Kurt Schrader, the CEO and cofounder of Clubhouse, knew that Clubhouse had become Silicon Valley’s idée fixe when, in early May, his Twitter mentions became flooded with people desperate to get on the app.
But Schrader’s Clubhouse, a project management tool, is not the Clubhouse that’s suddenly in demand. That would be Clubhouse, a new social network more exclusive than Berghain. That Clubhouse is still in beta, and invitation only. Schrader, who has been tagged in numerous posts requesting said invites, eventually clarified on Twitter that he could not grant them: “At this point I might as well just spend my Saturday building a Twitter bot that automatically corrects all of the people that say Clubhouse but mean Clubhouse, and also the other people that say Clubhouse but actually mean Clubhouse …”
Fads come and go. Exclusive apps for everything from email (Superhuman) to dating (Raya) get christened by investors,
But now the message seems to be: Stay home. That’s the way to draw talent.
There’s another related trend: the end of business travel. Unable or unwilling to hop on a flying virus incubator, people are managing to get by with remote meetings. I was at a dinner recently that paired a few journalists with five CEOs—we did it by Zoom of course—and Jennifer Tejada, the head of PagerDuty, was marveling at how she was no longer losing two days to visit a single customer, but accomplishing her mission remotely. In general, all the CEOs were gushing about how good the results were from working—and staying—at home.
These results threaten to overturn the conventional wisdom that work goes better if we gather to do it. If the tech companies can release great products without stationing developers at worktables, sales people can close deals remotely, and journalists can write compelling stories
Dani Bell was a British copywriter who hankered for her own marketing startup. Like many founders today, though, she faced a roadblock. She couldn’t code.
Normally, an entrepreneur in that situation would need to spend money, and maybe even raise it, to hire developers. But Bell did something different: She bolted together software from various online services.
Bell used a point-and-click tool called Webflow to build her site and a client-management tool to let customers order services. Airtable, an online spreadsheet, let her store details about each job. And she glued many of these pieces together by cleverly using Zapier, a service that uses if-then logic to let one online app trigger another. (Whenever Bell creates a new task for one of her contractors, for example, Zapier automatically generates a Google doc for it, then pings her on Slack when the work is done.) Nineteen months later, her company—Scribly.io—had around
In a one-two punch aimed at China’s rising technological prowess, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s leading contract manufacturer of chips, said it would build a manufacturing plant in the US and the White House announced new rules to block Huawei’s access to such cutting-edge components.
TSMC said Friday that it plans to spend $12 billion to build a next-generation manufacturing plant in Arizona with unspecified “support” from the state and from the US government. It said the plant would be capable of making chips using a new 5-nanometer process, with the first commercial batch being produced in 2024. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and manufacturing at this scale involves atomic-scale manipulation. TSMC said the plant would produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month and create more than 1,600 high-tech jobs.
TSMC is a crucial source of microchips for leading US companies including Apple, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.
For years, tech companies have lured talent with sweet in-office perks: lavish lunch buffets, beer and wine on tap, on-site massage therapy and chiropractic treatment. To work for Apple or Google or Facebook or Salesforce is not just to do a job, but to gain access to some of the most elite members-only spaces in Silicon Valley: Apple Park or the Googleplex or 1 Hacker Way. There are not merely offices—they are campuses as big as theme parks, built to encompass and entertain their workforces en masse.
Now, as the pandemic has shuffled employees out of the office and into their own homes, some tech companies are offering a new kind of perk: the option to never return to those offices again.
On Tuesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told employees in an email that they can remain working from home forever, if they so choose. Twitter closed its offices in