I don’t see a huge reason for me to continue using Twitter Blue,” Bonacini told Protocol. “It’s just a matter of when I want to cancel the subscription.”
Twitter offers three paid features: Twitter Blue, Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows. The latter two are still in beta, while Twitter Blue rolled out in the United States in November after it was first tested in a couple of other countries. Twitter Blue gives paying users a slew of tools, including the ability to undo tweets and read ad-free articles from a handful of publications. Ticketed Spaces charges for live events on Twitter’s Clubhouse-like audio rooms, called Spaces, and Super Follows let creators charge to see subscriber-only content (like … tweets that cost money).

But paid features are proving to be a hard sell for Twitter. Sensor Tower data shared with Protocol revealed that Twitter Blue is the company’s top in-app purchase ahead of Ticketed Spaces. But since September, worldwide spending on Twitter’s mobile app has only reached $2 million. For a platform with millions of users, $2 million is just … not a lot.
Twitter loves to experiment with new features that might not actually go anywhere. (Remember Fleets?) But to entice people to pay to use Twitter, experts say the company — as well as other social media platforms that offer subscriptions — needs to figure out the one feature people would actually pay for, then slowly add in other perks.
“The basic issue is that people got Twitter for free. You can’t change that,” said Andrew Hutchinson, a content and social media manager at Social Media Today. “Now, you can’t sort of go back and say, ‘Oh, now you want to pay for it.’”
Twitter isn’t the only social media platform trying to figure out how to diversify beyond ad revenue. Some platforms’ subscription services focus on exclusive access to creators, some focus on removing ads and some are trying a mix of both. Most platforms, with the exception of YouTube, are still in the early stages of their paid services.

Instagram and TikTok began exploring creator subscriptions in January. On Instagram, subscribers pay a monthly fee ranging from $0.99 to $99.99 to access exclusive content from creators, and they receive a purple badge on their profile to indicate they’re a subscriber. Meta has said won’t take a cut from subscriptions until next year “at the earliest.” TikTok’s subscription test is light on details. The company confirmed in January that it’s trying out paid subscriptions that will let creators charge for their content, but it’s unclear how many creators are involved in the pilot and how they might be paid. Spokespeople for TikTok and Instagram declined to share how many subscribers the platforms have attracted since their tests started.
A Twitter spokesperson also declined to provide details on its subscription services. “Our teams are continually gathering feedback for these experiences and enhancing the features,” the spokesperson said.
YouTube has seen success with its subscriptions. For $11.99 a month, YouTube Premium users get access to YouTube Music and the ability to watch videos ad-free or in the background while their phone is locked or they’re using another app. About 50 million people have subscribed to or tried out Premium and YouTube Music as of last September.
Will Aldrich, a director of Product Management at YouTube who focuses on Premium, said the platform isn’t ready to share the latest subscriber count, but the service continues to grow “at an amazing rate.” “We’ve been thrilled at the continued growth rate, for both our ad-supported business and our premium subscription offerings,” Aldrich told Protocol.
If social media platforms, which have historically been free, are going to attract paying subscribers, social media analysts said they’ll need to highlight one main tool to entice users, and slowly tack on more perks. Platforms have gone years without asking people to pay, so that one marquee feature has to be good.
That philosophy has helped drive YouTube Premium’s success. Aldrich said the platform wants to feel seamless for paying YouTube subscribers first and foremost by removing ads and allowing people to switch apps without shutting off their video. The other add-ons, like exclusive livestreams with artists, are just that: add-ons.

“I think a sustainable subscription business that really lasts for the long term is going to have a really thoughtful blend of having no ads — this universal simple appeal, convenience kind of features,” he said. “And then pair that with thoughtful exclusivity.”
Hutchinson said there’s an opportunity for Twitter to look at third-party analytics and insights tools, like Hootsuite and Buffer, and wrap those features into a subscription targeted at businesses. The platform is reportedly looking to make one of those tools, TweetDeck, part of the subscription service. Hutchinson said providing businesses with the analytics tools and insights they pay for off the platform could bring in a consistent base of subscribers — even if it’s small.
“Twitter could enhance its value if they created a business tier,” he said.
Scriberbase founder Adam Levinter, author of “The Subscription Boom,” said it’s still too soon to say whether Twitter Blue and the platform’s other services will succeed. He said Twitter is treating the services as experiments, and it’ll likely continue to tinker with them down the line.
“The first version of this subscription program isn’t likely to be the last version of what they go with in the market,” Levinter told Protocol.
He added that Twitter should look to its conversion rate from average to paying users as a measure of success. “It remains to be seen actually what that conversion rate is going to be,” he said. “But that’s really going to drive the scale of this.”
The fate of Twitter Blue hinges on the company’s soon-to-be-owner, Elon Musk, who wants to move beyond advertising and find new ways to monetize tweets. Musk suggested to banks who provided financing for his Twitter acquisition that the platform may start charging third-party websites that want to quote or embed tweets, for instance. In since-deleted tweets, Musk suggested that Twitter Blue could also charge for one huge perk: a verified checkmark. For some, that might be the marquee feature worth subscribing for.

