BossFeed Briefing for May 13, 2019. Last Monday, more than a hundred employees of Riot Games walked out in protest of the company’s use of forced arbitration. Last Tuesday, lobby groups for debt collectors announced they are pleased with new federal rules on how debt can be collected. Last Wednesday, Governor Inslee signed our stripper safety & security bill into law. Last Friday, Uber's IPO pegged the company's value at $75 billion. And this Wednesday is the 79th anniversary of the opening of the very first McDonald’s restaurant.
Three things to know this week:
Twelve Pasco-based dairy workers have won a settlement of wage theft claims against Darigold. After a decade-long legal battle that included at least one hunger strike and numerous public actions, the workers will get their back pay.
A former Netflix exec founded a company called Liquid Death, which has raised more than $2 million to sell canned water over the internet and therefore "murder your thirst.” The company intends to market to straight-edgers and play by “more fun rules” than other beverage products do.
Minor league baseball players are paid as little as $1100 a month for 50 - 70 hour work weeks, but they are exempt from the federal minimum wage under a special provision passed by Congress last year. Major League Baseball takes in more than $10 billion annually and spent more than $2 million lobbying for the exemption.
Two things to ask:
Where did she get her sense of timing? Lyft’s Chief Marketing Officer used the occasion of the rideshare strike last week as occasion to launch an 8-tweet thread on the virtues of the gig economy. Among other things, she argued that Lyft serves as “a safety valve for mainstream America.”
What if that’s actually their best argument? Delta has launched a poster campaign making the case that employees would be better off spending their money on videogames rather than organizing a union. Delta’s CEO made $13 million last year.
And one thing that's worth a closer look:
Several hundred people are contracted by Facebook to read and assess millions of private posts in order to train the company’s AI to be better at advertising. The tedium of this type of “content labeling” work is a given — the stuff we post to Facebook is not, in the aggregate, particularly interesting. But it’s not just Facebook that’s creating “jobs of the future” which aren’t particularly good jobs: Google’s self-driving car spin-off has humans working long shifts identifying pictures of traffic lights, Amazon pays people to annotate Alexa audio, and on and on. But it’s worth taking a closer look at the reality that many to most of the people actually driving Silicon Valley machine learning aren’t PhD geniuses or even garden-variety data scientists — they’re outsourced clerical workers in Hyderabad, Timisoara, Manila, and around the globe who review posts one by one in order log critical information like whether they’re selfies or not, and whether they seem like they were supposed to be serious or not.
Read this far?
Consider yourself briefed, boss.