Miami and Space - the new battlegrounds for tech's top egos

Miami and Space - the new battlegrounds for tech's top egos
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard BransonPatrick Pleul/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images; Hollis Johnson/Insider

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Soundtrack: This week's newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to David Bowie's "Starman."

This week: Tech egos are clashing, from the shores of Miami to the depths of space

For more than a year, Silicon Valley techies have abandoned their homeland and poured into Miami in search of startup El Dorado. As Candy Cheng reports, the influx of newcomers is causing friction with the locals.

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If not Miami, then space. There's another group of brash Silicon Valley adventurers setting off for new horizons, and lucky for them, where they're going there are no locals to clash with (we think).

Meanwhile, rival space entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson may try to beat Bezos to orbit by blasting off in a Virgin Galactic spaceship on July 4.


Elon Musk, the other space race billionaire, has yet to announce plans for his own imminent trip. But chatter has centered on a prediction from a 1953 book that describes a leader called "Elon" leading humans to Mars- seriously.

And a former Blue Origin employee has just raised $650 million to build 3D-printed rockets.

Even Palantir, the data analysis company, has a spacebound employee. Kelli Gerardi 32-year old Tik Tok star and logistics expert at Palantir, will be aboard a separate Virgin Galactic flight expected to launch in 2022.

"Less than a thousand humans have ever been to space - fewer than 100 women, only a handful of moms - and my 3-year-old is going to watch her mommy become one of them," Gerardi told Insider.

Startups to watch


Insider asked dozens of top VCs to name the most promising Startups of 2021. They were asked to nominate startups they had invested in as well as ones where they had no financial ties. And they delivered an exciting list of companies, across all stages from newly launched to unicorns, each thriving for different reasons.

In our first on a series of stories of the Most Promising Startups of 2021, we present a list of 46, many of whom were named by multiple VCs as being companies to watch this year.

Read the full story:

46 of the most promising startups of 2021, according to top VCs

Snaphot: Polaroid's life lesson

Yesterday's innovative breakthrough is today's retro tchotchke, and the miniaturized version of Polaroid's classic instant camera is a fun, and instructive, reminder of the olden times.

The tiny plastic Polaroid Go spits out photos that gradually, over a period of 10 to 15 minutes, develop all by themselves. Once upon a time, that was a big deal - it meant you didn't have to take your film to be developed at a shop and then wait a couple of days to get prints of your photos.


For today's digital generation, there's nothing special about being able to view pictures right away, of course.

But perhaps the Polaroid has something better than mere nostalgia to offer Gen Z.

Scarcity is an increasingly foreign concept to those living in a time of super-low interest rates, bottomless social media feeds, on-demand streaming movies, and smartphone cameras that take infinite selfies. With a film camera - even a toy-like instant camera - you only get a finite number of pictures. Each shot needs to count. Imagine that.

Recommended readings:

'I was pregnant and then I wasn't.' How a miscarriage led a startup employee to build a company that's now funded by Alexis Ohanian's Seven Seven Six.

VMware is in an all-out sprint to grow its $1 billion security business, doubling its engineering staff to compete with cyber giants like Microsoft and Cisco


Travis Kalanick's CloudKitchens loses second exec in a month

This pitch deck persuaded Softbank to make its first banking tech investment, sending Zeta's valuation rocking to $1.45 billion

IBM salaries revealed: How much the $132 billion tech giant paid software engineers, business analysts, and more in 2021

Top executives at Magic Leap are leaving the company in the biggest leadership shakeup under CEO Peggy Johnson

Not necessarily in tech:

Subway cofounder Fred DeLuca ruled the company like a demigod and pursued wives of franchisees. How one man sent the world's biggest fast-food chain into a tailspin.


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- Alexei