Monday, April 25
Robinhood and Coinbase have a fix for volatile trading revenues
Cloud spending is hard to control. Cloud providers only do so much to help.
The FTC is going after dark patterns. That’s bad news for Amazon Prime.
How sharing cars can make cities more livable
Tuesday, April 26
Truebill turned canceling subscriptions into the ultimate recurring-revenue business
Most consumers don’t appreciate subscriptions. Productivity nerds do.
Subscriptions won’t take over the game industry anytime soon
It’s possible to save money on cloud computing, but it will cost you
Wednesday, April 27
Voter engagement as a service: Votus plans a personal touch for politicians
Auto-renewing subscriptions are irritating. Some states are cracking down.
Thursday, April 28
Netflix & churn: Streaming services struggle with subscribers jumping ship
Banks need to start cashing in on the subscription economy
Weather subscription services are increasingly essential on an overheating Earth
Friday, April 29
People subscribe to the weirdest things
Starlink report card: SpaceX’s satellite internet service is still catching up to broadband
Saturday, April 30
Social media subscriptions need a selling point. So far, it’s not working.

Want your finger on the pulse of everything that’s happening in tech? Sign up to get Protocol’s daily newsletter.

Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
Thank you for signing up. Please check your inbox to verify your email.

Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.
A login link has been emailed to you – please check your inbox.
Sarah Roach is a news writer at Protocol (@sarahroach_) and contributes to Source Code. She is a recent graduate of George Washington University, where she studied journalism and mass communication and criminal justice. She previously worked for two years as editor in chief of her school’s independent newspaper, The GW Hatchet.
Supply chain problems and rising demand have sent prices spiraling upward for the minerals and metals essential for the clean energy transition.
Critical mineral prices have exploded over the past year.
Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email ([email protected]).
The newest source of the alarm bells echoing throughout the renewables industry? Spiking critical mineral and metal prices.
According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, a maelstrom of rising demand and tattered supply chains have caused prices for the materials needed for clean energy technologies to soar in the last year. And this increase has only accelerated since 2022 began.

Meanwhile, prices of copper, nickel and aluminum rose by roughly 25% to 40% in 2021, and have continued to increase so far this year.

“For most minerals and metals that are vital to the clean energy transition, the price increases since 2021 exceed by a wide margin the largest annual increases seen in the 2010s,” IEA analyst Tae-Yoon Kim noted in a Wednesday report.
Indeed, these jumps come against a backdrop of relatively stable prices over the last decade that have allowed the renewable industry to flourish. In the 2010s, for instance, the average annual price increases for all the minerals were modest: 1% for aluminum at the low end, and 13% for lithium at the high.

Clean energy technology prices have actually fallen steadily throughout the last decade, as both innovation and economies of scale have made building things like solar PV cells and batteries more efficient while the cost of raw materials only ticked up slightly. But the IEA said that trend could reverse course, as demand increases and critical materials become pricier.

