Techworkers are powerful. In recent months they’ve forced change on harassment, discrimination, election interference and countless other shady business practices inside the world’s richest companies. When they speak, CEOs panic.
And yet. Most tech reporting is still focused on end users (TECH IS EVIL!) or the CEO/investor class (MOVE FAST! BREAK THINGS!) while ignoring the tens of millions of workers around the world who know the real, messy truth: Tech is complicated. And it’s made of people.
From the senior engineer at Facebook to the Amazon warehouse contractor, TECHWORKER‘s mission is to tell the stories of the people toiling to deliver on Silicon Valley’s promises, for good or ill.
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Join your comrades in the most powerful workforce on earth to encourage change and hold companies accountable. We’re publishing original reporting, powerful advice, and are working on resources for whistleblowers and more! We have a few options available to show your support as we build Techworker together.
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Who We Are
A message from founder Paul Bradley Carr
The past year has been rough for the world’s most powerful tech CEOs and investors.
Privacy, election interference, harassment, diversity, gig worker pay and benefits, ICE and DOD contracts… the new masters of the universe have suddenly found themselves being held to account for a dizzying array of indefensible policies and ethical scandals.
But this revolution isn’t being led by lawmakers, or activists, or journalists. It driven by their own workers.
Whether through organized walkouts, or lawsuits, or whistleblowing blog posts, or tumultuous all-hands meetings, tech workers are standing up and speaking out. And when tech workers speak, their CEOs panic.
As someone who has covered the tech industry for twenty years, I watched this reckoning-from-within with a mixture of excitement and frustration.
Excitement at seeing the bravery of these workers calling out their insanely powerful bosses, despite fear of retaliation… and then watching the bosses backtrack or back down.
But frustration that my own “former” industry – media – isn’t doing enough to amplify their efforts, and voices. While the real story of the tech industry is being written – and rewritten – by this new generation of workers, too much reporting is still aimed at either the end users or the CEO/investor class. Perhaps for that reason, so much journalism about Silicon Valley falls into one of two neat storylines: Tech is evil or greed is good.
From the senior engineer at Facebook to the Amazon warehouse contractor… Tech, as any worker will tell you, is complicated. And it’s made of people.
So why isn’t there isn’t there a publication dedicated entirely to tech workers? (Or, frankly, why aren’t there several?)
I couldn’t help myself. As each day brought forward a new story about tech workers taking on their own industry, I started to imagine what such a publication might look like.
In the few snatches of downtime I had away from NeedHop, I spoke to some of those whistleblowers and protest organizers, to those plaintiffs and to those who had quit their jobs in protest. But I also spoke to plenty of workers who felt that much of the existing coverage of tech workers was too focused on the negatives. Sure there were big problems, but the tech industry was also building the goddamned future.
A publication for tech workers, everyone seemed to agree, should cover the industry in all its messiness. The good and the bad. It would be first and foremost a journalistic enterprise: Sources would be aggressively protected, stories pursued relentlessly and baseless legal threats from angry tech billionaires given short shrift. It would be reader funded with no external investors to influence coverage. It would feature reporting from experienced journalists and also provide a platform for workers to tell their own stories. It would have a sense of humor, and probably t-shirts.
Important and exciting as the idea seemed, and wide as the market hole clearly was, did I mention I have a day job building NeedHop? I barely have the bandwidth to think about the work of starting and running a blog, let alone doing it.
So next I called my friend and ex-Pando colleague Dan Raile. Dan, as Pando readers will know, is an amazing reporter and also a fantastic editor. More importantly he hasn’t lost any of his hunger for journalism and taking on the tech elites. He is, in other words, is exactly the person who should be editor of such a site.
Dan said he’d love to do it.
The next challenge was money. I have a little – maybe enough to pay some pre-launch contributors and a hosting bill or two. But definitely not enough to build a full-blown media property (at NSFWCORP we spent maybe 25% of our early funding on tech and design). So that was the end of that. Even if I didn’t have a full-time day job, I’m never going to raise another dime of venture capital for a media company ever again.
But then I read about the launch of Defector, the new independent sports blog from the former writers and editors of Deadspin. After quitting G/O media en masse (another great tech worker story!), the team had partnered with an agency in New York called Lede who had agreed to design and build them a fully-fledged website in return for a small cut of their revenue.
Mostly on a whim, I emailed Lede’s CEO Austin Smith and asked if he might be interested in helping build a site for tech workers. A half hour later he replied with a resounding yes.
And so we launched Techworker.com, an independent, reader-supported site for, about, and by the most powerful workforce on earth.
Along with a full list of contributors and advisers, the page also includes the option to become a founding supporter. Techworker is 100% reader funded so it needs your help to pay contributors, develop the site and (inevitably) cover legal bills. In return you’ll have full access to every article, plus a host of fun/exclusive supporter-only perks.
Again, there’s no venture capital money here – no trust funds or shady government backers. Techworker will live or die on reader contributions. It may be the shortest lived project I’ve ever been involved in.
Either way, I’m really excited that what started out as an idea, then became a passion project, is now a reality.
Welcome to Techworker.