Archive for January, 2021

Human Capital: Alpha Global forms to unite Alphabet workers worldwide

You’ve just landed on the web version of my weekly newsletter, Human Capital. It’s where we look at the recent events of the week pertaining to diversity, equity, inclusion and labor in tech. You can sign up here to get Human Capital delivered straight to your inbox every Friday at 1 p.m. PT. Let’s jump in. Alpha Global forms to unite Alphabet workers around the world Alpha Global announced its formation earlier this week to unite Alphabet workers around the world, including those from the Alphabet Workers Union in the United States, The Verge reported. Alpha Global, which is affiliated with the UNI Global Union, aims to create a common worker strategy, support fellow workers and more.  “A just Alphabet has wide-ranging implications for our democracies and societies,” Alpha Global said in a statement. “That is why we are joining together to demand fundamental human rights for all workers in Alphabet operations, including the right to form or join a union and the right to bargain collectively.” I should mention that you’ll be able to hear more about Alphabet Workers Union at Alpha Global at TC Sessions: Justice directly from Parul Koul, the executive chair of Alphabet Workers Union. You can snag your tickets here for just $5.  Apple Watch launches a Black unity collection  Image Credits: Apple In celebration of Black History Month, Apple introduced the Black Unity Collection for Apple Watch. Something feels off about the watch band, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it’s the commoditization of Black culture.    Chan Zuckerberg Initiative launches the Justice Accelerator Fund The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has created a new criminal justice reform group, Recode reported this week. With $350 million put toward the new Justice Accelerator Fund over the next five years, the organization will focus on criminal justice advocacy. JAF will be led by Ana Zamora, CZI’s current director of criminal justice. NLRB gets a new acting general counsel Biden named Peter Sung Ohr the new acting general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board. As Vice’s Lauren Kaori Gurley noted, Ohr’s appointment has the potential to be very good for gig workers and workers rights, in general. Peter Sung Ohr, the new Acting General Counsel of the @NLRB, gave Instacart workers the “ok” on a union election in 2020 and wrote a decision that allowed @uchicagogsu grad students to unionize in 2017, a good sign for gig workers & grad student organizing going forward — Lauren Kaori Gurley (@LaurenKGurley) January 26, 2021 ServiceNow launches racial equity fund With $100 million set aside for the fund, the enterprise software company’s racial equity fund aims to “drive more sustainable wealth creation by funding homeownership, entrepreneurship, and neighborhood revitalization within Black communities in 10 regions across the United States,” according to a press release. Here’s a nugget on how it’ll work: The ServiceNow Racial Equity Fund will buy smaller community loans to increase the lending capacity for local banks. By increasing access to capital, the investment will […]

Institutional trust is the real meme

Hello friends, this is Week in Review. Last week, I dove into the AR maneuverings of Apple and Facebook and what that means for the future of the web. This week, I’m aiming to touch the meme stock phenomenon that dominated American news cycles this week and see if there’s anything worth learning from it, with an eye towards the future web. If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox every Saturday morning from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images) The big thing This week was whatever you wanted it to be. A rising up of the proletariat. A case of weaponized disinformation. A rally for regulation… or perhaps deregulation of financial markets. Choose your own adventure with the starting point being one flavor of chaos leading into a slightly more populist blend of chaos. At the end of it, a lot of long-time financiers are confused, a lot of internet users are using rent money to buy stock in Tootsie Roll, a lot of billionaires are finding how intoxicating adopting a “for-the-little-guy!” persona on Twitter can be, and here I am staring at the ceiling wondering if there’s any institution in the world trustworthy enough that the internet can’t turn it into a lie. This week, my little diddy is about meme stocks, but more about the idea that once you peel away the need to question why you actually trust something, it can become easier to just blindly place that faith in more untrustworthy places. All the better if those places are adjacent to areas where others place trust. The Dow Jones had its worst week since October because retail investors, organized in part on Reddit, turned America’s financial markets into the real front page of the internet. Boring, serious stocks like Facebook and Apple reported their earnings and the markets adjusted accordingly, but in addition to the serious bits of news, the Wall Street page was splashed with break neck gains from “meme stocks.” While junk stocks surging is nothing new, the idea that a stock can make outrageous gains based on nothing and then possibly hold that value based on a newly formed shared trust is newer and much more alarming. The most infamous of these stocks was GameStop. (If you’re curious about GameStop’s week, there are at least 5 million stories across the web to grab your attention, here’s one. Side note: collectively we seem to have longer attention spans post-Trump.) So, Americans already don’t have too much institutional faith. Looking through some long-standing Gallup research, compared to the turn of the century, faith in organized religion, the media, most wings of government, big business and banks has decreased quite a bit. The outliers in what Americans do seem to trust more than they did 20 or so years ago are small businesses and the military. This is all to say that it’s probably not stellar that people […]