Mark Zuckerberg has just inaugurated a new era in tech where efficiency and profitability will prevail over culture and perks

Google was once a small search startup. In the fast-growing market for helping people find what they wanted, Google was up against Microsoft and Yahoo.

Google provided first-class employee perks to attract the talent it needed. These included free meals, massages and ping-pong tables. They also allowed employees to use up 20% of their time on personal projects, which may or may not result in actual products.

Although it wasn’t easy, the road to success was not smooth. Google’s success led to other companies taking notice. Silicon Valley has become a hub for empowering employees and pampering them with wild ideas, such as driverless cars, drone delivery, hot-air balloons providing internet connectivity, and hot-air balloons that allow them to do so.

This model was successful for many companies until it failed. In the last few months, layoffs swept through just about every major tech company, except Apple, even though Google has slashed its so-called moonshots to reduce costs in an economic slowdown.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Meta, Facebook’s parent company, officially welcomed the new era Wednesday by declaring that 2023 will be the “year for efficiency” at the social media network. You might even call him the “Chopper in Chief” for 2023. 

His remarks on Wednesday’s earnings conference officially established this reality check for the tech sector at large. They also give a possible preview of what’s next after Alphabet, Google’s parent company — as well as Amazon and Apple — report earnings on Thursday.

Zuckerberg stated that there has been a rapid phase change. He also said that it was time to look back and realize that we cannot treat everything as hyper-growth. “We have many things that people use, that support large numbers of businesses. We should do something different.”

Zuckerberg stated that the recent 11,000 layoffs were just the tip of an iceberg. There are many more.

Further, he suggested that the company wanted to “flatten its organizational structure” by “removing some levels of middle management.” The company also revealed that its capital expenses forecasts for the next quarter were cut by $4 billion . This was largely due to the new, more efficient data center design.

Andrew “Boz”, Meta Chief Technology Officer, wrote in a blog post that he believes that worker perks and corporate philanthropy — both hallmarks Facebook’s work culture — could “create Drag” on a company, slowing down its progress at critical moments.

All of this makes it clear that Meta is leading the charge for a new zeitgeist in Silicon Valley. Zuckerberg is showing that Meta is learning to live within its means, instead of throwing money and resources at problems. After decades of defying gravity, tech giants will have to stop trying to escape the laws of gravity and start to think more strategically about their businesses.

However, the tradeoffs that this more pragmatic approach brings may not be fully understood for some time. Already, we’ve seen the human costs of this new, more pragmatic approach in the form of thousands losing their livelihoods and many more likely to follow. For those who are still employed, perks will be cut as efficiency creates a new culture that challenges the traditional tech office culture they have grown used to over the past two decades.

Future innovation could be another option. Future innovation could be another option.

Zuckerberg has placed his faith in the metaverse and must now find the delicate balance between Wall Street appeasement and future investment. In the coming year, other tech companies will likely make similar calculations.

Wall Street seems to be happy with Zuckerberg’s earnings call approach. Meta stock rose 26% on the trading day to $193 per share. It’s not quite at the lofty heights that its 52-week high was of $248 but it’s still better than its low of $88.

Zuckerberg, on the other hand, suggested that this approach could have some silver linings for Meta’s remaining employees.

Zuckerberg stated that being able execute more efficiently is what makes a company better over time. “We are in a new environment where a lot if what we do is different. It makes sense to concentrate on efficiency more than ever before and ensure we can work effectively. It will be more enjoyable for people to work there, because they can do more.

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