It’s no fun being a Big Tech executive nowadays. Not only do they have antitrust regulators breathing down their necks, now investors are beginning to complain about their spending! Today, for instance, Altimeter Capital’s Brad Gerstner published an open letter to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling for him to reduce staffing by at least 20%, among other cost-cuts. Meta, he says, “has drifted into the land of excess…too many people, too many ideas, too little urgency.” Ouch.
Gerstner wasn’t only talking about Meta. He claimed that “it is a poorly kept secret in Silicon Valley” that other tech companies—he specifically mentions Google, Twitter and Uber—could generate as much revenue as they do now with far fewer people. That’s a critique we’ve become used to hearing about money-losing tech companies lately (and for that matter, about Uber and Twitter, which are both are either cutting back or soon will be). But it’s not something we’ve heard critics say quite so openly about cash-rich tech companies like Google and Meta. It’s a sign of just how much the economic downturn is fundamentally changing perceptions about tech.