Squeezable Deans [34]

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 15, 2022
Ned introspects on the recent tech layoffs, Chris is amazed at IBM’s Osprey, and we both get a good laugh at Elon’s ineptitude.


[00:00:01.590] - Ned Trying to think of how I would pronounce that in Spanish.

[00:00:04.460] - Chris Siesta. A permanent siesta. Wait, no, that would be dead, wouldn’t it? I’m going in the wrong direction.

[00:00:13.290] - Ned Wow. Worth a worthy.

[00:00:17.210] - Chris And we’ve alienated all our international listeners.

[00:00:19.770] - Ned And I’ve used up all of my high school Spanish. C bin. I will say la Biblioteka. I’ve been doing the NY Times crossword puzzle most days and they usually have a Spanish clue at least once a week. And I usually get it because all you need is rudimentary high school Spanish. Right. And I’m like covered.

[00:00:43.840] - Chris Yeah, I try very hard to do that every day of the week and then I usually give up around Wednesday for no reason at all.

[00:00:50.520] - Ned Not because Wednesday is completely coincidental. They had one a few weeks ago where it was describing each they were like five clues throughout it, and each one was describing someone’s reaction to that day of the crossword. And Wednesday’s crossword was something like, what the hell?

[00:01:13.840] - Chris Angry face palm.

[00:01:15.660] - Ned First one was like, I got this. Second one was like, doing great, and then third one was like, what the hell? It just went down from there.

[00:01:24.270] - Chris That’s going to be on my new ballot for new emojis. I feel like we need not just because we have a face palm and that’s okay, but we need an angry face palm for escalation purposes.

[00:01:34.930] - Ned Well, I mean, you can submit your own emojis.

[00:01:37.660] - Chris You can. And they usually get completely ignored.

[00:01:40.480] - Ned True. You have to lead a campaign or.

[00:01:42.510] - Chris Know someone because I forget what the stat was. I looked this up last time we talked about it, but it was something that absurd, like 150,000 independent emoji suggestions.

[00:01:52.540] - Ned It’s a lot to comb through.

[00:01:54.150] - Chris It’s probably too many.

[00:01:55.480] - Ned I feel like it probably helps to know someone on, like, the Unicode Council or whatever or lead a campaign. Not on Twitter, obviously, because that’s just imploding by the moment.

[00:02:06.940] - Chris No, I don’t think the future for Twitter does not look bright. I don’t much like its owner.

[00:02:16.120] - Ned Woo. Hello, alleged human. Welcome to the Chaos Flower Podcast. Oh, my name is Ned, and I’m definitely not a robot. I haven’t traveled back from the future with explicit instructions to terminate an unborn child. Dark. That’s silly. And I’m definitely not an eternal being from the deep past stretching to before the chaos of the universe was born. Also silly. And I’m definitely not a facsimile of life constantly tormented by the desire to become a true human being. That’s silly. With me is Chris, who is also here.

[00:02:58.710] - Chris What’s a universe?

[00:03:01.460] - Ned It’s like a force in a university. It’s a unifores.

[00:03:06.260] - Chris So it’s the student council?

[00:03:09.340] - Ned Ostensibly, yes.

[00:03:10.710] - Chris And will they finally put a sewing machine in the cafeteria?

[00:03:15.720] - Ned They’ll have to consult the dean after TPing his house last year. I don’t think he’s going to be into it.

[00:03:22.990] - Chris Very upset. Very upset.

[00:03:25.290] - Ned Yeah. They didn’t even use good toilet paper. It was like the BJ’s brand, and he’s like, am I not worth some charmin?

[00:03:33.560] - Chris You know what I miss?

[00:03:34.960] - Ned Squeezable deans.

[00:03:36.450] - Chris No one squeezes a dean either by title or by name.

[00:03:40.960] - Ned Fair enough.

[00:03:41.880] - Chris It’s actually quite sad.

[00:03:43.690] - Ned There’s four dean.

[00:03:46.240] - Chris We’re starting off great.

[00:03:47.790] - Ned This is going awesome. You had a point.

[00:03:50.370] - Chris No, probably not.

[00:03:51.420] - Ned Unlikely. Why don’t we talk about some tech garbage?

[00:03:57.810] - Chris Okay. This is quite the garbagey. Garbage too.

[00:04:01.760] - Ned Layoff. Layoffs everywhere and record profits for CEOs.

[00:04:06.270] - Chris Bad news. Bad news.

[00:04:07.450] - Ned Good news for somebody. Wait, weren’t we just in a tech labor shortage?

[00:04:15.610] - Chris Nobody wants to work anymore.

[00:04:17.550] - Ned Like you couldn’t hire people fast enough and now there’s massive layoffs at some of the biggest tech companies. What the hell?

[00:04:27.710] - Chris Language.

[00:04:29.960] - Ned What? Hell. Better? Okay, I thought we could pause for a moment and think through what’s happened during the pandemic, what’s happening now as we move to an endemic status and what the future looks like for the tech industry. Hint it’s up to us.

