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People

‘You can't help but mobilize people’: Gig firms hire for roller coaster ride

This month's look into tech job listings hints at a great reckoning for on-demand companies.

People on a roller coaster

This month's dive into tech job listings hints at the great reckoning in the gig industry as it confronts new levels of investor and government scrutiny.

Photo: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

Temp jobs, freelancing, gig work, the platform economy: Whatever words you want to use, mobile apps with contract labor as a central feature have transformed the job market in just a few years. Uber and Lyft both went public last year — in the process discovering that shareholders don't have quite the same tolerance for burning cash as VCs, at least not any more — and DoorDash filed for its IPO on Thursday.

This month's dive into tech job listings (read last month's edition here) hints at the great reckoning in this industry as it confronts new levels of investor and government scrutiny. At both corporate headquarters and out in the real world, where millions of contractors keep all kinds of on-demand companies running, the range of open positions is vast. We found six of the most revealing examples, from San Francisco to Georgia to Jakarta.

Uber: Data Science Manager - Driver Experience

San Francisco

Want to understand the psyche of an Uber driver without actually driving for Uber? The ride-hailing giant's driver data science team "analyzes and builds models of driver behavior," then works with the company's marketplace team to "provide real time signals" for fares and ride-matching. The driver data science manager job was posted in recent weeks, along with several other driver-adjacent technical roles, as Uber and peers like Lyft fight California's new Assembly Bill 5, which, by reclassifying drivers as employees, could force gig companies to drastically increase wages.

Requirements: Ph.D. or master's in computer science or related field; 5+ years of data science experience; "Everywhere you go, you can't help but mobilize people."

Lyft: Director, Driver Education & Success Operations

San Francisco

As part of the battle over AB 5, Lyft has recently ramped up political spending. The company is also expanding its "driver education & success" team to rethink how the company's corporate headquarters interacts with drivers and field teams in cities where it operates. In a bid to "create a culture of advocacy for our drivers by working to implement company vision," this person will manage pilots for new kinds of physical outposts for the digital company and test new resources for drivers. One perk? A 20% discount on all Lyft rides.

Requirements: 10+ years of operational experience; exceptional leadership skills; track record of "driving an agenda and building consensus."

Gojek: People Partner Analyst

Jakarta, Indonesia

There's an Uber of Indonesia, and it's called Gojek. The company launched in 2010 as a motorcycle taxi service and has raised more than $1.2 billion since ("Indonesia's first unicorn," the company's website says) from investors including Google. Now, amid an effort to expand from a ride app into food delivery, digital payments, on-demand massages and two dozen other services, Gojek is hiring a people partner analyst in Jakarta to better quantify its sprawling workforce. The role is tasked with "managing people data," developing standardized people metrics and reporting the findings.

Requirements: 3+ years of experience in data analytics; strong quantitative and spreadsheet skills; "Highly flexible attitude."

Boxbot: Delivery Driver

Oakland

Shortly after driverless package delivery startup Boxbot launched in 2016, the company founded by ex-Tesla and Uber engineers and backed by Toyota's artificial intelligence fund was hailed as part of "the autonomous vehicle revolution." Maybe someday. For now, the company is offering $16 an hour to deliver orders to specified addresses within required time frames — much like Amazon Prime, Pizza Hut and dozens of other delivery startups hiring for similar roles in the Bay Area.

Requirements: Valid California driver's license; clean driving record; ability to lift up to 70 pounds.

Rappi: Special Projects

Mexico City

It's been a roller coaster year for Colombian delivery startup Rappi, which raised nearly $1 billion from SoftBank last spring before laying off 6% of its workforce in January. As the company tries to avoid the fate of other SoftBank-backed startups like Brandless, it's staffing up again in Latin American cities including Cali, Colombia, and Mexico City. In the latter, Rappi — recognizable for its flock of motorcycle drivers sporting the company's mustache logo — is building up a five-person "special projects" team to focus on growth, guaranteeing instant delivery for everything from food to cash to a new set of AirPods. Meanwhile, Latin American competitors with similar logistics ambitions, like Shippify, are on a hiring binge in Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and beyond.

