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Up first: I just returned to New York after a few days in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. It was intense and informative, packed with meetings with business leaders and government ministers from around the world. I also moderated a panel about the industrial metaverse.
I posted a few videos and notes on LinkedIn, if you want a behind-the-scenes look at the meeting. I’ve also written a short dispatch about my takeaways below.
More than 1,500 business leaders descended on Davos in the Swiss Alps last week. I was there to take it all in. After meetings with senior figures in business and government, plus panel discussions and dinner conversations, here are my tweet-length takeaways:
Sustainability: Climate change, sustainability, and the energy transition were front of mind. There’s consensus on what needs to happen. But the “how” is still a work in progress.
AI: The viral popularity of ChatGPT has moved AI to the mainstream. Many marveled at the potential, some expressed concern over the risks, and Microsoft rivals gritted their teeth whenever the buzz came up.
And layoff news percolated throughout the industry the rest of the week. On Wednesday, Insider’s Kali Hays reported that Twitter is bracing for more layoffs, and Alphabet on Friday announced 12,000 job cuts at Google.
Then, of course, there’s Amazon, which kicked off its largest job cuts in company history on Wednesday, affecting a whopping 18,000 people. Upon hearing the news, many staffers went to Slack to cobble together what was going on and which teams would be impacted the most. Insider obtained a list of more than 35 Amazon teams that were affected.
Charlie Javice became a superstar in the world of finance when she was barely out of high school. But it all came crashing down — less than a year after selling her financial-aid startup, Frank, to JPMorgan for $175 million.
JPMorgan has slapped the 30-year-old entrepreneur with a massive lawsuit, claiming she defrauded investors by lying about the number of users on her service. In 2021, she claimed 4.25 million people were using Frank; in reality, it never had more than about 250,000 users. An Insider investigation reveals that Javice had a history of exaggerating her accomplishments.
We just got the most convincing evidence yet that the four-day workweek is a positive change for employees. Thirty-three companies took part in a six-month trial of the policy — and all reported increased revenue and an improvement in employee well-being.
There were some other really interesting takeaways, like how small companies saw huge gains. One startup doubled its gross profits and productivity doubled over the trial period.
The US technically hit its debt ceiling this past week — and failing to raise it by summer could imperil the entire financial system. Trouble is, the new GOP House majority is using the debt limit as leverage to push through their policy priorities, like cutting spending on Democratic favorites like Social Security and Medicare.
This has happened before. Republicans averted a debt crisis three times under former President Trump, and again two years ago. But with a Democratic White House, the GOP is playing hardball.