Morning Brew - ☕️ Pushback

Google, Amazon face renewed employee pushback on a key contract.
Morning Brew September 19, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew


Happy Monday. When did TikTok officially become a social media giant?

Maybe it was in 2020 when it became influential enough to get a bunch of government attention. You could also argue it happened last year, when the app hit the billion-user mark. Or perhaps it was earlier this year, when the company was projected to triple its ad revenue to $11 billion and overtake both Twitter and Snap.

But what really seals the deal in our eyes is a development from last week: TikTok introduced features very similar to a buzzy social media upstart—in this case, BeReal—a rite of passage among the social media incumbents.

In today’s edition:

Google, Amazon face new employee pressure to drop a contract
The state of tech worker salaries in 2022

Hayden Field, Dan McCarthy


Google, Amazon face renewed employee pushback

Google, Amazon face renewed employee pushback Hayden Field

“Amazon, Google, you can’t hide. No tech for apartheid.”

The chant was joined by dozens of tech workers, plus members of community organizations and the public, in a protest outside Google’s NYC headquarters on September 8.

The rally centered on Project Nimbus: Amazon and Google’s joint $1.2 billion, multi-year contract with the Israeli government and military, under which the tech giants will provide cloud computing services, including AI tools, build data centers, and set up other cloud infrastructure.

  • Coordinated demonstrations took place on the same day in San Francisco, Seattle, and Durham, North Carolina, with hundreds of tech workers in attendance.

At issue: According to a joint letter sent to Amazon and Google executives, some workers at both companies are concerned that the contract sells technology that “allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians.”

  • With the support of workers at both companies combined, the petition currently has nearly 1,500 signatures, according to the organizers.
  • The protests were the latest development in a 15-month trend of workers speaking out about Project Nimbus, including Ariel Koren, a Googler who resigned in late August after leading efforts to oppose the contract.

“The contract is for workloads running on our commercial platform by Israeli government ministries such as finance, healthcare, transportation, and education,” Atle Erlingsson, a member of Google Cloud’s communications team, told Emerging Tech Brew in a statement. “The protest group is misrepresenting the contract—our work is not directed at highly sensitive or classified military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

Big picture: The opposition to Project Nimbus is part of an ongoing movement driven by many Big Tech workers who object to building technology for defense or law-enforcement applications. In some cases, companies like Amazon and Google have dropped or paused key contracts or technology development after employee and public pressure.

Read the full story on opposition to Project Nimbus here.HF



AI “cryptid” unlocks new (and lucrative) investment opp

The flourishing AI industry is valued around $1t and projected to grow to $14t by 2030, according to legendary fund manager Ark Invest. Much of that growth is driven by the conversation around AI and art.

Just last week, the AI world was shocked when “Loab,” the first AI cryptid, appeared, further increasing demand for investment opportunities that blend art, AI, and tech. Luckily, now you can get priority access to the startup at the center of it all.

With Masterworks’ AI-enabled platform, you can easily—and affordably—invest in masterpiece paintings worth millions of dollars, while also:

  • improving portfolio diversification
  • protecting your cash from inflation
  • hedging against market volatility

Early adopters saw an average 29% net return from their first six offerings. So what are you waiting for? EmTech readers get priority access today.

See important Regulation A



A dispatch from the wallets of tech workers

A dispatch from the wallets of tech workers Masanyanka/Getty Images

If you want to make a lot of money, the conventional wisdom goes, you should simply learn to code.

But how much money? A new report just dropped that can shed some light on that question. Here are a few takeaways from Hired’s 2022 State of Tech Salaries report.

Location: In terms of annual salaries for tech workers, Miami the Bay Area (duh) led all US markets. On average, tech workers there made $174,063 in 2022, up ~4% from the prior year.

  • The average salary for remote tech workers was $162,950—clocking in at the third-highest “market” in the US, trailing only the Bay and Seattle.

Role: On average, engineering managers make $196k in the US, per Hired, the most of any position in its report. Software engineering is next, at $160k, with product management ($158k), DevOps ($156k), and designer ($153k) roles all close behind.