[00:04:47.460] - Chris You and me specifically.

[00:04:48.780] - Ned No, definitely not.

[00:04:49.560] - Chris I was going to say we should not have that kind of power.

[00:04:51.610] - Ned This is the royal us. The populist us. Populist.

[00:05:01.010] - Chris The proletariat us.

[00:05:02.490] - Ned Yes. Moving on. OK, so let’s start with where we are. And to do that, let’s talk about some of the layoffs that have occurred in the last few months. And most of this is pulled from an absolute banger of a website. Layoffs FYI.

[00:05:22.540] - Chris FYI. That’s a good name. What’s that thing called at the end?

[00:05:26.910] - Ned Top level domain.

[00:05:28.210] - Chris That’s the one.

[00:05:28.920] - Ned Yeah. You’re welcome. There’s a lot of those floating around these days and most of them are terrible. This one pretty good.

[00:05:35.820] - Chris Lol.

[00:05:38.210] - Ned For real?

[00:05:39.130] - Chris Probably.

[00:05:39.790] - Ned Okay. It’s probably a country code too. Anyway, so starting at the biggest layoff that I know of, meta. Facebook. It’s Facebook. Facebook lays off 11,000 people, amounting to 13% of its total workforce. Damn.

[00:06:00.610] - Chris And the way that they did it was very heartless. Well, that’s layoffs in general, random spreads, including some stories of people who moved to the United States specifically to work for Meta, were then fired a day or two after they got here.

[00:06:15.870] - Ned Awesome. I’m sure that it works really well for their visa.

[00:06:18.760] - Chris Super cool. Yeah. Super cool.

[00:06:20.500] - Ned Well done, bra. So Mark Zuckerberg did stand up and take full responsibility for it, which means nothing.

[00:06:29.890] - Chris Yeah, because he also decided not to back down on Horizons in any way.

[00:06:34.030] - Ned Shape or form, or actually take any financial culpability for it or step down as head of Facebook for his failures. He just made us sad.

[00:06:45.210] - Chris Yeah. He deeply regrets.

[00:06:47.370] - Ned Yes.

[00:06:47.860] - Chris Thoughts and prayers.

[00:06:48.940] - Ned Absolutely. Okay, so that’s one, the next one. Amazon has laid off 100 people, or is in the process at least in the corporate and tech jobs area. So this isn’t warehouse workers because they cycle through those like toilet paper. Wow. And we’re back. This is the corporate and tech side of Amazon and 100 people, which represents about 3% of their workforce, which is.

[00:07:15.960] - Chris Also a staggering number of people.

[00:07:18.940] - Ned Yes. If we’re thinking about raw numbers and not percentages, which is probably a better way to think of it. Yeah. Between those two companies, 210 people just lost their jobs. And then there’s Twitter. And I was like, I’m trying not to talk about Twitter too much, so we’re not going to dig deep on this, but Twitter has laid off about 50% of their staff, which comprises about 3700 people.

[00:07:42.010] - Chris Something else that happened that’s not in this list is that Twitter laid off something like 80% of their consultants, which was like another 5000.

[00:07:50.740] - Ned I did not know that.

[00:07:52.000] - Chris In both cases, it was with no notice. In fact, most of the time, people figured out that they didn’t have a job anymore because they couldn’t log in.

[00:07:59.200] - Ned Fun. More on that later stripe, which you might not be familiar with. They’re the back end credit card processing for a lot of online retailers. They laid off 14% of their workforce, which is about a thousand people. Lift, which is, you know, the competitor to Uber, maybe slightly less evil, but not really. They lay off 700 people, which is 13% of their workforce. And then we have Opendoor at 550 people, which is about 18%.

[00:08:32.740] - Chris What’s that one do?

[00:08:33.450] - Ned Again, I have no idea.

[00:08:35.320] - Chris The open doors, I guess.

[00:08:36.810] - Ned I was just going down through the list of total number of people.

[00:08:39.910] - Chris Right.

[00:08:40.240] - Ned And that’s where I stopped. So if you want to know more and sort of be sad be sad? Yes. Really? Marinate in the sadness. Go to Layoffs FYI and you can see the numbers yourself.

[00:08:53.020] - Chris That’s going to be the name of my autobiography. Marinating in the Sadness the Chris Henry’s.

[00:08:57.520] - Ned Story part Two I think we’ve already named your memoir, like, three times.

[00:09:02.560] - Chris Well, I feel like I’m going to have to write a lot of them. Eventually, one of them will be true.

[00:09:08.290] - Ned So why is this all happening now? Like I said, we were in a massive boom.

[00:09:13.390] - Chris Yay.

[00:09:14.020] - Ned Couldn’t hire enough people.

[00:09:15.450] - Chris Yay.

