knowledge worker

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pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

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AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

This time the potential victims are not tellers and tollbooth collectors, much less farmers and factory workers, but rather all those “knowledge workers” who assumed they were immune from job displacement by machines. People like the writers and readers of this book. Knowledge Workers’ Jobs Are at Risk The management consulting firm McKinsey thinks a lot about knowledge workers; they make up essentially 100 percent of its own ranks as well as its clientele. When its research arm, the McKinsey Global Institute, issued a report on the disruptive technologies that would most “transform life, business, and the global economy” in the next decade, it included the automation of knowledge work. Having studied typical job compositions in seven categories of knowledge workers (professionals, managers, engineers, scientists, teachers, analysts, and administrative support staff), McKinsey predicts dramatic change will have already taken hold by 2025.

The bottom line: “we estimate that knowledge work automation tools and systems could take on tasks that would be equal to the output of 110 million to 140 million full-time equivalents (FTEs).”3 Since we’ll continue to use the term “knowledge workers” quite a bit, we should pause to define who these people are. In Tom’s 2005 book, Thinking for a Living, he described them as workers “whose primary tasks involve the manipulation of knowledge and information.”4 Under that definition, they represent a quarter to a half of all workers in advanced economies (depending on the country, the definition, and the statistics you prefer), and they “pull the plow of economic progress,” as Tom put it then. Within large companies, he explained, the knowledge workers are the ones sparking innovation and growth. They invent new products and services, design marketing programs, and create strategies. But knowledge workers don’t only work in corporate offices. They include all the highly educated and certified people who make up the professions: doctors, lawyers, scientists, professors, accountants, and more.

As newer, more intelligent systems come along, we could imagine that they might eliminate or substantially reduce human performance of tasks. They might finally lead to that fifteen-hour workweek. But our belief is that they will—and should—follow the path blazed by spreadsheets. Instead of replacing knowledge workers, they should give them more to think about. Some decisions and actions may be taken by automated systems, but that should free up knowledge workers to accomplish larger and more important tasks. Of course, there is a downside to working as much as knowledge workers tend to (particularly in the United States) today. But there is perhaps an even greater downside to not working enough or at all. The price we have to pay for thinking expansively about work is never having enough time to do it all. The Augmentation Cuts Both Ways In a recent paper examining the effect of computers on labor, David Autor, an economist at MIT, suggests that very little human toil these days is utterly unaffected by smart machines: “The fact that a task cannot be computerized does not imply that computerization has no effect on that task.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

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8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, deliberate practice, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy

The ubiquity of deep work among influential individuals is important to emphasize because it stands in sharp contrast to the behavior of most modern knowledge workers—a group that’s rapidly forgetting the value of going deep. The reason knowledge workers are losing their familiarity with deep work is well established: network tools. This is a broad category that captures communication services like e-mail and SMS, social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, and the shiny tangle of infotainment sites like BuzzFeed and Reddit. In aggregate, the rise of these tools, combined with ubiquitous access to them through smartphones and networked office computers, has fragmented most knowledge workers’ attention into slivers. A 2012 McKinsey study found that the average knowledge worker now spends more than 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication and Internet searching, with close to 30 percent of a worker’s time dedicated to reading and answering e-mail alone.

In Taylor’s era, productivity was unambiguous: widgets created per unit of time. It seems that in today’s business landscape, many knowledge workers, bereft of other ideas, are turning toward this old definition of productivity in trying to solidify their value in the otherwise bewildering landscape of their professional lives. (David Allen, for example, even uses the specific phrase “cranking widgets” to describe a productive work flow.) Knowledge workers, I’m arguing, are tending toward increasingly visible busyness because they lack a better way to demonstrate their value. Let’s give this tendency a name. Busyness as Proxy for Productivity: In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.

A 2012 McKinsey study found that the average knowledge worker now spends more than 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication and Internet searching, with close to 30 percent of a worker’s time dedicated to reading and answering e-mail alone. This state of fragmented attention cannot accommodate deep work, which requires long periods of uninterrupted thinking. At the same time, however, modern knowledge workers are not loafing. In fact, they report that they are as busy as ever. What explains the discrepancy? A lot can be explained by another type of effort, which provides a counterpart to the idea of deep work: Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate. In an age of network tools, in other words, knowledge workers increasingly replace deep work with the shallow alternative—constantly sending and receiving e-mail messages like human network routers, with frequent breaks for quick hits of distraction.


pages: 209 words: 80,086

The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes by Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, David Ashton

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affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor

In this new age of human capital, the prosperity of individuals, companies, and nations would rest on the skills, knowledge, and enterprise of all rather than the few that drove industrialization in the twentieth century. Smokestack industries had given way to California’s Silicon Valley and Route 128 in Boston. Working-class occupations were in decline as a larger share of the workforce joined the burgeoning ranks of knowledge workers. Peter Drucker, a leading management guru, wrote of another power shift from the owners and managers of capital to knowledge workers, as the prosperity of individuals, companies, and nations came to depend on the application of knowledge. Knowledge workers were gaining the upper hand because “the firm’s most valuable knowledge capital tends to reside in the brains of its key workers, and ownership of people went out with the abolition of slavery.”10 This required a new approach to management within a dynamic global environment.

See mass production mechatronics, 101, 174n27 knowledge economy, 15, 20, 25, 79 knowledge transfer, 70 knowledge wars, 19–23, 28, 30–36, 32, 38, mental revolution, 71 meritocracy, 9, 18, 133–36, 146, 182n3, 187n31 40–41, 43–48, 59, 123, 150–51, 158–59, 164, 168n3. See also knowledge workers; knowledge-driven economy knowledge workers, 6, 8–9, 18–19, 66, 68, 72–76, 80–82, 84, 96, 99, 104, 108, 110–12, 123, 126–27, 137–38, 147–48, Mexico, 35 MG Rover, 42 Michaels, Ed, 85–86, 93, 176n8 micromanagement, 74 middle class as agrarian peasants, 182n48 153, 159, 180n17. See also knowledge wars; knowledge-driven economy knowledge-driven economy, 2, 4–5, 23–27, 37, 65–68, 85, 96, 155, 173n9. See also knowledge wars; knowledge workers 194 labor arbitrage, 97, 99, 106–7, 111, 159 Index Brazil, 182n43 China, 2, 130 corporate profits, 110 downward mobility, 138 emerging economies, 130–31 erosion of benefits, 121–22 financial crash of 2008, 6 global, 128–29, 130, 131 Nike, 102 global poverty, 182n43 globalization, 47–48 growth of, 18 income inequalities, 9, 118–19, 120 income stagnation, 5 Obama, Barack, 3, 23, 27, 147 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), 31, 35, 91, 109, 149, 168n2 office management, 72, 127 India, 2, 30, 34, 130 Italy, 130, 182n43 mechanical Taylorism, 81 offshoring, 109, 152 offshoring, 8, 46, 51–52, 55–56, 60, 73, 75, 77–78, 90–93, 99, 107–11, 119, 129, 152, 170–71n2, 180n17 Ohmae, Kenichi, 104–5 opportunity bargain, 132 opportunity gap, 141 opportunity bargain American Dream, 27, 132 oasis operations, 64 opportunity trap, 143 politics of more, 186n16 positional conflict, 134 bidding wars, 183–84n22 corporate profits, 124 credentials, 184–85n2 prosperity, 2 purchasing power parity (PPP), 129, 131 development of, 4–6 digital Taylorism, 65, 155 quality-cost revolution, 59 salaries, 118–19, 120 soft currencies, 140–41 economy of hope, 148–49, 164 education and, 4–6, 27–28 and the global auction, 132 war for talent, 84, 91, 96–97 Mills, C.

There is a recognition that low-cost countries are developing their own knowledge workers capable of achieving global standards that were previously assumed to be out of reach by anyone other than Western workers. Thomas Friedman’s account of the “flattening” of the world economy has been widely debated. He sees little reason to worry about America’s middle classes being embroiled in a global race to the bottom because he focused on the race to the top. The knowledge wars are, he believes, forcing Americans to raise their game in the competition for the best and most innovative ideas, leading him to conclude, America, as a whole, will do fine in a flat world with free trade— provided it continues to churn out knowledge workers who are able 22 The Global Auction to produce idea-based goods that can be sold globally and who are able to fill the knowledge jobs that will be created as we not only expand the global economy but connect all the knowledge pools in the world.


pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

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Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, full employment, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

Supreme Court ruled in an 81 decision that, in certain cases, medical device manufacturers are protected from product liability cases as long as the FDA has approved the device. In general, we can expect that non-technological factors such as product liability or the power of organized labor will slow automation in certain fields, but the overall trend will remain relentless. * Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL / 68 knowledge worker represented the best path to a prosperous future. The advent of offshoring has increasingly called this proposition into question. Today, offshoring is impacting knowledge workers across the board. Jobs in fields such as radiology, accounting, tax preparation, graphic design, and especially all types of information technology are already being shipped to India and to other countries. This trend will only grow, and as I have pointed out previously, where offshoring appears, automation is often likely to eventually follow.

The average radiologist in the United States makes over $300,000. In fact, we can reasonably say that software jobs (or knowledge worker jobs) are typically high paying jobs. This creates a very strong incentive for businesses to offshore and, when possible, automate these jobs. Another point we can make is that there is really no relationship between how much training is required for a human being, and how difficult it is to automate the job. To become a lawyer or a radiologist requires both college and graduate degrees, but this will not hold off automation. It is a relatively simple matter to program accumu- Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon Acceleration / 73 lated knowledge into an algorithm or enter it into a database. For knowledge workers, there is really a double dose of bad news. Not only are their jobs potentially easier to automate than other job types because no investment in mechanical equipment is required; but also, the financial incentive for getting rid of the job is significantly higher.

