Feb 20, 2018

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

Welcome back. Hope you had a good long weekend.

The case for D.C. to be Amazon's HQ2

Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC / Corbis via Getty Images

A research firm says Washington, D.C., ranks highest based on the criteria Amazon has set out for its second headquarters, aka HQ2.

The details: HPS, which put out its report earlier Tuesday, ranked the 19 finalists on 11 categories across transportation, education, connectivity and business/lifestyle/culture.

The bottom line: Washington, D.C., finished highest, followed by Boston and Northern Virginia.

Here are its selling points, per HPS:

  • It has the third highest scored mass transit after New York City and Boston, with multiple international airports.
  • It offers the best educated workforce, but fewer top 50 universities than Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Newark, and New York City.
  • It's known for its above average livability and diversity, but below average business and career ranking.
  • It provides nearly 60% fiber optic coverage and almost 99% cellular coverage.

Meanwhile: Here are some other reasons D.C. is hopeful, per Axios' Zach Basu. Among those is the reminder that as owner of The Washington Post with a sizable home in the city, CEO Jeff Bezos has obvious ties to the region.

But, but but: This isn't up for a vote. The only opinion that matters is Amazon's.

A year after Uber memo, sexual harassment is far from fixed

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

In the year since Susan Fowler's viral blog post about her experiences working at Uber, executives have lost jobs, dozens of women have spoken out about sexual harassment in the workplace, and the #MeToo movement's revival in October has spread throughout business, politics and Hollywood. (See our timeline here.)

Yes, but: As Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports, despite Uber's changes and the broader embrace of women speaking out, holding employers accountable and rectifying other forms of workplace discrimination remains a challenge.

  • Google is still pushing back on claims by the Labor Department and four female former employees that it pays women less than men.
  • Uber is also being sued by three female former employees, who allege being paid less than male peers and passed up for promotions.
  • Some male investors have responded to the wave of sexual harassment stories by declaring it's no longer safe for them to meet with female entrepreneurs. Others have criticized the women for being too sensitive or overreacting.
  • Many employee agreements still include arbitration clauses and class action waivers (which Fowler is helping fight against) that make it harder to fight against illegal employment practices.
  • The past year's discourse has also not addressed in great depth the addition of racism that women of color in tech and other industries also experience.
  • More broadly, the effect of workplace harassment and stress on employee mental health has seen little discussion.

Some progress: Nevertheless, there has been some visible change. Harassers have lost jobs, VC firms have instituted stronger policies, and Google promptly fired a male engineer for his 10-page memo criticizing the company's diversity efforts.

Soros may invest more in fighting Big Tech

Billionaire George Soros. Photo: Olivier Hoslet / AFP / Getty Images

Billionaire investor George Soros launched a brutal attack on big online platform companies at this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Now, his influential organization is "certainly examining new ways" to tackle the growing power of tech giants, according to an official at his influential philanthropy, the Open Society Foundations.

Why it matters: Soros may put his money where his mouth is. With a global reach and an annual budget of more than a billion dollars, Open Society Foundations has the ability to significantly shape the growing debate over the power of Big Tech.

Axios' David McCabe has more here.

Fitbit's recent acquisitions sound like a MacGyver episode
Giphy

Fitbit's has made several acquisitions over the past couple of years, including Twine, Pebble and Coin.

It may or may not be enough to help Fitbit chart a new future, but as engineer Christopher Svec accurately points out, it would probably be enough for TV's MacGyver.

Meanwhile: Speaking of Pebble, former CEO Eric Migicovzky has just joined Y Combinator, per TechCrunch.

Startup Molly is tapping into the Q&A craze
Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover is among the early testers of the quiz app. Screenshot: Hoover's Twitter feed.

Silicon Valley's obsession with quiz apps continues, Kia reports. Silicon Valley insiders have recently been answering questions about themselves via a new service called Molly.

Why they're doing it: Molly aims to build a database of information about people. For now, it's querying certain well-known people to get info it can't find via social media.

Kia has more here.

Take Note

On Tap

  • Index, an IBM-hosted developer conference, runs today through Thursday in San Francisco.

Trading Places

  • Adam Brotman, the executive who led Starbucks' digital transformation, is joining J. Crew as president and chief experience officer, per Recode.
  • President Trump's tech adviser Reed Cordish is leaving the White House, the WashPost reports. His replacement is Brooke L. Rollins, a former aide to Rick Perry when he was Texas governor.

ICYMI

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I love Olympic snowboarding, but perhaps not as much as this cat.

Ina Fried