People

By the numbers: How COVID-19 transformed tech this week

Revenue is down, workers are worried, and everybody wants to know how to break up while in quarantine.

An empty office

Three-quarters of CFOs said in a recent survey they expect to permanently shift some of their workers to remote status in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: Moment/Getty Images

As dire numbers — and occasionally hopeful ones — continue to define the coronavirus crisis, here are 12 that jumped out at us this week as the pandemic reshapes the tech landscape:

72%

Share of 7,000 tech employees surveyed by Blind this month who reported being concerned about job security — a 33% increase from March, according to Business Insider. Expedia employees were the most worried, Facebook workers the least.

28%, 74%

Increase in remote job postings on LinkedIn during March, and the share of CFOs who in a recent Gartner survey said they expected to shift at least 5% of jobs to remote status. The question is whether coronavirus-driven changes will last beyond the crisis.

22%

Year-to-year decline in U.S. venture capital deals in March, according to PwC and CB Insights' first-quarter MoneyTree report, which said some of the drop likely owes to the coronavirus crisis. The next quarter will be the one to watch: In Q1, nearly half of U.S. funding came from megarounds; 58 companies raised rounds worth $100 million or more.

$60 million to $80 million

Drop in Uber's expected revenue in the second quarter as a result of the company's financial aid program for drivers and deliverers, up from $17 million to $22 million in the first quarter. Uber is expected to report Q1 earnings May 7.

27,200 and 99,500

Jobs lost in March in the Bay Area and California, respectively, according to state figures. The Bay Area loss was the worst monthly loss in 11 years, The Mercury News reported. Joint Venture Silicon Valley predicted that Silicon Valley's 3.1% unemployment rate in March will rise significantly in April.

160%

The percentage increase in searches for "breaking up during quarantine" over the past week in the U.S. and Canada, per Google Trends. A Google search using that phrase Friday yielded news articles and essays galore, with intriguing titles like: "A text message is the best way to break up with someone (even when there's not a pandemic)" and "The boomerang exes of quarantine."

Less than $500 million

Price Verizon is set to pay for Blue Jeans, a San Jose maker of videoconferencing software, The Wall Street Journal reported. While BlueJeans competes with Zoom, which has surged with coronavirus-related demand, it isn't available for free and is aimed at business users, not consumers.

$100

Price per COVID-19 test envisioned by biotech firm DxTerity, which hopes to supply tests to businesses reopening offices and factories. High-volume customers may negotiate discounts.

20,000

Hires Google parent Alphabet had planned to make in 2020, before the coronavirus outbreak. CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in a memo obtained by Bloomberg, "We believe now is the time to significantly slow down the pace of hiring."

270,000+

Times Bill Gates' Twitter handle was mentioned in the 24 hours after he criticized the Trump administration's decision to stop funding the World Health Organization, The Wall Street Journal reported. Online mobs are targeting the Microsoft co-founder over his work fighting COVID-19, The New York Times wrote, falsely portraying him on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter "as the creator of COVID-19, as a profiteer from a virus vaccine, and as part of a dastardly plot to use the illness to cull or surveil the global population."

Climate

The minerals we need to save the planet are getting way too expensive

Supply chain problems and rising demand have sent prices spiraling upward for the minerals and metals essential for the clean energy transition.

Critical mineral prices have exploded over the past year.

Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The newest source of the alarm bells echoing throughout the renewables industry? Spiking critical mineral and metal prices.

According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, a maelstrom of rising demand and tattered supply chains have caused prices for the materials needed for clean energy technologies to soar in the last year. And this increase has only accelerated since 2022 began.

Keep Reading Show less
Lisa Martine Jenkins

Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email (ljenkins@protocol.com).

Sponsored Content

Why the digital transformation of industries is creating a more sustainable future

Qualcomm’s chief sustainability officer Angela Baker on how companies can view going “digital” as a way not only toward growth, as laid out in a recent report, but also toward establishing and meeting environmental, social and governance goals.

Three letters dominate business practice at present: ESG, or environmental, social and governance goals. The number of mentions of the environment in financial earnings has doubled in the last five years, according to GlobalData: 600,000 companies mentioned the term in their annual or quarterly results last year.

But meeting those ESG goals can be a challenge — one that businesses can’t and shouldn’t take lightly. Ahead of an exclusive fireside chat at Davos, Angela Baker, chief sustainability officer at Qualcomm, sat down with Protocol to speak about how best to achieve those targets and how Qualcomm thinks about its own sustainability strategy, net zero commitment, other ESG targets and more.

Keep Reading Show less
Chris Stokel-Walker

Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of "YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars." His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.

Enterprise

The 911 system is outdated. Updating it to the cloud is risky.

Unlike tech companies, emergency services departments can’t afford to make mistakes when migrating to the cloud. Integrating new software in an industry where there’s no margin for error is risky, and sometimes deadly.

In an industry where seconds can mean the difference between life and death, many public safety departments are hesitant to take risks on new cloud-based technologies.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Dialing 911 could be the most important phone call you will ever make. But what happens when the software that’s supposed to deliver that call fails you? It may seem simple, but the technology behind a call for help is complicated, and when it fails, deadly.

The infrastructure supporting emergency contact centers is one of the most critical assets for any city, town or local government. But just as the pandemic exposed the creaky tech infrastructure that runs local governments, in many cases the technology in those call centers is outdated and hasn’t been touched for decades.

Keep Reading Show less
Aisha Counts

Aisha Counts (@aishacounts) is a reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software. Formerly, she was a management consultant for EY. She's based in Los Angeles and can be reached at acounts@protocol.com.

Entertainment

'The Wilds' is a must-watch guilty pleasure and more weekend recs

Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Our favorite things this week.

Illustration: Protocol

The East Coast is getting a little preview of summer this weekend. If you want to stay indoors and beat the heat, we have a few suggestions this week to keep you entertained, like a new season of Amazon Prime’s guilty-pleasure show, “The Wilds,” a new game from Horizon Worlds that’s fun for everyone and a sneak peek from Adam Mosseri into what Instagram is thinking about Web3.

Keep Reading Show less
Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

Workplace

Work expands to fill the time – but only if you let it

The former Todoist productivity expert drops time-blocking tips, lofi beats playlists for concentrating and other knowledge bombs.

“I do hope the productivity space as a whole is more intentional about pushing narratives that are about life versus just work.”

Photo: Courtesy of Fadeke Adegbuyi

Fadeke Adegbuyi knows how to dole out productivity advice. When she was a marketing manager at Doist, she taught users via blogs and newsletters about how to better organize their lives. Doist, the company behind to-do-list app Todoist and messaging app Twist, has pushed remote and asynchronous work for years. Adegbuyi’s job was to translate these ideas to the masses.

“We were thinking about asynchronous communication from a work point of view, of like: What is most effective for doing ambitious and awesome work, and also, what is most advantageous for living a life that feels balanced?” Adegbuyi said.

Keep Reading Show less
Lizzy Lawrence

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com.

Latest Stories
Bulletins