May 31, 2022
Who’s hiring and who’s firing?
Good morning! High-flying startups and industry stalwarts alike are battening down the hatches, so let us walk you through what that looks like right now. Also: As other tech companies tighten their belts, for Apple it's business as usual.
Feeling the burn
High-flying startups with record valuations, huge hiring goals and ambitious expansion plans are now announcing hiring slowdowns, freezes and in some cases widespread layoffs. The S&P 500, dominated by tech stocks, has lost over 20% of its value so far this year. It’s the dot-com bust all over again — this time, in the midst of a global pandemic we just can’t seem to shake.
Layoffs range from the small-scale to mass firings, some conducted via impersonal video messages that have left employees gutted and the industry asking, “Are Zoom layoffs ever OK?”
- A crowdsourced tech startup layoffs tracker, Layoffs.fyi, recorded 61 tech companies with layoffs in May, with almost 16,000 employees laid off in that period.
- Some of the companies that have cut staff in the last few weeks include nutrition startup Noom, on-demand grocery delivery service Getir and fintech company Bolt, according to Layoffs.fyi.
It’s not just early-stage startups feeling the burn. Big tech companies have also recently announced hiring freezes or layoffs as they face cost-cutting pressure and rising inflation, coupled with a looming bear market and rising interest rates.
- Industry stalwarts (Microsoft), social media companies (Snap) and crypto newbies (Coinbase) alike haven’t announced layoffs, but they’ve all slowed hiring after poor quarterly results.
- A lot of these hiring slowdowns, like at Microsoft, are contained to specific departments rather than companywide.
There's a bright spot for American job seekers though, who overall still have substantial bargaining power.
- What we’re seeing in one sector — albeit a substantial one — stands in stark contrast to the rest of the economy, with U.S. employers adding 428,000 jobs in April, more than expected.
- Average hourly wages are also still continuing to grow, but still below the pace of inflation.
Want a more detailed look at tech layoffs and hiring slowdowns? We got you.
An Apple event is always a pretty big deal, and the next one is just days away. The company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off mostly virtually on June 6, and the company will take the wraps off the versions of iOS, macOS, Apple Watch and iPad platforms that we’ll all be using on our devices this fall.
The iPhone will see a big change. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that iOS 16 will transform the lock screen, a mostly useless bit of real estate.
- Apple is reportedly planning to enable an always-on mode for the iPhone lock screen and introduce wallpapers with actionable widgets. Always-on is a thing Android has had for…ever, but Apple might be limiting it to the forthcoming iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
- Bloomberg also reported that iOS 16 will bring major changes for Messages, including a social networking audio feature. It’s unclear what that would look like.
- And iPad multitasking is going to get better, which is good if Apple is ever going to really tempt Mac buyers to replace their laptops with an iPad Pro.
But don’t get excited for new hardware. Apple’s iPhone event is expected to be in September, as normal, and the company used its spring event to showcase new Macs.
- A new MacBook Air with next-gen M2 chip could be on deck, Bloomberg reported. But the launch could be mucked up by the COVID-19 factory closures in China that are still stymying the supply chain for consumer electronics.
- That’s one reason why Apple is looking to diversify its product manufacturing beyond China, to Vietnam and India.
We’ll find out what’s in store for Apple at its conference keynote, which begins at 10 a.m. PT on June 6.
A MESSAGE FROM QUALCOMM
There are three things that companies need to know when it comes to setting climate goals. The first thing I would say is that if you're going to set a climate goal as a business, it needs to be a businesswide effort. It cannot live within just the corporate responsibility or the sustainability team as it often does.
People are talking
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos thinks comedians like Dave Chappelle should cross the line to know where to draw the line:
- “I think it’s very important to the American culture generally to have free expression.”
Wikipedia editor Molly White is becoming a big crypto critic:
- “People are putting in money that they can’t afford to lose.”
The Weather Channel's new streaming service is already changing the way it thinks about programming, chief content officer Nora Zimmett said:
- "We’re really looking at covering weather as an event, which we’ve always done, but doing it in a choose-your-own-adventure way."
Coming this week
Micromobility Europe starts tomorrow. It’ll feature everything from test rides to talks on safer and more sustainable transportation.
WebCongress Miami also begins tomorrow. It’ll cover the future of ads, privacy and more.
Product Camp kicks off Thursday. The two-day event is all about designing and managing digital products.
Podcasts on Facebook are officially over on Friday. It’s been a long time coming!
In other news
Google is quietly befriending a group of civil rights allies called Next Gen Learning Community. It show just how good Google is at winning people over even when it’s not trying to gain influence.
Elizabeth Holmes wants her guilty verdict overturned. She claims that prosecutors lacked evidence, but the request probably won’t go anywhere, lawyers told Bloomberg.
Apple made it hard to hold a union election in Atlanta. Store workers withdrew their election because of reported intimidation tactics from the company.
Bob Iger took a stake in Canva. Iger’s been on an investing spree since leaving Disney, having already put money into GoPuff and other companies.
Twitter won’t let an Elon Musk ally leave the board. Shareholders wanted to kick off Silver Lake’s Egon Durban, but Twitter won’t accept his resignation.
Charly Mwangi is leaving Rivian, according to Bloomberg. The manufacturing exec's departure is part of a bigger leadership reshuffle and push to bounce back from production woes.Don Hoang is VC firm Atomico’s newest partner. Hoang is a former Revolut exec.
The trial TikTok can't stop talking about
If you take a cursory spin around TikTok every so often, then you'll have come across the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The trial, a modern-day version of a tabloid spectacle, is playing out on social media in surprising ways.
YouTubers, TikTokers and others are scrutinizing every aspect of the live trial and making Heard out to be the villain in the story. And while social media can’t make too much of a difference in the trial, it’s shaping public opinion. Perhaps we should all remember that social media isn’t the whole truth — not even when it comes to celebrity gossip.
A MESSAGE FROM QUALCOMM
Once a company understands its sustainability baseline, it is important to identify areas that the company can feasibly make more sustainable, and then address those areas. Implementing technology that improves connectivity and provides greater insight into operations will prove to be the solution for many companies.
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