/Tag: business

The second industrious revolution.

I am neither for nor against temping (or consulting, or freelancing). If this emergent flexible economy were all bad or all good, there would be no need to make a choice about it. For some, the rise of the gig economy represents liberation from the stifled world of corporate America.

But for the vast majority of workers, the “freedom” of the gig economy is just the freedom to be afraid. It is the severing of obligations between businesses and employees. It is the collapse of the protections that the people of the United States, in our laws and our customs, once fought hard to enshrine.

We can’t turn back the clock, but neither is job insecurity inevitable.

Louis Hyman on jobs.

2018-08-28T10:55:02+10:006th February, 2019|Tags: business, economics|

On a scale of zero to ten…

You know how sometimes websites or apps or whatever will give you that “on a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend us?” thing? What is up with those, amirite?

Well, turns out those surveys are for calculating something called “Net Promoter Score” and it’s even further along the “nonsense pseudoscience” scale than I’d originally assumed

2018-01-15T08:35:42+10:0025th June, 2018|Tags: business, tech|

Kill your Ricklings.

On the benefits of firing “superstar” programmers.

Like most people in STEM I’ve worked with a fair few Ricks and wannabe-Ricks in my day, and they are always, without fail, explosive disaster zones. There is nothing so great they contribute that it can make up for the mess they leave in their wake.

2019-01-17T08:37:01+10:004th April, 2018|Tags: business, tech|

The iron stiletto.

On woman-on-woman bullying in the workplace.

The worst bullies I’ve personally endured in my career have been dudes, but I’ve skirted around a few women.1 A quote in the article pretty much nails the problem:

With women, I’m partly being judged on my abilities and partly being judged on whether or not I’m ‘a friend,’ or ‘nice,’ or ‘fun.’

And, oh boy. I have stories. Do I have stories, particularly given I’m not a particularly sociable nor emotionally available person.

One day, when I’m a millionaire New York Times bestseller and no longer need a day job, I might even be able to tell them…


  1. Incidentally, all the worst offenders worked for the same company, even when I encountered them in different parts of the organisation at different times. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence… []
2017-10-03T16:05:42+10:008th March, 2018|Tags: business, culture|

Uber’s Law.

The 16th-century financier Sir Thomas Gresham famously observed that bad money drives out good. The same, I’d suggest, is true about illegal business models. If we allow an illegal business model to flourish in one sector, soon businesses in that sector and others will see that the shrewd strategy is to ignore the law, seek forgiveness rather than permission, and hope for the best.

Benjamin Edelman is here for Uber.

This is Edelman in the Harvard Business Review, and he’s talking about Uber. Well. In this particular paragraph he’s talking about Lyft, which was the first ridesharing company to use unlicensed vehicles. His point is that, once one company (i.e. Lyft) “got away” with lawbreaking, others ran in to copy (i.e. Uber). His wider point is that Uber is unsalvageable as a company; its business model is built wholly on breaking laws, and evading capture/prosecution for said lawbreaking, and the side-effect of this is that its entire management structure is toxic.

2017-06-29T07:40:02+10:0022nd August, 2017|Tags: business, tech|

The Scully.

The “no” woman is the opposite of a “yes” man. She’s usually not an administrative assistant or junior employee — most often, she is part of the leadership team in the company or on a particular project. And whether it’s part of her official job description or not, she’s the person who’s there to say no. She provides a counterbalance to the creative visionary and a reality check after a brainstorming session. She finds herself continually speaking up to temper her colleagues’ expectations or modify their strategies, either because it’s part of her job to control budgets and keep everyone within the bounds of the law, or because she is simply more rational than the freewheelin’ “ideas men” she works with.

You see her in pop culture. In the opening monologue of the newly rebooted X-Files, Agent Fox Mulder describes how he came to work with Agent Dana Scully: “In 1993, the FBI sought to impugn my work, bringing in a scientist and medical doctor to debunk it.” Scully, whose entire character is based on skepticism, is the consummate “no” woman.

Ann Friedman on no women.

2017-07-17T10:39:46+10:003rd July, 2017|Tags: business, culture|