Welcome back, readers! For those of you who celebrated Christmas, I hope you had a restful weekend with loved ones — and minimal holiday stress. I’m your host, Jordan Parker Erb.
For the rest of the week, in addition to the day’s top stories, I’ll be highlighting some of the year’s biggest investigations, features, and more from Insider’s tech reporters. Today, we’re taking a look back on everything from employee angst at Amazon to Thomas Kurian’s three-year reign at Google Cloud.
Let’s get into it.
1. Which Twitter alternatives have staying power — and which is the next Clubhouse? Despite surging after Elon Musk’s takeover, there are already signs of trouble for Twitter alternatives like Mastodon and Hive Social: Downloads have plunged recently, suggesting interest may already be waning. See which Twitter alternatives could make it out alive.
2. America’s inflation woes may be ending. Amazon’s product prices grew at a slower pace than US inflation this year, and the company’s economists believe its prices will increase at a slower pace going forward. Here’s what that could mean.
3. An Insider reporter who’s tested 19 different electric cars explains why he wouldn’t buy one — yet. After driving everything from mainstream SUVs to burly pickup trucks and six-figure luxury cars, Tim Levin is all-in on EVs. But the cost and inconvenient charging, among other things, are holding him back. Here’s why he won’t buy one right now.
4. A DoorDash delivery driver had her car stolen with her infant twins inside. The children were eventually found, but the frightening incident revealed the complicated reality of juggling gig work and childcare. Read the full story here.
5. Looking for a side-hustle in the new year? We outlined 10 ways to make money — by selling your body to science. From selling your blood plasma to lying in bed for two months straight, here’s how your body can make you money.
The top Big Tech stories of 2022:
6. Earlier this year, Amazon employees’ angst over low pay reached crisis levels. Amazon employees, including senior staff, aggressively pushed for better compensation, disenchanted with what they perceived as below-market pay — a perception that led to higher attrition across senior ranks. Read the full story here.
7. In May, we had a first look at the tech industry’s historic slump. Following an extraordinary pandemic-era boom, things got ugly for the tech industry. Interest rates rose, the supply chain was riddled with hiccups, and inflation was rampant — leading us into a once-in-a-generation down-cycle.
8. Facebook was one of the first companies to feel the pain. In May, the company announced a hiring freeze that lasted months, saying that reduced hiring targets would “affect almost every team in the company.” Read more about the beginning of the industry-wide downturn.
9. Inside Thomas Kurian’s three-year reign at Google Cloud. Kurian was hired to make the unit a promising revenue source for Alphabet. But insiders told us that its culture is more like Oracle’s or SAP’s — and distinct from the rest of Google’s. We gave readers an inside look at Kurian’s Google Cloud.
10. Gopuff workers told us that hiring Amazon execs “destroyed” its operations. Gopuff hired more than two dozen Amazon veterans at various levels of the company to run its operations. Sources described the result as a failed experiment applying Amazon strategies to a smaller company. More on the Amazonification of Gopuff.