Hi, welcome to your Weekend!

When you’re a tech company, life comes at you fast. Just last year around this time, things were looking mighty flush for both big firms and smaller startups. Evidence for this can be found in the sizable number of brands that splurged on multimillion-dollar Super Bowl ads in 2022: 18 of them, by our count.

Now, can you guess how many of these same companies laid off employees over the ensuing twelve months? The graphic below has your answer: Almost all of them.

As Arielle writes in this week’s revelatory cover story, the quarter of a million people who have lost their jobs in tech over the past year are now faced with a colossal decision: Should they leap at the next good job offered by a tech company? Or take their talents to another industry—hopefully one that won’t squander money on things like Super Bowl commercials.

Arielle calls what’s going on the Great Re-Sorting, and its outcome could determine who wins and who loses over the next decade. There are a lot of lessons here for those inclined to hear them. But the first one may be the truest: Beware the Super Bowl Curse. 

Now onto this weekend’s stories…

Where have all the sacked tech workers gone? As Arielle finds out from speaking with more than 30 of them, many have already landed new, high-paying jobs. But others are still licking their wounds, riding out severance packages and weighing their options. For the most part, these employees fall into one of two camps: those who view the job loss as a personal trauma and those who see the layoffs as liberation: “the best vacation I’ve ever had,” as one of the latter camp put it.

The former marketing exec at Netflix, Uber and Apple has had a charmed career while coping with unspeakable personal loss. She tells both sides of her story in a new memoir, “The Urgent Life: My Story of Love, Loss, and Survival.” Annie chatted with Saint John about her next steps (A pivot to sports? Another book?), grappling with grief and what the entertainment industry still gets wrong.  

While big tech has claimed an ever-larger slice of the Big Apple over the last several years, the city’s venture capitalists have carved up a smaller footprint centered on a mile radius around Union Square. And as VCs have sought square footage here, 817 Broadway has become a blinking-red beacon. Abe tours New York VC’s new It address. 

After the 2017 massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, Blake Resnick, then 17, became obsessed with how technology could have assisted first responders in his hometown. It led him to found Brinc Drones, which come equipped with a camera and a two-way audio system for police to survey active crime scenes. Margaux recounts Resnick’s rise, including a $25 million fundraise from Index Ventures, Sam Altman and Elad Gil.

Listening: A catfishing scam to dupe them all 
Like all good romance scams, the one detailed in the new CBC and BBC true-crime podcast, “Love, Janessa,” started off sweetly. “It was perfectly innocuous,” recalled one potential mark named Simon, “until she asked for a dick pic.” Luckily for Simon, he didn’t end up sharing anything compromising, allowing him to narrowly avoid being sucked into possibly the largest online romance scam ever. The swindle, which began around 2018, hoovered up millions of dollars through thousands of social media and dating app accounts posing as the real-life model and porn star Janessa Brazil. The fraudsters would find men online, charm them—sometimes coaxing them into trading nudes—and then bilk them. The ultimate mastermind? Maybe Janessa herself. —Abe

Reading: Boom times for secondhand chairs
Here’s a six-word story about the state of the office: « For sale: Aeron chair, never used. » And at a serious discount, too. Welcome to the secondary market for office furniture, where you can snag a $3,000 sit-stand desk for just $600, and a coveted Herman Miller chair for $500 or less. Vice reporter Maxwell Strachan found that business is booming among used furniture sellers, as companies downsize and offload their duds for free. Re-sellers used to make a living by liquidating entire offices and flipping the furnishings to new companies. Now, they’re mostly courting the WFH crowd, selling furniture piecemeal. The upside: plenty of fancy office furniture available on sites like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. The downside—for sellers—is that their days may be numbered. As one reseller said, there could be “a huge collapse if the whole office industry just shuts down and there’s no furniture left.” —Arielle

Playing: A video game for Gryffindors
It’s a complicated week for Harry Potter fans. On one hand, yesterday marked the long-awaited release of “Hogwarts Legacy,” the open-world video game that’s been in the works since 2018. Fans get to play as a Hogwarts student in the late 1800s—a century before Harry boards the Hogwarts Express—leading a wizarding war against rebellious goblins, chugging butterbeer in Hogsmeade and palling around with Nearly Headless Nick. The game has gotten almost universal praise and is already one of the best-selling titles of the year. But, like anything in the Potter franchise, its magic is complicated by its creator. Development on the game began two years before J.K. Rowling put herself at the center of a culture war as an anti-trans firebrand. Now, Twitch streamers are calling for their fellow gamers to boycott “Hogwarts Legacy,” and the game’s developer, Avalanche, has been forced to walk a shaky line trying to distance the game from the author. —Margaux 

What happens when you replace your marketing team with robots. (Hint: That’s not the Marina District, robots.)

Until next Weekend, thanks for reading.


Weekend Editor, The Information