10th March 2023
Katie Roof, Hannah Miller, Gillian Tan and Priya Anand writing for Bloomberg:
Unease is spreading across the financial world as concerns about the stability of Silicon Valley Bank prompt prominent venture capitalists including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund to advise startups to withdraw their money.
You have to imagine that on the streets of Palo Alto this morning, it feels a bit like Bedford Falls. The only question is, will Silicon Valley’s modern day Mr. Potter try to buy up more of the town?
6th March 2023
People, and the media in particular, seemed to think that after Twitter did the first round of mass layoffs, that it would just…stop working.
That clearly hasn’t happened, and it was never a super realistic expectation. These systems are designed to be robust against “one big thing”.
What a large scale system like Twitter falling over looks like is exactly what we keep seeing, week after week. It’s failed image previews, timelines not refreshing, notifications not working, and so on. How many more times will it need to break in critical ways like this before we accept the narrative that there isn’t going to be a single moment where Twitter just stops working.
It’s going to be a slow, gradual decline, which someday will end in 404s or 500s, but the rot has already set in and it’s hard to see it coming back from it.
2nd March 2023
This cartoon by Work Chronicles is I assume designed as light humour, but think how far we’ve fallen as an industry when it’s a reality for many that they will find out they are laid off when their access to the company’s systems is revoked.
It wasn’t all that long ago that it was considered disgraceful to announce layoffs over zoom. Now it’s done with Okta.
27th February 2023
Juliana Kaplan and Rebecca Knight, writing for Business Insider:
“Some of these companies were hoarding talent,” she told Insider. “And I think some have recognized that they were paying above-market value for people.”
I don’t know if there are any massive revelations in this article. It seems logical that as the job market has contracted a touch in tech, the offer packets are a little less rosy, but the quoted line above frustrated me so much that I wanted to write about it.
If companies were paying extremely large salaries and bonuses to attract talent, then almost by definition they were paying market value for a person with the skill set they required. Just cause they didn’t enjoy paying a particular salary, didn’t mean the market value was lower than that.
26th February 2023
Gergely Orosz, writing for the Pragmatic Engineer newsletter:
Thanks to verbal assurances, several employees I talked with said that they thought their work location in the contract is not relevant. Well, with this change, people will need to report at their official workplace 3 times per week, starting May, which is not what many of them signed up for.
If there’s one thing to be taken away from this Amazon RTO situation from a individual perspective, it’s that when you’re signing a new employment contract, you need to assume the company will enforce every single clause in it. If the company didn’t want to enforce something, they wouldn’t have put it in the contract in the first place. If you doubt that, just ask them to insert some clause that you think is ridiculous but that you swear you’ll never enforce, and see what they say.
I recall a situation when Salesforce acquired Slack, and we were all being told to sign new contracts to make us Salesforce employees. There was a clause which stipulated that if the company decided to close operations for the Christmas / Holiday period, you wouldn’t be required to work, but said shutdown would be deducted from your time off allowance. I was of the position that it was up to me when to choose my time off, so I asked for it to be struck from the contract. Salesforce HR insisted that there was no way the clause would ever be enforced, but not a single one of them could give me a reason why it was in the contract in the first place. I dug my heels in, and eventually they agreed to remove it.
It was a minor thing, and I didn’t actually imagine them ever enforcing it, but as the Amazon situation shows, you can’t assume things like that.