[00:09:16.470] - Ned And then now we’re laying off. Oh, okay. So according to an NPR article, there are two big reasons for the layouts. But rather than tell you those directly, let’s paint a picture. Let’s go back in time. It’s 2020 and the pandemic hits.

[00:09:35.160] - Chris Things have been going so well.

[00:09:38.510] - Ned Everything shuts down and everyone is sent home. At least everyone in the tech industry that didn’t already work from home. We all clenched our teeth and waited for the inevitable financial crash that should follow a global pandemic. The weird thing, that’s not what happens to the tech industry. That’s largely because of two factors. First, people now found themselves stuck in their home with nothing to do except stare at screens, and those screens needed to do something entertaining. So you saw the insane growth of any streaming service that was available out there and the invention of some new ones. Netflix, Disney, HBO, Max and others. They saw tremendous growth and crap. Like the Tiger King or just Tiger King. I don’t know. I barely watched it. It got super popular for reasons that I don’t fully comprehend. After watching a couple of episodes, things got weird and dark.

[00:10:43.180] - Chris And there was also the part where everybody was afraid that the economy was going to crash because people had to work from home. But it turns out that working from home is completely fine, and productivity actually went up. Yeah, and nobody wants to talk about that.

[00:10:55.590] - Ned Didn’t we have a whole show about that?

[00:10:57.120] - Chris Did we listen?

[00:10:58.120] - Ned Okay, that’s fair. That’s definitely a portion of it. Everybody was like, well, no one’s going to work at all. They’re just going to play with their children. And parents were like, no, give me some work.

[00:11:10.420] - Chris I didn’t even know we had these.

[00:11:14.660] - Ned So if you were running one of those streaming services and suddenly you saw preposterous growth, you’d have to hire, like, a bunch of people to cope with that growth. And you also needed a tremendous amount of additional infrastructure to support that. So demand for people spiked. Demand for cloud services spiked. And we saw things like Azure and AWS. Well, Azure I think, specifically run out of capacity in Europe for a while.

[00:11:41.850] - Chris Which is not supposed to happen.

[00:11:43.380] - Ned Whoopsie Doozle. And hardware vendors saw their bottom line go gangbusters, assuming they had product to ship, which was its own set of problems that we don’t have time to get into. Since the cloud services were also seeing tremendous demand, they had to hire a bunch of people. So that’s reason number one. People stuck in their houses needed entertainment. Cascading effect of success for these other companies. The other big reason was the accelerated digital transformation of all businesses. Suddenly your entire workforce is remote, and you need a way to connect all of them. Zoom and Slack and every other digital platform for team interaction went off the charts, as did services for spying on your workers. Install this VPN client on your home machine. It’ll be fine.

[00:12:42.990] - Chris Why is it called fiveeys? Net?

[00:12:48.640] - Ned Similarly, businesses that could previously get away without a digital presence suddenly needed a website and an ordering system and a logistics pipeline yesterday. So a whole cottage industry of consultants sprang up to help your salons, bakeries, pizza joints, local flower shop I know that’s your personal favorite, you know, whatever. Build their online presence and start taking and delivering orders digitally. So we’ve got two big trends suddenly driving growth across the entire tech industry. People are stuck in their houses, and businesses need to digitally transform. If you look at hiring from the mid 2020s on, every tech company was scrambling to hire anyone with a pulse who could even spell NodeJS optional. The line was going up, and so were tech salaries. My God, if you wanted to ask for a sixfigure salary, you were shooting too low.

[00:13:52.840] - Chris Desperate, desperate fools.

[00:13:55.610] - Ned Hey. At the same time, no problem. Money was cheap, inflation was low, and we were going to ride this wave forever.

[00:14:05.210] - Chris Right.

[00:14:06.030] - Ned That’s how economies work, right? Yeah.

[00:14:08.170] - Chris And I think you’re missing I mean, there’s actually it’s like call it two A, but there is a neighbor effect in well effect, where everybody saw everyone else hiring and was just like, oh, man, we’re probably understaffed.

[00:14:22.540] - Ned Right. They got to keep up with the Joneses.

[00:14:24.270] - Chris Exactly. Momentum and all that. Even companies that didn’t see that kind of growth that you’re talking about were suddenly hiring more than they did the.

[00:14:31.950] - Ned Year before just because that’s what everybody else is doing. And also because now, if I am a worker searching for a job, I have competing offers from multiple companies. I can ask for more and probably get it.

[00:14:46.690] - Chris There’s a phrase that describes this, and I feel like it rhymes with trouble.

[00:14:53.290] - Ned Double pool. Probably okay. Probably too deep of a cup. So I want to be cautious here and not say the pandemic ended because COVID-19 is still very much a presence. But also people got their shots, took off their masks and said, fuck it. Do I still try to be careful? Sure. Am I willing to go back to self isolation in my house with my children? No. The two big drivers of massive growth in the tech sector were digital transformation and people being stuck at home. However, once all the businesses are transmogrified and the pandemic becomes endemic, both of those waves wind down.

