Situational awareness: The last 24 hours have seen a sharp increase in the number of conversations in Silicon Valley mentioning the word "recession."
Today's newsletter: 1,279 words, or a 5-minute read.
Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
When WeWork filed its IPO prospectus Wednesday, it set in motion one of the great tech business stories of our time.
How it works: The company's mission is "to elevate the world's consciousness," and the magic wands it waves toward that end include...
Why it matters: With many investors, analysts and pundits deeply skeptical of WeWork's losses, debt and business model, a successful IPO would be a sweet victory for the company.
Reality check: Fashions in office topography never stop changing, rejecting the fads of the past. The cubicles of the '80s and '90s became the butt of jokes long ago. WeWork's sleek looks, open kitchens and slouchy sofas may not be hot forever.
Our thought bubble: Has there ever been an SEC filing that began like this?
"We dedicate this to the energy of we — greater than any one of us but inside each of us."— WeWork S-1 filing
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Recent high-profile hate crimes are forcing technology companies to reassess how hate speech and harmful content manifests in closed groups online, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
Why it matters: As communications become more closed off and private, experts worry that private group forums online may be festering hateful activity that could manifest itself in dangerous offline behavior.
Driving the news: Facebook said Wednesday that it would be simplifying its groups policy to make groups on its platform either "public" or "private" so that it's easier for group members to understand who can and cannot see their posts.
Between the lines: Facebook isn't the only platform to struggle with closed-off groups that spew hateful rhetoric.
Be smart: Facebook, Reddit and other forums are reluctant to ban or take down specific groups because they don't want to infringe on free speech rights. Instead, most take steps to demote groups, making them hard to find, or to remove incentives for posting incendiary content.
The bottom line: Monitoring hate speech, even on mainstream social sites, is proving to be difficult in a world that's growing increasingly privacy-centric.
India shut down all internet access in Kashmir nearly 2 weeks ago as part of its power play to eliminate the region's autonomy, and the New York Times has a sobering report on the impact of that move.
This "information blockade" has paralyzed the province:
"Shopkeepers said that vital supplies like insulin and baby food, which they typically ordered online, were running out. Cash was scarce, as metal shutters covered the doors and windows of banks and A.T.M.s, which relied on the internet for every transaction. Doctors said they could not communicate with their patients."— The New York Times
The backdrop: The tactic is one India has used increasingly in recent years, and autocratic governments around the globe are finding it a handy tool for quashing dissent and preventing opposition organizing.
Photo: Erik Dreyer/Getty Images
Automated vehicles, when they are ready, won't magically deploy themselves into robotaxi services. They will require sophisticated dispatch and routing software like Uber and Lyft use today to match passengers with vehicles and get them to their destination, writes Axios' Joann Muller.
Why it matters: Most AV developers don't specialize in routing. They're focused on the AI and robotics necessary for vehicles to drive themselves.
What's happening: RideOS, a San Francisco-based startup founded by former Uber engineers, has developed an open-source platform that any company can use to create its own ride-hailing network.
Among its initial customers is Voyage, the self-driving startup focused on ride-hailing in retirement communities, whose CEO, Oliver Cameron, is glad to tap RideOS' expertise.
What to watch: There's no reason Uber or Lyft couldn't squash a startup like RideOS if they decided to resell their own routing and dispatch software to other companies. It's basic plumbing, after all. So far, there's no sign that they plan to.
Subscribe to Joann's twice weekly Axios newsletter on Autonomous Vehicles.
Is it a surrealistic media-jamming stunt? A fraternity prank? Or a marketing gimmick for a product yet to reveal itself?
We just don't know why a Mr. TV Head decided to drop 50 vintage television sets on front porches in Henrico County, Va. Someday, surely, we must.