Tech: Blackface, booze, blurred lines

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10 THINGS IN TECH

It's finally Friday, friends. I'm Diamond Naga Siu, and I'm pretty tired of the gloomy weather here in San Diego. It's the rainiest start to a year around here for decades. And it's an alarming welcome back to the state.

This California couple also didn't get what they expected when they moved away. They were in search of a more chill and affordable lifestyle in Charlotte, North Carolina. But the lack of diversity and lower salaries are boomeranging them back to California.

They told my colleague Jordan Pandy that Charlotte seemed affordable and diverse on paper. But it disappointed them in-person.

Before I contemplate moving back to New York City, let's dive into today's tech.


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Dark red office with a photo of a white employee in blackface on a computer screen, on top of the photo a pixelated version of the ROKT logo flashes

1. A white employee posed in blackface as Michael Jackson. The photo was shown at a company-wide meeting to highlight how "fun" working at $2 billion ad-tech startup Rokt was, an Insider investigation reveals. Employees were stunned.

  • A series of apologies were issued after. But CEO Bruce Buchanan later doubled down. He said blackface isn't a big deal in Australia, where the company was founded and where the photo was taken.
  • Rokt is consistently named a top place to work. But more than 30 current and former employees told my colleagues Jack Newsham and Madeline Stone that they had a different experience.
  • They described a culture of execs who engaged in or tolerated sexist behavior. Excessive drinking and drug use was common, they said. They describe a culture where executives resisted holding employees accountable for bad behavior.

Come behind the scenes of Rokt with us, where Insider reports that booze and blurred lines flow rampantly.


In other news:

Biohacking

2. The hunt for eternal life goes mainstream. Wealthy techies have a history of searching for ways to live longer. But anti-aging trends are sweeping the nation. Cold exposure and hormone therapy are two popular ones right now. Get the full list of trends here.

3. Salesforce salaries revealed. The company grew aggressively during the pandemic — and it paid top dollar for talent. Insider analyzed government records for employee salaries across departments. Check them out here.

4. How one viral TikTok inspired hundreds of thousands of car thefts. The "Kia challenge" video demonstrated how to hack certain Kia and Hyundai models with just one USB cable. Dive into how this video sparked an unprecedented wave of car thefts.

5. Dating app CEO spent $50,000 on a phone game. In just three months, Bernard Kim of Match Group (the parent company of Tinder, Hinge, and other dating apps) spent $50,000 on Clash of Clans. More on his "shame" here.

6. Insider's database on top influencer agencies and managers. The influencer industry keeps growing. So Insider built the database to reveal who's guiding and representing the top internet stars. Check out the overhauled resource here.

7. Peter Thiel held $50 million of his own money in Silicon Valley Bank. The billionaire was accused of fueling the digital bank run after telling companies to pull their funds. Yet, his $50 million remained in the bank when it collapsed. More on his personal money matters here.

8. The "BlackBerry" movie trailer just dropped. The upcoming film shows the rise and fall of the now-defunct keyboard phone. Critics and BlackBerry fanatics alike are singing their praises for the new trailer. Check out the nostalgic teaser here.


Odds and ends:

The Nintendo switch charging dock with two joycons resting in front of it

9. The Nintendo Switch after six years. No other console offers as much value for just $300, writes my colleague William Antonelli. It's affordable, portable, and uniquely versatile. Here's everything you need to know about the console, more than half a decade after its release.

10. Fighter jets are "worthless" over Ukraine. US Air Force officials said this is a preview of what US troops could face in the future. Read the full story here.


The latest people moves in tech:


Curated by Diamond Naga Siu in San Diego. (Feedback or tips? Email dsiu@insider.com or tweet @diamondnagasiu) Edited by Matt Weinberger (tweet @gamoid) in San Francisco and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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