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Welcome to this weekly roundup of stories from Insider’s Business co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.
What we’re going over today:
- “Digital nomads” are destroying tropical paradises.
- 3G’s merger of Kraft and Heinz is killing morale and choking innovation.
- Amazon’s Prime Air drone-delivery team is in upheaval.
- Black women in money management on finding their voice on Wall Street.
What’s trending this morning:
- Young, wealthy people are in the middle of a revelation — why live in a dense, cold metropolis when you can feel like you’re on vacation year round?
- Ex-Kamala Harris staffers have bad memories of a toxic culture in her past offices. They describe a boss who hung up on staffers, demeaned them, and made aides cry.
- How Moderna plans to top it’s own coronavirus vaccine — Insider got an exclusive tour of the biotech company’s labs, and they shared what comes next after a banner year in biotech.
- Europe’s richest billionaire may have a new 29-year-old heir. But before he can inherit the world’s grandest luxury empire, he must revamp Tiffany back into a global powerhouse.
- For influencers, Instagram can pay dividends. One lifestyle influencer has already booked over $700,000 in brand deals so far in 2021 — and she’s only getting started.
It’s a remote worker invasion
Dubbing themselves “digital nomads,” expats are moving to some of the world’s most remote places, where they can live and work in paradise. But many don’t stick around long enough to reckon with the long-term effects of their lifestyle:
Many places, desperate to revive their COVID-ravaged economies, have gone to extraordinary lengths to welcome the nomads. Countries from Barbados and Aruba to Estonia and Georgia are offering special work visas that permit foreigners to stay for as long as six months, often with an option to renew. Tulum, according to Lonely Planet, is the “hotspot for digital nomads.”
But as more and more foreigners settle in for a year-round Burning Man, Tulum is starting to look more like the next Fyre Fest. The troubles already plaguing the town — shoddy electricity, a crappy sewer system, polluted waters — are exacerbated by the flocks of Bluetoothed boobies.
Unlike the hordes of tourists who come and go for a few days, nomads create a permanent strain on local infrastructure. They enjoy all the benefits of life in the tropics, but they don’t pay taxes.
Read more about the impact of digital nomads:
- I make more than $300,000 a year working 3 jobs. I gave up my home in Austin to live in a van and travel the country — here’s what it’s like.
- The 10 best places to buy a vacation home to rent out — and make bank off the post-pandemic travel boom
Kraft Heinz’s merger is causing burnout and choking innovation
Under the private-equity firm 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway, Kraft Heinz was supposed to be a powerhouse in the food world — but so far, it hasn’t gone as planned:
Current and former employees said 3G-approved executives and a maniacal focus on cutting costs have hobbled the two historic brands. Many are leaving and fear for the company’s future, especially as a sales boost from eating at home fades post-pandemic.
While other food companies, such as General Mills and Kellogg, risk a similar slowdown as society opens up, Kraft Heinz is in a more dire place, analysts said.
Insiders said that 3G’s cost-cutting has left the company unable to introduce new products, such as plant-based meat. They also said the deep cuts have caused morale to plummet and turnover to soar.
Here’s what else employees said about the merger:
- 3G’s merger of Kraft and Heinz is killing morale, causing burnout, and choking innovation, some employees say. Now, the company could get left behind as the economy reopens.
- These 5 startups have collectively raised nearly $300 million to compete with Shopify
- Lululemon CEO says in leaked email the company will no longer use ‘Whitespace’ name for its innovation wing after backlash from employees
One of Amazon’s loftiest projects is in crisis
The goal is to deliver packages to customers’ doorsteps using fully electric drones. The problem is that Amazon’s Prime Air team is seeing internal conflict, high turnover, and launch delays that threaten the project’s success:
The tensions came to a head at an all-hands meeting in March, where Prime Air’s leadership answered questions that employees submitted and voted on. Questions zeroed in on these contentious issues, including those between longtime employees and new hires, who the former accuse of moving too slowly. They also brought up the division’s high turnover rate, which was 20% in 2020.
The question that received the most upvotes pointed to a cultural clash between the new executives and existing company structure, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by Insider.
“One peer remarked that in the last year all four of the individuals in his leadership chain have been replaced by Boeing expats,” the inquiry said, referring to the multiple executives who joined Amazon from Boeing in the past year. “What are we doing to preserve Amazon’s unique culture and principles within Prime Air while building out our org with established industry leaders?”
More on Amazon Prime Air’s barriers to success:
- Amazon’s Prime Air drone-delivery team is in upheaval as launch delays, ‘expat’ execs, and a 20% turnover rate roil one of Amazon’s loftiest projects
- Tech startups can’t hire fast enough. Here are 25 important people to know if you want to land one of those jobs.
- Google’s star cloud guru Kelsey Hightower explains how to succeed in tech as a self-taught developer
Black women discuss finding their voice on Wall Street
We spoke with eight Black women in high-powered asset-management roles, who talked openly about microaggressions, mentors, and diversity on Wall Street:
“It’s a male-dominated industry and what some would call a good ol’ boys’ club,” said Dekia Scott, the chief investment officer of the Atlanta-based energy company Southern Company, when asked whether the industry understands why it has a diversity and equity problem.
“With evolution and more women going into the investment field, those numbers have begun to change. But the whys of how we got here, I think everyone knows it.
“Are we prepared to change it? I think it depends on who you talk to. I view this issue as turning a 757 aircraft in slow-course fashion versus just hooking a right in a Dodge minivan. It’s a tremendously large industry. It’s not going to make huge strides in a year or two or three. But we should make meaningful change.”
Read more of their stories:
- 8 of the most powerful Black women in money management on microaggressions, mentors, and finding their voice on Wall Street
- How SVB Leerink is luring top bankers with juicy pay and a big opportunity to build a new dealmaking powerhouse
- Morgan Stanley’s CEO wants employees back to the office by Labor Day, but the bank just told its newest crop of juniors they can head in as early as this month
Finally, here are some headlines you might have missed last week.
- A few small changes can make you happier at a job you don’t like, experts say
- A ‘body positive’ TikToker who runs a group for ‘big beautiful women’ sued 5 of them after they spoke out
- Snapchat salaries revealed: How much Snap pays for jobs in product, marketing, engineering, and more
- Subway tried to give away 1 million sandwiches to promote its new menu. Franchisees say almost nobody wanted them.
- McKinsey: Hybrid work will be messier than anyone realizes