An instructor is seen on the video display of a Peloton stationary bike at the fitness company's studio
Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Life after Peloton

Source Code

Good morning! A week after Peloton cut 2,800 jobs, the company still can’t seem to stop the bleeding. But things might be looking up for the employees who lost their jobs. I'm Lizzy Lawrence, and I'm getting all-you-can-eat sushi this week.

The aftermath of the layoffs

There are two sides of the Peloton layoff story: There’s what’s happening to the company after it cut 2,800 jobs a couple of weeks ago, and there’s what happened to all the folks who lost their jobs.

The layoffs don’t seem to have stemmed the bleeding at Peloton, which new CEO Barry McCarthy swears isn’t going to sell anytime soon. Even though it’s not really up to him.

  • “I’m confident a large percentage of the votes will be cast in favor of my leadership of the business,” McCarthy told the Financial Times, and said he wouldn’t have taken the CEO gig if it were otherwise.
  • Peloton’s reportedly working on a rowing machine and a weight-lifting system, both of which it surely hopes will get more people buying Peloton gear. And, more important, signing up for subscriptions.
  • None of that confidence has done much for the industry, though. Peloton’s stock continues to drop, and everybody’s still guessing about an impending sale.

The 2,800 laid-off employees did the standard laid-off-employee thing: They took to LinkedIn to post accounts of what happened to them and talk about their future. Many promptly went viral, but maybe not for the reason you’d think.

  • Rather than tell horrific stories of their mistreatment, most of the employees took care to say nice things about their now-former employer. Phrases like “nothing but gratitude” and “thrilling ride” and “a dream opportunity” come up frequently.
  • Peloton’s recent Glassdoor reviews, however, tell a different story: “Nontransparent” and “Big promises, little follow-through,” some of them read.

The good news: It's a job-seekers market, many tech recruiters report. And having Peloton on the resume certainly helps: Despite all its negative press, it’s still a wildly popular brand. And a little LinkedIn juice certainly never hurt anyone’s job prospects.

  • Shopify’s CTO Allan Leinwand, for instance, promised a 48-hour turnaround on applications from any laid-off Pelotoners.
  • This is an increasingly common recruiting tactic: Career strategist Reno Perry told me he’s seen people jump in to help after Better.com laid off 900 people in December, as well as when Hertz had to lay off 10,000 employees early in the pandemic.
  • Peloton’s spokespeople pointed me to the public alumni directory, another common and helpful resource, so “other companies looking for great talent know where to find them.”

But not everyone is finding success on LinkedIn. Recruiting-via-layoff is a tricky strategy, and it can perpetuate some of the existing problems in the industry.

  • Talent acquisition specialist April Little said she was glad to see the LinkedIn response to Peloton layoffs, but urged recruiters not to ignore those who come from smaller companies or nontraditional backgrounds. Her post on the topic went viral, earning her thousands more followers.
  • “Having recruiters prioritize by the company, I find that lazy,” Little told me. “Prioritize them if they meet your skills, if they meet all the qualifications.”
  • A couple of employees I spoke with on the manufacturing and delivery side said it will most likely be easier for those on the corporate side to find positions.
  • Another employee said the support on LinkedIn seems like it will be fleeting, a classic “trending social media cause.” With 2,800 laid-off employees, not every post can go viral.

Feelings about Peloton still seem to be trending up. Most experts agree the company and brand have a chance, and it’s a win on a resume rather than a Theranos-style black mark. But things can change fast in tech. “We have to recognize that people have the capacity to hold multiple, seemingly contradictory feelings about an organization,” said Rebecca Kehoe, HR professor at Cornell’s ILR school. “And they can also separate how they feel about an organization today from their experiences with all the people they worked with.”

— Lizzy Lawrence (email | twitter)

On the calendar

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 onto 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.

A MESSAGE FROM ESRI

The global nature of business makes tracking your company's operations trickier than ever before. Overseeing supply chains and an international, dispersed workforce is tough. Maintaining visibility over all aspects of your operations is even tougher. The changing norms of business make location services no longer a "nice to have" but a "need to have" — and at the forefront of the geospatial intelligence revolution is Esri.

