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Another week of layoffs, executive departures and everything driven by AI

Hello again! greg here again with Week in Review. WiR is the newsletter where we take the most read TechCrunch stories from the past seven days and boil them down to as few words as possible: no blunts, no bullshit,* just a quick blast of everything you’re likely to want to know about. technology this week.

* Maybe a bit silly.

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Tip your Amazon driver (in Amazon dime): If you have an Alexa device at home, Amazon will pay the delivery person an additional $5 if you say, “Alexa, thanks to my delivery person” after a delivery. Amazon could, of course, simply pay drivers more to begin with… but that, sadly, probably wouldn’t be a move that would make Amazon one of the most read headlines of the week.

Slack CEO is leaving: Last week, Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor resigned; This week, Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack (owned by Salesforce), announced that he, too, will step down in January. Ron Miller shares his thoughts on incoming Slack CEO Lidiane Jones and her decades of product experience.

The “Twitter Archives”: “Elon Musk reminded his followers on Friday that owning Twitter now means he controls every aspect of the company, including what his employees said behind closed doors before he took over,” Taylor writes as he stands. makes a series of internal Twitter communications that were once private. public.

Lensa’s AI goes viral: Do all your social media friends suddenly have avatars that make them look like sci-fi gods and action heroes? It’s likely due to Lensa AI, a photo-editing app that went viral this week after adding support for Stable Diffusion’s AI-generated art tools. However, the popularity did not come without controversy: many continue to debate the ethics of selling something generated by an AI trained on the work of real people; meanwhile, others noted that the AI ​​could be “tricked” into generating NSFW images that would not otherwise be allowed.

More tech layoffs: This week, Airtable laid off about 20% of its staff, more than 250 people. Plaid also laid off 20%, which for them equals 260 people. African fintech unicorn Chipper Cash laid off 50 people, and UK drag-and-drop e-commerce platform Primer let 85 go (around a third of the company).

Google combines Maps/Waze equipment: When Google bought the navigation app Waze for more than $1 billion in 2013, Google said it would keep the Waze and Google Maps teams separate “for now.” It turns out that “for now” means around 9.5 years, but Google confirmed this week that the two teams will be merging. Google says it expects Waze to remain a separate service.

Twitter Blue could cost more on iOS: Twitter’s $8 “Blue” subscription plan (which comes with a blue “verified” checkmark) is still on hiatus for now after a few false starts, but when it returns it will reportedly cost quite a few dollars more if you subscribe through the iOS app to make up for Apple’s cut.

audio summary

Found, our podcast about founders and the companies they build, has a new co-host! Becca Szkutak took over the role this week, joining Darrell Etherington in a conversation with Daye CEO Valentina Milanova. Meanwhile, the Equity team tried to make sense of 2022 in a year-end look back, and Taylor Hatmaker hopped on The TechCrunch Podcast to explore what the sudden explosion of AI-generated art means for real human artists.

TechCrunch+

Here’s what subscribers were reading the most on TechCrunch+:

Investors sound the alarm about potential private equity tech deals: “Who wants to sell when prices are low?” ask Ron Miller and Alex Willhelm.

Rootine’s $10 million pitch deck: “If you told me that a company that charges $70 a month for multivitamins could raise $10 million, I would demand to see the receipts,” Haje writes. With that in mind, he takes a deep dive into the pitch deck that helped make it happen.

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