10 things in tech: Richard Branson is space bound, Instacart’s next CEO, Dodge’s electric muscle car

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.

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1. Billionaire Richard Branson is set to beat Jeff Bezos to space on Sunday. Their launches will differ in three big ways, including that Branson will ride a space plane, not a capsule launched by a rocket – and some say he won’t even reach space. Watch the flight live.

2. Instacart poached Fidji Simo from Facebook to be its next CEO. In August, Simo will take over the role from Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta, who is transitioning into the position of executive chairman of the board. More on that here.

3. Square is building a hardware crypto wallet. The payments firm wants to make bitcoin more mainstream. More on the plans.

5. Trump’s presidency drove a wedge between Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. A new book claims the execs often disagreed over how to tackle Trump’s hate speech and misinformation on the platform. Read more from the book.

5. Dodge is making an electric muscle car that will debut in 2024. Future models will be able to hit 100km/h in as little as two seconds – rivalling the Tesla Model S Plaid, currently the world’s quickest production car. Here’s what we know about the car so far.

6. Uber and Lyft could be avoiding $135 million in Canadian taxes every year. By taking advantage of lax financial disclosure requirements and classifying drivers as contractors, the companies could be skirting millions of dollars worth of taxes. Get the full rundown here.

7. Funding into Chinese startups has peaked. New data indicates that China’s share of global venture funding has been waning. Dealroom’s CEO pointed to a drop in mega-rounds, and geopolitical tensions.

8. A senior Google exec will reportedly work remotely after opposing it for staff. Urs Hölzle is moving to New Zealand to work remotely, a decision that sparked outrage as he had opposed remote work for lower-ranking employees. More on Google’s remote-work drama.

9. Amazon is struggling to get Aetna and other health plans to cover its medical-care service. Securing health-insurance coverage would be a crucial milestone as Amazon Care seeks to expand to more people and companies. Here are the roadblocks it’s facing.

10. Our flow chart explains Amazon’s controversial system for fixing or ousting employees. As part of our investigation into the company’s employee review program, we created a chart that takes you through each step in the process. See our exclusive chart here.


Compiled by Jordan Erb. Tips/comments? Email [email protected] or tweet @JordanParkerErb.

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