Economics/Class Relations

Microsoft’s staff-rating system


September 10, 2023 •
with Matt Turner
Hi, I’m Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Today’s Sunday edition, a roundup of some of our top stories.
On the agenda today:
But first: Even the second-biggest cable company in the US thinks cable TV sucks.


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Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter Communications’ John Malone. RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images, REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Cable chaos

Sat in our New York office last week, my colleagues and I tried to tune the TV on the wall to show the US Open Tennis Championships.


We met a blank screen with a message from Charter, saying Disney had removed its programming.


The two communications giants are locked in an ugly battle over carriage fees, or the payments Charter sends to Disney so that its subscribers can access channels such as ESPN.


Disney is upping the amount it expects per Charter subscriber, and Charter is refusing to meet Disney’s demands. Cue blackouts for millions of subscribers.


While disputes over carriage fees aren’t uncommon, this one arrives at a time of real disruption in the cable and streaming ecosystem.


Charter says cable TV is broken and that cable customers are being asked to pay more and more for a product that’s getting worse and worse. It says it’s willing to walk away from the business entirely.


It may be a negotiating tactic, but it reveals that even America’s second-biggest cable company thinks cable TV sucks.


How this plays out has huge implications for Disney, for media companies including NBCU and Warner Bros. Discovery, for sports rights, and for the billionaires investing in sports teams.

Wondering who wins? Tech giants such as Apple and Amazon.

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Chelsea Jia Feng/Insider
This week’s top reads
Gen Z is out on college
Gen Z has been quick to upend traditions, and it’s looking to buck another trend: going to college.


Tuition prices are rising, but starting salaries aren’t keeping up, so Gen Zers aren’t seeing the value in getting a degree. Four million fewer people enrolled at a college in 2022 than in 2012.


Meanwhile, the Gen Zers that are attending college approach it differently from their predecessors. Students are focused on using college for one thing: getting a good job.


How Gen Z is rethinking college

Satya Nadella, Microsoft chief executive officer. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Microsoft’s employee-rating system
Microsoft’s new rating system for performance reviews determines whether employees get raises or bonuses — and managers were instructed not to share it with employees.


Insider viewed a copy of the new rubric, titled “benchmark guidance for determining impact.”


Employees are set to be grouped into one of four categories:

  • “Lower impact than expected (LITE).”
  • “Slightly lower impact than expected (SLITE).”
  • “Successful impact.”
  • “Exceptional impact.”

Check out what each of these ratings means here.

Arantza Pena Popo/Insider
Calibrate’s conundrum
A weight-loss startup has struggled to get patients the buzzy drugs they want.


Calibrate grew to serve tens of thousands of members and got big-name backers in three years. Investors such as Tiger Global, Founders Fund, and Optum Ventures poured more than $160 million into the startup.


But Calibrate is facing a mountain of complaints and refunds, with drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy in short supply and too few employees to help frustrated patients. The company has cut 250 workers in two rounds of layoffs.


Insider spoke with 19 current and former employees and reviewed hundreds of verified member complaints to understand Calibrate’s challenges.


More on the struggles at Calibrate

Also read:

Tyler Le/Insider
YIMBYs are coming
 The “yes in my backyard” — or YIMBY — idea isn’t new. But it’s gaining a lot of momentum. At the crux of this movement is the belief that building more homes is the key to improving access and ensuring an affordable cost of living.

YIMBYs have also notched some crucial victories in the past couple of years, including electing pro-housing lawmakers at every level and pushing them to pass YIMBY policies.


Just look at California. The state effectively banned single-family zoning and more than quadrupled the number of approved accessory dwelling units within a handful of years.


Dive into the growing movement here.


This week’s quote
“It was an extraordinary time, both euphoric and truly miserable. I came away from it with memories, mud on my face, and a question: At what point does the spectacle stop being worth the cost?” 
— Insider’s Rob Price writing about Burning Man, which he says was even wilder than you’ve heard.



More of this week’s top reads:
  • Y Combinator’s Demo Day used to be the hottest in-person early-stage event in Silicon Valley. But now VCs say many of the top startups raise beforehand.
  • Check out 17 affordable US cities attracting real-estate investors and developers for rent increases, price appreciation, jobs growth, and lower taxes.
  • See the latest RTO policies at the biggest financial firms, such as JPMorgan, Blackstone, and Citadel.
  • Internal documents revealed tension between Amazon and Shopify as they worked on a new partnership.
  • Russia is imposing increasing costs for corporate breakups by foreign banks — it’s now demanding they unfreeze Russian assets if they want to exit the market.
  • Meet the typical remote worker, who makes good money, runs errands during the day, and will take a pay cut to avoid RTO.



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The Insider Today team

Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.

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