Tech’s latest controversy? The return of the five-day, in-person work week
Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced look at this week’s startup news by Equity co-host and Senior Reporter Natasha Mascarenhas. Subscribe here to receive this information in your inbox
May the earnest among you rise up: It’s prediction season, Techies. It’s my favorite season of the year. Not because I’m a glutton of threads or care deeply why DTC’s worst remains ahead of us — a take which echoes loudly for three years in a row — but because it’s nice for us all to sit down and reflect.
Okay, so here’s what I believe will happen next year: the return of in-person, five day work weeks for tech workers. Before you get all excited about the exceptions and asterisks that may be included, let me tell you why I believe this will happen.
We have been talking about the power pendulum shifting towards employees since 2021, spearheaded by The Great Resignation. This year, however, The Great Resignation was replaced by the Great Reset. Employers fired large numbers of their employees due to changes in macroeconomic conditions. Many predict that the wave in layoffs will worsen before it gets better as we enter 2023. This prediction has been confirmed by recent rounds prior to the holidays of cuts including Airtable and Plaid.
In many cases, the power is being shifted back to employers. This means that those who wanted to bring people into the office since lockdown began may finally have the ability to do so. While I don’t believe every executive and founder is secretly conspiring, I do think the domino effect is important. You might feel tempted to work from your office if your biggest competitor does. However, if you are a small startup with a lot of potential, you might still be able get an edge in recruiting if you tell employees that they can work from anywhere.
My perspective is not just a hunch. It’s what founders tell me. There are many entrepreneurs. Some cite Elon Musk’s decision to allow Twitter employees to return to in-person work.According to, they plan to reinstate a mandatory in-person workplace culture in the new year due to the problems that arise from remote work (whether it be collaboration or productivity). It’s a bit like manifesting, but a little bit of reality. Over drinks and fancy snacks, one founder explained to me that they didn’t worry about losing talent because people who leave because they have an in-person mandate aren’t mission-driven.
It’s not easy to express that sentiment when you consider how in-person work impacts the immunocompromised, those with families, and those who have caretaking responsibilities. Although I doubt that companies that were distributed 100% from the beginning will move into buying offices, I believe we’ll see more companies adopt a hybrid approach. More hybrid companies will be more inclined to in-person work than remote.
I’m sure you all have thoughts about this. You didn’t hesitate to share them. You can tell me that on Twitter. Let’s close with some of my favourite tweets:
— Haje (@Haje). December 9, 2022
I wonder how distributed hiring over the past few years will impact this — will companies be willing to relocate these people back to their HQs or will it be a financial win to have smaller offices? For example, only 30% of our team live near an office.
— Laurel Toney (@LaurelToney). December 9, 2022
I don’t believe so, and I won’t be coming back! !
Instead of focusing on a “go-to-the office” paradigm, we should instead focus on a “accomplish goals” paradigm with flexibility in time and work place.
— Miquel Plana (@mikeladion) December 9, 2022
They push hard enough to achieve it. Every LinkedIn “influence”, VC, and career coach seems to be on board the RTO train.
— Ryan Fitzgerald (@theonlyfitzhere) December 9, 2022
Let’s take a break from all the work chatter and discuss other work chatter. You can find me as always on Substack And InstagramYou can find more of my writings and work at. We’ll be discussing opinionated AI and open-source in the remainder of this newsletter as well as gift guides for staff.
Lensa AI is a leader in AI art apps
Artificial intelligence is having (another!) moment. This means that scrappy innovation is getting some buzzy attention. This week, TC’s Sarah Perez The rise of AI art apps in the App Store was obviousThis seems to be a reaction to the viral avatar generators by Lensa AI.
Here are the reasons why this is so important: In the coming months, we’ll see a lot more flash-in-the pan stars and real power in this space. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman helped to build ChatGPT (which is responsible for all the fun prompts, and answers you’ve been seeing on Tech Twitter). He made a great point When describing the technology, I use one that I believe can be scaled to every sector.
“ChatGPT’s capabilities are limited, but it is good enough to give the illusion of greatness. It’s wrong to rely on it for anything significant right now. It’s a glimpse of progress; there is much more work to be done on truthfulness and robustness.” Altman tweeted.
