Things to read while you’re having lunch. Monday, 10/26

How San Francisco became a COVID-19 success story as other cities stumbled (Maura Dolan/Los Angeles Times) – If the US had handled COVID-19 as well as San Francisco has, 170,000 people now dead would be alive today.


Insisting that the Hunter Biden laptop is fake is a trap. So is insisting that it’s real. (Thomas Rid/The Washington Post) – My issue is that the leak, even if true, doesn’t tell us anything new.


What global elections have taught Silicon Valley about misinformation (Steven Overly/Politico) – “Google, Facebook and Twitter have battled election-related misinformation from France to Nigeria to India since 2016. Now, they have to prove what they’ve learned.”


The case against Google is good, no matter what Trump had to do with it. (Chris Sagers/Slate) – Disclaimers: I work for a Google competitor. I use Google extensively, because I live in 2020. And I reflexively oppose all monopolies.


Quibi Is Hollywood’s Biggest Short-Form Failure—but Not Its First (Joe Flint and R.T. Watson/The Wall Street Journal) – Quibi pitched high-production shows in a format – short videos – dominated by user-generated content.

The core concept is sound. Why not have stories told in ~10-minute chapters?

But Quibi’s leadership was cack-handed. Among its many mistakes: You had to watch the video on phones – TVs and PCs were not supported. And the content was all aimed at GenX and Boomers, a demographic that’s more likely to prefer video on TV. Also: Don’t put two Boomers in charge of a network aimed at Millennials and Gen Z.


Romance Scammer Used Deepfakes to Impersonate a Navy Admiral and Bilk Widow Out of Nearly $300,000 (Justin Rohrlich/Daily Beast) – This scam was complex and heartbreaking even by the standards of romance scams.