31. August 2015
Source: Fast Company
GIVEN THE VAST AMOUNTS OF DATA GOOGLE HAS ON US THROUGH OUR SEARCHES, IT’S A WONDER THEY HAVEN’T DONE THIS SOONER.
It’s been the subject of a feature film, a main theme of a best-selling book, a source of endless speculation and analysis (yielding 21 million results on the search “how google hires”), and a holy grail-like quest for some two million hopefuls per year.
It’s the hiring process at Google.
While the search giant has been known to deploy quirky recruitment tactics, from banners and billboards blazed with a mathematical riddle aimed to entice engineers or the brainteasers about golf balls or school buses. The latter tactics, admitted Google’s head of people operations, Laszlo Bock, were “a complete waste of time,” while the former didn’t net the company any new hires. Read the rest of this entry »
30. August 2015
Source: The New York Times
HOW satisfied are we with our jobs?
Gallup regularly polls workers around the world to find out. Its survey last year found that almost 90 percent of workers were either “not engaged” with or “actively disengaged” from their jobs. Think about that: Nine out of 10 workers spend half their waking lives doing things they don’t really want to do in places they don’t particularly want to be.
Why? One possibility is that it’s just human nature to dislike work. This was the view of Adam Smith, the father of industrial capitalism, who felt that people were naturally lazy and would work only for pay. “It is the interest of every man,” he wrote in 1776 in “The Wealth of Nations,” “to live as much at his ease as he can.”
This idea has been enormously influential. About a century later, it helped shape the scientific management movement, which created systems of manufacture that minimized the need for skill and close attention — things that lazy, pay-driven workers could not be expected to have.
Today, in factories, offices and other workplaces, the details may be different but the overall situation is the same: Work is structured on the assumption that we do it only because we have to. The call center employee is monitored to ensure that he ends each call quickly. The office worker’s keystrokes are overseen to guarantee productivity. Read the rest of this entry »
27. August 2015
THE ALMA MATER OF THE WEALTHIEST GRADS IN PAYSCALE’S COLLEGE SALARY REPORT WILL LIKELY SURPRISE YOU.
When it comes to earning potential, it’s no longer enough to have gone to a prestigious school. According to Payscale’s 2015-2016 College Salary Report, released today, the skills that you leave with matter far more than the reputation of your alma mater. In fact, Payscale found that across all company sizes and industries, 71% of employers said that school reputation is the least important factor in terms of hiring decisions.
But the answer is not as simple as majoring in potentially lucrative areas like STEM, Lydia Frank, Payscale’s editorial director, tells Fast Company. While students who graduated with a degree in STEM certainly seemed to make more money than those in the humanities, the report indicates that the highest earners are able to combine their technical knowledge with other soft skills, like the ability to think critically and communicate well. Read the rest of this entry »
24. August 2015
Austria is #11, USA #17, Germany # 22, Italy #35, Croatia #36, China #64
23. August 2015
The harsh workplace that a New York Times story recently described plaguing Amazon represents an old-fashioned business model that will almost certainly disappear soon.
This week, a New York Times profile of Amazon’s treatment of employees has provoked a debate about the future of the workplace.
The article claims that Amazon’s professional employees are well paid and work on world-changing projects, but are pushed to the breaking point in a survival-of-the-fittest climate where they tend to burn out and leave quickly.
Readers, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, say they are appalled by the anecdotes of insensitivity in the Times report. But the controversy has raised the possibility that the underlying business model portrayed in the article is legitimate or perhaps inevitable. The Times article quotes an ex-Amazon employee who says CEO Jeff Bezos has envisioned a “new workplace: fluid but tough, with employees staying only a short time and employers demanding the maximum.” Read the rest of this entry »
21. August 2015
Source: The Economist: Free exchange
Subject: Graduate stock
DEBATES over how to fund higher education never lie dormant for long. In Britain, recently, there have been reforms about twice a decade; the last one, which hiked tuition fees, all but killed off the Liberal Democrats, members of the previous coalition government. In America, concerns abound over soaring costs and towering student debts. As a result, presidential candidates have been weighing in with plans to overhaul the system.
Why should the state support students in the first place? One argument is that society benefits from educated citizens, who pay more taxes, generate more jobs and help to advance human knowledge. Typically, such social gains justify subsidies. But the private returns to many degrees are juicy enough to encourage would-be students without a subsidy. The New York Fed reckons that a bachelor’s degree provides a 15% return on investment.
A better argument is that a purely private market for funding college would probably struggle. Despite the rosy averages, not all graduates succeed, so borrowing to pay for college is a gamble. Students do not know what job opportunities they will have later on; lenders must guess whether a 20-year-old will become a banker or a busker. Asset-poor youngsters cannot post collateral to compensate lenders for the risk. Unable to raise cash, poor students would be locked out of education without state support. Read the rest of this entry »
14. August 2015
Source: The Economist:
Conglomerates are back in fashion, but only the best will thrive
FEW management fashions have waxed and waned quite as dramatically as that for conglomerates. From the 1960s to the 1980s business gurus praised conglomerates such as ITT of America and Hanson Trust of Britain as the highest form of capitalism. Today they routinely dismiss them as bloated anachronisms. Companies should stick to their knitting; investors should minimise risk by investing in a portfolio of companies rather than backing corporate megalomaniacs. Peter Lynch, an investment guru, talks about “diworsification”. Stockmarkets routinely apply a sizeable “conglomerate discount” to diversified companies.
To judge by this week’s events, the mood has shifted again. Warren Buffett has been steadily and almost single-handedly restoring the popular appeal of conglomerates. And the positive reception given to the latest deal by his investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, shows how he has succeeded. On August 10th the group said it would buy Precision Castparts, a maker of aerospace components, for $37 billion, in the biggest deal in Berkshire’s 50-year history. Mr Buffett boasts of running a sprawling conglomerate that is “constantly trying to sprawl further”. Read the rest of this entry »
11. August 2015
In a surprise announcement Monday, Google co-founder Larry Page said the company’s leaders are turning it into a subsidiary of a new holding company called “Alphabet.” Page will serve as Alphabet’s CEO, with fellow Google co-founder Sergey Brin as president; Google’s current vice president of products Sundar Pichai is taking over as CEO of Google.
The news is momentous—and also a little confusing. The question now is, why?
That Google is no longer just a search company has been evident for a long while. Though its mission has always famously been to organize all the world’s information, the company has increasingly gotten into more and more disparate lines of business—when new ventures were businesses at all, that is. Beyond selling ads against searches—it’s core moneymaking venture—Google is making driverless cars, beaming Internet signals from giant balloons, delivering high-speed Internet access, redefining television, making phones, and even trying to cure (or significantly delay) death. Read the rest of this entry »