Exclusive: How Slack’s Marriage to Salesforce CrumbledRead Now

Art by Haejin Park.
Art by Haejin Park.

Tech’s Most Powerful Stories Are Being Written by Women

Book publishers are giving a new generation of readers what they want: an end to machismo hero worship and an influx of more relatable—and female-centered—thought leadership.

Art by Haejin Park.
Dec. 17, 2021 10:10 AM PST

So there she was. Julie Zhuo. Just two years out of Stanford. At 25, a newly promoted manager at Facebook, wandering around the business sections of Bay Area bookstores, desperately looking for something that would tell her how to lead the team she’d just been battlefield-promoted to run. And finding nothing.

It was 2008, early days at Facebook. (“The Social Network” was still two years away.) Zhuo’s manager had recently pulled her aside to say that the design group had gotten so big, she needed to start off-loading direct reports. “You get along with everyone,” she told Zhuo. And just like that, Zhuo was a boss.

“Very quickly, I realized managing is a job,” she says. To educate herself on how to do it, she went straight to the latest business books on the bestsellers list. Staring back at her were GE chairman Jack Welch’s “Winning,” Jim Collins’ “Good to Great,” Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Michael Lewis’ “Next,” Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind,” and Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy’s “Execution.” All CEOs of Fortune 500s, high-powered consultants, and prominent journalists. All writing at a remove from the present or from the elevated perch of theory.

Zhuo needed something tangible, full of practical, real-world advice that would explain nothing more complicated than how to manage a four-person team. A few years later, Zhuo started keeping a blog to talk about various challenges she faced as both a product designer and a leader. “I thought if I could just put my opinion out on the internet, maybe people would give me feedback,” she says. “I was very upfront with what I was struggling with.”

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing microsoft facebook
The FTC is Fighting All the Wrong Fights
Photo by Bloomberg
The Federal Trade Commission made headlines today, suing to block Microsoft’s $69 billion dollar deal for Activision, which makes some of the most popular videogames in the world. I’m a big fan of federal regulators paying closer attention to tech companies’ hidden power, especially how they use customer data. But the FTC should just let this one go. Technology is upending the gaming world in...
Latest Briefs
 
Letter From Foxconn Helped Spur China’s Reopening
Instant Delivery Startup Gorillas in Talks to be Acquired by Rival Getir at $1.7 Billion Valuation
Airtable Lays Off 20%, Replaces Product and Sales Chiefs
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive microsoft
Microsoft Eyes ‘Super App’ to Break Apple and Google’s Hold on Mobile Search
Microsoft recently considered building a “super app” that could combine shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds and other services in a one-stop smartphone app, in what would be an ambitious move by the software giant to expand further into consumer services, according to people with direct knowledge of the discussions.
From left: Stewart Butterfield, Marc Benioff and Bret Taylor. Photos by Getty; Bloomberg.
Exclusive microsoft enterprise
How Slack’s Marriage to Salesforce Crumbled
Two years ago, Salesforce co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff gushed about his software company’s $28 billion purchase of messaging app Slack, describing it as a “match made in heaven.” It was also the most expensive subscription software acquisition of all time, with Salesforce paying around 26 times Slack’s forward revenue—a price tag that carried high expectations.
Illustration by Josh Brill.
Opinion economy
A Raise May Be Out of the Question, but You Do Have Other Options
Layoffs have swept through the tech industry (and more may be on the horizon ), flooding the job market with qualified candidates—just like you—as even the large companies are fighting to stay afloat.
Animation by Clark Miller
The Big Read
The Passion of Cathie Wood: Why the ‘Wackiest Portfolio Manager on Earth’ Isn’t Losing Faith
Cathie Wood was sitting in a phone booth in the New York office of Ark Invest when she heard Tasha Keeney, one of the firm’s analysts, let out a scream—“a happy scream,” Wood recalled.
The 1:1 policy
A Billionaire Couple Goes for Broke: How John and Laura Arnold Plan to Give It All Away
On Election Day, John and Laura Arnold found themselves deep in the lion’s den: a few blocks from the White House, working from the new Washington D.C.
Exclusive startups crypto
Crypto and AI-Focused Sequoia Partner Is Leaving the Firm
Sequoia Capital partner Divya Gupta is leaving the firm just weeks after the storied venture capital firm apologized to limited partners about its $214 million investment in the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.