Another week of layoffs, executive departures and AI-generated everything • TechCrunch
Hello again! Greg here again with Review of the week. WiR is the newsletter where we take the most-read TechCrunch stories from the last seven days and boil them down to as few words as possible – no fluff, no nonsense, *just a quick rundown of everything you probably want to know about technology this week.
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Tip your Amazon driver (at Amazon’s expense): If you have an Alexa device at home, Amazon will pay your delivery driver an additional $5 if you say “Alexa, thank my driver” after a delivery. Amazon could, of course, just pay drivers more to get started… but that, depressingly, probably wouldn’t be a move that would make Amazon one of the most read titles of the week.
Departure of the CEO of Slack: Last week Bret Taylor, CEO of Salesforce resigned; this week, Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack (owned by Salesforce), announced that he would also step down in January. Ron Miller shares his thoughts on Slack’s incoming CEO Lidiane Jones and her decades of product experience.
“Twitter Files”“Elon Musk reminded his followers on Friday that owning Twitter now means he controls every aspect of the business – including what his employees said behind closed doors before taking over,” Taylor wrote as a range of formerly private internal Twitter communications are being made public.
Lensa AI goes viral: Do all of your friends on social media suddenly have avatars that make them look like sci-fi gods and action heroes? That’s likely because of Lensa AI, a photo-editing app that went viral this week after adding support for Stable Diffusion’s AI-generated art tools. The popularity has not come without controversy, however – many continue to debate the ethics of selling something generated by an AI trained on the works of real people; meanwhile, others have noted that the AI could be “cheated” by generating otherwise prohibited NSFW images.
More tech layoffs: This week Airtable laid off about 20% of its staff — more than 250 people. Plaid also dismissed 20%, which for them is equivalent to 260 people. African fintech unicorn Chipper Cash laid off 50 peopleand UK drag-and-drop e-commerce platform Primer let go 85 (about a third of the company).
Google combines Maps/Waze teams: When Google bought the Waze navigation app for over $1 billion in 2013, Google said it would keep the Waze and Google Maps teams separate “for now.” Turns out “for now” meant about 9.5 years, but Google confirmed this week that the two teams would be merged. Google says it expects Waze to remain a standalone service.
Twitter Blue could cost more on iOS: Twitter’s $8 “Blue” subscription plan (which comes with a blue “verified” check mark) is still on hiatus for now after a some false startsbut when it does come back, it would cost a few extra bucks if you subscribe through the iOS app to make up for Apple’s discount.
Found — our podcast about founders and the companies they build — has a new co-host! Becca Szkutak took office this week, joining Darrell Etherington in a conversation with Daye CEO Valentina Milanova. Meanwhile, the Equity team tried to make sense of 2022 in a end of year retrospectiveand Taylor Hatmaker jumped on The TechCrunch Podcast to explore what the sudden explosion of AI-generated art means for real-life human artists.
Here’s what subscribers read the most on TechCrunch+:
Investors are sounding the alarm over possible tech private equity deals: “Who wants to sell when prices are low?” Ron Miller and Alex Willhelm ask.
Rootine’s $10 million pitch deck“If you told me that a company that charges $70 a month for multivitamins would be able to raise $10 million, I would demand to see the receipts,” Haje writes. With that in mind, it dives deep into the pitch deck that helped make it happen.