Less talk, more action – Protocol


Good morning and have a nice Sunday ! Here’s your roundup of the week that has been.

Company values ​​tested

Joe here! Every Sunday, I will resume the source code. Do you have an idea, comment or advice? Email me: [email protected]

Salesforce proved this week that in times of national crisis, even the most progressive tech companies are ultimately accountable for their bottom line.

After the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Salesforce employees pushed the company to stop working with the NRA, an ethically dubious organization which has arguably been one of the biggest obstacles to any real gun control reform in the United States over the past decade, one in which gun violence has skyrocketed. Salesforce’s message to employees was clear: Company values ​​stop when a customer hands us money.

“I don’t want to get into the business position where we decide which customers are allowed to use our platform,” co-CEO Bret Taylor said in a hands-free recording obtained by Protocol. “I think that would violate our principles and violate our principles of trust.” Salesforce declined to make Taylor available to further explain these principles.

Salesforce ending its relationship with the NRA won’t stop the mass shootings. But the hypocrisy of providing technology to an organization actively blocking gun reform becomes more blatant with each mass shooting.

The message goes against the so-called “stakeholder capitalism” that Marc Benioff and others preach regularly. Despite these attempts to redefine capitalism as a force for improving everyone’s life, most Americans are still skeptical. The bright side ? CEOs are public trust more so than politicians and the media, which should theoretically give them a stronger platform to push for change.

Salesforce’s recent move also appears to run counter to the company’s moral stance, which is pasted on its website: “Salesforce has sought to change the world for the better through technology that builds stronger relationships. “, one page reads.

Or listen to Benioff in Davos in 2021“There has been a mantra for too long that the business of business is business, but today business about business improves the state of the world.” How has the NRA’s ability to build stronger relationships with its target audience helped improve the world? How has Salesforce’s relationship with the NRA improved the state of the world?

To be clear: Salesforce isn’t the only company guilty of this. Employees of Google, Microsoft and other tech companies have all raised similar complaints about working with the NRA, ICE and other customers that have largely been ignored.

To Salesforce’s credit, the company has been at the forefront of corporate activism on some of the important social issues of our time. The company has undergone several compensation reviews to address gender pay gaps. Benioff also pushed back against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Indiana.

And you can cite the decision that a number of tech giants have taken to provide employees with access to abortion care in places where reproductive rights have been severely restricted or taken away altogether, as a sign that companies can sometimes do the right thing. But they are simply limited by a powerful force called Wall Street, no matter how hard a pill to swallow. As investors place increasing weight on so-called ESG measures, ultimately shareholders want a return. And that means companies like Salesforce are limited in the actions they can take that could harm their business.

As hot topics like gun control drive even deeper divisions in the United States, companies are going to have to take a tougher stance or risk driving everyone crazy. During this time, 19 children died. And before another crazy shooter litters a school with bullets, as has happened 27 times so far this year, we’re asking someone, anyone, to do something, anyone. what, that could lead to change.

No one is arguing that businesses shouldn’t be able to make money. And yes, selecting customers based on employee preferences would expose any business to a potential doomsday scenario. But the CEOs of every corporate America speak nauseously about culture and the importance of being a mission-driven organization, so it makes perfect sense that workers expect their employers to act in consequences in times of crisis.


At the same time that the pandemic has demonstrated all that is possible in an interconnected world, we have seen in new and increasingly stark ways how some communities continue to be marginalized and harmed by a persistent digital divide and how this divide exacerbates other inequalities in our society.

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The best of protocol

Want the best software engineers? Stop looking at Stanford and Berkeley. —Anna Kramer

A computer science degree from an Ivy League school does not necessarily mean that a potential employee is the best coder possible. Anna dug into the data and found that coders who graduated from lesser-known CS programs beat Stanford and Ivy League grads on a key test of coding skills, proving that employers should diversify their recruitment.

Want VC money for your startup? Bring your employees to work. —Allison Levitsky

Some VCs only invest in startups that require in-person work, saying going to the office can foster camaraderie and help a startup get through its early stages faster. Allison has spoken with VCs who prioritize IRL businesses to fund.

Khan wants the FTC to crack down on privacy, with or without Congress – Ben Brody

FTC Chair Lina Khan has an aggressive tech agenda in her second year on the job. She spoke with Ben Brody about why she will prioritize data privacy regulations, why mergers and acquisitions will come under closer scrutiny in terms of how workers will be affected, and why the FTC has an eye on the video game industry.

‘People are getting ripped off’: Top California regulator has big crypto worries – Ben Pimentel

Suzanne Martindale, head of California’s Consumer Financial Protection Division, worries about the potential for scams in the crypto industry. She explained to Ben Pimentel why crypto regulation has become critical and difficult, given the rapid expansion of the industry, and how California can play an important role in this effort.

Unity CEO: Metaverse killer app will look more like TikTok than Fortnite – Janko Roettgers

According to John Riccitiello, the future of the Internet is the metaverse. But the Metaverse won’t be avatar-centric like Fortnite or Meta’s Horizon Worlds. Riccitiello told Janko what the metaverse would really look like: a combination of “social, interactive, persistent and 3D”.

Twitter has pledged to change its Global Leaders policy. Then came Elon. —Issie Lapowsky

A year ago, Twitter said it planned to overhaul its entire policy on the accounts of world leaders and sought public comment on it through a global survey that garnered some 49 000 responses in a month. But so far, nothing has come of these efforts. After the acquisition of Elon Musk, will anything change? Issie explains how it started and how it’s going.

With Delta Lake, Databricks is sparking an open source nerd war and customer confusion – Kate Kaye

Databricks, a competitor to Snowflake, insists its Delta Lake database technology is open source. But in spirit, it’s not, critics say, potentially costly and time-consuming. Kate Kaye says it could all be part of the company’s playbook as part of its IPO bid.


There is so much more we need to do to ensure our future is more equitable and inclusive and maximizes America’s potential. It’s not enough to make sure everyone is connected. We must also extend the full reach of digital opportunities to people, communities and institutions.

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Thoughts, questions, advice? Send them to our advice line, [email protected] Have a good day, see you tomorrow.


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