Not only are their jobs potentially easier to automate than other job types because no investment in mechanical equipment is required; but also, the financial incentive for getting rid of the job is significantly higher. As a result, we can expect that, in the future, automation will fall heavily on knowledge workers and in particular on highly paid workers. In cases where technology is not yet sufficient to automate the job, offshoring is likely to be pursued as a interim solution. Given this reality, it may be that the simulation we performed in Chapter 1 was actually somewhat conservative. Look back at the table listing traditional jobs on page 59. Very few of these people are knowledge workers. In our simulation, we assumed that automation would fall evenly on some significant percentage of the average lights in the tunnel. We now see, however, that automation may, in fact, arrive in a relatively “top heavy” pattern.


pages: 314 words: 94,600

Business Metadata: Capturing Enterprise Knowledge by William H. Inmon, Bonnie K. O'Neil, Lowell Fryman

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affirmative action, bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, continuous integration, corporate governance, create, read, update, delete, database schema, en.wikipedia.org, informal economy, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, semantic web, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application

However, the frantic problem of being late still looms, and we dash out the door, desperately trying to redeem the time by driving fast so we can make up some time, minimizing our lateness without getting into an accident. Sound familiar? We have all had experiences like this. Is this the same type of experience that people would have if they were unable to find information to do their jobs? 4.4.1.1 Information and “Knowledge Workers” Peter Drucker first created the term “knowledge worker” in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The economy of the twenty-first century is an information economy, and most workers today are knowledge workers who produce abstract work products consisting mainly of information, not tangible items like cars or pencils. Therefore, the know-how of the knowledge worker is not necessarily knowledge of everything, but knowing where to find it. Samuel Johnson, who compiled the first English dictionary in the 1700s, said: 66 Chapter 4 Business Metadata, Communication, and Search Figure 4.4 Searching for a Needle in a Haystack.

Feldman backs up her statistics by noting that others have found similar results, notably: ✦ Ford Motor Company ✦ Working council of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) ✦ Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) ✦ Reuters ✦ Kit Sims Taylor Here are some attempts to quantify the cost impact of failed search in the enterprise. 4.4.2.1 Attempts to Quantify Search Impact Feldman identifies three types of costs that can be quantified: ✦ Employee time wasted ✦ Duplicating/reworking information ✦ Opportunity cost On the positive side, Feldman and Seybold identify two areas in which increased search capacity has a positive impact: ✦ Decrease in call center volume ✦ Increase in sales (conversion rates and shopping basket size—e-commerce) Each of these areas is summarized below. 4.4 Communications and Search 4.4.2.2 69 Baseline Assumptions The IDC study begins with the following baseline assumptions: ✦ Each employee costs the enterprise $80,000, which includes salary plus benefits. ✦ The average knowledge worker spends 2.5 hours/day (30%) searching for information. ✦ The enterprise employs 1000 knowledge workers. ✦ 50% of information is not centrally indexed (housed in silos as on someone’s notebook computer or a database). ✦ 50% of Web searches fail/are abandoned. 4.4.2.3 Employee Time Wasted Based on these assumptions, Feldman calculated that the enterprise wastes $48,000 per week, or almost $2.5 million a year in searches. This number is an estimate only; she did not factor in employee vacations. 4.4.2.4 Duplicating/Reworking Information Knowledge workers inadvertently re-create information because they can’t access the original work products. IDC calls this a “knowledge deficit.”

Therefore, although “data quality” is a common term used in the discipline of data management, this chapter will hereafter refer to “information quality.” Here is IAIDQ’s definition of information quality (three separate definitions are given, one having two components): Information quality: (1) Consistently meeting all knowledge worker and end-customer expectations in all quality characteristics of the information products and services required to accomplish the enterprise mission (internal knowledge worker) or personal objectives (end customer). (2) The degree to which information consistently meets the requirements and expectations of all knowledge workers who require it to perform their processes. (Larry English, noted data and information quality expert and author) Information Quality: The fitness for use of information; information that meets the requirements of its authors, users, and administrators.

Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini

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Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

One way Engelbart sought to exert influence over "the human side" was by developing what he called "the augmented knowledge workshop," "the place in which knowledge workers do their work" (Engelbart, Watson, and Norton 1973, 9). This application of the bootstrapping principle was used between 1965 and 1968 to add another dimension to the ARC lab's conceptualization of the virtual user. Engelbart believed that the activity of the knowledge worker actually in- volves "core" processes that for the most part are not themselves highly spe- cialized: "a record of how this person used his time, even if his work was highly specialized, would show that specialized work . . . while vital to his ef- fectiveness, probably occupied a small fraction of his time and effort" (ibid., 10). If so, that meant knowledge workers didn't have to be isolated from each other, segregated by the specific demands of the software necessary to their individual tasks.

If so, that meant knowledge workers didn't have to be isolated from each other, segregated by the specific demands of the software necessary to their individual tasks. Instead, they could use a common interface and be connected into a network that would link the user with other users. Envisioning the user as a knowledge worker and conceptualizing the knowledge worker in this par- ticular way allowed Engelbart to begin to see a way in which one central aspect of his crusade could be realized. Instead of the artificial intelligence project's aim of creating a cybernetic "colleague" who would supplement an individual user's creativity, Engelbart could begin to develop ways that computers could allow users to share and shape knowledge intersubjectively and collectively. The technological manifestation of this conception of the virtual user was ARC's oN-Line System, NLS. If software development could be allowed to proceed like natural evolution, by means of "semi-random growth," the result would be several problems that the coevolution of software along with the virtual user as a knowledge worker in an augmented knowledge workshop would solve in advance: (I) Repetitive solutions for the same functional problems, each with the skewed perspective of a particular special applications area for which these problems are peripheral issues, (2) Incompatibility between different application software systems In terms of their inputs and outputs, (3) Language and other control conventions inconsistent or based on different principles from one system to another, creating unnecessary learning barriers or other discouragements to cross usage.

If software development could be allowed to proceed like natural evolution, by means of "semi-random growth," the result would be several problems that the coevolution of software along with the virtual user as a knowledge worker in an augmented knowledge workshop would solve in advance: (I) Repetitive solutions for the same functional problems, each with the skewed perspective of a particular special applications area for which these problems are peripheral issues, (2) Incompatibility between different application software systems In terms of their inputs and outputs, (3) Language and other control conventions inconsistent or based on different principles from one system to another, creating unnecessary learning barriers or other discouragements to cross usage. (Ibid., IO-I I) InventIng the VIrtual User I 17 The conception of the virtual user as a knowledge worker who shares core processes with others in an augmented intelligence workshop allowed a "co- ordinated set of user interfaces principles" to be introduced in the develop- ment of NLS.


pages: 197 words: 60,477

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

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Apple II, bounce rate, Byte Shop, Cal Newport, capital controls, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, deliberate practice, financial independence, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, job satisfaction, job-hopping, knowledge worker, Mason jar, medical residency, new economy, passive income, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, renewable energy credits, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Bolles, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, winner-take-all economy

Put another way, if you just show up and work hard, you’ll soon hit a performance plateau beyond which you fail to get any better. This is what happened to me with my guitar playing, to the chess players who stuck to tournament play, and to most knowledge workers who simply put in the hours: We all hit plateaus. When I first encountered the work of Ericsson and Charness, this insight startled me. It told me that in most types of work—that is, work that doesn’t have a clear training philosophy—most people are stuck. This generates an exciting implication. Let’s assume you’re a knowledge worker, which is a field without a clear training philosophy. If you can figure out how to integrate deliberate practice into your own life, you have the possibility of blowing past your peers in your value, as you’ll likely be alone in your dedication to systematically getting better.

Even with the craftsman mindset, however, becoming “so good they can’t ignore you” is not trivial. To help these efforts I introduced the well-studied concept of deliberate practice, an approach to work where you deliberately stretch your abilities beyond where you’re comfortable and then receive ruthless feedback on your performance. Musicians, athletes, and chess players know all about deliberate practice. Knowledge workers, however, do not. This is great news for knowledge workers: If you can introduce this strategy into your working life you can vault past your peers in your acquisition of career capital. RULE #3 Turn Down a Promotion (Or, the Importance of Control) Chapter Eight The Dream-Job Elixir In which I argue that control over what you do, and how you do it, is one of the most powerful traits you can acquire when creating work you love.

By definition, if it’s rare and valuable, it’s not easy to get. This insight brought me into the world of performance science, where I encountered the concept of deliberate practice—a method for building skills by ruthlessly stretching yourself beyond where you’re comfortable. As I discovered, musicians, athletes, and chess players, among others, know all about deliberate practice, but knowledge workers do not. Most knowledge workers avoid the uncomfortable strain of deliberate practice like the plague, a reality emphasized by the typical cubicle dweller’s obsessive e-mail–checking habit—for what is this behavior if not an escape from work that’s more mentally demanding? As I researched these ideas, I became increasingly worried about the current state of my academic career. I feared that my rate of acquiring career capital was tapering off.


pages: 194 words: 36,223

Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky's Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent by Joel Spolsky

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Build a better mousetrap, knowledge worker, linear programming, nuclear winter, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, sorting algorithm, Superbowl ad, the scientific method, type inference, unpaid internship

My pet theory is that this problem can be fixed by teaching programmers to be less reluctant writers by sending them off to take an intensive course in writing. Another solution is to hire smart program managers who produce the written spec. In either case, you should enforce the simple rule “no code without spec.” The Joel Test 163 8. Do Programmers Have Quiet Working Conditions? There are extensively documented productivity gains provided by giving knowledge workers space, quiet, and privacy. The classic software management book Peopleware3 documents these productivity benefits extensively. Here’s the trouble. We all know that knowledge workers work best by getting into “flow,” also known as being “in the zone,” where they are fully concentrated on their work and fully tuned out of their environment. They lose track of time and produce great stuff through absolute concentration. This is when they get all of their productive work done. Writers, programmers, scientists, and even basketball players will tell you about being in the zone.

I’ve seen a company give a terrible review to a person who single handedly kept everyone on his team happy, cheerful, and productive. All because the metrics in place just didn’t have a way to recognize different types of contributors. If it wasn’t bad enough that metrics don’t measure, they also screw up perfectly happy, productive teams. True, Some Developers Just Don’t Pull Their Weight Even though metrics simply don’t work with knowledge workers, it’s still true that there are great developers and decent developers and crappy developers. Interestingly, everybody pretty much knows who is who. You just can’t quite measure it. Fixing Suboptimal Teams 129 You still need to triage the team into three categories: 1. Great developer 2. Needs specific improvements 3. Hopeless If you’re a new manager on a team, the fastest way to do this is by peer evaluation.

