I’m technically I was supposed to be on vacation today, but I figured it probably wouldn’t be nice to throw the newsletter to someone else ONE WEEK after taking over, so I went back to this one. I usually have a pretty good work/life balance, I promise! Sure, I have a lot of coworker numbers set to automatically bypass my phone’s “Do Not Disturb” toggle, and yes, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to a ghost Slack ding that hasn’t actually rang, but… Hmm. Perhaps I will withdraw that promise.
the big thing
If there’s a “big thing” this week, it’s unfortunately not fun to write about: Employees in the startup world are being hit hard with layoffs right now, apparently with a new set of cuts every other day.
The first was Robinhood, announcing that it would lay off 9% of its full-time employees.
Next up, Netflix, cutting (but not shutting down!) much of its newly formed in-house publication, Tudum.
Then came Thrasio, Cameo, On Deck and MainStreet. And I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed or haven’t heard of.
Because now? The short version: Many of these companies have seen big positive changes to their user base (in terms of size, usage, or both) with the pandemic and have adjusted accordingly. Now that we’re arguably on the other side of the pandemic (or as close as we’ll get to some “other side”) and things are turning in the other direction…
Natasha Mascarenhas and Amanda Silberling have taken a deeper dive into layoffs lately and some of the reasons behind each. Check it out here.
What else happened this week? Here are some of the things people were reading the most on the site:
The “father of the iPod” shows off his collection of prototypes: Tony Fadell, the man behind iconic devices like the iPod, iPhone and Nest Thermostat, is writing a book on how to build things – and as part of the process, he’s dusted off his collection of once-secret prototypes and concept art. He shared some great ones with us, including an absolutely bizarre iPod Mini/phone hybrid with a swivel head.
Rocket Lab takes a rocket… with a helicopter: With more space rocket parts becoming reusable, companies are still working on the best/safest/most efficient way to really… you know, recover those parts. This past weekend, Rocket Lab started using a HELICOPTER to catch a reusable booster that fell from the sky… and it did! At least, at first. I won’t fly anymore video game helicopters because they are always very difficult, so this whole thing racks my brain.
Apple, Google and Microsoft team up to eliminate passwords: It’s not every day you see Apple, Google and Microsoft working together on something… but this week the trio announced they’re teaming up to take on a beast that causes all sorts of problems: passwords. If all goes according to plan, next year they’ll implement a passwordless standard that lets you use your smartphone’s fingerprint reader or face scanner to log in to macOS/Safari, Android/Chrome, and Windows/Edge.
Instagram is testing a full-screen experience: Why? It is very difficult to answer this without using the word “TikTok”.
Google is trying to improve the removal of personal information: Ever scoured Google and found your home address or phone number on an incomplete website that refuses to remove it? Google is – after many, many years of complaints – launching a process to eliminate these search results. Zack has a step-by-step guide on how to submit a request… but how long can it take to actually go through? To be defined.
We have a paywalled section on our website called TechCrunch+. It costs a few dollars a month and is full of really good stuff! Starting this week, for example:
UiPath Drop Rating: UiPath’s rating has absolutely plummeted in the past year. Why? Ron and Alex have some thoughts.
6 problems investors look for: You’ve built something cool and it seems to be finding an audience, and now you’re ready to raise some money…or are you? Bill Petty of investment firm Tercera outlines six things every investor will look for in the due diligence process.
Common mistakes founders make with financial projections: Financial projections are not just there to make potential investors happy. In this post, Jose Cayasso, co-founder of the Slidebean founder preparation platform, details some of the most common mistakes he sees among the founders he works with.