The demand shock has been compounded by the supply challenges presented by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has caused many countries to reassess how much they want to rely on Russian resources. While plans to phase out Russian oil imports have grabbed headlines, the country is also a major supplier of critical minerals.
Russia is among the top producers of nickel, cobalt and graphite, all of which are used to make batteries. It’s the top producer of palladium, used in catalytic converters, as well as of enriched uranium needed to keep nuclear power plants running. In fact, Russia produces 45% of the world’s enriched uranium, which has led the U.S. to scramble to find alternative sources.
As Kim explained, “the country’s increasing international isolation puts additional pressure on already tight markets.” Recent turmoil in nickel markets especially, he wrote, represented “a wake-up call regarding the importance of diversified supply sources.” Getting to those new supply sources, however, presents its own problem. Global supply chains remain a mess, and not just for critical minerals.
The timing could not be worse. These are materials that will be crucial to expanding the use of renewable energy in the coming decades, and especially to electrify transportation and homes alike. But higher prices mean it is harder to make the economic case for the energy transition, even if all other systems are a go.
Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email ([email protected]).
Qualcomm’s chief sustainability officer Angela Baker on how companies can view going “digital” as a way not only toward growth, as laid out in a recent report, but also toward establishing and meeting environmental, social and governance goals.
Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of “YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars.” His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.
Three letters dominate business practice at present: ESG, or environmental, social and governance goals. The number of mentions of the environment in financial earnings has doubled in the last five years, according to GlobalData: 600,000 companies mentioned the term in their annual or quarterly results last year.
But meeting those ESG goals can be a challenge — one that businesses can’t and shouldn’t take lightly. Ahead of an exclusive fireside chat at Davos, Angela Baker, chief sustainability officer at Qualcomm, sat down with Protocol to speak about how best to achieve those targets and how Qualcomm thinks about its own sustainability strategy, net zero commitment, other ESG targets and more.
What should companies be thinking about, and what do they need to know, when it comes to achieving climate goals?
There are three things that companies need to know when it comes to setting climate goals. The first thing I would say is that if you’re going to set a climate goal as a business, it needs to be a businesswide effort. It cannot live within just the corporate responsibility or the sustainability team as it often does. It really has to be incorporated across the entire company.

The second is that if a company is going to set a climate target, it needs to be able to commit budget and resources to meeting those goals. It can be expensive to incorporate these goals across operations, so that is something that companies need to be prepared for.
Finally, there must be room for creativity and flexibility. It’s important to recognize there are a lot of things we don’t know yet. You have to be able to jump in without knowing everything, which is hard for a lot of companies. It’s risky, but ultimately worth it.
What’s been the limiting factor to effect change and reach those goals?
Some of the rate-limiting factors are that all these companies are setting targets, whether or not they’re aligned with the Science Based Targets initiative, and everybody’s competing for renewable projects. But fundamentally the biggest challenge is that companies are trying to balance growing and turning a profit while also doing right by their stakeholders and the environment — but these two priorities are not yet weighted equally. We’re getting there, with shareholders and investors urging, but it’s not quite even yet.
What needs to change for it to be even?
Some things are happening already. Stakeholders are leading the charge here for more transparency and information around how products and services are made, for more data to be released publicly. Everyone from investors and shareholders to policymakers, employees and customers have interests here. How a company operates and how it makes its products are important questions, no matter the industry.
And how can technology help with that?
This is a big question. As a first step, companies need to look at the data and understand their sustainability baseline. For some companies, just getting their environmental data in order is a big undertaking, but you can’t really set a target until you know where you’re starting from.

Once a company understands its sustainability baseline, it is important to identify areas that the company can feasibly make more sustainable, and then address those areas. Implementing technology that improves connectivity and provides greater insight into operations will prove to be the solution for many companies. An example of this could be a manufacturing facility installing energy sensors into its machinery that can monitor energy consumption in real time and turn off different machines when not in use. Another example might be a farmer using drones for pesticide distribution. The drone collects and interprets real-time data, which allows for more efficient and accurate spraying so that crops are covered with less pesticide residue. It all comes down to digitization — as companies and eventually industries digitally transform, they will also become more sustainable.
What role does 5G play in combatting climate change?
5G is the core infrastructure to driving digital transformation, and as a result, will contribute in a significant way to combating climate change. We produced a U.S. report that highlights the many ways 5G technology can achieve critically needed sustainability benefits. The findings show that 5G will enable the reduction of 374 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, save 410 billion gallons of water nationwide, reduce pesticide usage in the United States by 50% and increase fuel efficiency by 20% through optimized lane management systems and traffic management systems enabled by C-V2X. There are so many use cases that illustrate that when 5G is fully realized, it will help reduce emissions in massive amounts that will have an actual impact on the planet.

How has Qualcomm managed its own commitment to address climate change?
In 2014, we committed to a 30% greenhouse gas emission reduction goal for Scope 1 and Scope 2, which is tied to our own operations and the electricity we buy. Since committing to that goal, we have reduced our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 20%. Last November, we took it a step further and set a net zero goal across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2040, and we have interim targets set to align ourselves with the Science Based Targets initiative.

