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OneZero
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

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Big Technology

‘This economy is definitely not sustainable’

A photo of Aaron Levie against an orange gradient to black background.
A photo of Aaron Levie against an orange gradient to black background.

OneZero is partnering with Big Technology, a newsletter and podcast by Alex Kantrowitz, to bring readers exclusive access to interviews with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

This week, Kantrowitz sits down with Box CEO Aaron Levie. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on iTunes, Spotify, and Overcast.

As the pandemic flattens much of the U.S. economy, many technology firms are doing just fine. Business is moving online, and they’re well positioned to benefit. For tech CEOs like Box’s…


Big Technology

We must change the conversation about the tech giants’ problems if we want solutions

Digital generated image of cityscape data.
Digital generated image of cityscape data.

When a Facebook video of doctors sharing bad coronavirus information reached 20 million people last week, you could almost predict the reaction. The company’s critics seemed shocked, pointing out it had made little progress since a similar video — Plandemic — went viral in May. They put forth the standard demand for better content moderation. But by then it was too late.

The cycle where a tech company messes up, critics point it out, and then it happens again, has repeated itself for years. To end this frustrating dance, we need a new way of discussing these companies’ problems. We…


Alex Kantrowitz and Wendy Liu, the authors of ‘Always Day One’ and ‘Abolish Silicon Valley,’ square off in an exclusive debate about the future of tech

Silicon Valley is defined by contradiction: It’s at once a massive economic engine, a wellspring of popular technology that promises to unite the world — and a powerful driver of discord and inequality. Last spring, two books that take very different approaches to address this paradox were published within weeks of one another.

In Abolish Silicon Valley, startup founder Wendy Liu excoriated the tech industry’s relentless drive toward profit. Her book argues that nothing short of a total rethinking of how innovation is undertaken — and an overhaul of capitalism itself — can set things right in the era of…


The company’s Menlo Park headquarters have shaped the city. So too would an exodus of employees.

Facebook may be an online platform, but its physical presence is firmly rooted in Menlo Park, California, where its sprawling headquarters and iconic “1 Hacker Way” address are emblematic of the company’s past and future. Since 2011, Facebook has played a dominant role in the small city, and its ongoing expansion there will mark the largest development Menlo Park has ever seen.

It was a surprise, then, when Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that Facebook could become a remote workforce in the coming decade, a decision spurred by the coronavirus, which has shuttered technology campuses across the nation. Fifty percent of…


Remote work forever, voice-controlled everything in the office, and other new normals of the future

Turn on the news or dial in to an all-staff meeting and you’ll hear talk of “returning to normal.” Resuming, restarting, emerging, like a bear from hibernation, crawling out of our caves, yawning, stretching, and looking for toilet paper and soap.

The lockdown’s impact on your workplace varies depending on your job. For workers at computers all day, the difference between typing at home or typing at work may not be great, especially when salaries and benefits remain the same. For those who have lost their jobs and can’t afford to make rent, the situation is rather different.

We are…


Ethical alternatives are out there

Few companies are benefiting from Covid-19 as much as Amazon. Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man and Amazon is now larger than Walmart, so big that Elizabeth Warren, during her presidential campaign, argued for breaking up Amazon due to the fact that it now controls nearly 50% of all e-commerce sales nationally — a figure that has likely grown in the past few months.

In a world where it is no longer easy or, in many cases, possible to visit your local grocery store or mall, defaulting to Amazon Prime is understandable. In fact, for the most part, consumers…


Autonomous ride-hailing services seem less appealing than ever before

2020 was supposed to be the year that automated robotaxis took over the world. But instead of the year in which we can finally enjoy our robotaxi rides, this year has become the one in which much of the world’s economy ground to a halt because of an organism we can’t even see. Things are so bad that Uber is planning to lay off 14% of its staff (3,700 full-time employees) in the next week. In addition to killing hundreds of thousands of people and infecting millions, the coronavirus has also upended the plans to transform transportation.

Even before this…


Dynamic pricing algorithms on Amazon aren’t just about supply and demand

By Sara Harrison

After hovering at around $10 consistently, the price of a five-pound bag of Nishiki medium grain rice shot up to $30 on Amazon.com in March and hit a peak of $59.99 at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, according to the Amazon price tracker Keepa. As of Friday, April 24, the bag of rice was priced at around $20.

Prices on Amazon have been volatile since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. By the end of March, Keepa’s data revealed, an eight-pack of Barilla spaghetti, whose price normally hovers around $10, shot up to $49.25…


Uber’s first app developer explains how the company grew from three people in a coffee shop to 30,000 people around the world.

Dear Friends,

I imagined I’d have multiple last drinks with my Uber co-workers, but they will have to wait.

Six years ago today, Thuan Pham (Uber’s CTO) called me and proposed that Uber acquire my company, Moop, and I could kick-start the Amsterdam office with my friends. We grew our team from 10 to more than 300 people where we worked on numerous redesigns, growth hacks, and futuristic projects. There are very few places where someone can learn so much and have such an impact as Uber.

April 30 was my last day at Uber. I decided I needed to…


Social distancing is pushing restaurants toward delivery-only models powered by tech platforms

Bua Vanitsthian says she’s always been passionate about food. In 2019, Vanitsthian, a forensic economist and professional bikini athlete, opened Chicken as Cluck, a fried chicken restaurant on the edge of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood.

It’s not a restaurant in any conventional sense, however. As a “ghost kitchen,” the Nashville-style eatery lacks a physical dining location. Instead, cooks prepare dishes from a commissary space on Cesar Chavez Street alongside other virtual restaurants such as MAC’D, a popular mac and cheese spot, and Holy Cluck, a West Coast wings chain. …

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