Hey y'all, welcome to Monday. Back behind the keyboard this week, I'm Jordan Parker Erb. A thousand thanks to Matt Weinberger, who was an excellent 10 Things in Tech captain while I was away.
So, did I miss anything? I mean, aside from the massive cuts at Amazon, Twitter's continuing meltdown, and the spectacular implosion of crypto exchange FTX, it seemed like a totally chill week, right?
While we can all hope this week brings less chaos, I can make no such promises. Today, we're taking a look inside the rise and fall of Amazon's Alexa unit, and detailing more potential layoffs at Twitter, so we're not off to a great start — but let's keep our fingers crossed.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. Employees took us inside Amazon's floundering Alexa unit. With Amazon's Alexa — and the devices team at large — the prime target of the biggest layoffs in the company's history, Insider's Eugene Kim spoke with more than a dozen employees to understand the current state of the unit. In short, it's a division in crisis.
During the first quarter of 2022, Amazon's "Worldwide Digital" unit, which includes everything from the Echo smart speakers and Alexa to Prime Video, had an operating loss of over $3 billion, internal data shows.
While Alexa was once one of the company's most rapidly growing projects, these mounting losses and massive job cuts underscore the swift downfall of the voice-assistant and Amazon's larger hardware division.
Employees told Insider a combination of low morale, failed monetization attempts, and lack of engagement across users and developers made them feel as though the team was deadlocked over the last few years.
"Alexa is a colossal failure of imagination," one former employee said. "It was a wasted opportunity."
In other news:
2. The only thing Elon Musk understands about Twitter is how to kill it. Musk doesn't understand what he bought, or how it works, writes correspondent Adam Rogers. And whether he manages to hold it together or not, his deeper misunderstanding should make all of us even more worried about the future of social media.
3. ICYMI: Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 11.25 years in prison. The Theranos founder, who was found guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy, will begin her sentence in April. Everything to know about what Holmes is facing.
4. Leaked Salesforce documents offer an inside look at the firm's severance policy. The documents show that laid-off employees could qualify for up to six months of pay — but employees who were laid off this month were told to expect 60 days. Meanwhile, employees who remain are being told to return to the office, a reversal from CEO Marc Benioff's previous stance.
5. Caroline Ellison: math whiz, trader, and shadow figure behind FTX's collapse. Ellison was the head of Alameda Research, the trading firm through which Sam Bankman-Fried moved crypto tokens in tandem with running FTX, and has since emerged as an important character behind the crypto exchange's seeming success and surprising downfall. How she came to take part in crypto's biggest implosion.
6. Black employees at companies like Apple and Google discussed the mood at their firms right now. During last week's AfroTech conference, attendees offered details of what employee life is like at some of tech's biggest employers. Despite an anxious mood across the industry, many remain hopeful for its future. Read what Black tech workers told us.
7. Where does Elon Musk draw the line on reinstating banned accounts? Musk restored former President Donald Trump's account, as well as several controversial figures including Andrew Tate — but said he won't bring back right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. We explain why.
8. There may be even more layoffs at Twitter. The cuts, which would affect the company's sales and partnerships teams, could come as early as today, according to Bloomberg. Get the full rundown here.
Odds and ends:
9. A look at a 2008 Tesla Roadster shows how far the brand has come in 14 years. In a review posted to YouTube, a user highlights how Elon Musk has helped transform the company from a fledgling startup to the top electric-car maker in the US. See where Tesla began.
10. Bill Gates says he's done some "weird crap" in his life. The Microsoft founder marked World Toilet Day by sharing some of his antics, including drinking "water from fecal sludge," in a post on LinkedIn. Read what else Gates has done to raise awareness about poor sanitation.
What we're watching today:
Zoom and others are reporting earnings. Keep up with earnings here.
Twitter's offices are expected to reopen after being temporarily closed last week.
Read the original article on Business Insider