If a coworker asks you a question, causing a oneminute interruption, but this knocks you out of the zone badly enough that it takes you half an hour to get productive again, your overall productivity is in serious trouble. If you’re in a noisy bullpen environment like the type that caffeinated dotcoms love to create, with marketing guys screaming on the phone next to programmers, your productivity will plunge as knowledge workers get interrupted time after time and never get into the zone. With programmers, it’s especially hard. Productivity depends on being able to juggle a lot of little details in short-term memory all at once. Any kind of interruption can cause these details to come crashing down. When you resume work, you can’t remember any of the details (like local variable names you were using, or where you were up to in implementing The Joel Test 165 that search algorithm) and you have to keep looking these things up, which slows you down a lot until you get back up to speed.


pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy

That means you can probably blame Drucker for far too many soul-destroying PowerPoint presentations, peppy but hollow business books, and inspirational corporate “coaches” with lots of energy but no message. But Drucker also, more than half a century ago, predicted the shift to what he dubbed a “knowledge economy” and, with it, the rise of the “knowledge worker.” Drucker made his name in America, but he was a product of the Viennese intellectual tradition—Joseph Schumpeter was a family friend and frequent guest during his boyhood—of looking for the big, underlying social and economic forces and trying to spot the moments when they changed. Accordingly, he saw the emerging knowledge worker as both the product and beneficiary of a profound shift in how capitalism operated. “In the knowledge society the employees—that is, knowledge workers—own the tools of production,” Drucker wrote in a 1994 essay in the Atlantic. That, he argued, was a huge shift and one that would, for the first time since the industrial revolution, shift the balance of economic power toward workers—or, rather, toward one very smart, highly educated group of them—and away from capital.

Hence the power of the robber barons and the complaints of the proletariat. But that logic collapses in the knowledge economy: “Increasingly, the true investment in the knowledge society is not in machines and tools but in the knowledge of the knowledge worker. . . . The market researcher needs a computer. But increasingly this is the researcher’s own personal computer, and it goes along where he or she goes. . . . In the knowledge society the most probable assumption for organizations . . . is that they need knowledge workers far more than knowledge workers need them.” Here, then, is another way that some of the highly talented are catapulted into the super-elite: when it becomes possible for them to practice their profession independently. Or, to put it another way, when the tool of their trade is a personal computer, rather than a steam engine.

The problem, he said, wasn’t that women weren’t as smart or even as numerate as men; he had hired many women in starting positions who were as skilled as their male counterparts. But they still didn’t have the royal jelly: “They don’t have the killer instinct, they don’t want to fight, they won’t go for the jugular.” By way of evidence, he described a subordinate who had cried when he told her she had made a mistake. You can’t do that and win, he said. THREE SUPERSTARS A society in which knowledge workers dominate is under threat from a new class conflict: between the large minority of knowledge workers and the majority of people, who will make their living traditionally, either by manual work, whether skilled or unskilled, or by work in services, whether skilled or unskilled. —Peter Drucker It is probably a misfortune that . . . popular writers . . . have defended free enterprise on the ground that it regularly rewards the deserving, and it bodes ill for the future of the market order that this seems to have become the only defense of it which is understood by the general public. . . .


pages: 372 words: 152

The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

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banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

This small elite owns 37.4 percent of all corporate stocks and bonds and 56.2 percent of all U.S. private business assets. 39 Below the super rich is a slightly larger class consisting of 4 percent of the working population of the United States. Their ranks are made up largely of the new professionals, the highly trained symbolic analysts or knowledge workers who manage the new high-tech information economy. This small group, numbering fewer than 3.8 million individuals, earns as much as the entire bottom 51 percent of American wage earners, totaling more than 49.2 million. 40 In addition to the top 4 percent of American income earners who make up the elite of the knowledge sector, another 16 percent of the American workforce also consists mostly of knowledge workers. Altogether, the knowledge class, which represents 20 percent of the workforce, receives $1,755 billion a year in income, more than the other four fifths of the population combined. The incomes of this class continue to increase by 2 to 3 percent a year after inflation, even as the income of other American wage earners continues to decline. 41 The knowledge workers are a diverse group united by their use of state-of-the-art information technology to identify, process, and solve problems.

Now that labor's clout has Significantly diminished, the knowledge workers become the more important group in the economic equation. They are the catalysts of the Third Industrial Revolution and the ones responsible for keeping the high-tech economy running. For that reason, top management and investors have had increasingly to share at least some of their power with the creators of intellectual property, the men and women whose knowledge and ideas fuel the high-tech information society. It is no wonder, then, that intellectual-property rights has become even more important than finance in some industries. Having a monopoly over knowledge and ideas ensures competitive success and market position. Financing that success becomes almost secondary. In the high-tech automated world of the 1990S, the new elite of knowledge workers are emerging with critical skills that elevate them to center stage in the global economy.

A fair and equitable distribution of the productivity gains would require a shortening of the workweek around the world and a concerted effort by central governments to provide alternative employment in the third sector-the social economy-for those whose labor is no longer required in the marketplace. If, however, the dramatic productivity gains of the high-tech revolution are not shared, but rather used primarily to enhance corporate profit, to the exclusive benefit of stockholders, top corporate managers, and the emerging elite of high-tech knowledge workers, chances are that the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots will lead to social and political upheaval on a global scale. All around us today, we see the introduction of breathtaking new technologies capable of extraordinary feats. We have been led to believe that the marvels of modem technology would be our salvation. Millions placed their hopes for a better tomorrow on the liberating potential of the computer revolution.


pages: 261 words: 16,734

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister

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A Pattern Language, cognitive dissonance, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, performance metric, skunkworks, supply-chain management, women in the workforce

When you’re also doing sales and marketing support for the product you and your colleagues are designing, then you have to take every single call that comes in. Same with user support for another product. To the extent that knowledge workers are required to multitask, their managers need to take account of the flow requirements of the different tasks. Mixing flow and highly interruptive activities is a recipe for nothing but frustration. In particular, it assures that no reasonable telephone ethic (“Leave me alone. I’m working.”) can emerge. More important than any gimmick you introduce is a change in attitude. People must learn that it’s okay sometimes not to answer their phones, and their managers need to understand that as well. That’s the character of knowledge workers’ work: The quality of their time is important, not just its quantity. A cursory reading of this chapter might leave you thinking that the entire message is, telephone: bad; e-mail: good but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

What’s conveniently forgotten in this analysis is the investment in those people—paid for with real, hard-earned dollars and now thrown out the window as if it had no value. There is probably no hope of changing the view that Wall Street takes of treating investment in people as an expense. But companies that play this game will suffer in the long run. The converse is also true: Companies that manage their investment sensibly will prosper in the long run. Companies of knowledge workers have to realize that it is their investment in human capital that matters most. The good ones already do. Part IV: Growing Productive Teams Think back over a particularly enjoyable work experience from your career. What was it that made the experience such a pleasure? The simplistic answer is, “Challenge.” Good work experiences have always got a fair measure of challenge about them.

One of the first victims is the easy, effective peer-coaching that is ubiquitous in healthy teams. As a manager, you may have convinced yourself that you ought to be the principal coach to the team or teams that report to you. That certainly was a common model in the past, when high-tech bosses tended to be proven experts in the technologies their workers needed to master. Today, however, the typical team of knowledge workers has a mix of skills, only some of which the boss has mastered. The boss usually coaches only some of the team members. What of the others? We are increasingly convinced that the team members themselves provide most of the coaching. When you observe a well-knit team in action, you’ll see a basic hygienic act of peer-coaching that is going on all the time. Team members sit down in pairs to transfer knowledge.


pages: 319 words: 89,477

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel Iii, John Seely Brown

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, game design, George Gilder, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, software as a service, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs

Most jobs in Western corporations have been engineered (and we use this word advisedly) to become highly routinized, especially if they are not performed by “knowledge workers.” As we begin to realize that scalable efficiency cannot see us through a shift to near-constant disruption, we will begin to see that performance improvement by everyone counts, not just performance improvement for “knowledge workers.” We will begin to redefine all jobs, especially those performed at the “bottom of the institutional pyramid,” in ways that facilitate problem solving, experimentation, and tinkering. This will foster more widespread performance improvement. Everyone, even the most unskilled worker, will be viewed as a critical problem-solver and knowledge-worker contributing to performance improvement. One need only walk through the assembly lines of a Toyota plant to see highly motivated workers who are passionate about their jobs because they can tangibly see how they are making a difference by tackling challenging work problems and contributing to greater value.

The real opportunity is to rethink all aspects of the institution through the talent lens—what would the strategy, operations, and organization of the firm be like if talent development were the top priority of the firm? We’ve already talked about how institutional leaders have to focus on everyone in their organization—and not just the so-called knowledge workers. But let’s take it one step further, because there are yet more misunderstandings that arise on the topic of talent development, revealing some of the key assumptions that most executives bring to this topic. We have already noted in earlier chapters that Western executives tend to draw a firm line between “knowledge workers” and the rest of the workforce. If we are going to mobilize our entire workforce, we need to abandon this artificial distinction and recognize that everyone brings talent to the job that must be developed. With few exceptions, executives immediately narrow the scope of discussion around talent development to their own employees.

