People

Twitter keeps poaching the most diverse top talent

The company's two-year hiring spree is creating a technical dream team of the most inclusion- and ethics-minded leaders in the industry.

Twitter keeps poaching the most diverse top talent

Rumman Chowdhury, the head of Twitter's META team, is just one of several well-respected, ethics-minded female leaders to have been hired for major roles at Twitter in the last year.

Twitter just poached Bumble's head of product design, a woman widely respected in her field for building with inclusion and accessibility. Lara Mendonça will lead Twitter's work using design to encourage meaningful conversation.


Mendonça, whose title will be senior manager of product design, is just the latest in a string of widely-respected, increasingly diverse, and ethics- and inclusion-minded hires over the last two years at Twitter: We broke down a quick list of some of the notable names (though this is by no means exhaustive).

  • Mendonça made a name for herself at Bumble with her vulnerability theory of design, which she told the Wall Street Journal was born out of her own experiences as a bisexual woman with ADHD from Brazil.
  • Rumman Chowdhury: Twitter's new head of its ML Ethics, Transparency and Accountability team (called META internally), Chowdhury was hired in February, just months after launching her own AI-ethics focused group called Parity AI. Chowdhury is one of the most widely-respected leaders in the AI ethics field, and news of her hire at Twitter drew widespread industry praise.
  • Jutta Williams: Hired nine months ago as the product lead for the META team, Williams left her job as senior technical lead for central privacy at Facebook after only a year. She helped lead Google's AI health research before her time at Facebook.
  • Rinki Sethi: The new CISO at Twitter filled the long-open role in September 2020; she was previously the CISO and VP at Rubrik and VP for information security at IBM.
  • Nikkia Reveillac: Twitter's head of research was promoted from interim to full-time director in June 2020, after less than a year on the company research team; she previously worked at Colgate for more than 13 years, spending her last few leading its research insights team.
  • Maya Gold Patterson: The young woman in charge of designing Twitter's audio-chat Spaces product made a name for herself writing about the challenges and frustrations of being a Black woman in tech.
  • Christine Su: The former "activist-entrepreneur" working on farming and climate change tech became the head of product for conversational safety in early 2020. In that role, she's focused on increasing user choice and control over the Twitter experience.

Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter's head of consumer product, and Dantley Davis, Twitter's chief design officer, both joined the company earlier (2018 and 2019, respectively), but they often profess the same philosophies as many of these newer hires. Twitter has spent the last two years emphasizing conversational health and user safety in its product announcements, and it appears the company is building out its team to reflect those commitments internally.

Climate

New Jersey could become an ocean energy hub

A first-in-the-nation bill would support wave and tidal energy as a way to meet the Garden State's climate goals.

Technological challenges mean wave and tidal power remain generally more expensive than their other renewable counterparts. But government support could help spur more innovation that brings down cost.

Photo: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

Move over, solar and wind. There’s a new kid on the renewable energy block: waves and tides.

Harnessing the ocean’s power is still in its early stages, but the industry is poised for a big legislative boost, with the potential for real investment down the line.

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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).

Every day, millions of us press the “order” button on our favorite coffee store's mobile application: Our chosen brew will be on the counter when we arrive. It’s a personalized, seamless experience that we have all come to expect. What we don’t know is what’s happening behind the scenes. The mobile application is sourcing data from a database that stores information about each customer and what their favorite coffee drinks are. It is also leveraging event-streaming data in real time to ensure the ingredients for your personal coffee are in supply at your local store.

Applications like this power our daily lives, and if they can’t access massive amounts of data stored in a database as well as stream data “in motion” instantaneously, you — and millions of customers — won’t have these in-the-moment experiences.

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Jennifer Goforth Gregory
Jennifer Goforth Gregory has worked in the B2B technology industry for over 20 years. As a freelance writer she writes for top technology brands, including IBM, HPE, Adobe, AT&T, Verizon, Epson, Oracle, Intel and Square. She specializes in a wide range of technology, such as AI, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, and CX. Jennifer also wrote a bestselling book The Freelance Content Marketing Writer to help other writers launch a high earning freelance business.
Entertainment

Watch 'Stranger Things,' play Neon White and more weekend recs

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

Here are our picks for your long weekend.

Image: Annapurna Interactive; Wizard of the Coast; Netflix

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Nick Statt

Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Fintech

Debt fueled crypto mining’s boom — and now, its bust

Leverage helped mining operations expand as they borrowed against their hardware or the crypto it generated.

Dropping crypto prices have upended the economics of mining.

Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP via Getty Images

As bitcoin boomed, crypto mining seemed almost like printing money. But in reality, miners have always had to juggle the cost of hardware, electricity and operations against the tokens their work yielded. Often miners held onto their crypto, betting it would appreciate, or borrowed against it to buy more mining rigs. Now all those bills are coming due: The industry has accumulated as much as $4 billion in debt, according to some estimates.

The crypto boom encouraged excess. “The approach was get rich quick, build it big, build it fast, use leverage. Do it now,” said Andrew Webber, founder and CEO at crypto mining service provider Digital Power Optimization.

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Tomio Geron

Tomio Geron ( @tomiogeron) is a San Francisco-based reporter covering fintech. He was previously a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, covering venture capital and startups. Before that, he worked as a staff writer at Forbes, covering social media and venture capital, and also edited the Midas List of top tech investors. He has also worked at newspapers covering crime, courts, health and other topics. He can be reached at tgeron@protocol.com or tgeron@protonmail.com.

Policy

How lax social media policies help fuel a prescription drug boom

Prescription drug ads are all over TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. As the potential harms become clear, why haven’t the companies updated their advertising policies?

Even as providers like Cerebral draw federal attention, Meta’s and TikTok’s advertising policies still allow telehealth providers to turbocharge their marketing efforts.

Illustration: Overearth/iStock/Getty Images Plus

In the United States, prescription drug advertisements are as commonplace as drive-thru lanes and Pete Davidson relationship updates. We’re told every day — often multiple times a day — to ask our doctor if some new medication is right for us. Saturday Night Live has for decades parodied the breathless parade of side effect warnings tacked onto drug commercials. Here in New York, even our subway swipes are subsidized by advertisements that deliver the good news: We can last longer in bed and keep our hair, if only we turn to the latest VC-backed telehealth service.

The U.S. is almost alone in embracing direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements. Nations as disparate as Saudi Arabia, France and China all find common ground in banning such ads. In fact, of all developed nations, only New Zealand joins the U.S. in giving pharmaceutical companies a direct line to consumers.

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Hirsh Chitkara

Hirsh Chitkara ( @HirshChitkara) is a reporter at Protocol focused on the intersection of politics, technology and society. Before joining Protocol, he helped write a daily newsletter at Insider that covered all things Big Tech. He's based in New York and can be reached at hchitkara@protocol.com.

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