Requirements: 1-2 years of experience; natural leader; "You work long hours and you like difficult challenges."

Deliv: Community Manager

Roswell, Georgia

The "community manager" is ubiquitous not just in the gig economy, but at many well-heeled tech companies. WeWork, Udemy, Amazon and many others are hiring for the jack-of-all-trades office manager 2.0 role, which is often on the front lines of bridging digital platforms with flashy marketing and the messy reality of daily operations, like overseeing low-wage contractors or office service workers. In the case of Silicon Valley last-mile delivery startup Deliv, which is backed by Google, General Motors and UPS, the company needs a new community manager in the Atlanta area to oversee contract drivers, manage their schedules and send them monthly newsletters and regular social media updates.

Requirements: 3+ years of experience in community management or marketing; social media savvy; proficiency in office software; track record of "owning KPIs."
Policy

Arizona bill would reform Google and Apple app stores

HB2005 would allow app developers to use third-party payment systems.

HB2005 could make it through the Arizona House of Representatives as soon as this week.

Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash

Arizona State Rep. Regina Cobb hadn't even formally introduced her app store legislation last month when Apple and Google started storming into the state to lobby against it.

Apple tapped its own lobbyist, Rod Diridon, to begin lobbying in Arizona. It hired Kirk Adams, the former chief of staff to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, to negotiate with Cobb on its behalf. It quickly joined the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, which began lobbying against the bill. And lawyers for both Google and Apple went straight to the Arizona House's lawyers to argue that the bill is unconstitutional.

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Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

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The future of computing at the edge: an interview with Intel’s Tom Lantzsch

An interview with Tom Lantzsch, SVP and GM, Internet of Things Group at Intel

An interview with Tom Lantzsch

Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corporation

Edge computing had been on the rise in the last 18 months – and accelerated amid the need for new applications to solve challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., thinks there are more innovations to come – and wants technology leaders to think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.

In his role at Intel, Lantzsch leads the worldwide group of solutions architects across IoT market segments, including retail, banking, hospitality, education, industrial, transportation, smart cities and healthcare. And he's seen first-hand how artificial intelligence run at the edge can have a big impact on customers' success.

Protocol sat down with Lantzsch to talk about the challenges faced by companies seeking to move from the cloud to the edge; some of the surprising ways that Intel has found to help customers and the next big breakthrough in this space.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing with edge computing and IoT?

A few years ago, there was a notion that the edge was going to be a simplistic model, where we were going to have everything connected up into the cloud and all the compute was going to happen in the cloud. At Intel, we had a bit of a contrarian view. We thought much of the interesting compute was going to happen closer to where data was created. And we believed, at that time, that camera technology was going to be the driving force – that just the sheer amount of content that was created would be overwhelming to ship to the cloud – so we'd have to do compute at the edge. A few years later – that hypothesis is in action and we're seeing edge compute happen in a big way.

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Saul Hudson
Saul Hudson has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, especially in understanding and targeting messages in cutting-edge technologies. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, in helping companies to build passionate audiences and accelerate their growth. Hudson has reported from more than 30 countries, from war zones to boardrooms to presidential palaces. He has led multinational, multi-lingual teams and managed operations for hundreds of journalists. Hudson is a Managing Partner at Angle42, a strategic communications consultancy.
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The FTC's settlement with Amazon marks a new chapter for the agency.

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gig economy companies know that President Joe Biden's Labor Department is going to be a problem for them. But the FTC's commissioners are signaling that they hope to take on the Ubers and Lyfts of the world, too, using any authority they have to defend workers being harmed by the notoriously opaque gig economy.

The FTC's settlement with Amazon over its Flex tipping practices on Tuesday marks a new chapter for the agency, which has not historically taken serious action against gig companies or in defense of workers. But in its complaint, the FTC alleged that Amazon failed to pay its Flex drivers the full amount of tips they were owed, amounting to a deceptive business practice.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

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One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

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Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

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