We were the first large cap semiconductor company to make a net zero commitment. We know the Earth’s population is growing: It’s expected to grow from 7 billion to 10 billion people by 2050, which means there’s going to be more energy being used. We set this goal to highlight that this an important issue and something we are prioritizing throughout the company. Things have to change, and we are doing our part to change the status quo.
What’s that journey been like?
It’s been really incredible. We are focused on what we can do to reduce our own operational footprint and how we can help our partners across industries reduce theirs as well. Examples of this might be through leveraging 5G to digitally transform their business or developing energy-efficient products. What many people don’t know is that Qualcomm has been building energy-efficient products since our founding — power efficiency is in our DNA — so we are really well-positioned to play a larger role in the digital and green transformation of industries.
What’s the one thing that companies implementing new technology to digitally transform their business and meet climate goals often overlook?
There is pressure to get things done quickly, but it’s important to pause and look at what makes sense for the business. Every company is different — what makes sense for Qualcomm, which is primarily fabless, may not make sense for another company with a huge manufacturing footprint. If you’re a retailer with a huge supply chain doing a ton of shipping, it’s a different model.
All of this goes back to sustainability and, frankly, ESG more broadly needing to be a businesswide effort, with people from across the company working on these issues. What makes sense for the tourism industry is not necessarily going to work for a semiconductor company. But both can reduce their footprint.
Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of “YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars.” His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.
Unlike tech companies, emergency services departments can’t afford to make mistakes when migrating to the cloud. Integrating new software in an industry where there’s no margin for error is risky, and sometimes deadly.
In an industry where seconds can mean the difference between life and death, many public safety departments are hesitant to take risks on new cloud-based technologies.
Aisha Counts (@aishacounts) is a reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software. Formerly, she was a management consultant for EY. She’s based in Los Angeles and can be reached at [email protected]
Dialing 911 could be the most important phone call you will ever make. But what happens when the software that’s supposed to deliver that call fails you? It may seem simple, but the technology behind a call for help is complicated, and when it fails, deadly.
The infrastructure supporting emergency contact centers is one of the most critical assets for any city, town or local government. But just as the pandemic exposed the creaky tech infrastructure that runs local governments, in many cases the technology in those call centers is outdated and hasn’t been touched for decades.
Now more than ever, first responders and public safety officials are recognizing the need to take 911 into the cloud. But in an industry where seconds can mean the difference between life and death, many public safety departments are hesitant to take risks on new cloud-based technologies.
However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of the limitations of their current systems. The need for increased resilience in the face of outages or natural disasters, a desire for better location data and the benefits of introducing more ways of communicating with first responders via text or video are pushing some 911 systems into the cloud.

The first 911 call was made only 40 to 50 years ago, said Robin Erkkila, a 911 solutions engineer at software company Bandwidth.
Although it appears straightforward on the surface, dialing 911 requires a number of parties to interact, from telecommunications providers and device manufacturers to local governments and first responders.
When a 911 call is placed in the modern era, it probably goes first to a cell phone carrier, then to the 911 network normally operated by state governments, where it’s then routed to a public safety answering point, or PSAP, said Brandon Abley, director of Technology for the National Emergency Number Association. “That’s where someone answers your call and dispatches somebody,” he said. “And then you finally have people in the field. That’s the fifth domain where we have to get the information out to the terminal and the firefighters.”
At each point in this process, some form of technology is involved, whether it’s checking a caller’s location or identifying the nearest fire station.
Basically what happened is that since the ‘70s and ‘80s, the technology there hasn’t changed a great deal.
The challenge is that the technology supporting most 911 systems is often outdated. “Basically what happened is that since the ‘70s and ‘80s, the technology there hasn’t changed a great deal,” said Alex Dizengof, co-founder and CTO of cloud-based emergency communications provider Carbyne. That’s because building systems to support 911 contact centers or PSAPs is a lot more complicated than traditional contact centers.
For one, any system that supports 911 faces the challenges of being both incredibly open and readily accessible, yet extremely secure. “Everyone can dial 911 but on the other hand, it’s supposed to be the most secure platform ever built by the government,” said Dizengof.
Emergency contact centers still face many of the same challenges as traditional on-premises contact centers. Like traditional contact centers, some 911 dispatch centers are limited in the number of calls they can handle or are subject to the impacts of physical damage in the event of a natural disaster. These challenges are further elevated by the critical nature of the services these dispatch centers provide.

