Hey, reader. How’s it going? I’m Diamond Naga Siu, and I’m back to reality after a data reporting bootcamp in Missouri. Big thanks to Dave Smith’s guest appearance + my editors Matt Weinberger and Jake Swearingen for filling in while I was out learning.
Although I haven’t found a place to live in San Diego yet, I will say this much: I want the light-up Twitter bird as a housewarming gift (it’s only $22,500!). The HQ auction started on Tuesday, and it’s one of many strategies Chief Twit Elon Musk appears to be using to raise money.
It’s likely part of a race to the end of January — when his first interest payment is reportedly due. Musk borrowed more than $13 billion to buy Twitter. And if he doesn’t make that first repayment, the whole company might have to file for bankruptcy.
Now, let’s dive into today’s tech news.
1. $44 billion for Twitter — going once, going twice, sold. Jk, Musk already bought it. But a 6-ft. @ symbol, office chairs, a pizza oven, and more remain on sale from the Twitter San Francisco headquarters.
- The online auction runs until 10 a.m. PT on Wednesday, January 18. Although an auction house representative has previously denied that the sale was a way for Twitter to recoup its losses, every cent seems to matter for Musk.
- Musk is also reportedly considering auctioning off dormant Twitter handles and has already slashed fertility benefits — the same ones he used to conceive most of his 10 known children. Most funkily, however, Musk allegedly cut facilities maintenance staff in the New York offices, resulting in what staff described as a smelly, cockroach-infested workplace.
- Multiple big-dollar items already have bids above $10,000, including a semi-automatic espresso machine and the light-up Twitter logo.
In other news:
2. Hinge is eyeing highly motivated singles. The dating app is testing a new subscription model for “highly motivated daters.” For what could cost $50-$60 per month — as much as $720 per year — users can get more tailored matches and have their likes appear faster than non-premium suiters. Read on if you’re keen to find love.
3. Microsoft layoffs, Part II. The company’s hiring freeze was extended. Offers are getting slashed as much as 30%. And employees are bracing for more layoffs. This is the bleak outlook that a Microsoft insider painted to my colleague Ashley Stewart.
4. Tweetbot is the final straw for some Twitter users. Twitter blocked popular third-party tools like Tweetbot and Twitterrific from functioning on the social media platform. One rage-quitting user said he does not want to be “subject to the whims of a man-child CEO.” More from the angry Twitter users here.
5. Literal billions to solve climate change. Investors have tens of billions of dollars to throw at climate change. They have their eyes on green solutions like how to reduce the impacts of commercial shipping. These are the other climate solutions investors are keen to shower money on.
6. Can the four-day work week help companies? More than 30 companies across six countries participated in the largest four-day work week experiment yet. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Employee happiness blossomed, revenue grew, and productivity boomed. Editors, please read this. If you’re not my editors, you can also read it here.
7. Amazon Prime is past its prime. 2022 was the first year that Amazon Prime US memberships went down, according to new data. These investments suggest that the company’s massive investments in video streaming to attract new subscribers aren’t paying off. More on the dwindling membership numbers here.
8. Zillennials (hi, it’s me) are the hottest demographic. We grew up online. Many still live with their parents. And we have tons of disposable income. This is why marketers are coming for people born from 1990 to 2000.
Odds and ends:
9. Corvette, Corvette, hop in an electric jet by jet. Welcome aboard the first-ever electric corvette. Insider’s car maven Tim Levin got an early ride in this all-wheel drive, which hits 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and boasts 655 horsepower. Get behind the wheel with us here.
10. Russia wants to buy China’s aircraft carrier. Russia’s singular aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is in really bad shape. Instead of fixing it, the country wants to buy back a carrier that it sold to China 25 years ago. Let’s wade behind-the-scenes of this ‘shady’ ship deal.
What we’re watching today:
- The first week of the Aussie Open continues today.
- The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland continues for the third day.
- The Sundance Film Festival returns in-person today.
- Netflix Q4 earnings call today. Keep up with other earnings here.
Curated by Diamond Naga Siu in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @diamondnagasiu) Edited by Matt Weinberger (tweet @gamoid) in San Francisco and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.