FWIW 2.0: Your tech, media, audio digest is back

The FWIW newsletter by David Tvrdon is rebooting. New design, same author.

👋 Welcome to FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.

It’s been a while. Big thanks to you for opening and reading this. Hopefully, you will get used to opening it every week again, like I’ve never been away. Also, thanks to all of you who missed FWIW and let me know in meantime, you are one of the reasons this newsletter is restarting.

I put up the first post of FWIW on February 6th 2020 and, for a year straight, I published it every week. But, this year, I just couldn’t fit regular publishing into my schedule.

However, I missed writing this newsletter and looked for ways to start again. Now, it’s happening. I’ll be back in your inbox every week, with all the news you’ve come to expect, plus a short essay on a my favourite topic of the past seven days.

What’s next for FWIW? Sharing data, more experiments & a new look

I know, nobody loves changes and some of you will hate the new logo. Give it time, it will settle in. Also, this design will allow me to be a bit more flexible.

This newsletter hit 1000 subscribers in about a year (current total 1145). My original goal was to hit that by the end of 2020, but it took a couple of months longer.

The nice thing about the newsletter stats is they tell a story. It’s amazing how you can spot the exact date I stopped publishing FWIW.

If you zoom in a bit you can see the dates when the most successful post were published, shared on social media, and resulted in more people subscribing.

From now on I will be sharing my progress publicly with you. I will be doing also some experiments, with the content and the design. Any feedback is welcome.

The next issue is coming next week. This is just me letting you know “Hey, welcome back”. Nonetheless, I could not resist picking some stories that caught my attention this week.

Also, this newsletter has a relaunch partner, The Fix, which is an online publication focusing on the European media market. Each week I will highlight some of their best stories.

Fingers crossed, let’s do this. 😎

📲 It’s September = new iPhones are coming, but first the leaks. And it’s not just the iPhones, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg writes that we should expect major changes to the smallest iPad, the highest-end Apple notebooks, and the entry-level AirPods. I am not very excited about iPhone 13: better camera features and faster speed + last year’s design. I am looking forward to iOS 15 and the new Apple Watch Series 7 redesign with a flatter display. [Bloomberg]

  • RELATED: A decade with Tim Cook. A look back at the last ten years of Apple’s CEO at the realm. [The Verge]

  • ALSO: Cook could retire as soon as 2025. Who will replace him? The biggest contenders: Jeff Williams (Chief Operating Officer), Greg “Joz” Joswiak (SVP of Marketing), Deirdre O'Brien (SVP of Retail + People), John Ternus (SVP of Hardware Engineering). [Bloomberg]

⚡️ The biggest chip maker in the world is increasing prices later this year. The Taiwanese TSMC’s move will most likely cascade and end up with pricier electronics for Christmas. [Wall Street Journal]

🎮 Netflix is testing games in its Android app in Poland, starting with two existing Stranger Things games. [CNET]

💬 A decade and a half of instability: The history of Google messaging apps. A great (and sad) look at Google’s failed efforts making one good messaging app. [Ars Technica]

🇨🇳 China will limit the amount of time children can play video games to just three hours most weeks (!). It’s another move by Beijing to control the expansion of large tech companies. Brutal. [Bloomberg]

🤣 Not surprising at all: LinkedIn is abandoning its Stories format at the end of September. [AdAge]

👉 A deep dive on Politico’s success as it is being sold to Axel Springer for more than $1 billion. Some lessons: monetizing a niche with a pricey subscription ($10,000/year), betting on newsletters, nurturing talent. [NiemanLab]

🤔 NYT’s product review site Wirecutter is being put behind a paywall. The access is included in the regular New York Times subscription, though people can subscribe to Wirecutter alone for $5 every four weeks or $40 annually. NYT says: “This change is also a continuation of The Times’s push to invest in product experiences that enrich subscribers’ lives beyond reading the news.” I think it’s a smart move. The reviews bring true value, the affiliate revenue might bring in less money long-term than devoted subscribers. [NYT Co.]

📱 Investigating an emerging Asian news delivery platform: Android lock-screens. An interesting paper on two lock-screen features used for news consumption in Asia: push notifications and wallpaper stories. [Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism]

🆕 The Atlantic redesigned its digital story page. They also published how they have done it, the research behind it. Useful read. In short, there is only one column now, the design is cleaner and the reader experience is prioritized. [Building The Atlantic]

1️⃣ How Spain’s Ac2ality became Europe’s biggest TikTok news player. The media start-up has taken a lead in news on TikTok. Even top legacy media (e.g. BBC, Washington Post) will struggle to catch up. [by Teona Sekhniashvili] Read more >

2️⃣ Axel Springer becomes a global player overnight. Politico is highly profitable, with a margin of 30%. Its acquisition by Axel Springer makes the publishing house more digital and more international. [by Olaf Deininger] Read more >

3️⃣ Living in the “rest of Europe”. European organizations often struggle to remember that Europe does not end in Austria. [by David Tvrdon] Read more >

4️⃣ 12 revenue sources for digital news organizations. [by James Breiner] Read more >

[ 📬 Get The Fix newsletter delivered to your inbox every week with the latest insights, news, and analysis about the European media market. Sign up here > ]

€🎧🇪🇺 Paid podcasts in Europe. I published my deep dive on various strategies European news publishers are using to monetize podcasts with paid subscriptions. [The Fix]

😯 45 days with Apple Podcasts paid subscriptions. Jack Rhysider, the creator of the Darknet Diaries podcast shared his experience with paid subscriptions on Apple’s platform and has this to say: “the Apple Podcasts app is incredible at converting existing listeners to paying listeners”. Caveats: Apple takes a big cut (30%), you have no relationship with subscribers, it requires a lot of time to set up. [Lime Link]

🎙 Amazon is building the next Clubhouse clone. It makes sense for the company to invest in audio as Echo devices with Alexa are spread all over the world and people usually use them to listen to music and spoken word. Per Axios, the feature is being built to focus on live music, but talk radio programs and podcasts should be extensions of that effort. It will not be a social network, rather a digital radio-like tool for creators. [Axios]

🧑‍💻 A deep-dive into podcast adtech. Very useful overview. [Sounds Profitable]

😲 Jon Stewart is coming back. His new show is launching on September 30th exclusively on Apple TV+ (and there will also be a podcast, unclear whether exclusive to Apple or subscription-based, will see).

Poll: How do you like the redesign?

  1. I don't care, it's fine. Vote >

  2. I hate it. Vote >

  3. The logo is fine, but there is too much purple. Vote >

  4. It's OK. I will get used to it. Vote >

🙌 Thanks for letting me know. If you have more feedback, hit reply and send me a message. To create this poll I used HandyPolls, here are the instructions on how to create such a poll.


🙏 And big thanks to Celine Bijleveld who helped me edit this newsletter. You can follow her on Substack here.


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