July 24, 2022
Photo: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash
Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. This Sunday, I’m with Stripe product design manager Owen Williams pondering the energy of the folks who leave their webcams on for the entirety of an all-hands meeting. I salute you. Today: meet the people who charge for access to their email inbox, the right-to-repair movement is having a moment in the enterprise, tech company hirings/firings/freezes, and why you can’t retire any time soon.
The problem of spam has plagued us since the dawn of inbox time. In 2004, Bill Gates predicted that Microsoft would solve the problem in the next two years. That certainly hasn’t happened. Despite built-in email filters and deluxe email management tools, inboxes are still chaotic. Enter Gated, a new email tool tackling spam with mandatory donations.
Gated lets users set up a paid email gate to deter spammers. The goal is to disincentivize the sending of irrelevant or even harmful emails, and make email interactions more meaningful.
It’s become popular rather quickly. Last month, Gated officially launched on Product Hunt, hitting product of the day on June 17.
Paying a fee for email access is controversial. Just think about the semi-regular Calendly tech Twitter debates. We’re accustomed to the idea that everyone and everything on the internet is within reach, for free.
Gated’s mainstream success hinges on a major behavioral shift in how we think about email. Melissa Moody, who helped Mowat found Gated, acknowledged this but argued that some of tech’s biggest innovators think in this way. Getting in a stranger’s car via Uber or sleeping on a stranger’s couch via Airbnb seemed weird once, too. Maybe paying to spam is the next big thing.email | twitter)
The right-to-repair movement has been gaining steam among consumers for years, but what about the right to repair the devices we use at work? A group of companies that fix enterprise software and servers is banding together to push Washington to protect the practices at the heart of the industry.
The trade group, FreeICT USA, wants to build on successes in Europe, mostly through an explicit bill ensuring that it’s not just the big sellers like Microsoft or IBM that can easily repair the software that businesses use.
Shannon Mahaffey, who is leading FreeICT, told Protocol that in addition to lobbying Congress, the group plans to work in states and stay in touch with the right-to-repair groups focused on consumer goods.
“Our job isn't to replace anything being done with right to repair in that general category, but to expand that conversation,” he said.
They created Digital People. Now they've made celebrities available as Digital Twins: Soul Machines co-founder and CEO Greg Cross and his co-founder Mark Sagar, Ph.D., FRSNZ are leading their Auckland and San Francisco-based teams to create AI-enabled Digital People to populate the internet, at first, and soon the metaverse.
Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating or sinking. We’re here to help.
↓ CoinDesk reports that crypto exchange Blockchain.com cut 25% of its staff, affecting around 150 people, citing harsh financial conditions.
↔️ Snap will reduce hiring as it struggles through the troubled ad market.
↔️ Microsoft is getting rid of open job listings, including in its cloud and security business units.
↑ Roblox is growing. Chief Technology Officer Dan Sturman said the online gaming platform continues to hire for key engineering and product roles. Last month on Blind, anonymous poster Broblox said the company is understaffed and cash flow positive.
For more news on hiring, firing and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.
According to a June 2022 Quicken survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, ages 18 to 74, lots of folks are delaying retirement or “unretiring.”
Top reasons some of us are deciding to work forever and ever:
"Through the end of 2021, we were in an unusual environment with plenty of jobs, a buoyant stock market and tame inflation,” said Quicken CEO Eric Dunn. “In 2022, it's a different story."
They created Digital People. Now they've made celebrities available as Digital Twins: Soul Machines is at the cutting edge of AGI research with its unique Digital Brain, based on the latest neuroscience and developmental psychology research.
A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.
Can tech workers also be artists? The Seattle arts community doesn’t think so. (Crosscut)
Hybrid work is incredibly hard on SF small businesses. (CNBC)
A16z is going remote and also opening three new office spaces, because why not?
Tech companies cutting costs might also be cutting diversity. (Wired)
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to email@example.com.