March 3, 2022
Photo: Vintage Images/Getty Images
Good morning! Ford is reorganizing so its electric vehicle business is a separate division, but the move is about more than cars. I’m Brian Kahn, and despite being a climate journalist, I’ve never driven or sat in an EV. (Someone please lend me your keys so I can go for a spin!)
Also, tell us your favorite messaging apps! Do you prefer text? WhatsApp? More info at the end of the newsletter, but tell us which one is your go-to (bonus points if it's a surprising one), and we’ll feature our favorite answers in the Sunday edition of Source Code.
Spring is upon us, which means it’s time to clean out those closets. And Ford is doing some spring cleaning of its own: The company announced it's undertaking a massive overhaul of how it does business, splitting its electric and internal combustion vehicles across two divisions. Large corporations, they’re just like us.
Ford’s reorganization is the biggest in its 118-year history. The company that created the Model T has been through some big shifts in its century-plus. But the move announced yesterday is a whole other ballgame.
The move is about more than electric vs. gas-powered vehicles. Cars have always been pieces of hardware.
In other words, the meat (fake, of course) and potatoes of Ford Model e’s work is going to be focusing on the technology the company needs to be a viable vehicle business for the rest of the 21st century. In other other words, Model e is basically a tech company inside a car company that will be working on things like the entertainment systems inside the vehicles, as well as the batteries that keep the cars rolling. It will also look at different ways to recycle parts so Ford can move toward a circular economy.
The momentum for EVs is building like never before. Ford’s news is definitely splashy, but it’s hardly all there is on the EV front.
But whether it’s fast enough to meet the scale of the climate crisis is TBD. The United Nations released a major climate report the same week as Ford’s big news. (Who was trying to upstage who, here?)
The transportation industry is the biggest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. It also accounts for around a quarter of global carbon pollution, according to the International Energy Agency. Obviously the world needs to clean up every source of carbon dioxide emissions possible, but transportation plays a particularly major role.
Ford’s reorganization crucially doesn’t include a sunset date for when it will stop selling gas-powered vehicles. Nor does it commit Ford Blue to improving fuel economy or manufacturing smaller cars, which would have the benefit of lower emissions and being less likely to kill pedestrians. (Heck, EV trucks are even heavier thanks to the massive batteries they need.) It’s almost as if Ford is saying, “We’re going to ruin the Earth for a few more years, but it’ll be totally worth it.” The company’s reorg alone isn’t going to make or break the climate, but it will help define the shape of the world for decades to come.
Recruiting and retaining talent in the new world of work
How do you compete for top tech talent today? And what are the best ways to hold on to your employees in the new labor market? Join Protocol and a panel of talent and workplace specialists at 10 a.m. PT March 3 as they discuss the most innovative ways to recruit and retain great employees. RSVP here.
Elon Musk invited/dared the UAW to hold a union vote at a Tesla factory:
Company Folders’ Vladimir Gendelman said keeping in touch with workers in Ukraine has been hard:
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Netflix is buying Next Games in a push to build up the streaming platform’s “library of great games.”
Epic is buying Bandcamp, which the company hopes will bolster its metaverse plans.
Apple is hosting an event Tuesday called “Peek Performance,” where it’s expected to reveal a new iPhone.
Miguel de Icaza is leaving Microsoft. He joined the company in 2016, when it acquired Xamarin, the open-source developer platform he co-founded.
Gary Steele is the new CEO of Splunk. He previously founded Proofpoint, and will replace interim CEO Graham Smith.Linda Jojo joined Hero Digital’s board. Jojo is the EVP of Tech and chief digital officer at United Airlines.
TikTok is being investigated. State attorneys general want to know whether the platform is being pushed to minors and young adults in a way that causes or worsens mental and physical health problems.
Amazon is scaling back its brick-and-mortar ambitions. It's closing 68 store locations and a few brands, but said it's still focusing on Whole Foods, Fresh and a few other retail ideas.
Spotify closed its Russia office, and removed content from RT and Sputnik. It's the latest in a line of platforms to boot state-sponsored Russian media.
Tech’s role in the war: Here’s how platforms, governments and companies have responded so far.
Electronic Arts is taking the Russian national team out of its recent FIFA games. It’s the second big change EA has made to a game in response to the war.
Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch is being recalled because of a battery overheating problem that burned some users.
Salesforce wants to build more towers. Chicago, Dublin, Sydney and Tokyo are among the possible new locations in which Salesforce wants to build in the next couple years. Employees still aren’t required to be in the office all the time.
Google wants workers back in the office next month. It’s the third major tech company to set a back-to-office date after Meta and Microsoft.
China has new rules for pop-up ads and push notifications. The country won’t allow entities without a news information service license to send push notifications about the news, among other regulations.
My day talking to people looks something like this: I log on to Slack, where I talk to my colleagues. Throughout the day, maybe I’ll shoot a message to my mom over text. Then, to get in touch with my sister who’s on an international trip right now, I’ll head to WhatsApp.
We want to know your go-to messaging app. What do you use to keep in touch with loved ones? Do you prefer one app for talking to friends? Do you usually text, or is GroupMe still a thing? Respond to this email and let us know, and we’ll round up some of our favorites in the Sunday edition of Source Code.
Scaling a company that moves money isn’t easy. Bad process, software, or luck can lead to costly errors, and worse, distract from your main priorities. Yet, many companies still struggle to build scalable payment infrastructure. Download our report to learn the main barriers companies face upgrading their payment operations.
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