It is throw it back Thursday, reader. I’m Diamond Naga Siu just trying to make it to the weekend.
I’m very happy with what I do, but I would love to work for the best employer in the world. What does that even mean? What would the best employer in the world look like? What would make her so great?
As we ponder these uncertainties, I can tell you it’s probably not Amazon — despite its flashy promise to be “Best Place to Work on Earth” in 2021. My colleague Eugene Kim reports that company insiders disagree on how far Amazon is from that goal.
We’ve got that and more below for today’s tech news.
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1. Amazon is fiddling with its “The best employer in the world” promise. This is one of the company’s most ambitious projects, which aims to reverse its notoriously toxic work culture. Yet almost two years later, employees — including top executives — lack clarity about the company.
- Employees have repeatedly asked Amazon executives to provide clarity on the promise. But their answers were often evasive and contradictory. CEO Andy Jassy even once admitted that defining the world’s best place to work is “subjective”.
- Many employees said a lack of transparency within the company was particularly counterproductive to the goal. They pointed out how layoffs were carried out in January. Many found out via email without prior warning or in a face-to-face conversation. And the restructuring plan was only revealed after the media had already reported on it.
- My colleague Eugene Kim spoke to more than 20 current and former Amazon employees about the lofty promise. Spoiler alert: He’s found there’s work to be done.
That’s what they said about not the best employer on earth.
In other news:
2. Watch Jeff Bezos’ $500 million megayacht set sail. The 417-foot vessel encountered open water for the first time. It’s the same boat that caused quite a stir for nearly having to dismantle a historic bridge to allow it to pass. Watch the Bezos boot in action here.
3. Google’s leaked guidelines on training its ChatGPT competitor. Googlers were instructed not to let the chatbot speak as if it were a human. Read the full guidelines here. (Bonus: Read CEO Sundar Pichai’s leaked company-wide email. He asked all Googlers to spend two to four hours testing the chatbot.)
4. “I tried Amazon Prescription service for generics.” RxPass covers 80+ health issues for a flat monthly fee of $5. My colleague Yeji Jesse Lee tried the service but probably won’t use it again due to the difficult setup. More about her experience here.
5. No example e.g: Elon Musk thinks CEOs and politicians should be more like him. The billionaire said other public figures should also have their own social media accounts. He said the current method of corporate press releases and ghost-written Twitter posts sounded like “propaganda.” More about his role model behavior here.
6. Tesla employees say the company tracks their keystrokes. According to Bloomberg, employees in New York say their keystrokes are monitored to make sure they’re actively working. They emailed Elon Musk on Tuesday to let him know they are supporting a union. find out more
7. A former Amazon executive says he quit because of unfair performance reviews. Her boss encouraged her to quit after they saved a high-performing employee from receiving the lowest performance rating. They told insiders how company policy ended their time at Amazon.
8. Safety first: Mark Zuckerberg loves safety. Meta’s CEO’s personal security allowance just increased by $4 million — up from $10 million last year. Last year, the company spent $25 million on its personal security. More about security here.
Bits and pieces:
9. Kia and Hyundai are fed up with people stealing their cars. A viral TikTok challenge taught people how to steal specific Kia and Hyundai models. The Korean automakers have finally rolled out a free anti-theft software update for the target models. Check out their solution here.
10 Then go: These Walmart stores are closing. The retailer closes a number of branches every year due to underperformance. Insider has compiled those closing in five states, including Illinois, Florida and Wisconsin. Get the full list here.
What we see today:
Curated by Diamond Naga Siu in San Diego. (Feedback or tips? Email [email protected] or tweet @diamondnagasiu) Edited by Matt Weinberger (tweet @gamoid) in San Francisco and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) + Nathan Rennolds (tweet @ncrennolds) in London.