Tech salaries aren’t a secret


February 19, 2020

Our colleagues are pretty amazing. If you enjoyed yesterday’s item about the rise of chess streaming, you might like to know that a reader, Steph said she used to play against chess-streamer extraordinaire Alexandra Botez in tournaments around Canada when she was a kid. In fact, Steph is being modest — she competed on the Canadian national chess team. 🇨🇦

Today:

  • Tech workers want you to show them the dough
  • The next wave in real estate goes with the flow
  • An air-travel battle is starting to grow

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Show Us the Money

#KnowYourWorth tries to lift the veil on pay inequity in tech

It may be one of the most awkward questions around the watercooler, but it’s also one of the most important: How much do you make?

More workers are asking, and the tech industry is no exception. The debate popped up again last week thanks to the Twitter hashtag #KnowYourWorth.

It started with a Slack employee

Zac Sweers lit the 🔥 with a tweet: “Pay inequality is a big problem in tech,” he wrote, “especially for underrepresented groups like women and minorities. The best way you can help is by sharing yours. I’ll go first.”

“$205k base, $500k equity over 4 yrs,” he continued, filling in other deets like his education, location, and experience.

The discussion went viral — someone even launched a project on Product Hunt to collect and sort the #KnowYourWorth tweets.

Here’s the trouble: There’s no such thing as perfect data

Some critics said the discussion had a few flaws:

  • First, your “worth” is about more than just your compensation. It’s more like #KnowYourMarketValue.
  • For some people, the exercise looked like men in big cities bragging about the size of their… paychecks.
  • The discussion also focused on software developers and engineers — not, say, the contract workers who support our app economy.

But some info might still be better than no info

Sweers called the conversation a “net positive.” It can help some people, he said — especially if you notice that workers in the same city with the same experience get paid a lot more than you do for the same work.

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Ahoy, Matey

One way for property developers to fight rising sea levels: Make sure it floats

Buoyant bovine farms and flotillas of hotels are part of a new trend in real estate — the floating kind.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a Finnish company reached a deal to build 16 hotels for the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, in Qatar. The floatels will rest in the Persian Gulf.

They may sound odd, but the projects aren’t lost at sea

In fact, they make sense for cities that are already vulnerable to rising waters. Take Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, where 25% of the country is already below sea level.

  • A developer is building a 54k sq.-ft. office building that will float in the city’s harbor. The building will house the climate-focused Global Center on Adaptation.
  • The harbor also has a floating dairy farm that’s home to dozens of seaworthy cows.

Oil rigs have already proven that it’s possible for humans to build huge structures that withstand the aquatic elements.

The biggest question still bobbing on the surface appears to be regulation, and how local governments will shape the rules if their residents want to set sail for good.

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Fights for flights

With the future of global business travel up in the air, it’s fight-for-flight for local airlines

Last week, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines expanded a high-profile partnership that will now allow Alaska customers to take American flights from the West Coast.

Airlines are fighting fiercely for corporate travelers…

And Seattle is the site of the latest high-flying battle

Why? Because Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is both:

  1. Alaska Airlines’ HQ, and
  2. A huge hub for high-flying employees of Amazon and Microsoft, which are both also headquartered in the area

American and Alaska also announced a new direct flight to Bangalore, India — a growing hub in the global tech travelscape (that also happens to be one of Amazon’s biggest business travel destinations).

But by connecting air passengers from 70+ US cities to India’s booming tech scene, American and Alaska hope to cement Seattle’s position as an important link in the chain of global tech business travel.

And Alaska’s also picking a flight with Delta

Delta, Alaska’s largest competitor at SEA, grew its capacity in Seattle by almost 50% between 2014 and 2018, while Alaska only expanded 41% in the 5 years preceding 2019.

And last year, Delta bought a 20% stake in American Airlines’ partner airline LATAM, putting even more pressure on Alaska to outmaneuver Delta at its home ’port.

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Ink, Inc.

Entrepreneurs are rethinking ink, and medical tattoos may become a big business

A growing number of people are turning to tattoos to address cosmetic medical issues, The New York Times reports.

It’s called ‘paramedical tattooing’

And it’s becoming an increasingly common procedure among people who have undergone surgeries or experienced accidents that changed the appearance of their skin.

Paramedical tattoos can be used to cover up scars, stretch marks, and other skin problems, or even restore some of the appearance of lost body parts — like fingernails or nipples.

In those cases, paramedical tattoos are designed to make people feel more comfortable in their skin.

“You don’t understand until you’ve been through it,” Leslie Pollan, a dog breeder who traveled 6 hours to get a paramedical tattoo to help cover a scar on her face, told the Times. “It really made me have a different outlook on life.”

And entrepreneurs are drawing up big plans for paramedical ink

Feleshia Sams created a line of skin-colored tattoo pigments and a training program called the Academy of Advanced Cosmetics. It’s already attracted more than 100 aspiring medical tattoo providers.

In the US alone, the cosmetic plastic surgery market is a $16.5B+ industry.

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Snippets

🤝 A first for white-collar workers at a major tech company: Employees at Kickstarter voted to unionize.

💵 Cash advances come to Patreon: The platform will give creators money upfront in exchange for some of their future earnings.

☕️ Starbucks and McDonald’s are testing a program in California that will collect, clean, and redistribute plastic coffee cups.

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