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Earlier this week, I wrote about Los Angeles-based LinearB, a software management platform that measures software engineers’ efficiency and assesses how well they’re doing. The startup raised $50 million in funding from the likes of San Francisco venture firm Tribe Capital and Salesforce Ventures, the VC arm of cloud software giant Salesforce.
Using software to micromanage an employee’s work—LinearB’s platform can track how many hours developers have been coding specific projects—has been increasingly prevalent in the tech world. One notorious example is Amazon, which uses such technology to surveil its warehouse employees and delivery drivers.
But high-salary tech workers aren’t immune from these productivity pressures, either. When I worked in Seattle, I had the chance to tour Facebook and Google’s new office campuses in the city, which were proudly equipped with draft latte stations, freshly-baked scones from local bakeries and state-of-the-art fitness centers, among other amenities. Facebookers and Googlers could enjoy beautiful views of Seattle’s skyline from the offices, which they could walk to from their shiny new luxury apartment towers located mere blocks away.
If they ever left the office in the first place. As well-compensated as these tech employees are, the demands of their jobs made you wonder if it was really all worth it. I know someone at Facebook whose fridge is full of takeout from the campus eatery. I know someone else that does his laundry for free on Google’s campus. (He’s not the same person who moved into a truck and lived in Google’s parking lot, to avoid paying Silicon Valley rents and utilize all of the company’s free amenities). I know another who works late at Microsoft’s Seattle campus to get regular haircuts and beard trims from the on-campus barber. Being in the office that long, for better or worse, makes you work longer and harder.
The pandemic, of course, took many of these amenities away. In their wake, companies like LinearB and Jellyfish have popped up to parse through tech engineers’ every hour of work. And though many employees are rather satisfied with their new work-from-home situations, Google, Amazon, and other companies are still insisting that they return to the office, and discouraging them from moving to states that have a lower cost of living by slashing their salaries.
It will be interesting to see how many more startups like these crop up in the coming years, as tech companies contend with the new normal of remote work. — Keerthi Vedantam
URB-E Joins Santa Monica’s Zero-Emission Delivery Zone Pilot
Santa Monica is experimenting with a range of mobility startups looking to electrify last-mile deliveries and cut carbon emissions. Los Angeles-based URB-E may have the simplest solution: electric bicycles.
The Future of Streaming Sounds Like Old School TV
At this week's Milken Institute Global Conference, media executives said the viability of streaming services may depend on the reemergence of commercials and bundled subscriptions, and agreed that the future of TV could end up looking a lot like its past.
Fisker Reveals Its New Electric Sports Car: Project Ronin
The Manhattan Beach-based company said Thursday that it will reveal the sports car’s final design in August 2023, with plans to begin production in the second half of 2024.
The Chernin Group Buys $263M Stake In Toy Brand Funko
Los Angeles-based TCG and its partners will own 25% of the toy company, best known for its licensed figurines of movie and TV characters that have become popular collectibles.
🎧 Listen Up: Evoke Advisors' Michael Carney on Smart Investing
On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, the senior vice president of Evoke Advisors discusses the guidance he gives to entrepreneurs and his take on the current investment landscape.
dot.LA's PropTech Salon: Startups and the Future of Real Estate
Come join the dot.LA team for a fun and enlightening evening that will convene top proptech founders, investors and operators to mingle and discuss how SoCal real estate startups are reshaping the world’s largest asset class. Interested in attending? Let us know!
What We’re Reading Elsewhere...
- L.A. City Council advances a motion to make the city a "green hydrogen hub."
- ICANN has a new tool for combatting malware and phishing schemes.
- Gov. Newsom signs executive order to regulate and incorporate crypto technology into state operations.
- ChimeTV announces the launch of its English-language Asian entertainment on Spectrum TV Select.
- Customer experience platform DISQO acquires startup Feedback Loop.
- Blizzard hires former Disney exec Jessica Martinez as its vice president of culture.
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