At minimal cost to SAP—relative to push models—SAP harnessed the collective power of hundreds of thousands of talented individuals to help achieve the company’s strategic goals. 10 For more about this crucial question, see John Hagel III and Marc Singer, “Un-bundling the Corporation,” Harvard Business Review, March 1, 1999, which asserts that most companies are an unnatural bundle of three very different types of businesses: They are customer-relationship businesses, infrastructure-management businesses, and product-development and innovation businesses. 11 See Thomas H. Davenport, Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers (Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press, 2005). 12 Thomas B. Winans and John Seely Brown, “Cloud Computing: A Collection of Working Papers,” July 31, 2009, Deloitte Development. Chapter 7 1 Zoe Baird and James Barksdale et al., “Creating a Trusted Network for Homeland Security,” Markle Foundation, December 2, 2003, http://www.markle.org/down-loadable_assets/nstf_report2_overview.pdf. 2 See Saxby Chambliss, “Counterterrorism Intelligence Capabilities and Performance Prior to 9-11,” Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, A Report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader, July 2002, http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2002_rpt/hpsci_ths0702.html. 3 John Franke, “SAP CEO Heir-Apparent Resigns,” March 28, 2007, TechTarget.com, http://searchsap.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid21_gci1249379,00.html#. 4 This and other details are drawn from Daniel Roth, “Driven: Shai Agassi’s Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road,” Wired, August 18, 2008, http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-09/ff_agassi?


pages: 353 words: 91,520

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner, Ted Dintersmith

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affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bernie Sanders, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, immigration reform, income inequality, index card, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, school choice, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, unpaid internship, Y Combinator

The U.S. education system rose to the challenge of meeting the needs of the rising industrial economy and enabled the United States to gain world economic dominance.6 As the twentieth century rolled forward, the fundamentals of our economy changed. Midway through the last century, our industrial base began to contract, and low-wage routine jobs moved offshore. As growth in manufacturing jobs stalled, millions of new white-collar jobs for “knowledge workers” (a term coined by Peter Drucker in 1959) were created, fueling the next phase of U.S. economic growth and creating a robust middle class. The economic landscape was dominated by large organizations hungry for mid-level knowledge workers to produce, refine, and manage information. To keep pace with these changes, Americans put increasing priority on education, largely by extending the number of years students spent in school. The number of high school and college graduates soared. With some tweaks (such as including a college prep track in public high schools), the core of the Prussian-American education model—the transfer of basic literacy and numeracy skills and content knowledge from teachers to students—remained effective in preparing students for knowledge-worker jobs.

With some tweaks (such as including a college prep track in public high schools), the core of the Prussian-American education model—the transfer of basic literacy and numeracy skills and content knowledge from teachers to students—remained effective in preparing students for knowledge-worker jobs. Our education system and economy maintained their productive alliance. As we moved into the 1980s, a handful of people began voicing concerns about the state of education in the United States. They cited data questioning the international competitiveness of our students, reflected in lackluster performance on standardized tests. They expressed a concern that our slow-moving education system was incapable of adapting to a changing world. The prescient A Nation at Risk report, issued over thirty years ago, noted: “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”7 As our nation headed into the twenty-first century, we faced an existential choice.

Since information is readily available to everyone, content knowledge is no longer valued in the workplace. What matters most in our increasingly innovation-driven economy is not what you know, but what you can do with what you know. The skills needed in our vastly complicated world, whether to earn a decent living or to be an active and informed citizen, are radically different from those required historically. Quite simply, the world has changed, and our schools remain stuck in time. “Knowledge workers” have become obsolete. What the world demands today are “smart creatives,” the term that Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg use to describe the kind of people Google needs to hire in their book How Google Works. In our efforts to “fix” education, we’ve taken a course of action that extirpates the creative spirit and confidence from our youth while drilling them on frivolous things, like memorizing the definition of extirpate for the SAT verbal exam.


pages: 104 words: 34,784

The Trouble With Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure by Shawn Micallef

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big-box store, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, ghettoisation, Jane Jacobs, knowledge worker, Mason jar, McMansion, new economy, post scarcity, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

Work happens everywhere now. Many of us work from home, or from actual cafés, freelance vagabonds who move from one rickety table to the next, renting the space with our coffee purchases, getting more wired as the day goes on. In January 2014, the Guardian reported that the first British branch of the Russian chain Ziferblat opened in Islington, a London neighbourhood well-known for its clusters of peripatetic knowledge workers. What makes Ziferblat (clock face in Russian) different is that it charges five pence per minute, and patrons get free snacks and coffee, and can make their own food in the kitchen. It’s essentially like renting an office on a micro, minute-by-minute basis. As permanent employment has slowly evaporated in favour of temporary and contract labour, many of us find ourselves with multiple jobs, sometimes spread over several different fields.

However, instead of something that could create a shared sense of common cause or, dare I say, solidarity, we’re left with brunch as it’s often practiced: a religion of aesthetic wastefulness and little else. The trouble with brunch is that it could be so much more, and a closer look at brunch itself reveals its potential. The brunching class, if it embraced a little Veblen and Florida, and took a critical look at how it spends its time, and how others around it do, a collective identity across heretofore loosely related kinds of knowledge workers could be formed. What’s more, that the brunching class exists in places with radically different economic circumstances demonstrates it’s a class consciousness that could be global in scope. The Transnational Buenos Aires Brunch It was nearly two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and we were walking the near-deserted streets of Buenos Aires looking for a very particular brunch spot. In town for two weeks to attend an art symposium, I had made a new conference friend, Kate, also from Toronto and keen to find a place she had read about in her Wallpaper City Guide: Buenos Aires, an object she was a little sheepish about but one that was compact and listed just enough galleries and eating spots to suggest a few distractions for the spare hours during the busy week.

If the brunching class came around to seeing their own lifestyle and work life in a more critical way, understanding the nature of their own work, there’s potential for better relationships with adjacent, lower classes. A related reshaping of the tectonic plates of class are those knowledge- and creative-class workers who don’t identify with the traditional working class, even if their pay and lack of job security is commensurate with older forms of working-class life (Dickens’ famous Bob Cratchit, though a working-class icon of the early industrial revolution, was essentially a knowledge worker on a contract job with no security, no benefits and poor pay). Taste and sensibility get in the way of seeing the commonalities among the creative and working classes. Work is work, but even if a creative earns less money than a unionized worker, class becomes a kind of ideology that limits the perception of different kinds of work, failing to allow for cross-class identity, but also limits the conversation around a development like Walmart.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Washington Consensus, working poor, éminence grise

Another reason has been the rise of the knowledge economy and the accompanying decline of the traditional manufacturing and service sectors, which has radically changed the stratification of occupations and attitudes.29 The old class-based politics in which Labour had its roots in the unionised skilled and unskilled working class while the Conservatives had their roots in the professions, middle class and aspirational middle classes is decaying. The Tories cannot rely on knowledge workers to support them automatically. Indeed, it seems that knowledge workers are more liberal on most social issues and are willing to tolerate government action if they feel it might work. Equally, though, Labour cannot rely on the knowledge workers’ support, either. They tend to be more individualistic, suspicious of collectivism in the form of trade unions and resent micro-management by their employers and the state. This is now a much more fluid political market place. Only a fifth of the electorate is traditionally egalitarian and only a fifth is traditionally free market.

Britain boasts a burgeoning super-rich sector: there are 47,000 people in this country with an average pre-tax income of £780,000 a year. Another 420,000 have pre-tax incomes of between £100,000 and £350,000. Nearly all of them are male, white and live in the South East.10 There is a growing class of ‘knowledge workers’ who already constitute more than two-fifths of the working population and reflect the fact that the dynamic parts of the knowledge economy – high-tech manufacturing, the creative industries, health, business services, education and ICT – need well-qualified and skilled people. But below them are ten million adults who earn less than £15,000 a year. Few are knowledge workers, and their chance of self-improvement is minimal. Two million children live in low-income working families. Those at the top have enjoyed a world of excess. Financier-cum-retailer Sir Philip Green set the gold standard for conspicuous extravagance when he spent £4 million on his son’s bar mitzvah in a specially built temporary synagogue on the French Riviera and £5 million on his own fiftieth-birthday party in Cyprus.

In the private sector in particular trade unions have become weaker, partly because of labour market legislation requiring them to ballot workers over strike action and outlawing secondary picketing, but also because of deeper, underlying changes. Knowledge workers in a more knowledge-based economy feel more confident about their capacity to manage their careers proactively and individually. They have skills that employers need, and they have no desire to negotiate their pay and conditions collectively. Consequently, trade union membership in the knowledge-based private sector has plummeted. Equally, knowledge workers are more keenly aware of new workplace realities. Production is less for mass markets and more customised, with much closer relationships with clients and consumers.12 Today’s customers embed their wishes in the production process through service-level agreements, tight contract specifications, default clauses, key performance indicators and so on.


pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

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Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

The researchers show what every young job seeker of recent years already knows, that “in response to this demand reversal, high-skilled workers have moved down the occupational ladder and have begun to perform jobs traditionally performed by lower-skilled workers”—thus the widely noted upsurge in file clerks and receptionists with bachelor’s degrees, for example. The next step: “This de-skilling process, in turn, results in high-skilled workers pushing low-skilled workers even further down the occupational ladder and, to some degree, out of the labor force altogether.” That finding not only makes intuitive sense, it also helps explain America’s unusually low overall employment rate and the stagnation of wages. FROM KNOWLEDGE WORKERS TO RELATIONSHIP WORKERS It sounds as if smart, highly educated people will be scorned in the coming economy—but that is not necessarily the case. To see why not, consider again the situation of lawyers, whose work is increasingly being taken over by infotech. Average lawyers “face a bleak future,” believes Professor McGinnis of Northwestern. Their best chance of prospering may well lie in using interpersonal abilities, “by persuading angry and irrational clients to act in their self-interest,” he explains.

But important isn’t the same as high value or well paid. As infotech continues its advance into higher skills, value will continue to move elsewhere. Engineers will stay in demand, it’s safe to say, but tomorrow’s most valuable engineers will not be geniuses in cubicles; rather, they’ll be those who can build relationships, brainstorm, collaborate, and lead. Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” in the late 1950s to describe the most valuable workers as economies became increasingly information based. We can see that the term is no longer quite right. More people than ever will be working with knowledge, but knowledge won’t be the source of their greatest value. We need a new term: The most valuable people are increasingly relationship workers. THE MILITARY DISCOVERS “THE HUMAN DOMAIN” The growing importance of social interaction as the critical factor in effectiveness and value is far more than a business phenomenon.