In most contact centers, there are limits to the number of calls that can be handled concurrently. While that can be inconvenient for a traditional contact center, it’s mission critical for 911. During a national emergency such as a hurricane or earthquake, a PSAP could receive several dozen if not hundreds of calls at the same time, but only be able to handle 14 simultaneously, said Dizengof. Even if there were more calls, the contact center just couldn’t take them.
In other cases, a natural disaster can completely overtake a public safety answering point, preventing dispatch operators from communicating with first responders. In the past, during a hurricane for example, “you had dispatch centers that were literally ripping equipment out of the racks and trying to get them into trucks so they could drive somewhere else and set up,” said Abley.
There are other challenges that are unique to 911 contact centers, like the need to quickly and accurately pinpoint a caller’s location. Although modern consumer devices can easily determine a caller’s location, that same technology hasn’t made its way into the 911 system. If a caller’s location isn’t properly identified, it delays the process of dispatching first responders.
In the early days of 911, the location of a caller was easily determined because telephone companies knew exactly where their landlines were, said Abley; each phone had an associated address. But when cell phones were invented, that same process no longer worked.
Many 911 systems route calls based on which cellular tower the phone is connected to as a workaround, but that has its challenges too. For example, If a caller lives in New Jersey but is connected to a cell tower in New York, their call would be routed to a public safety answering point in New York, said Dizengof. Unfortunately that problem is fairly common.

“I know that some PSAPs are still receiving between 10 and sometimes even 20% of misrouted calls where they need to answer them and route them back to the correct jurisdiction,” he said.
Migrating to the cloud has the potential to solve many of the challenges facing 911 contact centers, from providing flexibility to scale contact center seats seamlessly to enabling better resilience in the face of outages or natural disasters.
Scale is one of the traditional benefits of the cloud, providing the ability to adjust capacity up and down as needed without having to pay for a fixed number of physical seats. A sheriff’s office can’t necessarily afford to build a contact center that operates dozens of seats or thousands of backup servers, said Abley. “It’s just a scale they can’t operate at, but that’s the business model that cloud providers offer.”
The cloud also provides much-needed resilience to a critical operation that needs to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Today when you’re doing legacy 911 deployments, you have physical lines coming to physical centers,” said Dizengof. But if there’s a flood or a fire, those lines are just going to be cut and put the PSAP out of operation. “It’s very tragic and it’s very devastating when the most important service during this natural disaster that should function is 911 and it’s not functioning.”
Operating in the cloud helps limit these types of disruptions from power or connectivity failures. With the cloud, since infrastructure isn’t tightly coupled to a physical location, it ensures that no 911 contact center has a single point of failure. If cloud systems “are geo-diverse, they operate multiple call centers [and] operate in a virtual cloud spread across the country, then you’re not gonna go down,” said Erkkila.
The prevalence of misrouted calls can also be reduced via cloud systems, because they’re better at pinpointing location data. The industry as a whole is moving towards using device-based location services, said Dizengof. With the cloud, 911 contact centers can more easily connect to mobile devices and pinpoint granular location data automatically, down to which floor someone is on inside of a building.

Migrating 911 to the cloud also opens up new avenues for citizens to communicate with first responders. In many large-scale emergencies ordinary citizens often share photos and videos via social media, but have no way of providing this information to first responders. “It goes to Twitter, goes to Facebook. The most important people that should get this information, 911, police officers, are not getting this information,” said Dizengof. Instead, officers themselves turn to social media to understand what’s going on. Cloud-based software changes this by enabling citizens to communicate with emergency services via text or video in real time.
In some cases, providing citizens with the ability to communicate with 911 via text or video can be lifesaving.
“We had a kidnap situation where a wife was being held hostage by her own husband with the gun, and in this situation you’re not even able to communicate verbally,” said Dizengof. But by communicating with 911 via chat and video, the wife was able to explain her situation and show authorities exactly where her husband was. Armed with the location of both the wife and husband, a SWAT team was able to storm in and capture the husband while the wife ran to safety.
While there are benefits to upgrading analog telephone networks to the cloud, there are also certainly disadvantages that come along with depending on any cloud service. Operating over the public internet can make 911 systems more susceptible to cyberattacks or downtime when there are internet outages. Even a simple coding error can prevent thousands of people from reaching 911.
In the future, cloud-911 backers believe that additional capabilities such as AI, natural-language processing and automation will make 911 even more responsive, allowing dispatchers to more accurately route calls, provide automated responses where appropriate or group similar incidents.
Despite the challenges of legacy 911 systems and the promises of the cloud, in public safety circles, there is still a fair amount of resistance to the cloud.

