Hello, and welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech.
This week: A tell-tale week for the tech selloff
The stock market’s collective conviction that tech is a safe harbor amid the turmoil of the pandemic has been shaken. After defying gravity for a long time, tech stocks are suddenly losing altitude: Apple lost its $2 trillion valuation (perhaps only temporarily), and Amazon’s decoupled king and queen — Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott — each suffered multi-billion dollar declines in their net worths.
Are we looking at the start of another dotcom-like debacle for tech, or just an unsettling burp as the tech industry continues to swallow the world?
The coming days and weeks will be telling — especially given what’s on the calendar:
Apple’s big fall season product launch is happening, virtually, on Thursday. There’s some debate among Apple-watchers as to whether the new iPhone will be part of the show or reserved for a separate yet-to-be-announced October event.
- Still… no one doubts the arrival of a new iPhone with 5G wireless specs. The real question is whether or not the 5G iPhone delivers the long-awaited sales “supercycle” that much of Apple’s stock rally is based on.
Palantir’s direct listing is quickly approaching. The Big Data company’s executives will emerge from their bunker of secrecy on Wednesday to give a public sales pitch about the business to analysts and potential investors.
- Not surprisingly: the password to log in to the livestream is a J.R.R. Tolkien reference: notallwhowanderarelost.
- Somewhat more surprisingly: Palantir cofounder and director Peter Thiel is not on the roster of listed speakers (though he may appear during the Q&A). While Thiel does not have an operational role in the company, the company’s special voting shares give him and the other founders outsize control of Palantir.
- Wednesday’s analyst day presentation was pulled forward by one week from the initially planned date of September 15 suggesting that the direct listing could go down as soon as next week. But if the tech selloff continues, the date of Palantir’s market debut could easily be postponed. After all, Palantir (founded in 2003) has waited 17 years.
- Bonus: Here’s an exclusive look at Palantir salaries, based on an analysis by Business Insider.
“Nothing you’re going to experience as a public-company CEO will rival running a travel company that lost 80% of its revenue in eight weeks and had to manage the crisis over Zoom.”
This guy might look a bit weird. But what does he care? He can hoist 200 pounds off the ground with the ease of lifting a pencil. That’s thanks to this “exoskeleton,” a full-bodied wearable robot that developer Sarcos says endows workers with “superhuman” strength and endurance as they clomp through a factory, and oil field or an army base.
Sarcos just raised $40 million in a Series C funding round that it will use to bring its Guardian XO product to market in 2021 (it’s available for pre-order now, though there’s no price listed).
The industrial benefits of the Guardian exoskeleton could be significant. But personally, I’m more excited about the potential for new robo-sports, like cage fights between this thing and the Boston Dynamics robot dog.
Not necessarily in tech:
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.