- 6 investors discuss why AI is so much more than a buzzword in biotech
- Despite market slowdown, companies and VCs continue to invest in AI.
- Paul Davison, Clubhouse’s Paul Davison: The impact of hype
- In 2023, I will spend more time thinking about AI, so if there are any basic reading materials, Please slide into my DMs
How open source is shaping Twitter’s future
Paul Sawers of TC is one of my most thoughtful writers. You’ll understand what I mean if you read his latest work: “Decentralized discourse: How open-source is shaping Twitter’s future” He walks through how algorithmic transparency and encrypted DMs have been a recurring theme throughout Twitter’s past — and will continue to be a major theme in its future.
Here’s how to do it.Key excerpt:
What if Twitter decided that open source was the way to go? It’s not just a protocol or a recommendation algorithm. It’s the entire shooting match — codebase and clients. It would be a huge undertaking, especially considering all the other things happening at Twitter right now.
It would also be a remarkable move for a $44 billion private corporation to open its entire codebase up to the public. It’s not impossible though, given the history Musk has made in making bold moves. Musk broke the patent playbook eight years ago when he promised that Tesla would not sue any company that violated its patents “in bad faith”. This is a philosophy that is broadly similar to open source.
- After Elon Musk’s takeover, anti-LGBTQ slurs explode on Twitter
- Twitter shuts down Revue its newsletter platform
Corner for gift guides
Here are some of these creative gift guides that TC staff created this week:
- 9 high-tech gifts for cannabis users in your family
- Here are the top books TechCrunch has read this year
- 8 great gifts for those who work from home
- 6 gifts for coffee lovers who want to improve their game
- Gift Guide: More Than 20 STEM gift ideas for kids to get them excited about code
- 9 bags-friendly gifts for frequent flyers
- Gift Guide: Choosing the right iPad
- 6 books you can buy online to gift your internet-obsessed friends
- Gift Guide: A gift guide for anyone who is looking to improve their training.
- 7 great gifts for smart home smarties
A few notes
- You can read last week’s newsletter here if you missed it. “Edtech’s brightest are struggling for success.”
- We would love to meet your startup at CES This year! The team is already collecting the startups they want to cover — fill out this form This form So we can get an early look at your innovation.
- We all want to be content for the winter, but I have good news. TechCrunch will be coming to Boston on April 20, according to my sources. I’ll be there along with my favourite colleagues to interview top experts at a 1-day founder summit. Book your Founder Pass now! Get yours today for only $75 by clicking this link
- A general shout out to my colleague Mary Ann AzevedoThank you for bringing your full heart and energy to work every day.
TechCrunch – Seen
We’re at the end of our last conversation about the wild plot twist of the year. It was a slow year, and I won’t lie to you. Every day spent on the tech news beat felt complex, important, exhausting, and confusing. This has really shaped my view of the world. Although it’s still a work-in-progress, I will say that 2022 was the year I found the right sourcing, trust, and networks to realize that technology is not all rainbows, butterflies, and that it’s not all bad.
I’ll brag for a second: This year was a great year for my career. Kevin Hart interviewed Twitter, and getting into fights with many a millionaire. I wrote about the difficulties of Rebuilding a startup It gave an insight into the downfall of a community-based business Its community. I laughed about it How full circle tech works I then discovered that my predictions were aging horribly Every single time. We made Equity Wednesday a thoughtful show that attempts to answer questions. One big question at a given timeInstead of answering all questions at once, use the “Reply” option.
Startups Weekly is now read daily by thousands of people — and it’s never been more popular!
I have never been more intrigued by the world of power and capital. This is all thanks to you all, from those who read and amplify our stories to the ones who help us find rocks to flip over to to the ones that tell us what angle (and how we can do better next time). It’s also thanks my incredible team at TechCrunch, whom I can’t express enough gratitude for.
I will be away from the office until the new Year, sipping cocoa, sneaking in Skyline chili, and enjoying my mom’s chana masala. I wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Let’s talk about resolutions when we get back.
Okay, you can say goodbye first. You don’t take it seriously. Okay, fine. Bye.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.