Allegations at United Way — Google vs Uber — Inside PayPal's huge 2020

 
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United Way CEO Brian Gallagher.

Hello 2021!

I hope you had a restful holiday season and started the new year in good health. I've come away from the past two weeks appreciating simple pleasures: my family, good food, and hikes with my daughter asleep in a carrier. 

As I catch up on the news, I keep returning to Anthony L. Fisher's column from December 5, titled There's light at the end of the COVID tunnel, I just don't see it yet. He wrote then:

The COVID vaccine is coming and "normalcy" is on the way. But everything's still awful right now and a brutal winter lies ahead. 

With the respite of the holidays now passed, it looks set to be a really tough couple of months. Here's the latest:


Allegations of inappropriate behavior at United Way

From Yelena Dzhanova:

Leadership at United Way Worldwide, one of the largest nonprofits in the US, has consistently ignored allegations of inappropriate behavior, even engaging in bullying tactics to suppress women coming forward with them, nine former employees said.

These former employees accused the organization's CEO, Brian Gallagher, of working hard to preserve a boys' club that excludes women and often promotes men who engage in sexist behavior.

Ex-employees also allege that the exclusion of female employees is facilitated by the organization's human resources department, which is run by women.

Multiple women say women of color, in particular, have been dismissed and treated as "inconveniences" despite having advanced degrees and being well-respected in their fields.

United Way Worldwide's board of trustees said in a statement that it was "deeply disturbed by any allegations of misconduct and pledges to eradicate such behavior from our organization."

Read the full story here:


The race to create an autonomous car

google uber self driving race 2x1

From Alex Davies:

On January 7, 2016, Anthony Levandowski emailed Larry Page to wish him a happy new year and to pitch him on a new approach to the search giant's self-driving-car research project.

"Chauffeur is broken," Levandowski wrote, using the code name of the effort he had helped launch. "We're losing our tech advantage fast." The Google founder and Alphabet CEO was used to Levandowski's griping. But the engineer had a point. His team had spent seven years and billions of dollars yet had produced nothing close to a commercial product. 

In his email, later revealed amid the Waymo v. Uber self-driving lawsuit, Levandowski floated the idea of starting a "Team Mac," a callback to a bit of Silicon Valley lore: In the early 1980s, Apple was working on a new PC to be called the Lisa, but development was slow, the price tag was approaching $10,000, and IBM was dominating the personal-computer market. Steve Jobs wanted to make a much cheaper and superior product. While the main team kept going with the Lisa — which turned out to be a flop — he put a few employees to work on what became the Macintosh, one of the most successful computers of all time. 

A few weeks later, on January 27, Levandowski emailed Page again, saying "there's just too much BS," with Urmson and other Chauffeur leaders.

"I want to be in the driver seat, not the passenger seat, and right now [it] feels like I'm in the trunk," Levandowski wrote. He was striking out on his own, he said, with a self-driving-truck outfit.

When Urmson heard the news later that day, he showed no hint of hesitation. He marched Levandowski to his desk and had him pack up his things. Then he called the human resources department to deal with the details of the resignation of the man who had over the past dozen years been his competitor, his teammate, his roommate, and his chief rival in a world they had helped create.

Read the full story here:

Also read:


Inside PayPal's record-breaking year

dan schulman paypal success leadership 2x1

From Shannen Balogh and Marguerite Ward:

In 2017 PayPal's chief executive, Dan Schulman, along with other company executives, began hearing that some of the company's hourly and entry-level employees were facing financial hardship.

Schulman conducted a financial-wellness survey of his employees in 2018 that found many were barely making enough to save, despite being paid what the company says were at or above market-rate wages.

He decided to invest millions of dollars to lift hourly workers and customer-service employees' wages, lower their healthcare costs, and give them company stock.

Several C-suite executives told Insider that the investment in talent was core to the company's success in 2020, in that it boosted employee productivity amid record demand.

This year PayPal's stock price and market cap soared to all-time highs. Adding record new accounts, it's processing the highest payments volumes in its history.

Read the full story here:

Also read:


ICYMI: Startups to watch

Several Insider teams spent the latter stages of 2020 asking venture capitalists to identify the startups they're most excited about. From enterprise tech to climate tech, and healthcare to cybersecurity, here's a sampling:

REMINDER: You can search through more than 150 pitch decks that startups including Uber, Postmates, and Airbnb used to raise millions right here. 


INVITATION: How to make the most out of PPP

The Paycheck Protection Program is back. 

To find out what that $325 billion in funding means for you, please join our small business reporter Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins and entrepreneurship editor Bartie Scott in conversation. 

If you'd like to submit a question to be answered, please fill out this brief form. The journalists will also be taking reader questions live. 

You can sign up to attend right here.

Here are some headlines from the past two weeks that you might have missed.

— Matt


We created a searchable database of the people behind QAnon, including its supporters and enablers

A 29-year-old 'California girl' moved to Nova Scotia with her husband last year. She says it's been a culture shock, but living in Canada meant they could finally afford the American dream.

The rise and fall of Crispin Porter Bogusky: How the hottest ad agency lost its mojo

From getting laid off to making six figures a year: How a single mom built a rental portfolio and started a house-flipping business with just $8,000 in savings

The 12 most prestigious preschools in New York City and how to get in, according to parents and consultants

Elon Musk and other tech powerhouses are flocking to Texas, pushing an already bonkers real-estate market to new heights. Take a look inside Austin, which is quickly becoming the next Silicon Valley.

After a Twitter thread exposed the mistreatment of Black employees at Google, I ended my company's partnership to connect HBCU students with the tech giant. Here's why we decided to pull the plug.

Biotech investor Brad Loncar shares 10 predictions for 2021, including a more than 30% drop for gene-editing stocks, a $3 billion acquisition by Vertex, and a new big threat to society

 
 
 
 
 
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