The new layoff rules
Good morning! Layoffs are an unfortunate result of an economic downturn, but some companies are making a hard time even worse. Pro tip: It’s avoidable. And in a TikTok world, Reddit’s chief product officer has a new plan to scale one of the earliest major social platforms. Happy Monday! Let’s get to it.
Don't be Coinbase
Layoffs and hiring freezes are painful no matter what. But some companies are making a difficult process even worse by letting employees twist in the wind. Coinbase is a textbook example of what not to do, but there are ways to announce decisions that won’t destroy your reputation with current employees and new recruits.
Coinbase recently started rescinding new hires’ job offers via email. The company had initially said it planned to triple its workforce after its Q1 earnings. But soon after, it announced a hiring freeze as fears of a crypto winter took hold.
- Coinbase told new hires that they wouldn’t be affected by the hiring pause. “We remain bullish on the long-term future of crypto and Coinbase’s position in the ecosystem,” the company told them, according to an email from the company that was posted to Blind.
- Last week, Coinbase changed its mind on the new hires. Prospective employees got a month’s worth of severance, according to another email posted on Blind.
Letting bad news trickle out piecemeal hurts morale — especially when employees were told there was nothing to worry about, said Harvard Business School professor Sandra Sucher, who wrote “The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It.”
- She told me that backpedaling on new hires and hiring projections could leave people fearful of what might happen next. In Coinbase’s case, that might be layoffs.
- “The people who are still there feel very uncomfortable and nervous about what's going to happen to them, even if they hadn't been laid off,” Sucher said.
- Coinbase hasn’t said whether layoffs are in the cards. But the tech industry as a whole has seen the layoffs of thousands of employees, and crypto companies haven’t been spared.
The way these decisions are announced affect a company’s long-term reputation. “Any mystery around these questions translates into the media answering the question for you or employees making your reputation for you,” Ashley Stahl, who hosts a career advice podcast called “You Turn,” told me.
Sucher said companies should get the tough calls out of the way rather than let workers wait and wonder when the hammer will fall. “If you don't do that, it's death by a thousand cuts,” she said.
Reddit’s new product philosophy
Reddit Chief Product Officer Pali Bhat has big ambitions for the platform. He spent more than a decade at Google, and is used to operating at scale. But in developing new features or updates for the “internet’s front page,” Bhat isn’t just a Reddit executive. He’s also a long-time user.
Reddit’s first chief product officer thinks like an “OG Redditor.” The platform relies on Redditors for pretty much everything, from input on new features to content moderation.
- Bhat just announced a set of guidelines for how those new features would be developed with that reliance on users in mind.
- The guidelines are Simple, Universal, Performant, Excellent and Relevant (or SUPER), and they're designed to make Reddit easier and faster to use for current users and more accessible to people who haven’t used the platform before.
- The catchy acronym is guiding the company’s upcoming features, including translating posts into more languages and fixing the site’s video player.
Reddit’s goal is to create “self-sustaining communities.” Basically, the idea is that no one will ever have to leave Reddit to be entertained or informed.
- Every social media company strives to keep users glued to their platforms, but Bhat thinks Reddit can do it best.
- “We want to be able to enable those authentic conversations to happen in any way you want it to happen,” Bhat told me.
- Bhat’s Reddit X team is developing features to enable live conversations, among other new ways for users to interact, as part of its work on bold bets.
Reddit has come a long way. Hiring a chief product officer after 16 years is one example. Another is the anti-harassment measures the company finally put in place in recent years.
- But keeping the platform usable also relies on the tens of thousands of moderators that keep the site safe, Bhat said.
- Though Reddit has site-wide rules and a team to enforce them, controlling abuse and misinformation largely falls on the shoulders of Reddit’s thousands of subreddit moderators.
- “The communities have norms and practices that they enforce,” Bhat told me. “Think of that as 100,000 additional layers of moderation.”
Those self-contained communities now draw 500 million monthly active users. But Bhat thinks Reddit still has room to grow. “We are one of the largest, and one of the most relevant, platforms on the web,” Bhat told me. “It's not often that you get to work on a product that's used by 500 million users, and think, ‘We can actually grow this to reach more users.’”
A MESSAGE FROM GOOGLE
Adding 2-Step Verification to your account is the best thing you can do to help prevent cyberattacks. That’s why Google has made it easy to sign into your account with this additional layer of protection. Just one tap and you’re in.
People are talking
Joe Biden had some choice words for Elon Musk’s “super bad feeling” about the economy:
- “Lots of luck on his trip to the moon.”
- "It would be wonderful to just have people read it, but it often ends up being an interpretation based on emotions."
ServiceNow’s Jacqui Canney said the company isn’t changing its approach to pay:
- “We're trying to keep a level head, be informed, keep evaluating the market and make the moves that we need to make when we need to make them.”
Coming this week
WWDC starts today. Here’s a rundown of how to watch and what to expect.
Lesbians Who Tech begins today. Some of it will take place in person this year in Washington, D.C.
RightsCon 2022 kicks off today. Leaders from Access Now, Change.org and others are expected to speak.
Women in Tech begins tomorrow. Leaders from TikTok, Prezi and others are giving talks.
Nexus 2022 starts Wednesday. It’ll cover topics like cloud-native strategies and the online workplace.PlatformCon is happening Thursday with speakers from Netflix, Aqua Security and others.
In other news
Tesla is cutting 10% of salaried workers, Elon Musk told employees on Friday. He previously said he had a "super bad feeling" about the economy.
China's investigation into Didi might finally come to an end this week, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
New York passed a "right to repair" bill that'll require manufacturers selling "digital electronic products" within state borders to make their tools, parts and instructions for repair available to consumers and independent shops.
Crypto scammers are making bank. They’ve pocketed over $1 billion in crypto since the beginning of 2021, and an FTC report indicates the problem is only getting bigger.
The CEO salary gap has gotten worse at early-stage startups. The difference in pay between female and male chief execs is worse now than it was in 2019.
Elon Musk's Twitter acquisition cleared a regulatory hurdle. There won’t be an antitrust review, so now the deal is pending customary closing conditions, including a stockholder vote and other regulatory approvals.
Finding electric car chargers on a road trip is a total pain. Just ask this Wall Street Journal reporter, who drove from New Orleans to Chicago in an EV.
Dave Clark is leaving Amazon as head of worldwide consumer. Clark spent over two decades at the company.Rish Tandon joined Meta as VP of engineering for the remote presence team. He last worked at Microsoft as corporate VP for Teams engineering.
How to master your sleep schedule
Imagine having such a regimented sleep routine that you don’t even need an alarm clock anymore. Eight Sleep’s Alexandra Zatarain actually does sleep that well, and so it might be worth following her tips to create a better sleep schedule: Make sure you have time to digest before hitting bed, try to sleep on the same schedule as your partner, and stay off the screen for at least an hour before bed.
A MESSAGE FROM GOOGLE
To counter the rise in phishing attempts in collaborative working tools, Google is expanding its proven AI-powered phishing protections to Google Workspace. You are automatically alerted if the doc you’re working in contains a suspicious link, and are taken back to safety.
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