This Week in Tech: First Week of Fall Edition

We made it through the first full week of fall – those of us in SF have pulled our puffy vests and Patagonias from storage to brave those cold 60 degree days. Here’s some of what we’ve been reading while nursing our Pumpkin Spice Lattes:

Opening the black box marketplace

On Wednesday, a group of ad tech firms, publishers and agencies rallied for more visibility in how money is spent in the online ad supply chain. Calling for industry standards, the 16 companies want to promote online advertising beyond Google and Facebook, which federal and state agencies are investigating for anticompetitive behavior.

The group wands digital ad platforms to open their murky marketplaces, sharing fees and other information. According to eMarketer, the cost of digital ad fraud this year is projected to be $5.8 billion.
“We’re trying to create new terms of trade to modernize the business. Seeing where every dollar goes – that doesn’t exist today,” Joe Zawadzki, CEO of MediaMath told The New York Times.

Hard times at WeWork

Watered down mouthwash and limited cold brew. Such are the indignities that WeWorkers face in the wake of the company’s downward spiral. Oh, and they might lose their jobs. In an all-hands meeting earlier this week, executives tried to reassured employees of the strength of the company’s business model (despite reports to the contrary), but made it clear that layoffs were happening soon.

According to some reports, the company’s recently appointed co-CEOs said “all departments were being ‘evaluated,’” and as much as 25 percent of the company’s 12,500 employees could be let go. It’s been a rough few weeks for the formerly high-flying (and highly valued) office rental company, which had been set for a momentous IPO until revelations in its S-1 put it under scrutiny. Whether WeWork – a key investment in Softbank’s storied Vison Fund – will find a new path forward or find itself a poster child for failed unicorns remains to be seen, but it is clear that the employees upon which the company was built will be the ones facing the most difficult times.

Tesla boosts autonomous driving creds

This week, Tesla announced it had closed an acquisition of DeepScale, which uses artificial intelligence to help a vehicle’s autonomous driving capabilities better “see” what’s around it. According to Fortune, DeepScale is Tesla’s largest acquisition to date, and pundits are speculating on where Tesla may deploy DeepScale’s technology but most assume it will be incorporated into Tesla’s Autopilot.

Related pro tip

So, you’ve made your way through a crisis. Now what? Check out our blog post on post-crisis tips for measuring the calm after the storm.

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