It made sense that the groups with the best social skills would be most successful because what the “socially intelligent participants in our collective intelligence experiment may have been doing was enabling better idea flow by guiding the group toward briefer presentations of more ideas, encouraging responses, and ensuring that everyone contributed equally.” The operational value of social skills was explained. The mystery of how those skills make groups more effective was solved. The people who made teams most effective may or may not have been the best knowledge workers. They were definitely the best relationship workers. PUTTING THE DISCOVERIES TO WORK Human interaction is so powerful that increasing it just a little improves group performance a lot. For example, Pentland and his lab investigated a huge Bank of America call center where the emphasis was on productivity; reducing the average call handle time at that one call center by just 5 percent would save the company $1 million a year.


pages: 236 words: 67,953

Brave New World of Work by Ulrich Beck

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, full employment, future of work, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, job automation, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, McJob, means of production, mini-job, postnationalism / post nation state, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, working poor, working-age population

Value is now created by ‘productivity’ and ‘innovation’, both applications of knowledge to work. The leading social groups of the knowledge society will be ‘knowledge workers’ – knowledge executives who know how to allocate knowledge to productive use; knowledge professionals; knowledge employees. Practically all these knowledge people will be employed in organizations. Yet unlike the employees under capitalism they own both the ‘means of production’ and the ‘tools of production’ – the former through their pension funds which are rapidly emerging in all developed countries as the only real owners, the latter because knowledge workers own their knowledge and can take it with them wherever they go. The economic challenge of the post-capitalist society will therefore be the productivity of knowledge work and knowledge worker.20 Many have objected that there is nothing new in this line of argument, since knowledge already played a central role in the industry and services era, perhaps in all epochs of work.

Just as, in the transition from traditional society to the first modernity, the agricultural sector contracted and industry and services expanded, so now, in the transition to the second modernity, it is necessary to make a bold leap from the industry and service society to the knowledge and information society. This transition – argue authors such as Daniel Bell, Peter F. Drucker, Scott Lash/John Urry and Manuel Castells – will fundamentally change not only the world of work but the very concept of work itself. The most prominent feature of this new society will be the centrality of knowledge as an economic resource. Knowledge, not work, will become the source of social wealth; and ‘knowledge workers’ who have the capacity to translate specialized knowledge into profit-producing innovations (products, technological and organizational innovations, etc.) will become the privileged group in society. The basic economic resource – the ‘means of production’ to use the economist's term – is no longer capital, nor natural resources (the economist's ‘land’), nor ‘labour’. It is and will be knowledge.


pages: 196 words: 57,974

Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

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affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The Concept of the Corporation made a passionate plea for GM to treat workers as a resource rather than just as a cost. In “the assembly-line mentality,” warned Drucker, workers were valued purely in terms of how closely they resembled machines.15 In fact, the most valuable thing about workers was not their hands, but their brains. The importance of empowering workers became more important when Drucker identified a new class of “knowledge workers” (as he dubbed them in 1959). These were lessons that Japanese managers (who read Drucker’s work assiduously) learned rather more quickly than GM. The carmaker’s attempt at talking to its workers came down to suggesting they write an essay, “My Job and Why I Like It.” CORPORATE IMPERIALISM One sign of the success of managerial capitalism is the way that it co-opted its state equivalent after 1945.

By the turn of the millennium, it no longer seemed odd that, at least for a time, the biggest challenge to the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, should suddenly spring up in a Finnish university dorm or that its product—the new operating system, Linux—should be given away for free. Such uncertainty proved too much for the Sloanist idea of a company. It was too slow, too methodical, too hierarchical, too reliant on economies of scale that were withering away. It also proved too cumbersome when it came to husbanding knowledge. Brainpower had always mattered in business. But this truism became far more valid after 1975, as Peter Drucker’s knowledge workers finally began to make their weight felt. By the end of 2001, General Motors boasted net-book assets (tangible things like factories, cars, and even cash) of $52 billion, but its market value of $30 billion was only a fifth of that of Merck, a drug firm that could muster a balance sheet value of $7 billion, but had a far more valuable trove of knowledge. In 1999, America’s most valuable export was intellectual capital: the country raked in $37 billion in licensing fees and royalties, compared with $29 billion for its main physical export, aircraft.6 The story of the company in the last quarter of the twentieth century is of a structure being unbundled.

The third forecast is an offshoot of the second: that the discrete company is no longer the basic building block of the modern economy. It will be replaced by the “network.” Some economies have long centered on webs of interlocking businesses, such as Japan’s keiretsu and South Korea’s chaebol. But the models most commonly cited are the boundaryless firms of Silicon Valley. In theory, these loose-fitting alliances are the ideal homes for Peter Drucker’s knowledge workers. This sounds attractive. But the networking concept has (appropriately enough) bundled together too many contradictory ideas. The older sort of networks, like the keiretsu, which were largely attempts to shield member companies from the market, are now being pulled apart by it. The networks in Silicon Valley, which rely on their sensitivity to market movements, look far more modern, but they are still built around companies.


pages: 204 words: 54,395

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

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affirmative action, call centre, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, deliberate practice, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, George Akerlof, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, Results Only Work Environment, side project, the built environment, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

Drucker coined the term knowledge worker, foresaw the rise of the nonprofit sector, and was among the first to stress the primacy of the customer in business strategy. But although he's best known for his thoughts on managing businesses, toward the end of his career Drucker signaled the next frontier: self-management . With the rise of individual longevity and the decline of job security, he argued, individuals have to think hard about where their strengths lie, what they can contribute, and how they can improve their own performance. The need to manage oneself, he wrote shortly before he died in 2005, is creating a revolution in human affairs. Type I Insight: Demanding of knowledge workers that they define their own task and its results is necessary because knowledge workers must be autonomous . . . workers should be asked to think through their own work plans and then to submit them.


pages: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

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barriers to entry, c2.com, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, Paul Graham, profit motive, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, slashdot, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, thinkpad, VA Linux, web application

You can learn all about writing specs by reading Chapters 5 through 8. 8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions? There are extensively documented productivity gains provided by giving knowledge workers space, quiet, and privacy. The classic software management book Peopleware documents these productivity benefits extensively.8 __________ 6. See Chapter 24. 7. For example, the course Daily Themes at Yale University (see www.yale.edu/engl450b/) is famous for requiring students to write an essay every day. 8. Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, Second Edition (Dorset House Publishing, 1999). Here's how it works. We all know that knowledge workers work best by getting into "flow," also known as being "in the zone," where they are fully concentrated on their work and fully tuned out of their environment.

If a coworker asks you a question, causing a one-minute interruption, but this knocks you out of the zone badly enough that it takes you half an hour to get productive again, your overall productivity is in serious trouble. If you're in a noisy bullpen environment like the type that caffeinated dotcoms love to create, with marketing guys screaming on the phone next to programmers, your productivity will plunge as knowledge workers get interrupted time after time and never get into the zone. With programmers, it's especially hard. Productivity depends on being able to juggle a lot of little details in short-term memory all at once. Any kind of interruption can cause these details to come crashing down. When you resume work, you can't remember any of the details (like local variable names you were using, or where you were up to in implementing that search algorithm) and you have to keep looking these things up, which slows you down a lot until you get back up to speed.

"Reps who spent more than 13 minutes talking to a customer didn't get their monthly bonuses," writes Katrina Brooker.2 "As a result, workers began doing just about anything to get customers off the phone: pretending the line wasn't working, hanging up, or often—at great expense—sending them new parts or computers. Not surprisingly, Gateway's customer satisfaction rates, once the best in the industry, fell below average." It seems like any time you try to measure the performance of knowledge workers, things rapidly disintegrate, and you get what Robert D. Austin calls measurement dysfunction. His book Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations3 is an excellent and thorough survey of the subject. Managers like to implement measurement systems, and they like to tie compensation to performance based on these measurement systems. But in the absence of 100 percent supervision, workers have an incentive to "work to the measurement," concerning themselves solely with the measurement and not with the actual value or quality of their work. __________ 1.


pages: 280 words: 82,623

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter

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business process, cognitive dissonance, financial independence, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, knowledge worker, loss aversion, shareholder value

To ignore them and resent them is to misunderstand them—and eventually lose them. You’re committing the corporate equivalent of a hate crime. 4. I can always get someone else. In the past, the key to wealth may have been control of land, materials, plants, and tools. In that environment, the worker needed the company more than the company needed the worker. Today the key to wealth is knowledge. As a result, the company needs the knowledge worker far more than the knowledge worker needs them. To make matters worse, the workers know this! They see themselves as fungible assets—no longer at the mercy of company whim—rather than dispensable commodities. The difference is subtle but real: As a fungible asset, the free agent sees himself as always getting a better job somewhere else; if he were merely a commodity, anyone could replace him (which, we know, is not true anymore).

When the issue is negativity, I prefer this form of observational feedback to mere monitoring of speech patterns. Checking what you say doesn’t automatically tell you what other people think of you. You may be overly negative, but your colleagues may be capable of living with it. But seeing how people relate to you provides proof that your flaw is serious, that it matters to people, that it’s a problem. Habit #9 Withholding information In the age of knowledge workers, the cliché that information is power is truer than ever—which makes withholding information even more extreme and irritating. Intentionally withholding information is the opposite of adding value. We are deleting value. Yet it has the same purpose: To gain power. It’s the same old need to win, only more devious. And it appears in more forms than merely playing our cards close to our vest.

Clearly, dangling the carrot of more money for meeting deadlines didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean that beating the writer with the stick of a salary deduction would appeal to him either. 2. I know what they know. The days when managers know how to do every job in the company better than anyone else are over. The reason Peter Drucker said that the manager of the future will know how to ask rather than how to tell is because Drucker understood that knowledge workers would know more than any manager does. Well, the future is here with a vengeance. And smart managers need to shed the overconfident bias that they know as much as their employees know in specific areas. It’s a blind spot that diminishes their employees’ abilities and enthusiasm, and ultimately shrinks the boss’s stature. 3. I hate their selfishness. How many times has an employee come to you complaining that he or she isn’t happy or fulfilled in a job, and the initial thought balloon hanging over your head is, “Quit griping, you selfish oaf!


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

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3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Yogi Berra

(Golf courses would keep the expats happy, as would shopping malls, movie theaters, and schools that seem airlifted straight from Southern California.) Moving in from the residential rings, the next layer was slated for the manicured campuses of those same multinationals—the back offices, R & D labs, and regional headquarters of the Toyotas and Nokias per-suaded to relocate. Here, one would also find hotels, shopping malls, convention centers—anything and everything to sustain the knowledge workers laboring in the shadow of the airport. In the innermost rings, essentially abutting the runway fences, were the free-trade zones, factories, warehouses, and logistics hubs designed for the FedEx/UPS/DHL combine—the just-in-time manufacturers and suppliers for whom time and distance from the belly of a 747 equals, quite literally, cost. New six-lane highways would link the inner and outer rings, with semitrailers barreling down dedicated aerolanes while residents stroll along boulevards lining canals.

