Another week of layoffs, executive departures and AI-generated everything

Another week of layoffs, executive departures and AI-generated everything

Hello again! Greg here again with Week in Review. WiR is the newsletter where we take the most read TechCrunch stories from the past seven days and wrap them up in as few words as possible – no fluff, no nonsense,* just a quick blast of everything you probably want to know about this technology week.

*Maybe a little nonsense.

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Tip your Amazon manager (on Amazon’s dime): If you have an Alexa device at home, Amazon will pay your delivery driver an extra $5 if you say, “Alexa, thank you my driver” after a delivery. Of course, Amazon could just pay executives more to begin with… but that, depressingly, probably wouldn’t be a move that would make Amazon one of the most read headlines of the week.

Slack’s CEO to leave: Last week Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor stepped down; this week Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack (which is owned by Salesforce), announced that he will also step down in January. Ron Miller shares his insights on Slack CEO Lidiane Jones and her decades of product experience.

The “Twitter Files”: “Elon Musk reminded his followers Friday that owning Twitter now means he controls every aspect of the company — including what his employees said behind closed doors before he took over,” Taylor writes as a series of once-private internal Twitter communications are made public.

Lensa AI goes viral: Do all your social media friends 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. However, popularity has not come without controversy – many continue to debate the ethics of selling something generated by an AI trained in the jobs of real people; meanwhile, others noted that the AI ​​could be “tricked” into generating otherwise impermissible NSFW images.

More technology layoffs: Airtable laid off about 20% of its staff this week — more than 250 people. Plaid also laid off 20%, which works out to them at 260 people. African fintech unicorn Chipper Cash let go 50 people, and British drag-and-drop e-commerce platform Primer let go 85 (about one-third of the company).

Google combines Maps/Waze teams: When Google bought navigation app Waze for more than $1 billion in 2013, Google said it would keep the Waze and Google Maps teams separate “for now.” It turns out that “for now” meant about 9.5 years, but Google confirmed this week that the two teams will be merged. Google says it expects Waze to remain a standalone service.

Twitter Blue may cost more on iOS: Twitter’s $8 “Blue” subscription plan (which comes with a blue “verified” checkmark) is still on hiatus after a few false starts, but when it returns, it will reportedly cost a few bucks more if you subscribe through the iOS app to offset Apple’s track.

audio summary

Found – our podcast about founders and the companies they build – has a new co-host! Becca Szkutak stepped into the role this week and spoke with Daye CEO Valentina Milanova alongside Darrell Etherington. Meanwhile, the Equity team tried to make sense of 2022 in a year-end look back, and Taylor Hatmaker hopped on The TechCrunch Podcast to explore what the sudden explosion of AI-generated art means for actual human artists.


Here’s what subscribers read most on TechCrunch+:

Investors sound alarm over possible private equity tech deals: “Who wants to sell when prices are low?” Ron Miller and Alex Willhelm ask.

Rootine’s $10M pitch deck: “If you told me that a company charging $70 a month for multivitamins could raise a $10 million round, I’d demand to see the receipts,” Haje writes. With that in mind, he dives deep into the field deck that helped make it happen.

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