The public safety community is very conservative, both Dizengof and Abley said, which means emergency departments aren’t the first to jump on new technologies. “It’s just resistance to change and new technology, and in my opinion, very outdated concepts of security,” said Abley. “For example, most of our systems in the public safety area are not exposed to the public internet.”
But there are good reasons for this more cautious approach. “With internet companies, we can move fast and break things and we can burn through a lot of venture capital and come up with cool stuff,” said Abley. “That’s not really okay when it’s something a firefighter needs to rescue you.”
Unlike tech companies, emergency services departments can’t afford to make mistakes when migrating to the cloud.
Firefighters, for instance, who use radios to communicate with dispatchers when entering burning buildings, “trust their jurisdiction to operate a very reliable system that is 99.999% reliable,” said Abley. While updating those radios to cutting-edge technology sounds nice, it can be extremely risky to do in an industry where there’s no margin for error.
As the world modernizes its technology at a dizzying pace, emergency services remain an arena where there needs to be a bent towards safety and security, even at the risk of using outdated technologies. “It’s a very critical system,” said Dizengof. “It’s the most critical infrastructure a county could have and the most critical information source.”
Despite the hesitation, adoption of cloud-based emergency contact software is actually increasing. “We’re seeing more and more PSAPs adopt these technologies. We’re seeing this becoming a standard,” said Dizengof.
It may take time, but like enterprise companies, Abley thinks public safety will eventually become less wary of the cloud.
“Seven or eight years ago, you had big companies suspicious of the cloud, of cloud services. They aren’t anymore, but they were,” he said. “And public safety is always culturally a few years behind, technologically speaking.”
Aisha Counts (@aishacounts) is a reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software. Formerly, she was a management consultant for EY. She’s based in Los Angeles and can be reached at [email protected]
Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.
Our favorite things this week.
Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety’s first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.
The East Coast is getting a little preview of summer this weekend. If you want to stay indoors and beat the heat, we have a few suggestions this week to keep you entertained, like a new season of Amazon Prime’s guilty-pleasure show, “The Wilds,” a new game from Horizon Worlds that’s fun for everyone and a sneak peek from Adam Mosseri into what Instagram is thinking about Web3.
File under guilty pleasures: “The Wilds” is a survival show about teenagers who are stranded on a remote island after a plane crash. The teens soon find out, however, that not everything is as it appears to be. It’s like “Truman Show” meets “Cast Away,” and while the show may not win an Emmy, it’s still highly entertaining. Season Two premiered on Amazon Prime earlier this month.
We’ve heard it all before: Web3 is going to revolutionize the internet, empower creators and make today’s gatekeepers obsolete. Usually, that idea is being brought forward by people invested in the success of Web3 startups. But when the person leading some of those very gatekeeper platforms proposes that very same idea, it’s worth a listen — if only to find out which role Instagram might play in a future where creators are a lot less dependent on just a handful of platforms.
Tony Fadell recently published a book about his seminal work on consumer electronics products like the iPod, the iPhone and the Nest thermostat. After he was done writing, he apparently had some spare time to clean out his garage, unearthing a bunch of interesting device prototypes in the process. Fadell shared photos of these devices and their backstory with TechCrunch, which was able to compile them into this fun stroll down memory lane. You can find more about the book itself on Fadell’s website, and The Verge had a great interview with him as well.
Meta’s social VR world, Horizon, may still be a work in progress, but it already has one hit: Arena Clash is a team shooter that’s equally fun for beginners and advanced players. With five minutes per match, it’s just enough time to get you sucked in, but not too long to get frustrated when you’re outmatched or outnumbered. Plus, allowing people to revive teammates makes it more of a group challenge, and a great way to have some fun with others in VR.
A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.
Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety’s first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.
The former Todoist productivity expert drops time-blocking tips, lofi beats playlists for concentrating and other knowledge bombs.
“I do hope the productivity space as a whole is more intentional about pushing narratives that are about life versus just work.”
Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She’s a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school’s independent newspaper. She’s based in D.C., and can be reached at [email protected]
Fadeke Adegbuyi knows how to dole out productivity advice. When she was a marketing manager at Doist, she taught users via blogs and newsletters about how to better organize their lives. Doist, the company behind to-do-list app Todoist and messaging app Twist, has pushed remote and asynchronous work for years. Adegbuyi’s job was to translate these ideas to the masses.
“We were thinking about asynchronous communication from a work point of view, of like: What is most effective for doing ambitious and awesome work, and also, what is most advantageous for living a life that feels balanced?” Adegbuyi said.
Adegbuyi wears many hats. Since leaving Doist, she’s been working as a lead writer at Shopify and publishes an internet culture newsletter called “Cybernaut” with writers’ collective Every. And she remains an expert on deep work and time management, continuing to drop async “knowledge bombs” at Shopify.
Protocol caught up with Adegbuyi on the best productivity philosophies she gleaned from her time at Doist, as well as the quick tips and tricks she uses in her day-to-day.