Learn more

People are talking

Mark Zuckerberg updated Meta's company values, including Focus on Long-Term Impact:

  • "Focus on Long-Term Impact emphasizes long-term thinking and encourages us to extend the timeline for the impact we have, rather than optimizing for near-term wins. We should take on the challenges that will be the most impactful, even if the full results won't be seen for years."

Airbnb said remote work is fueling a shift in travel:

  • “People are spreading out to thousands of towns and cities, staying for weeks, months, or even entire seasons at a time. For the first time ever, millions of people can now live anywhere.”

Alan Lane said that if the U.S. puts out a digital dollar, Silvergate will likely be involved:

  • “If there is a CBDC, it will likely be something like The Digital Dollar Project … If that happens, Silvergate is still in a really good spot to be a major player in that.”

Google Cloud’s Yariv Adan said contact centers have a big language barrier:

  • “Currently, multilingual capabilities are a big unsolved problem for many large contact centers as they typically offer one language.”

Making moves

Intel bought Tower Semiconductor, a chip manufacturer that focuses on making chips out of older tech that Intel doesn’t use anymore. The deal won’t close for another year.

Mastercard is hiring lots of crypto and services roles. The company wants people for its data and services department in a push to get into crypto consulting.

Peter Thiel gave money to a conservative dating app, a source told Axios. It’s called “The Right Stuff,” and it’s expected to launch this summer.

Meta officially acquired Kustomer, a CRM platform, for an undisclosed amount.

Mike White will oversee metaverse strategy in a newly created role at Disney, according to Reuters. White was previously CTO at Apollo Group.

Adam Woodworth is the new head of Wing, Google’s drone delivery unit. Woodworth is replacing James Ryan Burgess, who’s stepping aside due to a health issue.

In other news

China’s cities are embracing the metaverse. Local Chinese governments have used the vague concept of the metaverse to their advantage by introducing digital worlds that can improve sectors like online entertainment and e-governance.

The Kids Online Safety Act is coming to Congress. The new bill is co-sponsored by Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn, and aims to offer sweeping guidance to any online platform where kids spend time.

Twitter's Parag Agrawal is taking a "few weeks" of paternity leave when his second child is born. Parental leave is a hotly debated topic in tech right now, and Agrawal is still new in his job, but he's now a high-profile example of leaders taking leave.

ViacomCBS is now known as Paramount. The company has been embracing this brand for a while, but now the company, the studio and the streaming service will all have the same name.

TikTok is poaching content moderators from competitors. The platform is trying to stand out from rivals like Facebook by offering in-house positions and better pay and benefits.

Tickets for Virgin Galactic are now open to the general public. Prices start at nearly half a million dollars, but it might be a while before flights actually start taking off.

Facebook is settling a privacy lawsuit for $90 million, which would be one of the biggest settlements of its kind if it’s approved. The lawsuit accused Facebook of breaking federal wiretap laws by tracking users even after they logged off.

Hello, fellow Metamates

There are Googlers, Trailblazers, Amazonians and Microsofties. And now we can add one more to the list: Metamates, the term Facebook employees will now use to refer to themselves to show that they’re “good stewards of our company and mission,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post.

As is custom in the year 2022, “Metamates” didn’t slide by the Twitter peanut gallery without several people poking fun at it. Even employees themselves had jokes. Metamates is silly, it’s not even a real word, but maybe it doesn’t have to make sense. What does your company call its employees? Is it weirder than Metamates? Reply to this email and let us know!

A MESSAGE FROM ESRI

The global nature of business makes tracking your company's operations trickier than ever before. Overseeing supply chains and an international, dispersed workforce is tough. Maintaining visibility over all aspects of your operations is even tougher. The changing norms of business make location services no longer a "nice to have" but a "need to have" — and at the forefront of the geospatial intelligence revolution is Esri.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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