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Weekly Review #58: Toddler smartphones, companies ditching email, and sharing economy serfdom

I learned a lot about Hong Kong this week – it sounds like a crazy place. 300 skyscrapers crammed into an area about the size of San Francisco, with triple the population. Means that $1k a month will literally only get you a closet sized room. But hey, Macau is right next door, which functions like a Las Vegas of Asia but handles eight times the money (!) Too mad all the Chinese need visas to enter either since they’re both colonial leftovers.

Tech startups include Beatrix, a social media assistant software that will plan out your social media for you based off of what you’ve already posted, Pitchpigeon, which pings 200 tech journalists about your new startup, and Posthaven, which spruces up blog drafts for publication for you. Plus there’s Toymail, which is a fantastic idea – it’s a small toy that’s Wifi equipped to receive and send messages, so you can talk to your toddler through her toy’s squeaky voice without having to get her a smartphone.

Angellist doesn’t use email at all, opting instead for Hipchat and face to face communication, which sounds willfully idiosyncratic but is well backed up. Watching this designer design a logo from scratch is a great look into the creative process, and Sebastian Marshall reminds us that good marketing is basically just convincing people to spend time with you (or attention, or money). You gotta be likable.

A disturbing piece on the rise of digital serfdom has me thinking – Uber gets valued at billions of dollars, but what do the drivers get beyond slightly more than minimum raise? They’re essentially serfs working on the company’s land, with little rights or backing tying them to the company’s destiny. What if sharing economy valuations gave equity to the volunteers as well?

Resources: Wealthfront advises new college grads through the  stock options maze, and Buffer offers best practices for repurposing content.

Fun for the week are Reddit’s big list of their favorite things saved  over the years, as well as their favorite Youtube videos. Plus this hilarious Upstairs video about a couple being honest with each other after a first date (NSFW).