Welcome back! We’re changing things up as we close out the year. This week, some of Insider’s tech editors are sharing five of their top stories of 2021. We’ll be back in regular action next week. Until then…
Hello! I’m Alistair Barr, deputy tech editor overseeing Big Tech company coverage at Insider. We have an unofficial goal on this team and I am about to reveal it exclusively. Drum roll please…
“End each year with stories you’re so proud of, you’ll want to show them to your mom.”
Any parent or guardian works. The point is to pursue ambitious work that engages everyone. So to the parents of reporters Caroline Haskins, Tom Dotan, Eugene Kim, Kali Hays, Diamond Naga Siu, Hugh Langley, and Katherine Long: I hope you’re impressed by the 2021 articles below and many other pieces I don’t have space to include.
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In this July 8, 2019, file photo, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif.
Gregory Bull/File via AP
1. Remember that giant JEDI cloud contract where Microsoft, Amazon and other tech giants jousted to win lucrative US government work? There’s a new one now, and this time it’s for US Customs and Border Protection and involves sensitive surveillance data. Here are all the Big Tech companies that were in a “frenzy” this year to get in on the RAVEn action.
2. Amazon is now the second largest employer in the US, so what is it really like to work there? We spent most of 2021 investigating how the internet giant identifies struggling employees and tries to improve their performance. See the main findings from our probe of Amazon’s controversial HR machinery.
3. During the pandemic lockdown, I bet you tried a delivery app or two. A new provider seemed to emerge every week. One of the fastest-growing “ultrafast” delivery companies is Gopuff — but so much speed can sometimes be a bad thing, as we discovered when we dug into the company’s chaotic operations.
4. The holidays are a time for reflection, and also a moment to take all that pent up work frustration and channel it into finding a new job. The tech industry offers some of the most exciting, challenging, and, yes, well-paid work out there. Check out what Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many other tech companies pay.
5. Google is arguably the world’s leading purveyor of artificial intelligence technology, and much of that know-how comes from a company it acquired in 2014. We investigated DeepMind for several months and found that all is not well inside the UK-based division. Why DeepMind secretly plotted to separate itself from Google.
Written by Alistair Barr. Follow Alistair on Twitter @alistairmbarr or email him at [email protected]. Edited by Jordan Parker Erb.