Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:
Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to Dr. Lonnie Smith “Why can’t we live together” (featuring Iggy Pop)
After what seems like an eternity, I’ve recently started using ride-hailing services again and venturing beyond the 5-block radius around my house. The Uber app worked just as it did when I last opened it – except that the UberPool option was no longer available.
Uber and Lyft both halted shared rides during the pandemic. And as Tom Dotan reports, the famous option allowing you to travel alongside garrulous and (often) drunken strangers in exchange for rock-bottom fares, may not be coming back to Uber – at least not in the way it used to be.
- Say goodbye to those 50% discounts. The low rates were a good way to grab market share, but not sustainable given that UberPool was burning close to $1 billion a year.
- Uber may also limit the pool feature to certain routes or certain times of day.
It’s all in keeping with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s ruthless focus on the bottom line.
- Khosrowshahi has promised to get Uber in the black – at least by some accounting measures – by year’s end.
- The path to profit requires ditching money losers like self-driving cars and flying taxis, exiting certain markets, and rethinking longstanding features – even ones that customers have grown to love. Farewell UberPool, we’ll miss you.
Read the full story here:
Uber insiders say the company is quietly killing off UberPool as we know it and a new more expensive version of the service will replace it.
The hot new app for Gen Z launched this week and rocketed to the top of the download charts. The photo-sharing app is called Poparazzi and it’s gaining buzz by taking a sledgehammer to ossified social media norms.
A decade ago, Snapchat stole a generation of young users from Facebook by making photos disappear. For Poparazzi, the social media shackle to liberate users from is the selfie. As Insider’s Margaux MacColl writes:
The app, created by Alex Ma and his brother Austen, encourages you to become “your friend’s poparazzi” instead posting pictures of yourself.
Rather than a perfectly curated Instagram grid, a user’s profile consists of unedited photos that others have taken. Poparazzi also eschews traditional social-media metrics: There’s no follower count or likes, only total “views” on a user’s photos and the number of emoji reactions to their posts.
So if your kids have made you feel like an out-of-touch dinosaur, now you can flip the script on them and turn them on to the hot new app – if they’re not already using it.
Snapshot: Amazon’s decompression chamber
There are phone booths, trade show booths, restaurant booths, and now, there are Amazon “zen” booths.
The compact cubicle pictured below is a “mindful practice room” designed to provide Amazon warehouse workers with a private place to relax and meditate during breaks.
The meditation booths are part of an initiative rolled out by Amazon to provide physical and mental wellness resources for warehouse workers – a key pillar of departing CEO Jeff Bezos’ vow to make Amazon “Earth’s safest place to work.”
The introduction of the zen booths has been anything but peaceful though. Ever since they were spotted by Vice, the booths have been lampooned as”dystopian” coffin-sized “despair closets,” by various critics and publications that have noted the famously grueling conditions Amazon warehouse workers endure on the job.
“I felt like I was being silenced. I was just disappointed Satya Nadella would let that happen.”
– Harvey Mudd College President and former Microsoft director Maria Klawe, in an exclusive interview with Insider’s Ashley Stewart, said she was forced off the software maker’s board after an awkward on-stage interview with CEO Satya Nadella, in which Nadella famously said women employees should rely on “faith”in the system for pay raises.
Not necessarily in tech:
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