Just as your music, social and entertainment streaming platform can tell you how your year turned out, Technical.ly’s readership can tell us a lot about the impressive things that happened this year.
The local tech scene often mirrors what’s happening nationally and even globally. In 2020, you read a lot about product pivots, remote work, and company culture amid a pandemic. 2021 was about operating in a new environment and innovating for this new time (in some cases, while raising tons of venture capital). And, well, 2022 was about embracing that the only constant to expect is change.
Broad tech and entrepreneurship trends this year included shakeups for Big Tech, an uncertain VC landscape and lots of layoffs. Large companies followed with strict plans for returning to the office, or opened new physical offices for employees. You all also really loved our Realist series celebrating the growing community: Realist Startups and Realist Engineers both ranked in the Top 10 Most Reads of 2022.
What caught your attention this year? Let’s jump in
Philly’s top three Techncial.ly stories this year focused on the giant Gopf meeting an immediate need. After years of quick, massive fundraising and what seemed like endless hiring, the impending economic downturn showed its face at the Carrowhill-based company’s operations. Our first big story of the year looked at the company’s first layoffs, raising questions about what this means for them ahead of a slated IPO this year.
The company laid off again in July and October (this time, 10% of the company). A July memo from its co-founders noted that the industry with immediate needs was at an “inflection point,” and that Gopf’s layoffs were part of a strategy toward “improving operational efficiencies” as it focused on profitability, per Co-CEOs Rafael Ilshayev and Yakir Gola.
The company is one of the few big tech companies that have gone through layoffs this year. In the fall, Microsoft laid off nearly 1,000 employees, and Meta instituted a hiring freeze. Snap Inc., the maker of Snapchat, also announced a 20% reduction in workforce this year, which accounts for about 1,200 employees. And well, Twitter continues to bleed off employees under new owner Elon Musk.
DuckDuckGo lowers Russia misinformation ranking
In March, near the start of the war between Ukraine and Russia, the Paoli-headquartered, privacy-focused Internet browser DuckDuckGo announced on Twitter that the company would “down-rank sites linked to Russian disinformation.” Misinfo was playing a large role in the war, as disinformation experts saw an effort by Russian leaders and state-backed media to “push a false narrative about the reasons for invading Ukraine”, according to an NBC News report at the time. was mentioned in the article.
Our story outlining the swift, mixed reactions to DuckDuckGo’s move was one of Technical.ly’s best-read stories this year.
The local company said it continues to place news modules and information boxes at the top of its search results that highlight “quality information” to quickly surface topics: “It’s not censorship, it’s just search ranking.” DuckDuckGo is not censoring the results,” a spokesperson said at the time. “We’re simply using the fact that these sites engage in active misinformation campaigns as a ranking signal that the content they produce is of low quality, just like spammy sites and other low-quality content.” There are signs.”
Comcast returns to the office
Among the most read articles this year were a series of articles about Comcast’s decision to allow its employees to return to the office at least three days a week. The announcement coincided with the change in location in early August, right after Labor Day.
“A big part of our culture is working together. “Innovation thrives when teammates are able to spontaneously brainstorm and share ideas,” Dave Watson, Comcast Cable’s president and CEO, wrote in a memo to employees the first week of August. come together to debate ideas.”
About a month after the decision was announced, we checked in with technologists at the telecom giant about how the policy change affected their work experience. In September, some said they didn’t mind office work, but were worried about losing potential members of their team or struggling to recruit talent in the future. Two outright said they would look for other jobs. By October, a source confirmed to Technical.ly that he had left the company for a remote job that paid higher, and another switched teams and was “designated virtual home”. The Office based.”
Penn’s new president
Earlier this year, the University of Pennsylvania named its new president to replace Amy Gutman, its longest-serving president. M. Elizabeth Magill, an attorney and administrative and constitutional law academic, succeeded Gutman on July 1 in leading one of the most influential universities in the region and the country.
It goes to show: Penn’s shadow looms large over Philadelphia, including over the tech scene.
Capital One’s New Center City Office
This summer, Capital One began developing a 22,000-square-foot Center City space as a downtown hub for up-and-coming tech talent. The company was enhancing its consumer fintech offerings with projects related to the “everyday banking experience” and was hiring at least 100 technical workers to do so.
Jay Michelini, senior director of technology at Capital One, told Technical.ly that the strategy is to “meet them where they are” in a flexible, downtown space. The hub, scheduled to take up an entire floor at 1735 Market St. in the second quarter of 2023, will be home to engineering and product talent. We’ll be watching to see how the space and culture evolve.
West Philly High Chromebook Repair Shop
In the halls of West Philadelphia High School, a section of students reign supreme over TikTok. The school is one of three in the district that has a computer systems networking program as part of its Career and Technical Education, or CTE. In grades 10 through 12, students learn the design, implementation, and management of connected computers, peripherals, and related software, and become comfortable with the tools.
Think of it like a Genius Bar or Best Buy’s Geek Squad: The class serves computers within its school system, but also computers throughout the district. One of the juniors at the time even ran a TikTok account that taught basic Chromebook repair and maintenance so viewers could try troubleshooting on their own.
Since then, Technical.ly reporter Sarah Huffman has written much about STEM education in the School District of Philadelphia, covering dos and don’ts from kindergarten robotics to professional development for teachers to corporate-school partnerships Huh.
Comcast Control Center Tour
In August, we had digital infrastructure as a reporting theme, and I headed to the Comcast headend—one of 11 Philly-based control centers for Internet and cable—for a tour. The 4,500-square-foot facility houses machines that provide power cable and internet to thousands of customers in the surrounding area and serves as an office space for those stationed in the area. I learned what the Internet looks, feels, and sounds like behind the scenes, and examined the hardware running the largest Philly Internet Service Provider.
What did we learn there? You also want to know what powers your everyday technology.
What’s next for Technic.ly? More of all of the above (well, not layoffs or misinformation, we hope), plus a new slate of editorial calendar themes for 2023. See you later.