But it’s too much for my neighbors in Park Slope, another patch of brownstones down the hill to the east, where the typical approaching plane swoops so low you can clearly read the “Delta” painted on its sides. The brownstoners have lobbied unsuccessfully to have the flight paths moved over some less fortunate neighborhood. They’re much like my neighbors here—lawyers, writers, and financiers. “Knowledge workers” is what they would call them in New Songdo, where the item at the top of Stan Gale’s to-do list is to woo more of them there. A few blocks west are the docks of Red Hook, where a faint few ships unload containers by day and blow foghorns by night. It’s a rumble as startling as jet wash, though several degrees more romantic because their era seems farther removed. Walt Whitman lived here, hopping ferries to the city and back in the mornings and evenings, confronted each time with the simple, joyous fact that the city’s lifeblood was commerce.

Another is on-site employers any mayor (or governor) would kill for, including a film studio and a maker of solar cells that opened a $100 million factory there last year. But taking their cue from Stapleton’s tenants, the Ratners expect that nearly everyone here will work from home. As BusinessWeek put it, Mesa del Sol “will be the first place of its kind built from scratch and targeted at the creative class.” A big marketing push will be made to coastal knowledge workers looking to cash out of their million-dollar split levels, move inland, and work remotely for their companies. Mansionettes will carry price tags of up to $400,000, about the same as the average Manhattan studio. They’ll feature home offices sequestered from family foot traffic and fully wired for transnational connections. Business centers strewn throughout the community—all within a short walk or electric-cart ride—will offer rent-by-the-hour support staff plus state-of-the-art meeting rooms and seamless video-conference hookups to China and India.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

I became part of that statistic. I sold the ranch. I didn’t know what I would do for sure after that. But it did occur to me that there was a lot more money in bullshit than there had ever been in bulls and I would get into information. And here I am.69 Barlow’s shift from agricultural work to information work was abrupt, painful, and involuntary. “I did try my personal best to resist conscription as a Knowledge Worker,” he writes, “but I was as culturally doomed as the Tasaday of New Guinea. . . . Yanked from the 19th Century, I found myself . . . tossed unceremoniously onto the doorstep of the 21st.”70 For Barlow, this meant reaching out to his old friends in San Francisco. In 1986, while still in Pinedale, Barlow heard that David Gans, a Bay area disc jockey and connoisseur of the Grateful Dead, and hundreds of other Dead V i r t u a l i t y an d C o m m u n i t y o n t h e W E L L [ 167 ] Heads, were conversing on the WELL.

It’s the ultimate goal of building companies around networked computers, mobile communications, and self-managed teams: to marry the competitive demands of business with the desire for personal satisfaction and democratic participation; to achieve productive coordination without top-down control.” In the pages of Out of Control, the Long Hunter of the Whole Earth Catalog had become an entrepreneur. Journalists picked up on the point too. “The renegade competitor,” wrote the Harvard Business Review, “the lone knowledge worker equipped with a laptop, a modem, and an inspired idea—these are our heroes, the change agents who are reinventing industries, reshaping the economy, creating vast wealth.”63 Almost thirty years earlier, thousands of young, highly educated Americans had tromped off into the wilderness seeking to build an egalitarian, fun-loving world. Today, suggested Kelly, they should look to technology and the economy for satisfaction.

One of the earliest was James Beniger. In Control Revolution, Beniger traced to the late nineteenth century the increasing importance of information to economic life. James W. Cortada, in Making of the Information Society, has recently argued that information has been a key feature of Western and particularly American culture for N o t e s t o Pa g e s 2 4 1 _ 2 5 3 [ 289 ] hundreds of years. For similar arguments on the knowledge worker, see Chandler and Cortada, Nation Transformed by Information. Scholars of a Marxist orientation have been particularly aggressive in challenging the notion that the postindustrial, postmodern, or network society models actually represent a new era in capitalism. For critiques in this vein, see Slack and Fejes, Ideology of the Information Age; Lyon, Information Society; and Garnham, “Information Society Theory as Ideology.”


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

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A Pattern Language, Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

We’re accustomed to thinking of management as the application of business school techniques that carry a scientific sheen: uniform measurements of productivity and metrics of return-on-investment. Drucker’s definition sounds awfully squishy; he could be talking about an orchestra conductor or a stage director. But in emphasizing the art of management over the science, the human realm over the quantitative dimension, Drucker—who first invented the term knowledge worker and then offered invaluable insights into its implications—was trying to remind us that numbers are only a starting point for management, not its ultimate goal. One great irony inherent in the management of software projects is that despite the digital precision of the materials programmers work with, the enterprise of writing software is uniquely resistant to measurement. Programming managers have struggled for decades to find a sensible way to gauge productivity in their field.

Furthermore, if the cost and schedule of the developers’ personal work is unpredictable, the cost and schedule of their teams’ work will also be unpredictable. And, of course, when a project team’s work is unpredictable, the entire project is unpredictable. In short, as long as individual developers do not plan and track their personal work, their projects will be uncontrollable and unmanageable.” On the other hand, here is Peter Drucker, the father of contemporary management studies: “Most discussions of the knowledge worker’s task start with the advice to plan one’s work. This sounds eminently plausible. The only thing wrong with it is that it rarely works. The plans always remain on paper, always remain good intentions. They seldom turn into achievement.” Drucker published those words in 1966. As it happened, that was just about the time that a young Watts Humphrey was taking over the reins of software management at IBM.

Chandler sat at an unusual midpoint between these approaches, leaving it without clear signposts to mark the moment of “done” or even to indicate the direction in which completion might lie. But there is another consequence of software development’s halting problem, one that is less pragmatic than existential. David Allen, the Getting Things Done guru, talked about the “gnawing sense of anxiety” suffered by knowledge workers who face mountains of open-ended tasks. Software developers always have more to do; the definition of “done,” even for an interim release or small milestone, is always somewhat arbitrary. In this their work is more like an author’s than a builder’s. “Done” isn’t something that is obvious to an observer. “Done” is something you must decide for yourself. Chandler, obviously, was not done, not even remotely.


pages: 398 words: 108,026

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, knowledge worker, the map is not the territory, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

--to Rebecca Merrill for her invaluable editing and production assistance, for her inner commitment to the material, and for her skill, sensitivity, and carefulness in fulfilling that commitment, and to her husband, Roger, for his wise, synergistic help. --and to Kay Swim and her son, Gaylord, for their much appreciated vision which contributed to our organization's rapid growth. FOREWORD The world has changed dramatically since The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published. Life is more complex, more stressful, more demanding. We have transitioned from the Industrial Age into the Information Knowledge Worker Age - with all of its profound consequences. We face challenges and problems in our personal lives, our families, and our organizations unimagined even one and two decades ago. These challenges are not only of a new order of magnitude, they are altogether different in kind. These sweeping changes in society and rumbling shifts in the digitized global marketplace give rise to a very important question - one I'm asked fairly often: "Are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People still relevant today?"

Schoolmates, work colleagues, even family members are seen as competitors-the more they win, the less there is for you. Of course we try to appear generous and cheer for others' successes, but inwardly, privately, so many of us are eating our hearts out when others achieve. Many of the great things in the history of our civilization have been achieved by the independent will of a determined soul. But the greatest opportunities and boundless accomplishments of the Knowledge Worker Age are reserved for those who master the art of "we." True greatness will be achieved through the abundant mind that works selflessly - with mutual respect,for mutual benefit. The hunger to be understood. Few needs of the human heart are greater than the need to be understood - to have a voice that is heard, respected, and valued - to have influence. Most believe that the key to influence is communication-getting your point across clearly and speaking persuasively.

They are different in kind--just as significance is different in kind, not indegree, from success. Tapping into the higher reaches of human genius and motivation--what we could call voice--requires a new mindset, a new skill-set, a new tool-set ... a new habit. The 8th Habit, then, is not about adding one more habit to the 7th--one that somehow got forgotten. It's about seeing and harnessing the power of a third dimension to the 7 Habits that meets the central challenge of the new Knowledge Worker Age. How does notoriety affect you? It affects me in different ways. From an ego standpoint, it's flattering. From a teaching standpoint it is humbling, but I must strongly acknowledge that I am not the author of any of these principles and deserve absolutely no recognition. I am not saying this because of a desire to be modest and humble. I am saying this because I believe it--that I, myself, believe it.


pages: 791 words: 85,159

Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid

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AltaVista, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cross-subsidies, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, Frank Gehry, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, George Gilder, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Productivity paradox, rolodex, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Y2K

From within organizations come sounds of fighting between the IT (information technology) and HR (human resources) factions over who "owns" knowledge management. 2 Similarly, technology giants have entered a propaganda war over who best understands knowledge.3 Elsewhere, the management consultants are maneuvering for high ground in the knowledge stakes. In the process, knowledge has gained sufficient momentum to push aside not only concepts like reengineering but also information, whose rule had previously looked so secure. To be, in Peter Drucker's term, a "knowledge worker" now seems much more respectable than being a mere "information worker," though for a while the latter seemed very much the thing to be. Similarly, pundits are pushing "information economy" and the venerable ''information age" aside in the name of the more Page 119 voguish "knowledge economy" and "knowledge age." There's even a bit of alternative prefixation in such terms as knobot, which we talked about in chapter 2, where the buzz of bots and the buzz of knowledge meet.

Similarly, the sort of blind downsizing produced by business process reengineering has caused organizations to lose "collective memory."7 It's impossible to assess the value of such layoffs. But the business journalist Thomas Stewart estimated the cost of AT&T's last round as equivalent to an $8 billion capital write-off.8 In all, the job of knowledge management cannot involve just the protection and exploitation of patents. It must include the cultivation of knowledgeable workers. Focusing on information, however, makes this kind of cultivation difficult. Known Problems Curiously, if knowledge will go out of the door in the heads of people who have developed and worked with that knowledge, it seems reluctant to go out (or stay behind) in the heads of people Page 123 who have not been so involved. The CEO of the innovative steel manufacturer Chaparral Steel told Leonard-Barton that for this reason the firm has no problem with competitors touring their plant.

