What’s new in tech
No more TGIF at Google
Google ended an era of openness by eliminating the freewheeling all-hands meeting known as TGIF, said Steven Levy in Wired.com. CEO Sundar Pichai said the once-weekly, then biweekly meetings would now become “more constrained affairs” limited to once a month. Part of his reasoning “was that Google employees could no longer be trusted to keep matters confidential,” obviously referring “to recent moments when aggrieved employees registered objections to Google’s policies.” TGIF began with co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as a weekly forum for employees to ask questions “no matter how challenging.” The format was always the same, including “a welcoming ceremony for new employees, who were required to wear their ‘Noogler’ beanies—colorful caps with plastic propellers on top.” Google’s success made TGIF “a much-emulated practice.” The early Facebook held similar meetings, with Mark Zuckerberg ending each one by shouting “Domination!”
Recording your Uber ride
“Uber plans to record audio during rides in the United States as part of a new security feature,” said Faiz Siddiqui in The Washington Post. The feature “allows users to opt in to activate an audio recording on any trip,” but neither riders nor drivers will be able to listen to the recording. “When the trip ends, the user will be asked if everything is OK and be able to report a safety incident and submit the audio recording to Uber with a few taps.” The move follows complaints that Uber has been too slow to respond to customer concerns, often leaving riders and drivers in “a he-said, she-said situation.”
Silicon Valley skips the IPO
“Wall Street’s Silicon Valley whisperer” broke from convention in calling direct listings “absolutely more efficient” than initial public offerings, said Connie Loizos in TechCrunch.com. Michael Grimes, a longtime Morgan Stanley veteran who “has played a role in the IPOs of Google, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Workday, and hundreds of other companies,” says more companies should follow the example of Spotify and Slack, which went public with direct listings. A direct listing makes all of a company’s shares immediately available for trading, forgoing the traditional IPO. With Silicon Valley companies—Airbnb is one prominent example—staying private much longer than they used to, this approach is attractive to impatient investors and employees.