[00:15:47.510] - Chris And what happens?

[00:15:50.440] - Ned Fun. Inflation is on the rise, which that’s a whole other discussion. Growth in tech firms is slowing or completely stopped or reversed in some cases, and demand for digital services has receded as people go outside and do things they see.

[00:16:11.740] - Chris Like, I mean, there are trees, there’s grass, like five or six days a year. There’s even sunshine. It’s amazing out there.

[00:16:20.130] - Ned I went in a shop and bought something.

[00:16:22.500] - Chris No, you did not.

[00:16:24.640] - Ned Okay, maybe I didn’t, but I thought about it real hard, Chris. Now those self same companies are looking at the balance sheet and the massive number of people they hired in the last two years. And to put it kindly, not everyone is producing a whole lot of value for their inflated salary. And thus we have layoffs.

[00:16:47.280] - Chris Right.

[00:16:48.410] - Ned Okay, so that’s where we’re at. So I thought we could look at two different sides of the coin. What should you do if you are laid off and what should you do if you’re not?

[00:17:02.830] - Chris That’s an important question, too.

[00:17:04.630] - Ned Yeah, I didn’t think of that one immediately, but then I was googling around a little bit and I came across an article that talked about survivor’s guilt. And I was like, well, there’s that, but there’s more to it as well. So we’ll talk about what to do if you’re laid off first, and then we can get into what if you’re not? So if you are one of those unlucky people out there who got laid off first, my heart goes out to you. Before you do anything else, I want to tell you something and I want you to do something. First, I want you to know this is not your fault. Most of these companies recklessly hired too many people during the boom, and now they’ve decided they need to shed some of that load. You ended up being on the short end of that stick. Not because you’re incompetent and not because you’re a bad person. The company made some bad decisions, and now you have to pay for it. That sucks. And it’s not your fault. It’s just capitalism. Second thing, I want you to stop and let yourself grieve for a moment. Don’t immediately run to update your resume.

[00:18:20.170] - Ned Get on. Indeed, despite the number of commercials that you’ve seen, or start pinging every single recruiter on LinkedIn, you just lost your job. And that hurts. You need to process that hurt and not avoid it. Now, how you go about processing it is your business. I just want you to actually take a moment and do it. Hopefully, you got a severance package that allows you to take that time. And some companies even offer counseling services as part of that severance package. Take advantage of that offer. It’s been paid for, right?

[00:18:54.970] - Chris So, I mean, it will absolutely help you to talk to a counselor. But also, if you’re feeling a little vindictive, it’s been paid for, right?

[00:19:03.690] - Ned Spend that money.

[00:19:04.540] - Chris Exactly.

[00:19:05.590] - Ned Whatever the benefits are in your severance package, do that thing. Do all of them to the fullest extent that you can. Now, unfortunately, another thing you really need to do soon is figure out your health care situation. Because the US ties health care to your employer, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose that healthcare in about 30 days. Now, you can sign up for Cobra, which, although it sounds awesome, actually kind of sucks. Pretty good. It allows you to stay on your previous employer’s health care, but you have to pay full freight. Or you can look to alternatives. If your partner has health insurance, you can join their plan. Not normally. You can only make those sort of changes during what’s called open enrollment. But getting laid off is what’s known as a qualifying event, something that carries a lot of weight in the healthcare world. And that means that you and your partner can now make changes to your health care plan to bring you on board.

[00:20:10.590] - Chris And in any event, we’re in an open enrollment period.

[00:20:13.590] - Ned Hazard, maybe.

[00:20:15.970] - Chris Well, it depends on your health care, but it should be in an open enrollment period from the beginning of November to the end of December.

[00:20:20.760] - Ned Regardless, I believe you have 90 days.

[00:20:23.170] - Chris After the event, qualifying event, right.

[00:20:25.830] - Ned To make the change. So get on that. And if all else fails, there are health insurance plans out there that are available under the Affordable Health Care Act. And they’re not too expensive, are they? Great. No.

[00:20:40.110] - Chris At the very least, they’re cheaper than.

[00:20:41.550] - Ned Cobra, and at the very least, they’re cheaper than going to the hospital without health insurance.

[00:20:47.460] - Chris There’s the one.

[00:20:48.400] - Ned All right, so if there’s one thing we can take away from the last two years, it’s that everyone needs health insurance, and that includes you, Dave. Especially you, Dave. I know what you did last summer. Once you’ve processed things and you’re ready to go on the job hunt, now comes the fun part. I actually kind of mean that this could be the fun part. If you take it, you know, take the right perspective on it, you now get to decide what type of job and company you want to work for next. Make a list of musthaves and nicetohaves and also some deal breakers. Dust off that resume and bring it up to date and start reaching out to friends in the industry to see who’s hiring and what they’re looking for. You could even engage a recruiter. Although, personally, I’ve had way more success talking to my personal network.