This process-without-people viewpoint may indeed account for what some critics regard as business process reengineering's callous disregard for human rather than economic capital. The maxim "Forget all you know" doesn't show much interest in accrued human capital. 17. Walsh and Bayma, 1995. 18. Orr, 1996. 19. As the workplace sociologist Stephen Barley (1996) of Stanford Page 268 University argues, these reps are in many ways models of the new knowledge worker. They work alone, with sophisticated technology, supported by extensive information resources. 20. Hammer also briefly discusses tech reps, but he gives little sense of how they develop understanding or deal with the unexpected. He primarily affirms that reengineering helps them. Hammer, 1996, pp. 26 28. 21. At the time, that documentation was mostly kept on paper. It was ripe, however, for digitization. 22.


pages: 362 words: 99,063

The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg

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affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Ballmer, telemarketer, Tony Hsieh

These people, young and old, read books like The Four-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss, Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur by Pamela Slim, and Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by Jonathan Fields. Daniel Pink, in Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself, his 2001 book prophesying the current tidal wave of microentrepreneurialism, small business, and self-employment, calls them “self-employed knowledge workers, proprietors of home-based businesses . . . freelancers and e-lancers, independent contractors and independent professionals, micropreneurs and infopreneurs, part-time consultants . . . on-call troubleshooters, and full-time soloists.”9 These new kinds of opportunities, open to anyone who wants to pursue them, without any formal, traditional, or academic qualifications necessary to compete, have arisen largely because of technology.

Capital and labor, once so intertwined the distinction scarcely mattered, became separate entities. Capitalists owned the equipment. Laborers earned their money by receiving a sliver of the enormous rewards those giant machines produced.”10 Pink argues that in the last decade, in one area of the economy—called “knowledge work”—a shift has occurred as massive and with implications as far-reaching as those during the shift from an agrarian to an industrial society. For knowledge workers in the developed world, the tools of their trade have become so ridiculously cheap that the “means of production” have once again become affordable to individual workers. These workers no longer have to depend on bosses or large organizations to furnish them with the means of production. They can quit the factory-style organizations and become “butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers” once again—that is, digitally connected entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs.

See Meaningful work, creating Ilovemarketing.com Institute for Integrative Nutrition Intelligence, practical versus academic Internet marketing guru online presence, building and self-created business and self-education YourName.com, importance of Investments, bootstrapper’s method IQ, and success IronPort Iteration velocity John Paul Mitchell Systems Johnson, Cameron as college non-graduate success, evolution of Jong, Erica Kaufman, Josh Kawasaki, Guy Keillor, Garrison Kennedy, Dan as college non-graduate direct-response marketing Kerkorkian, Kirk Kern, Frank as college non-graduate direct-response marketing on power of selling success, evolution of Kiyosaki, Robert mentor of on power of selling Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Knowledge workers, digital Marxism Komisar, Randy on safety versus risk La Flamme, Jena Cheng sales coaching as college non-graduate Deida relationship training direct-response marketing, use of success, evolution of Lalla, Annie and Eben Pagan Langan, Chris LaPorte, Danielle, success, evolution of Laugh-O-Gram Leadership definitions of and impact on many as new marketing as skill of success Lean Startup Machine Lerer, Ben Levchin, Max Leve, Brett Lifelong learning Linchpin concept Listening, importance of Loucks, Vernon Louis Marx and Company Luck, and success Lupton, Amber Lynda Limited McDermid, Hitch Mailer, Norman Maister, David Making a difference.


pages: 305 words: 89,103

Scarcity: The True Cost of Not Having Enough by Sendhil Mullainathan

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrei Shleifer, Cass Sunstein, clean water, computer vision, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, happiness index / gross national happiness, impulse control, indoor plumbing, inventory management, knowledge worker, late fees, linear programming, mental accounting, microcredit, p-value, payday loans, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

firefighting organizations have several features in common: We owe our understanding of firefighting and several of the examples to Roger E. Bohn and Ramchandran Jaikumar, Firefighting by Knowledge Workers (Information Storage Industry Center, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, 2000). “If you look at our resource allocation on traditional projects”: N. P. Repenning, “Reducing Cycle Time at Ford Electronics, Part II: Improving Product Development,” case study available from the author (1996). 28,000 known bugs: This number is cited in Bohn and Jaikumar, Firefighting by Knowledge Workers. It is actually part of a larger controversy about whether or not Microsoft shipped with 61,000 known bugs. See the terrific discussion at Gripes about Windows 2000, retrieved from http://www.computergripes.com/Windows2000.html#28000bugs.

Princeton undergraduates to play Family Feud in a controlled setting: These studies can be found in Anuj Shah, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Eldar Shafir, “Some Consequences of Having Too Little,” Science 338 (2013): 682–85. present bias: A nice overview of present bias and other models of time discounting can be found in Shane Frederick and George Loewenstein, “Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review,” Journal of Economic Literature (2002). Because machine uptime was important: R. E. Bohn and R. Jaikumar, Firefighting by Knowledge Workers (Information Storage Industry Center, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, 2000), retrieved from http://isic.ucsd.edu/pdf/firefighting.pdf. Steven Covey finds it helpful to classify tasks: S. R. Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (New York: Free Press, 2004). approximately one in four rural bridges: Bridges—Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, retrieved from http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/bridges.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

Big data and predictive algorithms have the potential to transform the nature and number of knowledge-based jobs in organizations and industries across the board. The predictions that can be extracted from data will increasingly be used to substitute for human qualities such as experience and judgment. As top managers increasingly employ data-driven decision making powered by automated tools, there will be an ever-shrinking need for an extensive human analytic and management infrastructure. Whereas today there is a team of knowledge workers who collect information and present analysis to multiple levels of management, eventually there may be a single manager and a powerful algorithm. Organizations are likely to flatten. Layers of middle management will evaporate, and many of the jobs now performed by both clerical workers and skilled analysts will simply disappear. WorkFusion, a start-up company based in the New York City area, offers an especially vivid example of the dramatic impact that white-collar automation is likely to have on organizations.

Watson—as well as the competing systems that are certain to eventually appear—have the potential to revolutionize the way questions are asked and answered, as well as the way information analysis is approached, both internal to organizations and in engagements with customers. There is no escaping the reality, however, that a great deal of the analysis performed by systems of this type would otherwise have been done by human knowledge workers. Building Blocks in the Cloud In November 2013, IBM announced that its Watson system would move from the specialized computers that hosted the system for the Jeopardy! matches to the cloud. In other words, Watson would now reside in massive collections of servers connected to the Internet. Developers would be able to link directly to the system and incorporate IBM’s revolutionary cognitive computing technology into custom software applications and mobile apps.

Even within these top-tier households, income is concentrated to a staggering degree; the number of genuinely wealthy households—those that can survive and continue spending entirely on the basis of their accumulated wealth—is far smaller. During the first year of recovery from the Great Recession, 95 percent of income growth went to just the top 1 percent.20 The top 5 percent is largely made up of professionals and knowledge workers with at least a college degree. As we saw in Chapter 4, however, many of these skilled occupations are squarely in the crosshairs as technology advances. Software automation may eliminate some jobs entirely. In other cases, the jobs may end up being deskilled, so that wages are driven down. Offshoring and the transition to big data–driven management approaches that often require fewer analysts and middle managers loom as other potential threats for many of these workers.


pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

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Airbnb, barriers to entry, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

While the companies who pay the minimum possible wage and nickel and dime their employees may make a quick buck, they rarely seem to last. In Summary (a.k.a. TL;DR) Improved education standards are taking the implementation of existing best practices and globalizing them. Improved communication technology has made it easy for individuals and companies to find, hire, and manage not just industrial workers, but knowledge workers. The number of individuals looking for jobs, hoping to follow someone else’s orders, are growing exponentially. Could your job theoretically be done over an internet connection and phone line? Yet, your job being outsourced isn’t the only threat at hand. Even as globalization moves knowledge jobs overseas, there’s increasing pressure at home. Your Middle Class existence isn’t just being squeezed by overseas workers, it’s being squeezed by technology being developed just down the street. 2 The Acceleration of Technology All That Is Old Is New Again Venture capitalist firms are famous for their investment theses, the basic premise that fuels their investing strategy.

Entrepreneurship is a skill set, a resource that can be acquired and invested in, just like acquiring stock in a company or acquiring knowledge credentials. We think of acquiring knowledge or skills—like product management or sales or marketing—as resources, but we still don’t think of entrepreneurship that way. Right now, there’s no way to measure entrepreneurship. No one would ever write “two years’ experience in entrepreneurship” on their resume. If we imagine a knowledge worker trying to invest in entrepreneurship, there are clear paths to moving from doing knowledge work to doing entrepreneurial work. The chart is admittedly grossly oversimplified and based on a zero sum system indicating the amount each role operates in knowledge work as opposed entrepreneurship. It’s intent is not to necessarily categorize the roles, but to show potential paths into entrepreneurship.


pages: 57 words: 11,522

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, knowledge worker, Republic of Letters

They are never the same. – People usually apologize so they can do it again. – Mathematics is to knowledge what an artificial hand is to the real one; some amputate to replace. – Modernity inflicts a sucker narrative on activities; now we “walk for exercise,” not “walk” with no justification; for hidden reasons. – Social media are severely antisocial, health foods are empirically unhealthy, knowledge workers are very ignorant, and social sciences aren’t scientific at all. – For so many, instead of looking for “cause of death” when they expire, we should be looking for “cause of life” when they are still around. – It is those who use others who are the most upset when someone uses them. – If someone gives you more than one reason why he wants the job, don’t hire him. – Failure of second-order thinking: he tells you a secret and somehow expects you to keep it, when he just gave you evidence that he can’t keep it himself


pages: 204 words: 67,922

Elsewhere, U.S.A: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms,and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley

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3D printing, call centre, clean water, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, feminist movement, financial independence, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, oil shock, PageRank, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, principal–agent problem, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

Ditto for the coal miner of the nineteenth century and the farmer of the eighteenth. Yes, there was always pressure to keep up the speed and keep down the error rate, but contrast that with today’s knowledge worker, who needs to be able to multitask, constantly learn new computer programs, and generally adapt to a fluid work flow of highly variable tasks. It’s not that our jobs have necessarily gotten harder, but the increase in variance in our everyday tasks and the fact that they require more mental concentration and cognitive skills may be quite stress-inducing. There is always a new surprise just around the corner for the knowledge worker. The boring jobs that can be delegated to computers have been. Others that can’t have been outsourced to low-wage labor markets (the famous Indian call centers), thanks to telecommunications technologies.


pages: 300 words: 79,315

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, index card, knowledge worker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex

The Real Work of Knowledge Work Welcome to the real-life experience of “knowledge work,” and a profound operational principle: You have to think about your stuff more than you realize but not as much as you’re afraid you might. As Peter Drucker has written, “In knowledge work . . . the task is not given; it has to be determined. ‘What are the expected results from this work?’ is . . . the key question in making knowledge workers productive. And it is a question that demands risky decisions. There is usually no right answer; there are choices instead. And results have to be clearly specified, if productivity is to be achieved.” The ancestor of every action is a thought. —Ralph Waldo Emerson Most people have a resistance to initiating the burst of energy that it will take to clarify the real meaning, for them, of something they have let into their world, and to decide what they need to do about it.

