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February 3, 2023

Aloha! Tech reporter Kylie Robison here.


If you ever watched the Disney classic Lilo & Stitch, you know that Ohana means family. At business software giant Salesforce, Ohana is their entire schtick. However, over the last few weeks, it’s been a whole lot less about family and more about saving cash.


The $136 billion public company announced its plans to lay off 10% of its family—or staff—in the new year. The first round of cuts came in early January, and an ominous all-hands led by CEO Marc Benioff left many uneasy and confused. He hinted that layoffs were not finished, but didn’t provide a precise date for when the hammer would drop.


Yesterday, shortly after the end of the fiscal year, the dreaded second round of layoffs pummeled the company. Several thousand Salesforce employees across the globe were told aloha, but instead of hello, this one meant goodbye. 


We reported that the company’s “#all-salesforce” Slack channel went from roughly 82,500 members on Feb. 1 to roughly 80,600 today, signaling that 1,900 workers may have been cut. Many people took to the company’s “#airing-of-grievances” channel to, well, air their grievances.


In screenshots of the channel viewed by Fortune, one person told a rather morbid story. The employee wrote that at 8 a.m., he was notified of his redundancy. Less than an hour later, he received a surfboard in the mail from Salesforce congratulating him on reaching 5 years at the company.


“There was the complimentary note from [CEO Marc Benioff] thanking me and hoping I’ll keep ‘riding the wave’ with Salesforce for many more years to come,” he wrote. “Ironic!”


Salesforce isn’t the only major tech company being rocked by layoffs at the moment. However, the firm’s specific culture of positivity and kinship has taken a particular beating. Employees have been leaking to the press at an unforeseen pace, the grievances channel has been bustling with complaints, and Benioff is “asking for a friend” why his employees aren’t their usual upbeat, profit-making selves.


It’s unclear if Salesforce’s cheerful culture will be able to bounce back. The company is under the ever-growing pressure of activist investors demanding cost-saving measures, and a looming recession seems to be sucking the fun out of Silicon Valley.


The fostering of Salesforce’s Ohana will be something to keep an eye out for. However, it’s unlikely this is the end of belt-tightening at the firm.


Kylie Robison


Do you have insights to share? Got a tip? Contact me at kylie.robison@fortune.com, through secure messaging app Signal at 415-735-6829, or via Twitter DM @kyliebytes.


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NEWSWORTHY


It’s a bird, it’s a plane. It's been a couple of years since Alphabet grounded its fleet of internet-beaming Loon balloons. But balloons are back! A suspected Chinese spy balloon has been spotted floating around the U.S. CNN reported that government officials have advised President Biden to avoid shooting it down, as it presents a risk of harming civilians. The report adds that although the balloon has floated over “a number of sensitive sites,” it poses no serious intelligence-gathering risk.


Move over rabbit. Meta has done little to quell investor fears over its ambitious metaverse goals, until now. During its earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg dubbed 2023 the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and said the company is focused on “becoming a stronger and more nimble organization.” The quip, and the sentiment behind it, helped propel Meta’s stock almost 20%, reaching its highest level since last July.


Money now, please. Social media platform Twitter seems to be addicted to making controversial feature changes. This week, the company announced its intent to replace its free API, which allows developers access to Twitter data in order to make bot accounts like year progress bot, alt text reader bot, and SF earthquake bot, with a paid tier. The action would essentially eliminate accounts like these unless they’re ready to pay up. Twitter's new API rate card starts at $99 per month and goes all the way up to $1,899.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT


How did JPMorgan fall for Frank? Several execs played a role in buying the $175 million startup that’s been accused of fraud, by Luisa Beltran


Microsoft-owned GitHub’s CFO and CRO depart for new startup jobs, by Kylie Robison


ChatGPT may be increasing cybercrime, but not in the way some cybersecurity experts fear, by Jeremy Kahn


This billionaire CEO skis 5 hours a day and ‘runs like a deer’. Now he has the same body fat percentage as peak Michael Phelps, by Eleanor Pringle


In France, Gen Z is taking to the streets to defend their work-life balance. The fight for retirement starts at age 18, by Vivienne Walt


Silvergate at center of DOJ fraud investigation for hosting FTX and Alameda accounts, by Ben Weiss


Making workers commute for meetings that are a ‘killer’ of freedom and time is a punishment, says workplace expert, by Jane Thier



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BEFORE YOU GO


Creators, creators, creators. Speaking of new Twitter features, CEO Elon Musk declared the platform would start sharing ad revenue with creators for ads that appear in their tweet threads. There’s a twist though—the creator has to be subscribed to the company’s subscription product, Twitter Blue. The latest in a string of stunts at the social media giant could be useful in competing with behemoths like TikTok and YouTube in a race to lure creators onto their platforms. Yet, a creator program that users have to pay to use hasn’t been done before and has some users comparing it to a pyramid scheme.


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