[00:21:39.110] - Chris I want to stick to that set of lists that you talked about, because that’s really important in a time like this. Primarily because not having a job is an incredibly stressful thing.

[00:21:49.510] - Ned Right.

[00:21:50.080] - Chris The feeling that you have to provide is overpowering and may cause you to make bad decisions and jump at the first offer that comes through the door, regardless of how well it fits your lifestyle, your skill set, your values. Don’t just have a job because you want a job.

[00:22:11.770] - Ned Don’t go work for Oscorp. All right? That’s what we’re saying. Or Meta. Nice, but I repeat myself. Yeah, exactly. Make that list when you’re in a good frame of mind, and then when you’re having a crisis, stick to it. You have that list to go back to. Finding a new job is going to take some time, and unless you’re already a serial job hopper who’s been doing this every two years or 18 months or whatever, your interview skills are likely kind of rusty. Think of your first few interviews just as practice. Would it be nice to be offered the job? Sure. But your real goal is to hone your interview skills for future opportunities. Try to get some honest feedback from the people that interview you if you can. Not everyone is going to be candid with you, but some might give you a few pointers off the record, even if you don’t get offered the job.

[00:23:13.920] - Chris And also kind of along the counseling line, there are services out there where you can pretend interview as practice.

[00:23:20.740] - Ned Absolutely.

[00:23:21.300] - Chris And you will get real feedback from real HR people. This is not just Steve down the street saying that it sounded great.

[00:23:28.390] - Ned Brah. Yes. Don’t interview with your friends.

[00:23:32.230] - Chris Right.

[00:23:33.030] - Ned Because they are not going to be honest unless you have that one friend, and we know we’re talking about you. Marjorie. I love her, but I hate her. And you don’t invite her to parchees.

[00:23:45.190] - Chris She did not have to be that mean about my brownies.

[00:23:48.110] - Ned For real. They were fine. Could I have used a little more?

[00:23:52.140] - Chris Okay, let’s move on.

[00:23:53.520] - Ned Okay. Take this moment to brush up on any skills that you might have been meaning to learn, but just never had the time. You were too busy with work. Guess what? You’ve got time. Check out the Cloud Resume challenge from Forrest, Brazil. Or try learning a new programming language and create a project on GitHub that you can point your potential employers to. Even if you’re not working, you can still be productive with your time. I’m not like hustle culture bro be productive all the time. But you could do something.

[00:24:30.560] - Chris There’s probably something that you’ve been meaning to do to brush up on, as you said, or to get a certification that you didn’t have time to study for. And what’s fun is a lot of manufacturer certifications are not that expensive. So what are the AWS ones? Cost between 100 and $250, depending on what you’re doing. So while that’s a lot out of pocket, you can practice on your own for relatively cheap. Get that certification that’s brand new on your resume.

[00:24:58.180] - Ned Yes, that money you spend on certifications and education is tax deductible to a certain point, right? So bear that in mind as well. Now, that’s my advice. If you get laid off. Now, what if you weren’t laid off, but you’re at that company that just had layoffs? In a strange way, not being laid off can be even worse than getting the proverbial pink slip. There’s an interesting article on Fortune by Kylie Robinson that addresses the survivor’s guilt felt by those left behind. It’s kind of behind a paywall if you’ve used up your one article a month. But, you know, I linked it anyway. So it starts with a feeling of, why wasn’t it me? Why was I spared when all my co workers were sacked? Now, one way to allay those feelings is to reach out to your friends and coworkers that were laid off. They’re not dead. You can still talk to them.

[00:25:59.760] - Chris Unless your company takes severance packages extremely.

[00:26:02.440] - Ned Literally, they shouldn’t work with you anymore.

[00:26:06.480] - Chris I knew I shouldn’t have signed up with a French company.

[00:26:10.310] - Ned A lot of the better companies provide an opportunity for those who are being laid off to send a final communication or put them in a bounded slack group where they can continue to communicate with other people in the company. Give them an email address or WhatsApp number or whatever it is. So check in with them. Stay in touch. It will help them. They’re probably not feeling great. And it might help you in the long term as well, because who knows how safe your job is?

[00:26:37.470] - Chris Grow your network et cetera, et cetera.

[00:26:39.840] - Ned Which brings me to the next point. You now have a constant drum beating in the back of your head saying, what if there are more layoffs? Am I safe? Will today be the day? What if there are more layoffs? Am I safe? Will today be the day? Etc, etc.

[00:26:55.390] - Chris It was a very sad song. I thought my name is Luca was bad.

[00:27:00.180] - Ned Now. This is like James Blake level. It doesn’t help that many tech companies have multiple rounds of layoffs. Ideally, the company made an accurate assessment. They took their time and cut appropriately the first time.

[00:27:17.290] - Chris That’s adorable.

