Hi, I’m Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a roundup of some of our top stories.
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On the agenda today:
- Things get ugly at Salesforce.
- Buying cars will never go back to normal.
- “Zoomtowns” might actually be a good thing.
- Meet the “nepo babies” of business.
But first: Diamond Naga Siu, the new voice behind our excellent 10 Things in Tech newsletter, is giving us a look at a phenomenon sweeping the internet: ChatGPT. Without further ado…
ChatGPT takes over
ChatGPT, a AI chat bot, has gone viral in the past two weeks.
ChatGPT brings all the techies to the yard, senior reporter Diamond Naga Siu writes.
If you’ve somehow missed the ChatGPT buzz so far, it’s a chatbot equipped with the most advanced example of generative artificial intelligence — a powerful technology that can create original answers to questions and commands.
It’s eerily humanlike and is seen as posing a threat to Google. When one Insider reporter used ChatGPT for their searches, they found it to be scarily impressive.
My colleague Beatrice Nolan even asked the chatbot to write cover letters for real jobs. Hiring managers told her they would likely reach out to the “candidates” for the next round.
You can see how this could end up in academia. NYC schools have already banned the use of ChatGPT. And a Princeton student built a tool that can sniff out if someone used AI to write an essay. No promises this newsletter was written by a human.
There’s big bucks behind the buzz. There are reports that the latest valuation for OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, could be close to $30 billion. Microsoft’s looking astute for having invested $1 billion in the company back in 2019.
Keep up with the latest tech news — sign for our daily newsletter here.
A blow to the Salesforce workforce
Marc Benioff, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce, speaks at an Economic Club of Washington luncheon in Washington, DC, on October 18, 2019
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images
It was a rough week to be a Salesforce employee. On Wednesday the company announced plans to trim about 10% of its jobs. That means roughly 7,000 employees are facing the ax, with 1,000 already out as of this week. It’s also going to close some of its offices.
Making matters worse, things got ugly on Thursday when Salesforce’s co-CEO Marc Benioff dodged questions during a rambling, two-hour all-hands meeting. It was so bad, and employees were so upset, that one executive subsequently apologized and told people who hadn’t seen the meeting to not bother watching it.
Read more about the tense all-hands at Salesforce.
- Salesforce’s massive layoffs are a sign for Silicon Valley that the worst is yet to come.
- It’s not just Salesforce; read about the week from layoffs hell.
‘Zoomtowns’: A good thing?
White-collar workers who moved to cheap locales during the pandemic, turning them into “Zoomtowns,” became a popular point of contention. Many of those towns became emblems of inequality and rural displacement. But a new analysis shows Zoomtowns might actually turn out to be a good thing.
A bipartisan public-policy organization said the shift to remote work may eventually make rent and home prices cheaper for everyone. That’s because many of these cities are best equipped to build cheap housing to help absorb the influx of new people.
Here’s how Zoomtowns can transform the housing market.
- Welcome to America’s ‘Zoomtowns,’ where an invasion of remote workers with big-city paychecks are driving long-time locals into tent cities and homeless shelters.
Buying cars has changed forever
You can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle, and that’s particularly true for the process of buying cars post-2020. Ever since the pandemic began, car dealerships have been keeping fewer vehicles in their lots, even though production is back up.
Executives at Ford and GM say car buyers have adapted — and that behavioral shift might be permanent. Now, customers can order a car online and get it shipped to them directly.
If a carmaker doesn’t have its money tied up in inventory, it can afford to charge a pretty penny for that new Prius. And it doesn’t have to offer incentives, either.
Here’s a closer look at our new car-buying reality.
The ‘nepo babies’ of business
Big business ‘nepo babies’ include (clockwise from top-left): Delphine Arnault, David Lauren, Lachlan Murdoch, Gus Wenner, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.
The term “nepo baby” has exploded ever since New York Magazine put a bunch of famous children of Hollywood stars on its December cover. But the idea of the nepo baby — “nepo” is short for nepotism, in case that wasn’t clear — extends to the world of business, too.
We put together a list of notable nepo babies in business, like Lachlan Murdoch and John Tyson, who were all handed their executives titles.
- Jamie Lee Curtis says ‘nepo baby’ conversation aims to ‘diminish’ and ‘hurt’ relatives of famous people
This week’s quote:
“If you want to look for a new market, you look where big-box companies are moving. Then you buy around all of those areas and where they’re building an airport.”
- Krystie Moore, a 38-year-old who built a real-estate portfolio with her husband worth $19 million
More of this week’s top reads:
- What it’s like to work in party hostels around the world.
- Shopify’s “Chaos Monkey” transforms the company’s internal structure.
- Biotech investor Brad Loncar shares 10 predictions for 2023.
- A couple in their 30s shares 3 reasons why they took $2 million in life insurance.
- I was able to quit my job after building an Airbnb treehouse in my yard.
- 5 places World War III could start in 2023.
- A Tesla required 6 charges in one day due to the cold weather.
Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Dave Smith and Lisa Ryan. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.