Alex Heath is a deputy editor for The Verge and the author of Command Line, a weekly newsletter about the tech industry’s inside conversation.
Since joining The Verge in 2021, he has broken agenda-setting scoops like Facebook’s rebrand to Meta. He was a co-host for the sixth season of Land of the Giants, Vox Media’s award-winning podcast series about the most influential tech companies. He was also part of the reporting team behind "Extremely Hardcore," New York Magazine’s cover story about Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter.
Heath has been covering the technology industry for more than a decade in previous roles at The Information, Insider, and other outlets. His work has been cited by Congress and recognized by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He has appeared as an expert voice on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, NPR, among other programs. He is based in Los Angeles.
The race is on to find out: TechCrunch reports that TikTok is testing 15-minute video uploads, an increase of 5 minutes from the current max time. YouTube, meanwhile, is all in with Shorts as its answer to TikTok’s vertical, mobile-first format.
Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s tech conference today, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman downplayed the rumors that he’s working on an AI-powered device with former Apple design boss Jony Ive.
“I think there is something great to do but I don’t know what it is yet,” he told Joanna Stern. “I have no interest in trying to compete with the smartphone. It’s phenomenal at what it does.” He described OpenAI’s work on a consumer hardware device as being “very nascent.” Rest easy, Apple!
Investors are reacting positively to my last issue of Command Line, which broke the details of Snap’s internal business goals for next year.
The company’s stock price is up more than 11 percent today thanks to Snap’s “stretch” goal of reaching at least 475 million daily active users next year:
Bernstein analyst Mark Schilsky told Reuters that expectations from the stock are “incredibly low”, but he added, “even I have to admit that the stock would likely be materially higher if they hit this goal.”
Garry Tan, CEO of the famous tech startup incubator Y Combinator, has withdrawn from participating in this year’s Web Summit, which is one of the largest tech conferences in the world.
He and several other speakers are pulling out after Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave posted and liked messages that are critical of the Israeli government on X. Tan also noted that Cosgrave recently went into business with the country of Qatar, which is a known backer of Hamas.
The person behind that hit AI Drake song “Heart on My Sleeve,” @ghostwriter977 on TikTok, is making what (I think?) is his first public appearance at Bloomberg’s Screentime conference in Los Angeles. He’s in disguise and speaking through a voice distorter, which is pretty good theater as far as business conferences go.
“Honestly, this is bigger than me,” he tells the crowd when asked why he wants to say anonymous. “AI is going to be a big part of our future and we need to prepare... it’s not about who I am.”
He calls “Heart on My Sleeve,” which garnered millions of views before it was taken offline at the request of Drake’s label, Universal Music Group, “an experiment,” and says he “won’t be uploading music again without participation of the talent.”
When didn’t he just ask Drake for permission beforehand? “I don’t have Drake’s phone number.”
Reading between the lines of YouTube chief Neal Mohan’s comments onstage here at Bloomberg’s Screentime conference in Los Angeles, the streaming giant may have its hands full with NFL Sunday Ticket.
“We’re taking it one step at a time right now,” he said after being asked about the NBA. “The NFL Sunday ticket is a big area of focus for us.”