Time blocking is Adegbuyi’s productivity method of choice (check out Todoist’s productivity methods quiz to find the right one for you). It’s when you separate your day into blocks of time and assign each block a specific task, or group of tasks. You can create time-blocked events in your calendar, but Adegbuyi likes to time block within Todoist so she can check off the task when it’s finished.
Adegbuyi also subscribes to Parkinson’s law: the idea that your work will fill the time you set for it. If you give yourself two days to finish a report, it will take two days. If you give yourself two weeks, it will fill all 14 days. “I’m trying to constrain how long I spend on something with those time blocks,” Adegbuyi said.
She might give herself from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. to write an introduction and two sections for a new Shopify piece. The goal isn’t to “aim for perfection, but getting that portion done within that time block,” she said. It’s not foolproof; sometimes life gets in the way, and you have to move your time blocks around. But it’s worked for Adegbuyi for years.
Doist has almost always been a remote-first company, built by CEO Amir Salihefendić. The company adopted Slack in 2014, as it needed a remote communication hub. But the nature of live messaging didn’t fit the company’s remote culture. That’s why Doist launched asynchronous messaging app Twist, and why much of Adegbuyi’s content for Doist furthered the async campaign.
She’s still a strong proponent of the method, advocating for reduced meetings and more time for deep, focused work. She’s been happy to see the idea catching on among managers across all areas of tech, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. “If you are focusing on synchronous communication, you are inevitably leaving people out who cannot jump on a call when it’s 2 a.m. their time,” Adegbuyi said. “I also just find asynchronous communication very inclusive.”

Adegbuyi wrote last year about Paul Graham’s concept of the maker’s schedule and the manager’s scheduler. Managers tend to fill their days with 1:1s, or external appointments; makers need uninterrupted blocks of time to create their work: design mockups, programs, blog posts. But companies are often structured to fit the schedules of managers — something Adegbuyi quickly realized when reading feedback to her async newsletters at Doist.
“A lot of the advice that we were giving, they felt in some cases they couldn’t apply it because of how their workplaces were structured,” Adegbuyi said. “They were like, ‘My boss books me in meetings all day long.’”
With those concerns, Adegbuyi and her team shifted to direct advice to company leaders as well as individual user leaders. She dove into questions about what asynchronous communication and remote work look like at larger companies, chatting with people at Zapier and Stripe. It became clear to her that a commitment to deep, focused work needs to come from every level of a company.
“We were really taking a two-pronged approach and speaking both to how individuals manage their time, but also ultimately, how workplaces dictate schedules and how they should be thinking about managing their employees,” Adegbuyi said.
Adegbuyi is a big believer in purposefully allocating time to life tasks in addition to work tasks. Solely visualizing work tasks within your productivity systems might make you forget about the other important activities in your life, like meal-prepping or movies you want to watch. When showcasing example projects in Todoist, Adegbuyi frequently included tasks related to exercising, eating or movie-watching.
“Having those things at the forefront can be very helpful for actually getting them done,” Adegbuyi said.
Your Todoist, or whatever to-do list app you use, shouldn’t just contain work assignments or presentations. Write down your plans to call your grandparents, or to clean your office so you feel more focused in your work space.
“I do hope the productivity space as a whole is more intentional about pushing narratives that are about life versus just work,” Adegbuyi said.

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She’s a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school’s independent newspaper. She’s based in D.C., and can be reached at [email protected]
To give you the best possible experience, this site uses cookies. If you continue browsing. you accept our use of cookies. You can review our privacy policy to find out more about the cookies we use.

source

Enable Exclusive OK No thanks