CEO Sarah Friar sold Nextdoor as a ‘kinder’ social network. Investors are buying it—for now.
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Too much multitasking forced women from the workforce, a UN health official weighs in on U.S. abortion bans, and Nextdoor goes public. Have a lovely Tuesday.
– $KIND of a big deal. Nextdoor started trading yesterday after a merger with Khosla Ventures’ SPAC that valued the neighborhood-focused social media app led by CEO Sarah Friar at $4.3 billion. The stock closed up 17% at $13 on its first day on the New York Stock Exchange.
Nextdoor’s shares are trading under the ticker KIND, a nod to its motto to “be kind,” which isn’t exactly the tagline you’d associate with a social media platform these days, but one that reflects Friar’s insistence that the platform isn’t making the same missteps as its peers, namely Facebook.
Still, the comparisons are unavoidable. Both platforms feature a newsfeed of user-generated posts and a marketplace where users can buy and sell items like furniture and clothes. Nextdoor, which requires users to register with their street address, is location-based and became a vital tool in the pandemic, when neighbors wanted to check on one another or get the latest cul-de-sac scoop without leaving home. Nextdoor boasts 63 million users, up from 48 million in 2019.
“More people came to the platform during the middle of an emergency, but they came and they stuck around,” Friar recently told investors.
Nextdoor’s approach to content monitoring does set it apart from its peers.
At Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit in October, Friar explained how the platform has implemented a set of speed bumps intended to cool users’ temperament and cut down on abuse like racial profiling.
“When you want to put something up on Nextdoor that begins to look like reporting a crime we actually start to explain, first of all, make sure it is really a crime. Walking in the neighborhood is not a crime,” Friar said last month. “How are you describing the person? Don’t use race, use clothing and so on, describe exactly what they’re doing.”
The prompts reduced racial profiling on the platform by nearly 70%, Friar says, but she acknowledges that such tools might also cut down on engagement.
“Some of the toughest discussions have been the tradeoff between engagement and growth versus slowing people down, and I don’t think enough platforms are doing that,” she said. “That growth-at-any-cost mentality is what is really damaging us in terms of areas like social media.”
For now, investors seem to be embracing Nextdoor’s “kinder” approach; they’ve valued the company at 20 times its projected sales next year, more than twice the multiple of Facebook, as Reuters points out. But as a public company, it may be harder for Nextdoor to uphold its do-gooder ideals and fend off the temptation to put growth above all else.
The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Too much multitasking. New data show that college-educated moms with access to remote work were most likely to leave their jobs in the pandemic. The finding might seem counterintuitive, but Misty Heggeness of the U.S. Census Bureau says this population of women "experienced large amounts of burnout because the multitasking was way too intense." The 19th*
- Nature or nurture? Caregiving isn't an innate ability—it's learned. Paternity leave can reshape fathers' brains, a recent study found, with new dads who took time off work showing greater neural responses to images of infants. Argues this op-ed: "fathers are made, not born." New York Times
- Management techniques. What can managers and companies do about employees who consciously exclude women? Three academics offer some strategies, from establishing a clear definition of "exclusion" to making "inclusion" a part of hiring criteria and performance reviews. Harvard Business Review
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: At Glamour, editor-in-chief Samantha Barry is now Americas editorial director. Fintech startup Alt hired eBay GM of collectibles and trading cards Nicole Colombo as president.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Global consequences. The upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on Texas's abortion ban is getting global attention. Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, says that the U.S. risks "undermining international human rights law" and threatening the right to reproductive health care access around the world if the court does not uphold abortion rights. She filed an amicus brief stating her perspective. Guardian
- Policy priorities. The public policy teams at most tech companies advocate for their business interests. At Bumble, the tech policy team is dedicated to advancing policies to protect women online and off. That was a deliberate choice by the dating app when it hired its first policy staffers. Protocol
- First to be second. A year after President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris officially won the election, Doug Emhoff is still getting used to his new job. This piece profiles the second gentleman as he adapts to the duties of a vice presidential spouse, from narrowing down china and wallpaper selections for the veep to becoming a top fundraising name for the Democratic Party. Time
ON MY RADAR
Get a first look at Viola Davis as Michelle Obama in Showtime's The First Lady EW
Being a Black woman in the workplace can be like starring in a thriller Slate
Cecily Strong's Goober the Clown makes a powerful abortion statement on SNL LA Times
-Aunjanue Ellis on playing Venus and Serena Williams’s mother, Oracene Price, in the film King Richard
This is the web version of The Broadsheet, a daily newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.