Congrats to my colleagues Sara Fischer and Alexi McCammond, who are on this year’s Forbes' 30 Under 30 Media List! It is well-deserved recognition, though I am jealous of the "under 30" part.
Today's Login is 1,364 words, a 5 minute read.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 2002. Photo: Richard Koci Hernandez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images
Yesterday's announcement that Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were leaving their executive posts at Google parent company Alphabet was a surprise more in timing than anything else, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes.
What's happening: Page had stepped back from Google itself in 2015. From their perches at Alphabet — Page as CEO, Brin as president — the two founders oversaw the company's "other bets" on advanced technologies like self-driving cars and drones. And even then they had been all but invisible at company events.
The big picture: Page and Brin's move marks a transition in which big tech is passing from the control of founders to the stewardship of successor technocrats.
How it works: Tech's startup culture has long embraced the thesis that founders, not investors, are best equipped to shape their companies' destiny. Google is where this approach most definitively played itself out.
Between the lines: Page and Brin's retirement raises uncomfortable questions about what happens to this structure as companies age.
Our thought bubble: The industry's founder-power corporate arrangements have succeeded at keeping many stellar startups from being seized by short-term-minded investors. But on a longer horizon, they look more like a plan for the establishment of hereditary corporate control — an incongruously archaic concept for a forward-looking industry.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Amid an administration-wide push to develop 5G networks, the Defense Department is exploring ways to share spectrum with wireless carriers and other businesses, as Margaret Harding McGill, Kim Hart and I reported yesterday.
Why it matters: Airwaves are limited, and government and industry either have to divvy up the scarce resource or find better ways to share. In the past, the Defense Department has had to relocate communications systems to new airwaves to make room for commercial services, and sharing would help avoid that.
Driving the news: Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Lisa Porter, the deputy under secretary of defense for research and engineering, held a private dinner with executives from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, wireless industry group CTIA and others last week to discuss 5G, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Yes, but: The Defense Department doesn't run U.S. spectrum policy.
Background: In the past, sharing of the same airwaves between business and government has been thorny and limited.
Postmates confirmed Tuesday that it is pulling out of Mexico City and has cut some jobs in its U.S. operations.
Why it matters: Following the bumpy Wall Street debuts of Uber and Lyft, the on-demand industry is under pressure to prove that it can not just grow, but eventually make money.
"We made the difficult decision to end operations in Mexico City as we focus on our continued growth in the U.S.," the food-delivery service said in a statement, adding that it continually reviews its overall staffing levels "and have made small adjustments as a result."
CNBC reported Tuesday that the company laid off "dozens" of employees.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios Visuals
The Department of Homeland Security recently updated its proposal to include U.S. citizens in facial recognition databases when entering or leaving the country, Orion Rummler reports.
The big picture: This move is part of the agency's long-term plan to upgrade the TSA's biometrics and identification technology, which has included facial recognition testing at over a dozen major airports.
Where it stands: U.S. citizens can opt-out of having their picture processed at airports to verify their identity, per Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy.
Yes, but: ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley described incidents from the past few months in which two U.S. citizens were told by CBP officers they were not allowed to opt-out of entering the TSA's facial recognition database.
What's new: The department's latest proposal cites the duties of the CBP commissioner as part of why it would have the legal authority to require U.S. citizens to participate in facial recognition at points of entry — as opposed to its nearly identical 2018 proposal.
Background: CBP says it has used facial recognition to match travelers' photos with their identity documents at more than 20 U.S. airports. The agency was testing its biometric exit program at 13 major airports in June of last year.
The bottom line: DHS has extended its timetable to August 2020 to implement its new facial recognition rules.
Meanwhile: Portland, Oregon, has proposed what would be the nation's most restrictive ban on facial recognition, prohibiting its use by both businesses and local government.
Yesterday we offered you the bright side of the impending holidays, with the heartwarming tale of a little drummer boy. Today, we present the downside.