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A history of the tech worker uprising

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Tech-sector workers have enormous market-power: companies find it easier to raise cash than to use it to hire qualified developers. Almost every business -- not just Big Tech -- is bidding on tech talent. People mock Google's "Don't Be Evil" motto, but when you're courting workers who have their pick of employers, offering a chance to do meaningful, ethical work is a huge differentiator that can mean the difference of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. The poorly understood corollary of this is that whenever Google contemplates something evil, those same developers walk off the job, and those potential millions leave with them. Google's leadership knows this, and while it doesn't prevent them from doing evil, it does change the internal calculations when evil is on the table: when evil costs you something, it needs a much bigger upside before it is profitable enough to pursue. Every tech company has its own version of "don't be evil" (Facebook's is "bring the world closer together"). Even if the corporate leadership pays lip service to this motto, the all-important workforce sometimes takes it to heart. Ever since big tech's leaders attended a meeting at Trump tower with a newly elected fascist who wanted to deport huge slices of their workforce and use big data to create concentration camps, big tech's workforce has been up in arms, founding groups like the Tech Workers Coalition and connecting their work to the problems in the world around them. From Microsoft to Google to Salesforce to Amazon and beyond, the tech industry's workforce has become a pitiless and unstoppable force against big tech itself. Read the rest

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