The Pulse #76: Why are layoffs coming hard and fast, again?
Also: why Salesforce seems to be hiring and firing based on their quarterly results; it’s a tough time to be a developer platform; and whether the Rabbit AI companion could be a smartphone replacement
Tuesday’s article on the impact of the end of a zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) ending seems oddly prescient. A good part of today’s newsletter unfortunately validates observations in that article – on how profits matter more; layoffs are a tool companies are using to boost these; and venture funding is harder to get by. Today, we cover:
Industry pulse. A roundup of recent events, with commentary. OpenAI’s licensing push; Snap’s focus on Spectacles; ChatGPT store launching; rapid drama and resolution at Carta; and more.
Why are layoffs coming hard and fast, again? Amazon, Google and Meta have all cut jobs, in what feels too similar to exactly 12 months ago. Unfortunately, we can likely expect more tech companies to follow as profits become more important in a post-ZIRP world.
Why is Salesforce firing, hiring, then freezing? Salesforce seems to behave like a QDC – a quarterly-results driven company – in its response to how business is going, rather than following a long-term hiring strategy. This behavior would not be surprising at a company where the CEO is on a “short leash” and eager to please shareholders, but at Salesforce the ultimate decision maker is a cofounder.
It’s a tough time to be a developer platform. Armory (a continuous delivery platform on top of Netflix’s Spinnaker,) and Airplane (a competitor to Retool,) are both sold in what feel like forced sales, due to running out of money and other options. Both exits are successes, but they’re surely not the outcomes which the companies and investors originally wanted.
The Rabbit AI pocket companion: is this really a $199 iPhone/Android replacement? We’re seeing AI startups like Rabbit launch hardware devices trying to replace or augment the iPhone and Android. The real question is not why they are doing it: but when will Siri and Google Assistant be (finally) updated with LLM capabilities?