I'm teeeechnically supposed to be on vacation today, but I figured it was probably not cool to throw the newsletter to someone else ONE WEEK after taking over, so I popped back in for this one. I normally have very good work/life balance, I promise! Sure, I have way-too-many coworkers' numbers set to automatically bypass my phone's "Do Not Disturb" toggle and, yeah, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to a phantom Slack ding that didn't actually ding, but... hm. Perhaps I take back that promise.
the big thing
If there's a "big thing" this week, it's unfortunately not one that's fun to write about at all: Employees in the startup world are getting hit hard with layoffs right now, seemingly with a new set of cuts every other day.
First was Robinhood, announcing it would layoff 9% of its full-time employees.
Then Netflix, cutting (but not shutting down!) much of its newly formed in-house publication, Tudum.
Why now? The short version: A lot of these companies saw massive positive shifts in their user base (in terms of size, usage or both) with the pandemic and 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 shifting in another direction...
Natasha Mascarenhas and Amanda Silberling have a deeper dive on the layoffs of late, and some of the reasoning behind each. Check that out here.
What else happened this week? Here's some of the stuff people were reading most on the site:
The "father of the iPod" shows off his prototype collection: Tony Fadell, the man behind such iconic devices as the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Thermostat, is writing a book on building things — and as part of the process, he dusted off his collection of once oh-so-secret prototypes and concept art. He shared some great ones with us, including an absolutely bizarro iPod Mini/phone hybrid with a swiveling head.
Rocket Lab catches a rocket booster... with a helicopter: With more space rocket parts becoming reusable, companies are still working out the best/safest/most efficient way to actually... you know, get those parts back. This past weekend Rocket Lab set out to use a HELICOPTER to catch a reusable booster as it fell from the sky... and succeeded! At least, at first. I won't even fly most video game helicopters because they're always too dang hard, so this whole thing breaks my brain.
Apple, Google, and Microsoft team up to kill passwords: It's not every day you see Apple, Google and Microsoft working together on something... but this week the trio announced that they're teaming up to tackle a beast that causes all of them all sorts of trouble: passwords. If all goes to plan, over the next year they'll implement a passwordless standard that lets you use your smartphone's fingerprint reader or face scanner to sign into things across macOS/Safari, Android/Chrome, and Windows/Edge.
Instagram is testing a full-screen experience: Why? It's pretty damned hard to answer that without using the word "TikTok."
Google is trying to get better about removing personal information: Ever been poking around Google and found your home address or phone number on a sketchy website that refuses to remove it? Google is — after many, many years of complaints — rolling out a process for getting those search results zapped. Zack has a step-by-step for how to submit a request... but as for how long it might take to actually go through? TBD.
We have a paywalled section of our site called TechCrunch+. It costs a few bucks a month and it’s full of very good stuff! From this week, for example:
UiPath's plunging valuation: UiPath's valuation has absolutely plummeted over 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 the investment firm Tercera outlines six things that every investor is going to look for in the due diligence process.
The common mistakes founders make with financial projections: Financial projections don't exist just to make potential investors happy. In this post, Jose Cayasso, co-founder of founder prep platform Slidebean, breaks down some of the most common mistakes he sees among the founders they work with.