Amazon Employees Worry about “Bar-Raising Process Changes”

Good luck, fellow travelers. This is Matt Weinberger. He is the deputy editor of Insider’s technology analysis team and fills in for Diamond Naga Siu.

I beg you to stop me if this is the first time you’ve heard it: Amazon walks into bar… My seriously, people! colleague Eugene Kim reports on a big, meaningful change in the online retail giant’s hiring process.

Amazon required some employees to participate in all hiring decisions from the beginning of its history. These were called “bar raisers” and were intended to ensure that every new employee meets high quality standards. But some recent hires got to skip the bar-raiser test, particularly for entry-level roles, Eugene reports — and now some inside Amazon say that it resulted in an influx of questionable hires, in turn leading to the company’s ongoing push towards cutting jobs.

It’s yet more evidence that the early-pandemic tech boom is backfiring on tech giants. They hired quickly to meet the demands of the moment; now, the employees are suffering from layoffs.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s rock.

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Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the retail giant's cloud-computing business.

Andy Jassy

Mike Blake/Reuters

1. Amazon has lowered the bar Insider’s Eugene Kim reports that some employees believe so. Some entry-level employees got to skip the retail giant’s famed “bar raiser” interviews, which some Amazon insiders tell Eugene led to a wave of less-than-stellar hires — which they fear ultimately contributed to the need to cut thousands of jobs.

  • Eugene told me that skipping the bar raising was a way to streamline hiring, but it came at the expense of “a key component of the company’s culture.” He stated that “current and former barraisers I spoke to weren’t too happy with this decision and were worried about Amazon’s ability to lower the hiring bar.”
  • Eugene states that it is another sign that Amazon is moving away from its roots. According to Eugene, Amazon is struggling to keep up with the pace of change while maintaining its core values that made it so successful. It’s probably the most difficult challenge Andy Jassy faces in his new CEO position.
  • Amazon isn’t the only tech giant with a culture under scrutiny: Meta and Apple have officially fallen out of Glassdoor’s list of best places to workFor the first time in more than a decade, However, there were some tech companies such as Microsoft and Google that made it into the top 20. 

Read more about Amazon’s interview process challenges here.

Sundar Pichai speaks onstage Vox Media's 2022 Code Conference on September 06, 2022

Sundar Pichai is Google CEO.

Jerod Harris/Getty Images

2. Google’s Other Bets: Layoffs Verily, Google’s life-science technology spinoff, is laying off over 200 workers — marking the first significant job cuts in the larger Google empire this year,But it could be the last.

3. Exit, followed closely by a bird Insider’s Kali Hays reports on the closing of Elon Musk’s Twitter offices in at least 12 different countries. It was part of a strategy to reduce costs in many cases. Twitter was evicted from a few locations because it didn’t pay rent. Read the full story here.

4. FTX’s founder is still at home. Sam Bankman-Fried is the founder of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX. He says he has been spending his time with his parents and playing videogames like Storybrook Brawl. alone while awaiting trial under house arrest

5. Apple needs a new ad sales head. Insider reports that Apple is looking for an ad sales chief to support its ever-growing TV and sports ambitions. It could also indicate that Apple TV+ has an ad supported tier. Read more about Apple’s ad plans here. 

6. Microsoft employees have unlimited time off Count Microsoft as the latest — and likely the largest — tech giant to follow in Netflix’s footsteps and offer its employees unlimited time off. Insider reported that the company has issued a memo stating that it is a reflection of how hybrid work made the company rethink what vacation time means.

7. Carta sues its former CTO. Jerry Talton raised concerns about “problems in the culture” at Carta, a $7 billion startup. Talton was its chief technology officer. Carta is now suing Talton, alleging corporate espionage as well as inappropriate sexting. Read more about the messy situation here.

8. ChatGPT is ready for work OpenAI, the creators of the red-hot ChatGPT chatbot, has opened up the waitlist for ChatGPT Professional — a premium version that’s faster and includes the ability to do more searches in a day. Read more here.

Tim Cook Mac


Odds and Ends:

9. Get ready to touch a Mac. Apple is reportedly working on a MacBook Pro laptop with touchscreen that could be released as early as 2025. Apple’s success would be a major turnaround for the company that has been around since the days when Steve Jobs was in charge. touchscreens only belong on iPhones and iPads.

10. All in the Dell family. His namesake PC company, led by Michael Dell, went from a dorm-room to become one of the most successful in tech. His family is now both operators and investors in the tech sector. Here’s Insider’s look at Dell and his so-called nepo babies

Matt Weinberger, San Francisco. (Feedback or tips Email or tweet @gamoid.) Edited and tweeted by Hallam Bullock @hallam_bullock) in London.

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