Plus your morning shots of depresso from DC, StartupLand, and more
I’m going to tip toe out on a limb here and presume that most NewCo Shift readers don’t spend their after work hours perusing the aisles at Dollar General. But our featured story today takes you inside the company behind the fast growing chain, which caters to the rural working class making $40,000 or less. It’s a tour well worth taking if you want to understand troubling trends on the US economy (where everyone is winning, remember?). Dollar General makes more profit, and has a far larger market cap, than nearly all of its more well-known competitors. Why? Well, the answer there is pretty depressing.
On Sunday a guy in Cleveland announced in a Facebook post that he was going to murder somebody. Then he posted a video in which he committed a murder. Then he went on live Facebook video to confess the murder (The New York Times). Two hours later, someone on Facebook flagged the videos for Facebook’s moderators, and they were taken down. Today, the suspect killed himself in Pennsylvania after a multi-state manhunt.
Looking beyond the brutality and the stupidity, the incident raises profound questions about the nature of Facebook. Is Facebook a public civic space, where free expression reigns and individuals are accountable for their communications? Or is it a private community, where the corporate owner of the space bears ultimate responsibility for every post?
When very large companies mate, you sometimes get the chance to observe a peculiar ritual after the deal-making dance ends. The exhausted partners pause, look each other in the eye, and declare that they will take on strange new names.
Yesterday we learned that Verizon’s deal to acquire Yahoo’s media business and merge it with its own AOL brand will be consummated by the christening of a new entity, to be named Oath. The Oath logo places special emphasis on that widely beloved punctuation mark, the colon.
Globalization and outsourcing have already reshaped the American workforce. Next up: work-on-demand and automation. That’s the future-of-labor picture according to venture capitalist Fred Wilson (AVC), who moderated a discussion on the topic at our just-concluded NewCo Shift Forum.
What we’re seeing, when you put these trends together, is the unbundling of employment. “Job” has always been a name for the package our economy has used to tie together a bunch of different things: work that an organization needed to get done; payment for that work to individuals with the skills to do it; benefits that provided long-term security to the worker; and laws that defined the obligations on both sides of the “job” relationship. All of that is now in flux.
A joint statement by 130+ founders, executives and investors against President’s Executive Order banning individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering America
As technology executives, investors and leaders in Silicon Valley we are appalled at the President of the United State’s Executive Order (EO) signed this Friday, January 27 barring entry to the United States of individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries. Even current visa holders and permanent U.S. residents — many who work in our industry— are being prevented from traveling back home to the U.S. This targeting of individuals based on national origin and religion is morally wrong and profoundly un-American. We urge the President to rescind this order, and for the United States Congress and courts to step in and uphold our constitution (we are heartened by a federal judge’s ruling on Feb., 3 to halt the implementation of the EO, and the U.S. Court of Appeals’ Feb. 9 decision to not reinstate the ban. The administration’s revised EO announced on Mar. 6 still constitutes discrimination against people from six Muslim-majority nations. We reject the measure, and will continue to oppose).
My uncle immigrated to the United States in 1956 with no assets, a brilliant mind, ambition, and a faith that America was a great country of opportunity. He escaped from Hungary, a country of communists, at the time a source of great fear among many US politicians. If the US President at his time were making policy similar to our President today, my uncle would’ve never been allowed in the US.
My uncle was a good and decent American who, until his death last year, contributed an incredible amount to this country.
Facebook is where a lot of the 2016 campaign played out, and it’s also where much of the election post-mortem is focusing. This is hardly the first electoral autopsy to raise issues like echo chambers, fake news, and media misfires — we had all of those in each of the last three presidential cycles, too.
What’s new about the debate this time is how it’s playing out among Facebook employees themselves. They’re beginning to ask a question that every NewCo worker sooner or later faces: Does the platform my company is building promote a mission and set of values that I believe in?