Workplace

Tech CEOs vow to evaluate disability inclusion practices

Nearly 100 leaders have signed a letter urging other Fortune 500 companies to join them in furthering disability equality.

A masked person working in an office.

About 100 CEOs will take part in an assessment of their disability inclusion.

Photo: Bloomberg / Contributor via Getty

One hundred company leaders are pressing their colleagues to improve the workplace for people with disabilities and evaluate their inclusion of people with disabilities, Disability:IN announced Thursday.

The letter’s newest signatories of the “CEOs Are IN” campaign include the heads of Micron Technology, Tripadvisor and other tech and health care professionals. Accenture, Intel and Microsoft are among the first companies to back the letter when it was first released in 2019. These companies pledged to make disability inclusion a business priority by participating in an assessment of their disability inclusion and equality practices.

Disability:IN CEO Jill Houghton said focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts will help create sustainable companies, especially in light of the Great Resignation. “By encouraging CEOs to make disability inclusion a business priority, these 101 signatories are joining IN to positively transform lives and create financial and social impact,” Houghton said in a release.

The signatories pledged to take part in the Disability Equality Index, which is administered by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Participants of the assessment receive a score between 0 and 100, with scores over 80 indicating that they are the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion,” according to the release. The DEI looks at criteria within six categories including culture and leadership, community engagement and supplier diversity. The organization added questions related to board diversity this year, and the findings from those questions will be released in July, according to Disability:IN's Houghton.

Of the 319 companies that took the examination last year, 272 scored 80 or above, Houghton said. Adobe, Dell and Cisco were among dozens of companies to receive a score of 100 in 2021; Amazon and VMware were given scores of 90%; and Snap, Micron and Workday received scores of 80%. Registration for the Disability Equality Index is currently open, and results are released in July.

Workplace

An IPO may soon be in Notion’s future

Notion COO Akshay Kothari says there’s room to grow, aided by a new CFO who knows how to take a company public.

Notion has hired its first chief financial officer: Rama Katkar.

Photo: Courtesy of Notion

It’s been a year since Notion’s triumphant $275 million funding round and $10 billion valuation. Since then the landscape for productivity startups trying to make it on their own has completely changed, especially for those pandemic darlings that flourished in the all-remote world.

As recession looms, companies looking to cut costs are less likely to spend money on tools outside of their Microsoft or Google workplace bundles. Enterprise platforms are bulking up and it could spell trouble for the productivity startups trying to unseat them. But Notion COO Akshay Kothari says the company is still aiming to build the next Microsoft, not be the next Microsoft. And in a move signaling a new chapter of maturity, Notion has hired its first chief financial officer: Rama Katkar, Instacart’s former VP of finance.

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Lizzy Lawrence

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com.

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Great products are built on strong patents

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Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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Protocol focuses on the people, power and politics of tech, with no agenda and just one goal: to arm decision-makers in tech, business and public policy with the unbiased, fact-based news and analysis they need to navigate a world in rapid change.
Fintech

How neobanks are helping consumers game credit scoring

The CFPB says it is closely monitoring secured credit cards offered by neobanks.

Regulators are scrutinizing neobanks' card offerings.

Photo: Oscar Wong/Moment/Getty Images

About one in six Americans has a credit score below 619, according to the CFPB. Another 23% have too thin a credit file to score or no file at all. That puts them in a credit trap: To build credit, these consumers need someone to give them a line of credit with which they can demonstrate good financial habits. But with scores that low, few lenders are prepared to offer them anything.

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Policy

Steel decided World War II. Chips will decide whatever is next.

“Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology” foreshadows the coming battle between nations over semiconductors.

“Chip War” outlines the nature of the coming battle over semiconductors, showing how the power to produce leading-edge chips fell into the hands of just five companies.

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“World War II was decided by steel and aluminum, and followed shortly thereafter by the Cold War, which was defined by atomic weapons,” Chris Miller, a professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, writes in the introduction to his latest book. So what’s next? According to Miller, the next era, including the rivalry between the U.S. and China, is all about computing power.

That tech rivalry and the story of how the chip industry got from four to 11.8 billion transistors are all part of Miller’s book, “Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology,” which comes out Oct. 4. “Chip War” outlines the nature of the coming battle over semiconductors, showing how the power to produce leading-edge chips fell into the hands of just five companies: three from the U.S., one from Japan, and one from the Netherlands.

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