What happens to whistleblowers?
Image: Ben Sweet and Protocol
Good morning! This Thursday, a look into the lives of Big Tech whistleblowers after the news cycles move on, what comes next for Coinbase, Uber's back-to-the-office plan and how the FBI hacks iPhones.
Tech whistleblowers can cause cataclysmic change. Jack Poulson's revelations about Google's Project Dragonfly helped end that program. Aerica Shimizu Banks and Ifeoma Ozoma's revelations about Pinterest's culture led to codified changes to company policy.
But they're probably only just getting started.
The act of whistleblowing can be brutal for the people that do it. Protocol's Issie Lapowsky documented what happens to the lives behind the upheaval — and how some whistleblowers are trying to make it easier for the people who follow them.
But it's often not as bad as they expect. Poulson and former Google AI ethicist Timnit Gebru were among the many whistleblowers who were surprised to find that, in reality, other tech companies often do want to hire people like them.
And now Ozoma and Banks want to help future whistleblowers. Ozoma is working with the Omidyar Network, which provides resources and support for potential whistleblowers, while the two are also pushing for the passage of the Silenced No More Act, which would expand California protections for people who break NDAs to speak up about their company.
Coinbase had a rollercoaster of a day after its market debut yesterday, opening at about $340, jumping as high as $429 and then plummeting down before rebounding and ending the day at about $328. Volatility: Yet another thing Bitcoin and Coinbase have in common!
But that volatility couldn't get in the way of people getting rich, and everyone who was early to the company still made a fortune or three in the process.
And the company's likely to mint many more millionaires in the near future, because it may be going on an acquisition spree, COO Emilie Choi told Protocol | Fintech's Ben Pimentel.
If you were on Twitter yesterday, you surely noticed all the people humble-tweeting about their early investments in Coinbase, sad-tweeting about jobs they didn't get and the like. But nobody beats Asana CEO (and Facebook co-founder) Dustin Moskovitz, who tweeted: "I'm part of the origin story for the Winklevoss quest for glory. They wouldn't have bothered with BTC if not for the need to redeem themselves." I think he was kidding? But … he's not wrong.
Business leaders who understand that success rests on superior customer experience are always seeking better ways to unite their teams in order to best serve the customer. That means weaving support and service teams throughout the entire organization rather than pushing customer care into its own silo.
A Facebook moderator left their Accenture-contracted job, and shared some realities of the role on their way out:
Uber Chief People Officer Nikki Krishnamurthy laid out the company's re-opening plan:
The chip shortage isn't going away any time soon, TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said:
VMware is officially spinning off from Dell. Dell announced it was considering the move almost a year ago, but is finally going ahead with the move.
Matt Cutts is leaving the U.S. Digital Service. The administration is looking for a new administrator now.
A big shakeup at Shopify: CTO Jean-Michel Lemieux, chief talent officer Brittany Forsyth and chief legal officer Joe Frasca are all leaving in June, the Ottawa Business Journal reported.
Zhu Liang and Cussion Kar Shun Pang are the new CEO and chairman of Tencent Music, and current chair Tong Tao Sang is leaving the company entirely.
Mahi de Silva is the new CEO of Triller, joining as part of an acquisition of his company Amplify.AI. Mike Lu is now the company's president.
Virgin Media and O2 have been provisionally approved to merge by the U.K. government. The merger would create one of the country's largest telecoms.
Gojek and Tokopedia are set to merge, The Information reported, forming an $18 billion new company called Goto. The deal is reportedly expected to close very soon.
We here at Protocol are big fans of Flight Simulator. But there's "being a fan," and there's "playing Flight Simulator on a PC that's designed to look like half a jet engine." That's what Xbox France is offering one lucky player, if you enter a contest on Twitter. It's going to look awesome next to my giant Lego Millenium Falcon, my giant Robot Optimus Prime and my probably even more giant PlayStation 5.
Companies all over the tech industry are making big promises and big plans for the coming decades, trying to do their part to fight climate change, promote equality and take a view of success longer than next quarter and wider than Wall Street. Our panel of industry leaders will examine these questions and more.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to email@example.com, or our tips line, firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Ifeoma Ozoma's role at the Omidyar Network. She is working with it, not helping lead it. It also mischaracterized the impact of Ozoma's and Aerica Shimizu Banks' whistleblowing. The settlement made following their revelations was awarded to another employee. Updated April 15, 2021.