Swipe to Unlock


Swipe to Unlock is a primer on technology and business strategy. In this book, we’ll use real-world examples to break down the software, hardware, and business strategies that power the tech world and give you the tools to start understanding, analyzing, and shaping tech yourself.

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Key Takeaways

  1. Every Monday morning, Spotify sends its listeners a playlist of 30 songs that are, almost magically, perfectly tuned to their tastes. This playlist, called Discover Weekly, was an instant hit: within six months of launching in June 2015, it was streamed over 1.7 billion times.
  2. The Discover Weekly algorithm starts by looking at two basic pieces of information. First, it looks at all the songs you’ve listened to and liked enough to add to your library or playlists. It’s even smart enough to know that if you skipped a song within the first 30 seconds, you probably didn’t like it. Second, it looks at all the playlists that other people have made, with the assumption that every playlist has some thematic connection.
  3. And since collaborative filtering gets better with more users, Spotify (which already has tons of users) can continue furthering its lead.   The second reason is that personalized recommendations make users more likely to stick with the service. The more you use Spotify, the more the algorithms know about your tastes, and hence the better they can recommend music to you. So if you use Spotify a lot, your recommendations would be pretty good, and you’d lose a lot by jumping to Apple Music, which doesn’t know you at all.
  4. Similarly, Tinder lets you “swipe” on potential romantic partners — but only a few dozen a day. If you want to get more “swipes,” you’ll need to pay for Tinder Plus, a monthly subscription.
  5. Shortly after its founding in 2010, WeChat started letting you shake your phone to randomly connect with other users. You could also write a digital “message in a bottle” and send it to a random WeChat user in the hopes they’d respond.
  6. What’s more, WeChat made it a game — you can send random amounts of money to friends, which makes users eager to open any hongbao sent their way on WeChat. There’s even a game where you can send money to a group chat — but only the first member of the group to open the chat gets the money.

What I got out of it

  1. This book gives you an inside look at the tech industry allowing you to understand a bit more about the technology we use in our everyday lives. It answered real-world questions to allow us to understand how technology is changing the society around us.

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