May 10, 2021

Axios Login

Today we're introducing Tech Agenda, a new weekly column by Axios' Kim Hart that will lead Login each Monday to spotlight the tech policy news and trends that matter most.

  • Meanwhile, I hope everyone had a good Mother's Day. I had a great one, as Harvey (with some help from his papa and grandmother) got me my own Nintendo Switch, and my softball team won its first two games of the season.

Today's newsletter is 1,308 words, a 5-minute read.

1 big thing: COVID-19 scatters tech hubs for young talent

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Young engineers and recent college graduates see Miami, Houston and Philadelphia — not San Francisco, New York or Seattle — as the hot new places to jumpstart a technology or creative economy career, Axios' Kim Hart reports.

Why it matters: For some tech CEOs, it's the perfect time to capitalize on being where the new talent wants to go — and also pay lower taxes in the process, which makes Sunbelt cities in Florida and Texas attractive.

Zoom in: In Lehi, Utah — a haven for tech startups between Salt Lake City and Provo — it's been easier than usual to lure early-career workers from places like California and New York, said Joseph Woodbury, CEO of Neighbor.com, a peer-to-peer self-storage company.

  • Of the employees the startup recruited during the past year, 30% came from another state, and many of them were on the younger side.
  • "That's changed in the past year," Woodbury told Axios. "It used to be that you waited until 10 to 15 years into your career and then you could make a choice about where you wanted to live. Now it's like, 'Oh yeah, I came to California for a year, now I can go be where I want to be.'"

The big picture: Pandemic moves are redistributing coveted tech workers more evenly across the country after being so heavily concentrated in just a handful of cities for years.

  • This is also expected to help spread wealth, job opportunities and startup creation in new places.

Details: According to LinkedIn data, more workers in the software and IT services sectors moved into Miami, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Denver between March 2020 and February 2021 than in the previous year.

  • Meanwhile, more left San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Boston.
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Data: LinkedIn; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Between the lines: While the chart above focuses on software engineers and IT gurus, tech companies need much more than that, from HR and marketing to sales and finance workers.

By the numbers: Nearly half of tech workers moved during the pandemic, according to an April survey released Friday by non-profit One America Works.

  • Among those who lived in major city centers before 2020, one in five expect to live in a smaller city after the pandemic.

"I clearly see momentum building and it's hard for me to imagine that the pandemic won't be a permanent accelerant of people moving to places that have been historically overlooked," said AOL co-founder Steve Case, who is CEO of venture capital firm Revolution.

What's happening: To appeal to younger millennials and older GenZ'ers, investors and companies are hosting virtual job fairs or offering perks for working remotely in a non-traditional city.

  • Initiatives in Tulsa, Topeka, Northwest Arkansas, Tucson and Savannah are offering financial incentives for people to move there, mostly targeting recent grads or workers in their 20s.

The bottom line: While workers now have new options, the San Francisco Bay Area will always be a draw for people wanting to work in the epicenter of the tech industry.

  • "Where young people live this very moment probably doesn't matter because of the radical experiment in remote work that's playing out," said Roy Bahat, head of venture fund Bloomberg Beta, based in San Francisco.
  • "In a year, when that fog has lifted, it's probably going to matter a lot more."
2. Exclusive: GLAAD finds social media sites "categorically unsafe"

The leading U.S. social media sites — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube — are all "categorically unsafe" for LGBTQ people, according to a new study from GLAAD, the results of which were revealed Sunday on "Axios on HBO."

The big picture: GLAAD, as part of its inaugural social media index, had planned to give each of the sites a grade — but decided not to do so this year after determining that all the leading sites would fail.

  • "They are categorically unsafe, across the board," GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. The findings follow a months-long effort by GLAAD and a team of outside experts who looked at each of the sites, their policies and track record of enforcing those policies.

Details: GLAAD's 50-page report recommends that the platforms revise their algorithms to slow down the spread of misinformation, hire more human moderators and better enforce existing harassment and discrimination policies.

  • The report also gives a "thumbs up" for various moves that GLAAD believes are positive steps, including Twitter's rules against dehumanizing behavior, including intentionally misgendering transgender people. Although Twitter does not universally enforce the policy, GLAAD encouraged other platforms to adopt it.

Between the lines: Ellis added that, when it comes to harassment and discrimination, what happens online isn't staying online.

  • "There are real-world consequences to what happens online," Ellis said. "There are direct lines you can draw between the over 100 anti-trans bills that are now circulating at the state (level) and what's being produced and pushed out within the social media world. "
  • "I think that there are direct lines to, unfortunately, suicides of our community."

Yes, but: Ellis noted that the online world, including social media, can still be an important gathering place for LGBTQ people.

  • "There are absolutely bright spots," Ellis said. "There are so many kids who share their transition stories or there are so many people who share their coming out stories. And I think that's really important, who inspire other kids or other people to be their true and authentic self. ... However, the challenge right now is that the negative is outweighing the positive."

What's next: GLAAD hopes to work with the sites over the next year and plans to issue grades for each next year.

  • "Our thought on this is that now that we've given you what's on our minds, what we think is a problematic for our community, we are going to hold you accountable," Ellis said. "And if you know anything about the LGBTQ community, we will hold you accountable and we will put our money where our mouth is."

Go deeper: Click here for more, including a video clip and responses from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.

3. Emergency declared over fuel pipeline cyberattack

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A regional state of emergency has been declared in response to a ransomware attack that forced operator Colonial Pipeline to shut down a key U.S. pipeline, Axios' Rebecca Falconer reports.

Why it matters: Friday night's cyberattack is "the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure" known to have occurred in the U.S., notes energy researcher Amy Myers Jaffe, per Politico.

The big picture: Colonial Pipeline carries 45% of fuel supplies in the eastern U.S. Some 5,500 miles of pipeline has been shut down in response to the attack.

  • Colonial said in a statement Sunday while its main fuel lines remained offline, some smaller lines between terminals and delivery points were now operational.
4. Clubhouse launches Android beta

Photo illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Clubhouse, the live audio chat app which until now has been only available for iPhones, announced Sunday that it will begin rolling out a beta version for Android, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

Why it matters: Downloads for the app have plummeted as the pandemic begins to regress. Expanding Clubhouse to the second-largest operating system in the U.S. — and the largest globally — will help it grow.

Details: The Android version will roll out to English-speaking markets in the weeks ahead, followed by other countries.

  • Clubhouse will be invitation-only on Android, as it has been on iOS.

The big picture: The live, social audio craze exploded during pandemic-driven lockdowns, and it looks like it's here to stay.

  • But Clubhouse is facing competition from new apps and giants like Twitter and Facebook that are building similar products.
  • Clubhouse recently raised a new funding round valuing the app at $4 billion.
5. Take note

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  • Apple has hired former Cisco PR chief Stella Low to fill a long-vacant VP role overseeing corporate communications, as BuzzFeed reported on Friday.

ICYMI

6. After you Login

This should go without saying, but don't take part in a Zoom video conference while driving. This goes double if you are an elected official and the Zoom meeting in question is a public event.