10 things in tech you need to know today

Today's top news and analysis.
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Welcome to the start of another week, readers. Today we're taking you inside the life of an Amazon warehouse manager and telling you why cats love Starlink dishes. 

Let's get started. 

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Amazon worker boxes mask

1. Amazon warehouse managers describe cutthroat working conditions. We spoke with nine current and former managers, each of whom experienced long hours, low pay, and a workplace obsessed with hitting increasingly lofty — and sometimes unrealistic — goals. Here's what they told us:

  • During peak season, typically around the holidays, many managers said they have to work mandatory overtime, or in some cases, come in an additional day to help with the workload — without receiving overtime pay. 
  • Some said the pressure to reach goals can trickle down to the rest of their team, forcing them to implement extreme "bootcamp-like" strategies to incentivize subordinates to meet Amazon's metrics. 
  • In a memo to superiors, one manager described working at Amazon like "drinking through the fire hose, underwater, while a group of people try to prevent you from coming up for air."
  • The memo caught the attention of an HR vice president, who asked his colleagues to come up with ideas on how to "overcome many of the points raised." It's unclear if any solutions were raised. 

Read more of their experiences, which one manager compared to "the Wild West."

In other news:

Austin, Texas

2. Meta signed a huge lease in Austin. Facebook's parent company will rent 589,000 square feet of office space across 33 floors of the city's soon-to-be largest skyscraper. More on Meta's expansion in Austin.

3. Alphabet's secretive quantum technology group plans to spin out into an independent company. The group, known as Sandbox, focuses on software and experimental quantum projects. According to two insiders, its leader Jack Hidary is now looking to turn Sandbox into its own separate company. They filled us in on the plans.

4. VCs have been relentlessly bullish on Web3, which is proving to be one of tech's most-divisive ideas in years. Tesla boss Elon Musk and ex-Twitter chief Jack Dorsey have both questioned its merits while investors are betting that it could become the next generation of the internet. We spoke to 5 VCs about why they're backing Web3.

5. Solana could be a bitcoin killer. Blockchain platform solana's market cap has gone up more than 62,000% in the past year, and experts are saying it may soon become one of the top three cryptocurrency platforms. Experts explain why it's the blockchain's sleeping giant.

6. Meta has been sued over the killing of a federal security guard. The guard's sister sued the platform for allegedly "knowingly promoting extremist content" that contributed to his death. The suspected gunman had ties to "a far-right extremist movement" cited in several Facebook groups. Here's what you need to know.

7. A software engineer shares what to know before choosing a coding boot camp. Dan Molitor broke into the tech industry after completing a 12-week course. Molitor, who's worked for major tech companies like Apple, says people interested in a boot camp should try coding on their own first. Read the rest of his advice.

8. Cats love Elon Musk's Starlink satellite dishes. The dishes radiate heat, and as parts of the country see heavy snowfall, people are taking to Twitter to report cats curling up on the satellites to shield from the cold weather. More on the cats flocking to Starlink dishes.

9. China just revealed a new driverless bullet train. Designed specifically for the 2022 Olympics, the driverless Fuxing bullet train travels at 217 miles per hour to shuttle passengers to and from Olympic venues. Take a look inside the train. 

10. Disney has patented new "virtual-world simulator" technology. The company has won approval for a patent to project 3D images on objects throughout its parks. The tech would track visitors and project personalized images for them — without needing a headset or goggles. Here's how it could work.

What we're watching today:

Event invite: Join Insider's multi-session editorial conference "Leading Into the Future of Work," presented by Adobe, for a discussion on the monumental changes happening in the workplace and how smart leaders are navigating them. Register here.

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Michael Cogley in London.

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