Another week of layoffs, executive departures, and AI-generated everything • Zoo House News
- December 10, 2022
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Hello again! Greg here again with a weekly review. WiR is the newsletter where we round up the most-read Zoo House News stories from the last seven days, condensing them in as few words as possible — no fluff, no nonsense*, just a quick blast of everything you’ll probably want to know about tech for the week .
*Maybe a little nonsense.
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Tip your Amazon driver (on Amazon’s dime): If you have an Alexa device at home, Amazon will pay your delivery driver an additional $5 if you say “Alexa, thank you my driver” after a delivery. Of course, Amazon could just start paying drivers more… but depressingly, that probably wouldn’t be a move that would make Amazon one of the week’s most-read headlines.
Slack CEO Leaves: Last week, Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor resigned; This week, Stewart Butterfield, CEO of (Salesforce-owned) Slack, announced that he will also step down in January. Ron Miller shares his insights into Inbound Slack CEO Lidiane Jones and her decades of product experience.
The “Twitter Files”: “Elon Musk reminded his followers on Friday that owning Twitter now means he controls every aspect of the company — including what his employees said behind closed doors before he took over,” writes Taylor as a once private array internal Twitter communication is made public.
Lensa AI Goes Viral: Do all your social media friends suddenly have avatars that make them look like sci-fi gods and action heroes? That’s likely due to Lensa AI, a photo-editing app that went viral this week after adding support for Stable Diffusion’s AI-generated art tools. The popularity hasn’t been without controversy, however – many continue to debate the ethics of selling something created by an AI trained on the works of real people; Meanwhile, others noted that the AI could be “tricked” into generating otherwise objectionable NSFW images.
More Tech Layoffs: This week, Airtable laid off about 20% of its workforce — over 250 people. Plaid also laid off 20%, which puts them at 260 employees. African fintech unicorn Chipper Cash laid off 50 employees and British drag-and-drop e-commerce platform Primer laid off 85 (about a third of the company).
Google Combines Maps/Waze Teams: When Google bought navigation app Waze for over $1 billion in 2013, Google said they would keep the Waze and Google Maps teams separate “for now.” It turns out “for now” meant about 9.5 years, but Google confirmed this week that the two teams will be merged. Google expects Waze to remain a standalone service.
Twitter Blue could cost more on iOS: Twitter’s $8 “Blue” subscription plan (which has a blue “verified” tick on it) is still on hiatus after a few false starts, but when it returns, it’ll reportedly cost a few dollars more , if you subscribe through the iOS app to compensate for Apple’s cut.
Found – our podcast about founders and the companies they build – has a new co-host! Becca Szkutak stepped into the role this week, meeting with Darrell Etherington for a chat with Daye CEO Valentina Milanova. Meanwhile, the Equity crew tried to make sense of 2022 through a year in review, and Taylor Hatmaker hopped onto the Zoo House News podcast to explore what the sudden explosion of AI-generated art means for real human artists.
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Investors are sounding the alarm about possible private equity tech deals: “Who sells when prices are low?” ask Ron Miller and Alex Willhelm.
Rootine’s $10 million pitch deck: “If you were to tell me that a company charging $70 a month for multivitamins was able to raise a $10 million round, I would say to see the receipts,” writes Haje. With that in mind, he dives deep into the pitch deck that helped make this possible.