Your guide to a wild week in Silicon Valley, where Palantir filed to go public, Salesforce cut jobs, and TikTok hangs in the balance

Hello everyone! Welcome to this weekly roundup of Business Insider stories from executive editor Matt Turner. 

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TikTok users are making memes about Microsoft potentially "saving" TikTok.@prettyboykope/@electroniccrafter/@blueboynv/TikTok

Hello!

So much for a quiet end to August. To recap:

  • Palantir, Asana, Snowflake, and GoodRx filed to go public this week, among others. 
  • A judge ruled that Apple was justified in booting Fortnite from its App Store, but Apple must continue to give Epic Games access to software developer tools and thus cannot try to choke Epic's broader game engine business.
  • Salesforce laid off off about 1,000 workers a day after reporting blockbuster results that surpassed Wall Street estimates.
  • The SEC said it would for the first time allow people who are not already rich to invest in startups and venture funds.
  • The 25-year-old CEO of Luminar sold the self-driving-car startup he founded in high school in a $3.4 billion deal
  • The head of Uber Eats for the US and Canada left the company, just as food delivery surges during the pandemic.
  • Google quietly bought an office-development site near Seattle for $40 million, suggesting that the pandemic isn't slowing its expansion plans.

The biggest story of all, however, has been TikTok. CEO Kevin Mayer quit months in to the job. And in the coming hours and days, we're likely to find out more about a deal to buy some or all of TikTok. To help make sense of what's become a very complex situation, Paige Leskin produced this handy guide:

  • Walmart, Microsoft, and Oracle are just some of the companies jostling to buy TikTok. Here's who is, who isn't, and why they might want it.

You can get more on why Walmart wants in on a deal here. And here's what experts are saying about Oracle's interest.

Related:

  • You can get all the latest here on TikTok and tech right here.
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The most powerful man in HR

Taylor addresses Trump at the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, March 6, 2019The White House/Flickr

From Shana Lebowitz:

On February 1, 2018, employees of the Society for Human Resource Management convened for an all-staff meeting at a hotel near headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Some staffers were flown in from other parts of the country. The new CEO, Johnny C. Taylor Jr., treated employees to lunch and handed out SHRM-branded T-shirts.

Later that afternoon, former staff recalled, about two dozen employees were called individually into meetings with their division chiefs. It was their last day at SHRM, they learned. SHRM staff escorted them off the premises, where IT representatives wiped company email accounts off their phones. They got into their cars and drove home. Some were still wearing their celebratory SHRM T-shirts.

Taylor has turned the organization, which counts 300,000 HR professionals as members, around financially, Shana reported. But many former employees that Business Insider spoke with used the word "fear" to describe its culture. They also said they felt pressured to return to the office during the coronavirus pandemic. You can read the full story here:

  • The CEO of the world's largest HR organization led a $20 million turnaround. Meet Johnny C. Taylor Jr., a visionary who insiders say embraces layoffs and dismisses COVID-19 fears.

Investing philosophy

If you're a close follower of market news, you've probably seen Savita Subramanian on your television screen at one point or another, writes William Edwards. From his story:

The head of equity and quantitative strategy at Bank of America is a regular contributor to financial TV for good reason: She does some of the most influential work on Wall Street for one of the biggest investment banks. People care about what she has to say.

But odds are Subramanian isn't like many of the other analysts you might see making media appearances — or even generally similar to most people working in the numbers-heavy field of finance, for that matter. 

Of course, Subramanian is well-versed in the quantitative side of things — she has a mathematics degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA with a focus in finance from Columbia University. 

While at Berkeley, from which she graduated in 1995, she also majored in philosophy. The decision still informs her work, sometimes more than her other fields of study.

"My math major is what got me in the door, but my philosophy major is what kept me here," she recently told Business Insider in an exclusive interview. 

You can read William's full interview with Savita here:

  • Savita Subramanian uses her philosophy major more than her math degree as Bank of America's US equity chief. She told us how it guides her investing strategy — and shared the drivers behind her career success.

Here are some headlines from the past week you might have missed. 

— Matt

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