  • Data analytics and QA salaries were the lowest of the seven roles, bringing in $138k and $129k, respectively.

Experience: On average, US tech workers with one to two years of experience make $120k per year. The biggest jump in pay comes early on, per the report, as on average, those with two to four years under their belts see a 20% jump in salary from the one-to-two-year bracket. Pay increases with more experience, but the jumps grow less pronounced over time, per Hired’s data.

Company size: On average, tech roles in large enterprises (1,000+ employees) make $162k in the US, while those at companies with 300–1,000 workers make $164k. Those at smaller companies (75-300 employees) make $162k, while those at companies with 75 employees or fewer make $158k. Hired says that’s the narrowest salary gap between startups and corporates since 2019.

Zoom out: Tech workers know their worth: Half of them expect salary increases by next year, and ~90% said they’d immediately start looking for a new job if they were denied an expected raise.

Click here to read on-site.DM



Coworking with...Gittings Boyce

Coworking with...Gittings Boyce Gittings Boyce

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Emerging Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies. Click here if you’d like a chance to be featured.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

Fifty percent of my job is discovering customer needs and determining the best way to incorporate those needs into our products. The other 50% is meetings, data analysis, creating terrible wireframes, and cat herding.

What’s your favorite emerging tech project you’ve worked on?

My work today supports the Indeed Hiring Platform, which lets recruiting teams hire faster by automating manual work in the hiring process. My focus is on prescreening capabilities that help quality candidates skip directly to an interview, whether that’s in person or virtual.

What emerging tech are you most optimistic about? Least? And why?

I’m most excited about how VR and robotics will merge to address the global shortage of specialized labor. Around the world, communities—especially in rural areas—lack access to reliable healthcare because they don’t have medical professionals nearby. VR and robotics converging could solve this by enabling doctors to perform medical procedures remotely. A surgeon at Johns Hopkins could operate on a patient in Africa while sitting at a command center in Baltimore.

Crypto is exciting, but I’ve yet to see a product that makes me want to use it over the incumbents they’re trying to replace. But, as more visionary people like Sam Bankman-Fried come into the space, maybe more compelling products will emerge from the industry.

What’s the best piece of tech-related media you’ve read/watched/listened to?

I’m an avid podcast listener; Acquired and Lenny’s Podcast are two of my favorites. Both are interesting and have practical knowledge that you can leverage.

One thing we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile?

I had a quarter-life crisis and moved from Washington, DC, to San Diego without a job because I wanted to be active and surf more. This was a great move career-wise, as it got me into product!




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Amazon logo with a parachute attached to it Francis Scialabba

Stat: Amazon has shut down or canceled the buildout of 44 facilities and delayed the opening of 25 other facilities in the US, per MWPVL data cited by CNBC. That’s only a small portion of its 1,254 active sites in the US, but notable for its break from rapid expansion in recent years.

Quote: “Satellite [and] cellular are very complementary. They fit in nicely. Where one is very powerful, the other’s not…I think there are going to be many partnerships being penciled in here.”—Jeff Fieldhack, research director at Counterpoint Research, to Emerging Tech Brew

Read: Is the new Apple Watch worth buying? This review may help you decide.

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  • Adobe announced plans to buy Figma for ~$20 billion in cash and stock. It’s one of the biggest exits for a VC-backed company ever.
  • Ethereum is officially a proof-of-stake blockchain.
  • Google shut down half of the projects housed in its R&D division, Area 120.
  • Star Alliance, which is composed of 26 airlines, wants half of its members to use biometric tech by 2025.
  • CATL says it has made a 600+ mile battery that will be in a commercially available car early next year.
  • Uber suffered a major hack on Thursday.
  • We’re convening thousands of business leaders and innovators virtually to discuss pressing technologies across food, energy, and health. Join the conversation on September 29, and RSVP for free.


Virtual reality, Masoyoshi Son, and the accursed Musk-Twitter deal—all of that, and more, is packed into this week’s news trivia. Click here to play.


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Written by Hayden Field and Dan McCarthy

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