An anonymous memo at Facebook, a shakeup at WPP, and Robinhood's 'infinite money' glitch

Mark Zuckerberg


We published a bunch of great stories on Facebook, Tesla, WeWork, Walmart’s Jet, SoftBank-backed startup Fair, and buzzy AI startup UiPath this week, so I want to jump right to it:

An anonymous memo alleging ongoing racism at Facebook is circulating inside the company

Employees have been sharing and discussing an anonymously authored blog post that asserts racism at the company has gotten worse over the last year, and quotes what it says are 12 current and former employees about their experiences, Rob Price reported.

Tesla is starting to ditch Salesforce and replace it with its own software for company salespeople

Tesla is starting to abandon Salesforce for a proprietary customer-relationship-management (CRM) system, three Tesla salespeople told Mark Matousek.

WeWork’s coding boot camp Flatiron School has laid off dozens of employees

WeWork’s coding boot camp, Flatiron School, laid off dozens of employees on Thursday as the coworking giant continued to slash costs after its failed initial public offering, Becky Peterson and Meghan Morris reported. Separately, Meghan and Julie Bort reported that insiders say WeWork’s IT is a patchwork of cheap devices and Band-Aid fixes that will take millions to fix. 

Top leaders are leaving Walmart’s Jet, and some employees are growing concerned about the site’s future

Jet, the Walmart-owned e-commerce site, is facing a stream of departures from top leaders, fueling concerns among some employees about the company’s future, according to Hayley Peterson.

SoftBank-backed startup Fair burned through nearly $400 million in 10 months. Insiders reveal how Softbank stepped in and cleaned house in the wake of WeWork.

A dozen current and former employees told Meghan Morris that Fair’s unconstrained growth was its undoing. It hired people it didn’t have jobs for and bought millions of dollars in inventory it lost track of as it burned through funding, they said.

Hot AI startup UiPath’s job cuts were triggered after it burned cash faster than expected and missed its revenue target, according to an internal document

UiPath was burning cash faster than expected and its revenue growth, although robust, was below its internal targets when the company launched a plan — dubbed Project Dawn — to slash hundreds of jobs and dramatically reduce costs, according to a presentation reviewed by Ben Pimentel. 

WPP’s shakeup

Mark Read, the CEO of WPP, the world’s biggest ad holding company, is shaking things up as he looks to get the company back to growth. This week:

  • Tim Castree, North American CEO of WPP’s GroupM, stepped down from the world’s largest ad buying network. Sources with knowledge of the matter told Patrick Coffee that the company’s need to grow in its crucial region, North America, played a role in Castree’s exit.
  • Patrick also reported that WPP would continue its year-old restructuring spree this week by absorbing three agencies into the Wunderman Thompson organization that was created by the 2018 union of Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson.

The changes come as WPP looks to tackle headwinds caused by client budget cuts and a large-scale shift away from traditional advertising channels.

In conversation

  • Dakin Campbell talked to Atte Lahtiranta, Goldman Sachs‘ new chief technology officer. He shared his strategy for attracting outside developers to work more closely with the bank, giving a glimpse into the future of how Wall Street will work.
  • Julie Bort talked to Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, who revealed he almost blew the company off when it first reached out to him 15 years ago, believing it was “just a bookshelf.”
  • Melia Russell talked to Sean Knapp, the founder and CEO of Ascend, a startup that came out of stealth mode in July. He shared the pitch deck he used to raise $15 million in funding.
  • Jeremy Berke talked to Peter Barsoom, the CEO of 1906, a Colorado-based cannabis-edibles brand. He walked through his plan to more than quadruple sales in a year.
  • Shana Lebowitz talked to Dane Holmes, Goldman Sachs‘ outgoing talent chief. He shared the three questions he asks himself before taking any new role — including his next one as CEO of a HR tech startup.
  • Rachel Premack talked to Ken Braunbach, VP of inbound transportation at Walmart, about everything from increasing sustainability to its trucking fleet that’s more exclusive than Harvard.
  • Lydia Ramsey talked to CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo about the company’s HealthHubs, its bet that it can transform its pharmacies into places where you’d want to go to get healthcare.
  • Joe Williams talked to Leigh Radford, who heads Procter & Gamble Ventures. She explained why she rents out a movie theater for her team every quarter to spark innovation at the $299 billion retail giant.

Finance and Investing

We got a leaked copy of the memo Robinhood sent to barred users who exploited its now infamous ‘infinite money’ glitch

Robinhood restricted the accounts of users exploiting an “infinite leverage” glitch, and a leaked letter sent to one terminated trader revealed how the company announced account terminations.

Here’s the pitch deck that fintech dv01 used to nab $15 million from the likes of George Soros and Pivot Investment Partners. The startup’s founder called it the easiest round he’s ever raised.

Fintechs have had a relatively easy time raising money thanks to a slew of eager investors with cash to spend. But the most recent round raised by Perry Rahbar for his fintech dv01 might take the cake. 

Tech, Media, Telecoms

Amazon has a big leadership hole to fill with the departure of advertising exec Seth Dallaire. Here are five insiders that ad execs say are his likely successor.

When Dallaire recently left Amazon to be CRO of Instacart, Amazon lost a big name behind its growing but still nascent advertising business.

How Outbrain established ‘around the web’ content recommendations, only to lose its lead to Taboola and end up getting eaten by its rival

In October, the two dominant content recommendation companies Outbrain and Taboola announced plans to merge to create a $2 billion company. 

Healthcare, Retail, Transportation

Companies like Google and Microsoft are making big investments in startups looking to disrupt healthcare. Here’s where 5 top tech giants are placing their bets.

Tech giants like Google’s parent company Alphabet and Microsoft have taken their time figuring out how to approach the massive $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry. 

Meet the 7 remote-monitoring startups that are raising millions to provide a new way of caring for aging Americans at home

The US population is aging rapidly and startups are looking to create new ways of helping to care for the elderly.

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