Mar 15, 2019

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

Situational awareness:

  • Big Tech platforms are likely to be under further scrutiny after footage of the alleged gunman in New Zealand and his actions were all over social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, per CNN.
  • Apple fired back at Spotify's lawsuit over App Store fees, charging the music streaming service with seeking a free ride on Apple's technology.
1 big thing: Facebook, at crossroads, loses veteran execs

Chris Cox crosses paths with Mark Zuckerberg at a Facebook staff meeting. Photo: Facebook

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sets out on an ambitious but challenging effort to remake the social network, he will be doing so without two of the company's seasoned veterans.

Driving the news: Facebook announced the exit of product chief Chris Cox and WhatsApp head Chris Daniels yesterday.

  • Cox, one of Facebook's earliest hires who was instrumental in the development of the News Feed, was widely viewed as the company's number three executive after Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Why it matters: The departures come as Zuckerberg looks to shift focus away from the News Feed and toward private, personal communications that work across Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Between the lines: It was apparently not a direction that sat well with Cox, who said in a public post about his exit:

"As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network. ... This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through."
— Chris Cox

What we're hearing: According to NYT's Mike Isaac, both executives had issues with Zuckerberg's move.

  • While Daniels' exit had apparently been planned for some time, the departures were announced as the company grapples with other challenges on the technical and legal fronts.
  • Facebook spent Thursday trying to recover from an hours-long outage, the worst disruption in the company's history. Facebook said a glitch with a server configuration led to the unexpected downtime.
  • And the NYT reported on Wednesday that the company is under criminal investigation for its data-sharing deals with other tech companies.

The bottom line: Facebook's plate of troubles continues to overflow. Or, as my former co-worker Kara Swisher wrote in her column, "I think we can safely say that only Aunt Becky from 'Full House' — that would be Lori Loughlin, captain of the college admissions bad parenting squad — is having a worse time this week."

Separately, Instagram communications head Kristina Schake is also leaving Facebook. She is filling in as Michelle Obama's communications director while the former First Lady continues her book tour. (The person who normally does that job, Caroline Adler Morales, is on maternity leave.)

2. Tech salaries on the rise in emerging U.S. hubs
Expand chart
Data: ZipRecruiter; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A growing number of tech companies, big and small, are shifting at least some of their operations to emerging startup hubs. In many cases, they are doing so to seek relief from the high cost of doing business in Silicon Valley.

Yes, but: As Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports, they are finding salaries in cities like Salt Lake City, Denver, and Atlanta are on the rise.

Why it matters: Companies have increasingly bemoaned the challenges of growing in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area due to housing shortages, skyrocketing engineer salaries and other costs.

  • But as other emerging hubs in the U.S. see a boom in their local tech industries, they may not be significantly less expensive job markets for long.
  • Data from online jobs marketplace ZipRecruiter shows this trend, but it's also felt by entrepreneurs and software startup founders.

What's next: As Big Tech companies like Apple, Google and Amazon open new offices or continue to grow in these cities, expect the competition for tech talent to intensify.

To be sure: Salaries for tech jobs appear to be increasing everywhere, not just in those few cities, highlighting the overall demand for such workers.

Methodology: ZipRecruiter, an online jobs marketplace, shared with Axios its salary data for these cities, covering about 300 job titles the company includes in its "tech jobs" category.

Go deeper:

3. Tesla Model Y crossover makes splashy debut

The Model Y is the newest addition to Tesla's lineup. Photo: Tesla

The splashy launch Thursday night of the Model Y crossover offered Tesla CEO Elon Musk an opportunity to at least partially deflect attention from the company's current troubles.

What's new: Axios' Joann Muller reports the Model Y features 66 cubic feet of space, seats up to 7 passengers and has a panoramic glass roof.

  • With the battery under the floor and a low center of gravity, "it will look like an SUV but drive like a sports car," Musk said, with a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
  • The long-range 300-mile version goes on sale in fall 2020, for about $47,000.
  • The standard version, with a smaller battery, will follow in 2021 and cost $39,000.

Why it matters: The Model Y is a logical next step for Tesla, but by the time it goes on sale in fall 2020, it'll face more competition. Ford trolled Tesla just ahead of the event with a tweet saying "hold your horses" — a clear reference to its Mustang-inspired electric performance SUV coming in 2020.

Go deeper: Joann has more here.

4. "The Inventor" team talks Theranos

Alex Gibney discusses "The Inventor," his documentary on Theranos, with Axios' Ina Fried. Photo: Kim White/FilmMagic for HBO

In Tuesday's Login we brought you the highlights from a panel I moderated with the cast and filmmakers behind HBO's Theranos documentary, "The Inventor."

Well, now you can see the panel for yourself, featuring filmmakers Alex Gibney and Jessie Deeter along with whistleblower Tyler Shultz and Stanford professor Phyllis Gardner.

The bottom line: Both the panel and the documentary are worth a watch, especially if you're already captivated by the Theranos saga.

5. Take note

On Tap

Trading Places

  • Raffi Krikorian is stepping down as CTO of the Democratic National Committee.
  • Jina Choi, the former head of the the SEC's San Francisco office, is joining Morrison & Foerster.
  • Lee Fixel is stepping down as managing partner of Tiger Global, where he has helped lead investments in Facebook, Flipkart, LinkedIn and Spotify.


  • Slack removed 28 accounts affiliated with hate groups. (Axios)
  • With options limited at schools, teens are turning to Google Docs as a way to chat with one another. (The Atlantic)
  • Apple said its developer conference will run June 3-7 in San Jose. (Apple)
6. After you Login

We need more of these signs, and not just at Little League games.

Ina Fried