Owen Thomas, SF Chronicle

Owen Thomas

SF Chronicle

San Francisco, CA, United States

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Recent articles by Owen:

What should tech companies pay remote workers?

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will “adjust” workers pay if they move from the Bay Area to lower-cost locations. That seems like a good way to lose employees as more companies go remote. → Read More

WeWork and the rise and fall of fauxtech

Take a money-losing company. Label it “tech.” Sell it to a greater fool. WeWork shows that this strategy is over. → Read More

Can Silicon Valley break the IPO?

Google went public 15 years ago. It didn’t change the process of selling company shares to the public. But an investor in the search startup hopes that will change. → Read More

San Francisco, why are you so taxing?

The city, in pursuit of progressive values, has made the San Francisco tax code a misbegotten hodgepodge of financial chicanery. A new CEO tax would make things worse. → Read More

What Uber’s really selling: a ride to the future

Uber’s narrative has always been about the business it might become, not its present reality. Whether investors will buy it is another story. → Read More

Retro is so now. Is 2019's IPO wave a remake or a reboot?

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. Remember back in the 1990s when email was super new and fresh and awesome? Relive those years by subscribing to this here newsletter. Retro fever Time is a flat circle, now is the new then and the 1990s are hotter than ever. I’m reliably informed by Chronicle style correspondent Tony Bravo that the ’90s have been in for a while in the fashion world, but Wall… → Read More

How YouTube became an Internet of Contradictions

YouTube, ruled by algorithms and neglected by Google, has festered for years. The only surprise is how long it took the company to do anything about it. → Read More

Should Facebook and Google pay you a 'data dividend'?

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. Your decision to subscribe to this fine newsletter will surely pay dividends. What are you worth? Gov. Gavin Newsom, the viscidly coiffed ruler of Silicon Valley and its lesser Californian principalities, declared his intention Tuesday in his first State of the State address to tax the money gushers of tech and distribute their wealth to the less digitally… → Read More

For Marc Benioff, it’s all about You.com

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you subscribe, I'll be part of your domain every Wednesday. Marc Benioff's domain As I was leafing through the latest issue of Time, my eyes wandered to the circulation statement, where magazines must disclose their owners. Time changed hands this year, with magazine giant Meredith selling the former Time Inc. flagship to Marc and Lynne Benioff. The owner,… → Read More

Jack Dorsey sought publicity for charitable foundation

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you fill out this subscription form, I’ll regularly disclose my reporting to you. When Jack Dorsey was in a giving mood Last week, I wrote about my search for Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey’s Start Small Foundation. I’ve since learned that Dorsey, too, had been searching — for someone to run it. As I wrote, Dorsey appeared to explore several different… → Read More

Why the app economy won't touch your Christmas tree

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you choose to deck your inbox with gay verbiage, make it this newsletter. Used Christmas tree: There’s not an app for that In an on-demand world, can’t you just push a button and get a Christmas tree? My fellow journalist Kara Swisher’s joke is that San Francisco is “assisted living for Millennials,” though this particular query came from a Boomer colleague. It… → Read More

Tech and SF are stuck with each other

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you don’t already subscribe to the newsletter, let me lead you to the right spot. Tech and SF are stuck with each other The Chronicle gets results! Just last week, as you may recall, I noted that San Francisco’s tech scene lacked a clear leader. I suggested that it might be time for Airbnb’s Brian Chesky to step up and take more of a lead on civic issues. Less… → Read More

Tech in San Francisco needs a leader

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you don’t already subscribe to the newsletter, let me lead you to the right spot. Who speaks for tech? Jack Dorsey started it. On a Friday in mid-October, weeks before San Francisco voters would head to the polls, Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, quote-tweeted Salesforce chief Marc Benioff about his support for Proposition C, a measure that would tax big… → Read More

Sorry, we're closed: Tech companies tighten up, and startups may suffer

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you’re open to it, please access our subscription interface. Sorry, we’re closed We’d all but forgotten about Google Plus when the search company announced Monday that its foray into social networking was kaput. The cause of death? A Wall Street Journal exposé of Google’s efforts to keep secret a flaw that may have exposed tens of dozens — sorry, that’s a bad… → Read More

Startups need women in their boardrooms, too

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you’re not getting this newsletter directly, let’s get you on board. Startups need women in their boardrooms, too On Sunday, California became the first state to require that publicly traded companies headquartered therein have at least one woman on their boards of directors. The new law, known as SB826, may face legal challenges. It’s not clear that California… → Read More

Salesforce chief Marc Benioff on the future of jobs

Marc Benioff is worried - about the environment, about San Francisco's homeless families, about its dirty streets, about the technology industry's "crisis of trust," about whether his software will be used for good or for bad. Everywhere he looks, there's a problem to be solved. But the Salesforce chief is optimistic - that technology can be harnessed to solve these problems, that networking… → Read More

Uber is branching out. Is it more like Amazon or Yahoo?

Having settled a potentially crippling lawsuit and scored a fresh infusion of cash from new backer SoftBank, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi seems to have righted the ship. He now faces a challenge not unlike movie mogul Terry Semel did when he ran Yahoo nearly two decades ago: curbing the urge for corporate sprawl. And it's a challenge he can't blame the last guy for. Uber has announced deals to… → Read More

Why Mark Zuckerberg should step down as Facebook CEO

Nine years ago, I called on Mark Zuckerberg to resign as Facebook's CEO, after a string of internal and external missteps that, as I wrote in Valleywag, "would have led to any normal CEO's firing." Perhaps my timing was off, given the 1.8 billion users and the $450 billion in value Facebook has accrued under Zuckerberg's leadership since then. Fine: Call me an early adopter. But might now be the… → Read More

Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington—here’s what he might say

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has accepted his multiple invitations to speak before Congress about the company's response to the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal. The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced Wednesday morning that Zuckerberg would testify on April 11 at 10 a.m, and the Senate's Judiciary and Commerce committees said later that day they would hold a joint hearing on… → Read More

Silicon Valley faces an uncertain future — starting with its definition

When he first heard the words "Silicon Valley" in the mid-1970s, Scott Kildall imagined a magical world of silvery lines, like the metal traces in computer chips his father showed him. Gary Kildall, a technology pioneer who founded Digital Research, an early software company near Monterey, took his son on trips to see chipmakers in Santa Clara and Cupertino. For Scott, the reality of strip malls… → Read More