[00:27:19.390] - Ned What if they didn’t? Or what if conditions change? The economy gets worse. At least once you’ve been laid off, the worst is over. It happens. You’re not waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s hard to be productive when you feel the axe blade hovering over your neck. Speaking of being productive, you may need to be a lot more productive now that you’re the only one left on your team. Your workload may have doubled or even tripled overnight as you pick up the slack. That was someone else’s job last week. Now, I mean, maybe you were bored before, and the company truly did way over higher for your team, leaving you with a light workload. Cool. Guess that problem is now solved. Congratulations. But maybe that wasn’t the case. Maybe you were the hard worker who is shouldering a full burden, and now you’re being asked to work an additional 1020 or 30 more hours a week. My advice? Don’t with caveats. Listen, your company just laid off a bunch of people, and they probably don’t want to do that again. And things are going to be chaos for the next couple of weeks or months.

[00:28:41.590] - Ned Do the work that is actually part of your job, but don’t take on the responsibilities of others. Doing so will only prove the company right. They didn’t need those other people, and make that a permanent burden on you until you burn out or rage quit. Worst case, if you refuse to take on these additional responsibilities that were not part of your original job, they lay you off, too. Best case, the company realizes they cut too deep and hires people back. Does this happen? Yes. Yes, it does. Just look at Twitter.

[00:29:17.520] - Chris Yes, that’s the downside of I don’t want to call it survivor’s guilt, but if the employer starts to use those layoffs as a weapon to force you to work double duty for the same salary exactly. Does it work? Just ask Twitter.

[00:29:34.390] - Ned The attrition rate is truly staggering. So I don’t want you to quit your job out of some weird solidarity or refusal to do the work. Just keep doing your job. Your job.

[00:29:47.800] - Chris Right.

[00:29:48.360] - Ned Don’t do other people’s jobs.

[00:29:49.770] - Chris And do not sleep in the office.

[00:29:51.640] - Ned For the love of God, people. All you’re doing is setting a bad example for everyone, regardless of whether you were laid off or a survivor, this too shall pass. Many of the people laid off in the last three months are going to go work for startups or start their own thing. New companies will emerge, companies that need people. And you can be one of those people. Layoffs are shitty, but they aren’t the end of the world. Take a deep breath and mind your healthcare.

[00:30:22.840] - Chris Isn’t it sad that we have to say mind your health care, and not just mind your health?

[00:30:28.010] - Ned Yes, it’s deeply sad. Chris lightning round.

[00:30:31.630] - Chris Lightning round. We had it all wrong. The beginning of Skynet is going to be plants. Here at Chaos Lever, we pride ourselves on bold predictions. And sometimes we’re wrong.

[00:30:46.530] - Ned Nope.

[00:30:46.980] - Chris It’s rare, but it happens.

[00:30:48.700] - Ned Fine.

[00:30:49.690] - Chris Case in point. We’ve been saying for months, nay, years, that the end of our species as we know it would happen because of AI or robots, but realistically, probably because of AI robots. But what if the danger pose is not actually robotic in nature, but is, well, nature? Leading the charge towards our pissed off natural future is a French company called Neoplans. No relation. French to neopts. Their goal is to genetically engineer a common vine type plant so that it is capable of filtering toxins out of the air. Toxins I hate, and to add that are entirely in the air because of human industrial activities. And it appears that they have succeeded. Their hightech house plant called NEOP One is available for purchase now for the low, low price of $179, which, compared to an industrial air scrubber, is actually not bad price wise.

[00:31:49.910] - Ned Fair.

[00:31:50.910] - Chris So this is great news, right? Maybe we all like clean air and the plants don’t use electricity. By all accounts, this is a win for us. But what about the plants, though? There are several studies out there that show that plants can communicate chemically over vast distances. Now we are modifying plants to basically eat our industrial waste, as if making them eat our literal waste wasn’t bad enough. I don’t want to get too dramatic, but can’t you see a world of slowly creeping vines, creeping just a little faster and slowly consuming everything in sight? Do you all ever try to kill an infestation of not weed? All I’m saying is maybe nature thinks we are the biggest waste on the planet of all. I read the overstory. I know what I’m talking about.

[00:32:44.810] - Ned Wow. Okay. Do you need like, five in a juice box? This is the only Twitter story I’m going to tell, and it’s just because it is goddamn hilarious. Twitter engineer calls out musky get sacked. I’ve been trying to avoid the stink of Elon mucking up Twitter, but sometimes the musk is unavoidable. And in this case, goddamn hilarious. On Sunday, Elon posted a tweet to apologize for Twitter being super slow. In many countries, app is doing greater than 10 poorly batched RPCs to render a home timeline. End quote. A senior software engineer named Eric Fronhofer took exception to Elon’s implication and technical acumen and decided to take his employment into his own hands by publicly disagreeing with Elan on the self same platform. Eric basically said Elon statement was flat out wrong based on, you know, actual experience writing the platform. When Elon pushed back and asked about the right number of RPC calls, eric replied flatly that the apps don’t make any RPC calls. They don’t use it. Former Twitter engineer Ben Lieb jumped in to say that quote as former tech lead for Timelines infrastructure at Twitter, I can confidently say this man has no idea WTF he’s talking about.

