A Chicago-area man is suing Buffalo Wild Wings, alleging its boneless wings are more like nuggets. BW3 tweeted that yes, its boneless wings are white meat chicken and also, “Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo.”
In today’s email:
Meta: Lean, mean, job-cutting machine.
Deep dive: Should we automate the CEO?
BeautyTok: Sephora’s TikTok strategy.
Around the Web: An underwater experiment, a virtual tour of a US landmark, a tiny critter, and more cool internet finds.
🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Zack and Rob break down Meta’s latest layoffs, Microsoft’s new 3D avatars, why people hate changing their passwords, and more.
The big idea
Why Meta’s ‘leaner is better’ feels extra contagious
Big Tech org charts aren’t the only thing getting flattened.
Meta CEO and corporate-speak bard Mark Zuckerberg’s “year of efficiency” will bring a second round of layoffs.
The parent of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp is set to cut 10k jobs and withdraw 5k open roles, just months after slashing 11k+ jobs. That’s a staggering 25% YoY workforce reduction.
And Zuck’s “flatter is faster” claim feels like poetry written specifically for tech execs…
The industry-wide horror show continues
We haven’t even finished one quarter of 2023, or seen the full fallout of Silicon Valley Bank’s swan dive, yet the grim annual tracker at layoffs.fyi has now topped 138k.
The scariest part for workers: Wall Street’s exuberant reaction to Meta’s latest cuts. As the company’s projected revenue per employee shot up, other Big Tech investors’ ears undoubtedly did the same — this makes for a trusty playbook when execs need to add some juice to the markets.
Yes, these layoffs are a correction from the industry’s outsized pandemic hiring spree, and Zuckerberg’s fixation on investing in the metaverse puts them on their own journey, but…
… employees’ edge is clearly slipping
Competition for talent once had tech candidates feasting on a bounty of salaries, benefits, and perks. Now they have started to report a “take it or leave it” approach in recruitment.
As each successive round of cuts shifts leverage back to employers, C-suites will be tempted by Zuckerberg’s “year of efficiency” anthem.
Hot off the press: GPT-4, OpenAI’s smarter, more accurate AI model that can now “see” images. It’s already being used by Duolingo, Khan Academy, and Be My Eyes.
Sure, this’ll definitely improve meetings. Microsoft is making 3D avatars that animate based on your voice — no camera needed — widely available on Teams in May.
Again, not a prank: Novo Nordisk announced plans to cut US list prices for several insulin drugs by up to 75%, following similar moves by Eli Lilly & Co.
Clap back: Google announced new AI tools (available later this year) for auto-generating text, formulas, images, audio, and video across its Workspace applications.
Chilling out? The consumer price index cooled slightly in February, up 6% YoY, the lowest rate since September 2021.
Yikes: Hackers leaked 721.5m passwords in 2022. What’s worse, 72% of hacked users were reusing previously compromised passwords.
No cap: After ~40 years, spice giant McCormick is swapping its red twist cap for a “snap” cap that seals out air to retain freshness.
The DOJ is suing Rite Aid, accusing the pharmacy chain of knowingly filling “unlawful” prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances while ignoring red flags.
eBay haș its first union. Workers of TCGPlayer, a trading card seller eBay bought for $295m in November, voted to unionize last week.
Dubai dropped its 30% alcohol tax to court more tourists and expats. In 2022, tourists in Dubai spent $29B+.
Logistics outsourcing can help small businesses grow quickly without additional staff. Here’s how to use it to simplify your operations.
Should we automate the CEO?
Last August, NetDragon Websoft — a Hong Kong-based online gaming firm with $2.1B in annual revenue — appointed a CEO to helm its flagship subsidiary.
The new chief, Tang Yu, was responsible for all of the typical duties of a company figurehead: reviewing high-level analytics, making leadership decisions, assessing risks, and fostering an efficient workplace.
Yu worked 24/7, didn’t sleep, and was compensated $0 per year. Since her appointment, the company has outperformed Hong Kong’s stock market.
But there was a catch: Yu wasn’t a human. She was a virtual robot powered by artificial intelligence.
Most automation efforts…
… have been centered around so-called lower-level and blue-collar jobs. More recently, AI has threatened white-collar roles like accountants and journalists.
But while executives at the top of the corporate food chain celebrate the cost-cutting virtues of AI displacement, they rarely seem to turn the spotlight on themselves.
The incentives for workplace automation are largely financial. So why not start by replacing the highest-paid employee of them all — the CEO?
Sephora and TikTok are partnering to connect diverse founders and creators.
Juliet Bennett Ryla
Sephora, TikTok, and ad agency Digitas announced a new partnership: The Sephora x TikTok Incubator Program.
It will connect TikTok creators with 12 brands from Sephora’s Accelerate program, a six-month incubator for beauty founders of color that culminates in a Sephora brand launch.
These are two beauty powerhouses
LVMH-owned Sephora sells products from 360+ brands in-store, online, and via its app, perRetail Dive. It has 2.7k+ locations globally, plus a shop-in-shop partnership with Kohl’s that’s anticipated to generate $2B in annual sales by 2025.
TikTok has 1B+ monthly active users. Beauty brands go viral on the platform, where #beautytok has 35.4B views:
The Ordinary saw a 426% spike in sales of its peeling solution.
Glow Recipe saw a 600% spike in sales, with one product selling out 17x in 2021.
… are turning away from celebrity brands, instead seeking authenticity and quality, perBloomberg.
An outlier is Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, also part-owned by LVMH and worth an estimated $2.8B. Fenty won consumers over with inclusivity, offering shades for darker skin tones.
Sephora Accelerate is geared toward founders of color, and incubation is key to the company’s growth strategy.
In 2013, Huda Beauty launched at Sephora Dubai with false lashes. It now sells 140+ products and generates ~$200m in annual sales, perForbes.
Sylvie Moreau, Sephora president of Europe and the Middle East, toldVogue Business that it’s seeking another “10 or so” brands to follow suit. Should one go viral on TikTok, fans will only be able to get it at, well, Sephora.
AROUND THE WEB
😱 On this day: In 44 BC, Roman dictator Julius Caesar was murdered by a group of conspirators.