Hashtag Trending – Slack outage; Alphabet workers union; More tech predictions

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Good morning everyone! We are back – and it’s good to be back – for our first new episode of 2021! Today we’re talking about Slack’s massive outage, Alphabet employees seeking to unionize, and Business Insider’s tech trends for 2021.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday, January 5, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.


Slack suffered a massive outage yesterday and users had trouble loading channels or connecting to Slack. At around 10:30 am ET Monday, Slack’s status page showed that its messaging and connections were undergoing a technical issue. Log-ins, messaging, calls, and connections were all unavailable. While this was happening, CNN found workers were switching to discord, LinkedIn, and of course email. The issue was found within an hour however it’s still unclear what exactly happened.

Alphabet workers have a major announcement: They’re looking to unionize. More than 200 employees joined forces to unionize with the Communications Workers of America, forming the Alphabet Workers Union. This is surprising news as the tech industry, and big tech in particular, is known to squash such activity. This is the largest and high-profile unionization among tech works so far with others being Kickstarter and Glitch. When we look at this through a bigger lens, the unionization follows events of employee discontent. For example, the company’s handling of sexual harassment prompted a large walkout in 2018. The National Labor Relations Board also recently filed a complaint against Google alleging the tech giant illegally spied and fired two workers who had organized protests. Google says they always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace. Regardless, a union shows how the dynamic of workers in tech companies may change going forward. [

It’s a new year meaning new tech trends are coming in hot. Business Insider reached out to venture capitalists and here’s what they had to say. Virtual events as we know them will cease to exist, once it’s safe to gather in person, people will go. Startups will push to never have a physical office. Climate tech is the next big essential thing that every business buys and many VCs fund. Gen Z has lots of opportunities to launch businesses online from digital content, cloud kitchens, to online storefronts. Future offices may look more like hotels where people go to gather rather than a place to just work and Silicon Valley will make a comeback. Although companies are moving to places like Texas, they will fail to find the right execs, team leaders, and materialize, according to at least one VC. [Twitter thread]

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. And remember, during the rest of this week, we want you to tell us what you think was last year’s biggest Canadian tech story. Let us know on Twitter @ITWorldCa, or leave a comment on the show notes for this episode at ITWorldCanada.com. Respondents will be entered into a draw for a chance to win an IT World Canada mug! I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening!

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