[00:34:21.370] - Ned End quote.

[00:34:22.080] - Chris He’s referring to the musk.

[00:34:23.530] - Ned To the musk? Yes, he was backing up Eric another, this time a staff software engineer and tech lead at Twitter named Sasha Solomon, also chimed in to ask, quote, you did not just lay off almost all of infra and then make some sassy remark about how we do batching. Like, did you even bother to learn how GraphQL works? End quote. GraphQL is an alternative to a rest API that is capable of bundling queries together and dynamically parsing them out to other endpoints while caching and batching customized results. It’s super cool. Elon, being the true petty manchild he is, wielded the only tool left in his bag. When confronted with technical expertise and superior intellects, he has sacked both Eric and Sasha and announced as much to on Twitter. Christ, what an asshole.

[00:35:25.240] - Chris It’s important to highlight here that Eric Fronthofer is not just a senior software engineer, he was the lead Android software engineer. Yes, and in that self same feed, he got multiple job offers from billion dollar companies immediately.

[00:35:42.030] - Ned Yeah, I’m not too worried about Sasha and Eric. They’ll be okay. I just christ, what an asshole.

[00:35:49.620] - Chris I just can’t even apple Icloud Photos Integration into Windows you heard me. This week, Microsoft released a new integration for their Windows Eleven Photos app that allows direct integration into an icloud Photos library. Well, I mean, directlyish. You still have to install another app titled aptly Enough icloud for Windows to make it work, but still pretty straightforward. This was done to allow people who use iPhones, aka most people, deal with it to get their photos into the Windows photo app because, sure, I don’t know why people would want to do this, exactly, as the icloud app has allowed you easy access to the photos on your Windows desktop for years now. And not to put too fine a point on it, the Windows photo app stinks. What would be really interesting is if Apple allowed imessages to have some kind of a Direct link into Windows. I think we both know that’s never going to happen. Never.

[00:37:00.490] - Ned Google actually has to pony up for privacy. Look, we all know that our smartphones pretty much track us all the time. We know this. All we’re asking is that they be honest about it, Google has gotten into hot water several times by being less than truthful about their location history. Checkbox in android. In theory, you should be able to uncheck the box and voila, Google is no longer tracking your location. Naturally, this is not an outcome Google wants, so they have buried the same setting in other sections like Web and app activity, or just don’t allow you to opt out at all. State Attorney General’s in 40 US. States weren’t too pleased about Google’s shenanigans or Tomfoolery and filed a privacy lawsuit in 2018 after an Associated Press article exposed Google’s chicanery. After almost four years, Google has decided to settle out of court for a cool 391 $5 million. Pennsylvania’s own Josh Shapiro wrote about it on the Attorneygeneral Gov website, letting me know that Pennsylvania is set to receive a cool $19.67 million with a little back of the napkin math. PA has twelve 9 million people, so I should be receiving a check for $7.62 based on my fiveperson household woo woo hot dog.

[00:38:33.190] - Ned We’re eating at Sizzler tonight, kids. In a press release that I have written entirely inside my head, Google is quoted as saying we are deeply sorry that we were caught data mining our customers and selling their data to advertisers. We regret the fact that we have to fork over .15% of our gross revenue last year. We promised to hide our outright violations of trust and privacy better in the future.

[00:38:57.330] - Chris Our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who may have been offended. IBM announces 433 Qubit aspiri quantum processor, which is way more Qubits than the last one was.

[00:39:11.260] - Ned At least like two.

[00:39:12.940] - Chris So this is interesting. IBM has announced a lot of things about quantum recently. This time it actually has a real life chip to show for it. They have been running a crazy aggressive quantum program for a while, promising a 4000 Qubit system by 2025. If you remember from our show in October, the smart money was on a 20 Qubit system by 2032 or so. So IBM’s claims have been met with a bit of skepticism for a while. This announcement, however, might change some minds. The Osprey processor boasts 433 Qubits, which is up from the 127 Qubits IBM had in their Eagle processor released 2021.

[00:40:01.760] - Ned Wow time. Am I right?

[00:40:05.590] - Chris So if you’re doing the math at home, that’s like 25 times more Qubits. It’s quantum math. Don’t worry about it. Although it is still important to remember that these are just raw numbers, there is still a lot of fascinating and borderline incomprehensible problems in the quantum computing world before we get to a reliable number of usable Qubits. So it is likely that our ten year timeline is still the one we should use when it comes to solving real world problems.

[00:40:33.940] - Ned I highly recommend Sabine Hassenfelder’s YouTube Channel. She does a bunch of stuff about quantum, like the real implications, and she deflates some of this a little bit?

[00:40:45.030] - Chris Well, the one that I saw was the biggest problem that Quantum can solve right now is factorization. And they’re only up to the number 21.

