Welcome back. This Barada a podcast takes just ten minutes to get you smarter on the collision of tech business and politics. I'm Denver MAC on today show, the possible return of toys R us, and how Amazon just bird itself a bit deeper inside your house, but I read it so not too long ago read it was best known as the social media site. You didn't tell your friends or family that you visited for every thread and community on something like climate change or biomedical engineering. There was one about so-called creep shots or men taking and posting photos of unsuspecting, women advertisers. Not surprisingly stayed pretty far away. But today's read it is much much different and much more important. I the company banned many of its scummy or topics. It also revamped its business strategy and last year generated over one hundred million dollars by selling adds to a whole host of who's who in the fortune five hundred and in a pretty major validation of the overhaul. Read it yesterday announced that it's raised three hundred million dollars in new venture capital funding, led by Chinese Internet giant tencent at a whopping valuation of three. Three billion dollars. But why this matters isn't really the money. If that read it is increasingly where tomorrow's mainstream conversations begin if you wanted to learn about bitcoin and crypto currencies years before the newspaper articles and magazine covers read it was your spot, or maybe more importantly as we head into twenty twenty read it was where Donald Trump was first taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Or at least where you could I see that. There was major energy around him. This site has the same reaches Twitter, but with different organizational structure and more focused on community than on celebrity and read it should only grow larger with this new three hundred million dollars in the Bank in fifteen seconds. We'll go deeper with Alexa. So Hanan read. It's co founder and current managing partner of the firm initialized capital. The first this. There's more news out there than ever before. But these days it's harder than ever to find it and to know what to trust axios. AM takes the effort out of getting smart by synthesizing, the ten stories that will drive the day and telling you, I they matter subscribe at sign up dot, axios dot. Com. And now back to the program to podcast. We're joined now by Alexis. Oh, Hanan read it's co founder and currently managing partner of an early stage. Venture capital firm called initialized capital. So let's you recently said at a conference that you felt we had hit what you referred to as peak, social or peak social media. What do you mean by that? The I think we're seeing people start to retreat from these social platforms that are one too many where people basically collect followers, and they're retreating back to private groups and communities that everything for group chats to obviously read it pioneer this in the way of all communities, but also forums across the board that that bring people together out of shared, passion or interest or sports or fashion where we back coming girl boss that's doing specifically around professional Lenny women, and I think that this trend is all they gonna continue as we're all kind of felt up with the traditional one too many social media Reddin Twitter, obviously are structured differently. And I understand the. Of the followers in Twitter. But there's a lot of similarities between their right? And in the ability to have conversations to be able to respond to basically have threads. There are that think of Twitter as a as a cousin of sorts to chief difference. Does that read it is organized around these communities of shared interest? And so that's what brings people together. It's the community of patriots fans. All and I'm sure they're still talking about the school. And it's a it's a community of fashion experts on our such male fashion advice, I'm all talking about six stuff. So whereas Twitter is organized around following you. The visuals read it is organized around following communities, and I've pretty bullish long term that these community platforms are going to only grow in popularity. We've actually coming gilded that just focuses on gaming tease because people are kind of fed up with social as it is. And they want to to bring the conversation to things where there's a shared interests shared passion. And. Less about sort of building personality tribes. Let's talk a little bit about read the deal that gets announced yesterday this big funding round. It gets led by China's tencent, the the big internet company, if you are on read it, which I assume you are there has been lots and lots of concern about what this means since the platforms have been blocked for eight months now in China. Should there be concerns that read it is going to come up with essentially a censored version of itself for the Chinese market speak as a board member now, but I would echo what the CO yesterday, which is that the interest of read it are still the same which is to grow make it be a home for as many different people different communities as possible. And that that has not changed regardless whose investing I'm wondering, what is the money due. In other words that we've heard a lot and I understand read. It's not a pure media company in the sense of journalism company say like a BuzzFeed or even an axios. It's kind of the more this hybrid like Twitter. But when a company takes tons of cash it has to now create. Tons of cash that's kind of the deal at strikes should users be worried about major changes because read it now, I don't wanna say as a new master. But definitely has different things that must prioritize. Well, I would point to the progress that read it as made of last year's and in credit, especially to Jen wall. Who's the COO over there of she's got a great mind, not just for the business of social media? But also, the the product to support it, and and there is I think there's clearly been a renewed interest in read it as an advertising five more specifically because it does not capture personal information, and and yet can still deliver really effective advertising 'cause it's organized around these communities of interest. So you don't need to know Facebook depth of details around potential survivor ties E instead just knowing that they're part of a fan community about a certain thing actually tells you a lot more about the psycho graphics that are more viable, and and I do think. Long term. The really exciting thing for me about read. It is the ability to make money through digital goods and read it gold is a very early example of that. We saw just recently there was a four night concert. But I think generated thirty million dollars activity digital goods are real and generate real revenue, and they also went down. Well, mate users really happy in the process and read it has such a strong bent that. I think when executed properly the digital goods becomes even more variables revenue stream and one that is is far more sustainable. I think in the long term that just advertising. Let's final question for you. You know in the very early days of the two thousand sixteen presidential race the first place arguably to take Donald Trump seriously as a candidate was ready. You know, if you go back, and you go back to the the Donald threat, and there was a lot of problematic stuff in there. But there was a lot of interest in and I wonder does the company look internally and. Might even re to your knowledge kinda released metrics, I would think read it might have a better sense of who's actually generating interest for the primaries. This time around than the polling is going to. I think you're absolutely right about that. We don't have a formal process or doing that. I know in the past. There have been researchers who poured over renovated at glean, some of this some of the teams that read it will definitely be thinking about this in the run-up to election because that is interesting valuable, and it is a lot of ways these guys with a few hundred million active users who is a pretty good bellwether for what people are talking about online everywhere else. Reds co founder and co founder of initialized capital. Thanks so much for joining my pleasure, Dan, my final two right after this axios gives you the news and analysis you need to get smarter faster on the most important topics in our unique smart, brevity format. We cover topics from politics to science and media to tech subscribed to get smarter faster at sign up dot axios dot com and now back to the program a podcast. Now, it's done for my final two. And I up is the possible return of toys R us which last year filed for bankruptcy and then liquidated all of its stores yesterday. A group of former toys R us executives confirmed early reports that they've not only bought the brand, but are seeking a revival. Possibly as free standing stores or maybe mini stores inside of other retailers. Now, they obviously have some giant challenges like obtaining financing and getting toymakers to trust them again. But it is possible. The Jeffrey will come back to life later in two thousand nineteen and finally Amazon has agreed to by Eero a startup that makes so called mesh wifi routers for your home. Why it matters is twofold, first Emma's Zahn may simply merge this technology with that of its echo devices. Meaning that the tech giant would become an even more integral part of your home's infrastructure second, and probably more importantly, Amazon owning your router means it will know what else you connect to your router. That's the sort of data. It can use not only to sell you more stuff. But also to help it decide what to buy next. Because after all soon, none of us will have any secrets from the base os board, and we're done big. Thanks for listening into my producers, Adam Grassi and Tim show. Vers have a great national Plum pudding day, and we'll be back tomorrow with another pro rata podcast.