[00:40:55.160] - Ned Yes, but after that, it’s like, to the moon. Speaking of which, adorable CubeSat sent to the moon loves Pink Floyd. I thought maybe we could end the episode on something more uplifting, like all the way to the moon. The Capstone spacecraft has officially reached orbit around the moon, making it the first and only CubeSat to adopt a stable orbit around La Luna. The journey was a long one, starting with a successful launch on an electron rocket from Rocket Lab lifting off from New Zealand. Capstone then spent the next five months taking the long way around to arrive at the moon using a ballistic lunar transfer technique that leverages the gravity of the sun.

[00:41:40.740] - Chris Fancy.

[00:41:41.890] - Ned The goal was to minimize the needed propellant and also improve the theoretical technique developed by engineers at NASA. Why did they have to save on propellant? That’s because the CubeSat itself is an adorable twelve U system weighing in at a mere 25 kg. Imagine a really small mini fridge, or maybe a larger size microwave and you’re in the right ballpark. Seriously, this thing is adorable. The little spacecraft that could slipped easily into its orbit around our biggest satellite using a mere 44 newtons of thrust to execute the maneuver. The successful placement of the Capstone spacecraft paves the way for NASA’s much bigger plan of a small space station orbiting the moon called the Lunar Gateway. No fun acronym. Capstone will continue to orbit the moon for at least the next six months, possibly twelve, while it gathers information and tests its autonomous spacecraft to spacecraft navigation service, removing the need to phone home to Earth for positioning data. The system is called the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System, or Caps, which is the first half of the spacecraft’s name. The other half technology operations and navigation experiment. You gotta love a good acronym. Congratulations to the teams at NASA advanced Space and Rocket labs.

[00:43:07.150] - Ned We may escape this hellish prison yet.

[00:43:10.310] - Chris Rocket labs, of course. Completely unaffiliated with rocket league, unfortunately.

[00:43:14.940] - Ned I would like to see them do something together. It’d be amazing. Hey, thanks for listening. Or something. I guess you found it worthwhile enough if you made it all the way to the end. So congratulations to you, friend. You accomplished something today. Now you can go build a spacecraft using instructions from your dreams. Travel to distant galaxies using a temporal bubble, and realize that the journey itself was the reward. You’ve earned it. You can find me or Chris on Twitter at ned 1313 and at heiner 80, respectively. Or follow the show at Chaos underscore Lever if that’s the kind of thing you’re into. Show notes are available@chaosliver.com if you like reading things which you should not. Podcasts continue to be better in every conceivable way. We’ll be back next week to see what fresh hell is upon us. Tata for now, what makes me think of the undertale, which is a great game every go play.

[00:44:08.400] - Chris It’s more fun.

[00:44:09.870] - Ned Okay, good. Fine.

[00:44:12.300] - Chris Great.

[00:44:13.000] - Ned Wonderful.

[00:44:13.780] - Chris Did you hit stop yet? No.


Chris Hayner

Chris Hayner (He/Him)

Our story starts with a young Chris growing up in the agrarian community of Central New Jersey. Son of an eccentric sheep herder, Chris’ early life was that of toil and misery. When he wasn’t pressing cheese for his father’s failing upscale Fromage emporium, he languished on a meager diet of Dinty Moore and boiled socks. His teenage years introduced new wrinkles in an already beleaguered existence with the arrival of an Atari 2600. While at first it seemed a blessed distraction from milking ornery sheep, Chris fell victim to an obsession with achieving the perfect Pitfall game. Hours spent in the grips of Indiana Jones-esque adventure warped poor Chris’ mind and brought him to the maw of madness. It was at that moment he met our hero, Ned Bellavance, who shepherded him along a path of freedom out of his feverish, vine-filled hellscape. To this day Chris is haunted by visions of alligator jaws snapping shut, but with the help of Ned, he freed himself from the confines of Atari obsession to become a somewhat productive member of society. You can find Chris at coin operated laundromats, lecturing ironing boards for being itinerant. And as the cohost on the Chaos Lever podcast.

Ned Bellavance

Ned Bellavance (He/Him)

Ned is an industry veteran with piercing blue eyes, an indomitable spirit, and the thick hair of someone half his age. He is the founder and sole employee of the ludicrously successful Ned in the Cloud LLC, which has rocked the tech world with its meteoric rise in power and prestige. You can find Ned and his company at the most lavish and exclusive tech events, or at least in theory you could, since you wouldn’t actually be allowed into such hallowed circles. When Ned isn’t sailing on his 500 ft. yacht with Sir Richard Branson or volunteering at a local youth steeplechase charity, you can find him doing charity work of another kind, cohosting the Chaos Lever podcast with Chris Hayner. Really, he’s doing Chris a huge favor by even showing up. You should feel grateful Chris. Oaths of fealty, acts of contrition, and tokens of appreciation may be sent via carrier pigeon to his palatial estate on the Isle of Man.