They were partial reminders of a lot of things that were unresolved and as yet untranslated into outcomes and actions—that is, the real outlines and details of what the list-makers had to “do.” We need to transform all the “stuff” we’re trying to organize into actionable stuff we need to do. “Stuff” is not inherently a bad thing. Things that command our attention, by their very nature, usually show up as “stuff.” But once “stuff” comes into our lives and work, we have an inherent commitment to ourselves to define and clarify its meaning. That’s our responsibility as knowledge workers; if “stuff” were already transformed and clear, our value, other than physical labor, would probably not be required. At the conclusion of one of my seminars, a senior manager of a major biotech firm looked back at the to-do lists she had come in with and said, “Boy, that was an amorphous blob of undoability!” That’s the best description I’ve ever heard of what passes for organizing lists in most personal systems.


pages: 222 words: 74,587

Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929 by Markus Krajewski, Peter Krapp

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business process, double entry bookkeeping, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, index card, Index librorum prohibitorum, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacques de Vaucanson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, means of production, new economy, paper trading, Turing machine

(From Institut International de Bibliographie 1914, p. 45.) 116 Chapter 7 Figure 7.2 Dewey’s scheme, displayed by The Bridge. (From Bührer and Saager 1912, p. 4.) May 1911 sees the publication of The Organization of Mental Labor by “The Bridge,” by Karl Wilhelm Bührer and Adolf Saager. The authors’ aim is unequivocal. “The principal purpose of our book was to win Ostwald for our cause”—namely, as a promising financier and mediator for knowledge workers.48 Encouraged by having read Wilhelm Ostwald’s book Energetic Bases of Cultural Studies, the journalist Saager succeeds in translating Bührer’s ideas, despite communicative difficulties, into a joint text, and to establish contact with Ostwald.49 In spring 1911, Saager sends printer’s proofs to Ostwald’s country house in Groß-Bothen.50 Ostwald responds Transatlantic Technology Transfer 117 immediately; they meet and found The Bridge as an International Institute for the Organization of Mental Labor.

Its organizational innovation movement pursues two strategic purposes: (1) An “archive that will introduce a comprehensive illustrated world encyclopedia on single sheets of uniform format.” At first, world knowledge is to be put down by professionals on standardized slips of paper and kept in standard boxes in a world format.60 (2) A “collection of addresses, containing the addresses of all living knowledge workers.”61 Furthermore, they aim to gather pointers to knowledge, which by virtue of their own addressing logic lead to new information. Maybe the ads for Library Bureau and the organizational achievements they promise encourage a belief that with the help of a suitable apparatus and thanks to the considerable time savings that ensue, everything can be stored.62 Operating an index card box tempts people to develop a euphoria of totality—and not only the The Bridge members.


pages: 255 words: 68,829

How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid by Franck Frommer

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Albert Einstein, business continuity plan, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, hypertext link, invention of writing, inventory management, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, oil shock, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing

It was better to be completely independent at one’s workplace, having acquired the requisite skills, mastering everything from design to execution. There is an underlying shift from ‘rational legal’ authority, based on the attribution of roles through rules, toward an authority of experts over other experts defined by their actions in the production process: one is judged not on status but by what one does. . . . The place and number of “knowledge workers” or “professional managers” . . . who are defined by their own work, not by supervising the work of others, is growing at the expense of middle management who seem to be the unproductive personnel in the organization of knowledge.22 Thus the sharing of information—still a major question of power for the hierarchy in some companies—in ordinary work meetings has been completely changed by the contribution of new tools fostering collective creation, exchange, collaboration, and debate.

See landscape format; slides: format How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie), 23 human capital, 191, 212 human relations, 140 human resources, 175–80, 186, 188 Hussein, Saddam, 154 IBM, 9 illustration, 92–99 animation, 98 distracts students, 203 clip art, 97 polysemy, 93–95 teachers, 214–15 See also diagrams and graphs An Inconvenient Truth (Gore), 73, 118–24 Apple Macintosh, 120 awards and ticket sales, 119 biographical details, 121 information distraction, 226–27 processing, 10–12, 29 society, 126, 217, 227 Internet Gore, 120 military imagery, 157 Powell’s PowerPoint, 155 schools, 217 search engines, 65 security, 20 teachers and templates, 214–15 use in higher education, 199 iPad, iPhone, and iPod, 116–17, 226 Iran, 158, 161 Iraq, 154–55, 161–64 Israel, 161 Jaffe, Greg, 162 Jeanneret, Yves, 107 Jobs, Steve, 112–18, 227 Macworld Conference Expo, 113–17 Gates videoconference, 115–16 iPod and iPhone, 116–17 The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, 117 jobs. See economization; education: employment Kawasaki, Guy, 85–86 Knoblauch, Herbert, 108, 126 knowledge society, 126–27, 227 transmission, 108–9, 126–27, 192, 205, 219 knowledge workers. See information processing Kodak, 25 landscape format, 6, 49, 78–79 See also slides: format language, 50–56, 66–75 advertising, 66–72 asyndeton, 69 ellipsis, 68 epideictic, 67 euphemism, 69–70 Anglo-influenced, 51–53 English, 53, 208 decontextualization, 55 impoverishment, 50–51, 223 indefinite article, 54 infinitive verb, 54–55, 59 Newspeak, 50–52, 70, 175, 188 nominalization, 52–53 propaganda, 66, 156, 161 quotation, 72–75 Laval, Christian, 210 layoffs.


pages: 224 words: 48,804

The Productive Programmer by Neal Ford

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anti-pattern, business process, c2.com, continuous integration, database schema, domain-specific language, Firefox, general-purpose programming language, knowledge worker, side project, type inference, web application, William of Occam

You probably suffer from lots of distractions at work, both from the computer itself and from the outside world. Here you will learn how to enhance your focus with specific tools and approaches to interacting with your computer, as well as ways to make your coworkers leave you alone so that you can quit banging rocks together and get some work done. The goal is to get you back to that dazed but happy state of just having scaled a virtual mountain. Kill Distractions You are a knowledge worker, meaning you are paid for the creative and innovative ideas you produce. Dealing with constant distractions, both at your desk and on your desktop, can threaten your best contributions to your projects. Developers crave a state known as flow, discussed in lots of places (it even has an entire book devoted to it, written by Csikszentmihalyi). All developers know this state: it’s when you are so focused that time disappears, you develop an almost symbiotic relationship with the machine and the problem you are attacking.

Use Project-Based Shortcuts 47 Place your project management folder under one of the Quick Launch buttons in Windows or on the dock in Mac OS X. These two areas don’t support a large number of items, but using them for just a few project consolidator folders makes sense. Multiply Your Monitors Monitors have gotten cheap, and developers can use the extra real estate. It is penny-wise and dollar foolish not to supply developers with ultra-fast computers and dual monitors. Every moment that a knowledge worker stares at an hourglass is pure wasted productivity. Having to work to manage all the overlapping windows on a cramped monitor also wastes time. Multiple monitors allow you to write code on one and debug on the other. Or keep documentation alongside your coding. Having multiple monitors is just the first step, though, because you can also segregate your dual workspaces into a bunch of specialized views using virtual desktops.

Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman

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collateralized debt obligation, computer age, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, index card, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, Louis Daguerre, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, RFID, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, social graph, software studies, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, text mining, time value of money, trade route, Turing machine, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

The best description of the dataverse from within precipitates nicely from the wonderful observation from Benjamin that Krajewski cites in chapter 6 (this volume): “And even today, as the current scientific method teaches us, the book is an archaic intermediate between two different card index systems. For everything substantial is found in the slip box of the researcher who wrote it and the scholar who studies in it, assimilated into its own card index.” We typically conceive of knowledge as passing from knowledge worker to knowledge worker via the intermediary of the datum. However, as Marx displayed so brilliantly with his M-C-M (money-commodity-money) cycle, we can achieve analytic purchase by looking at C-M-C (which in our era, felicitously, may refer to computer-mediated communication). We can start perhaps by refining the terms of the cycle. Much of our “knowledge” today surpasseth human understanding. Stephen Hawking, in his inaugural lecture for the Lucasian Chair of Physics at Cambridge—once held by Newton, who had all those giants standing on his shoulders—pointed to the day when physicists would not understand the products of their own work.4 With the world of string theory upon us, it is clear that we cannot “think” in the necessary 10+1 dimensions and the complex geometries they entail.


pages: 255 words: 75,172

Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America by Tamara Draut

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, battle of ideas, big-box store, blue-collar work, collective bargaining, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, ending welfare as we know it, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, full employment, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, occupational segregation, payday loans, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, union organizing, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, white flight, women in the workforce, young professional

The rest of America’s largest occupations are retail salespeople, cashiers, food service and prep workers, and janitors.10 Contrary to popular opinion, most of these jobs are not filled by teenagers but by adults who are trying to support themselves and their families with this work. Despite the elite’s fixation on entrepreneurship and knowledge workers, America is powered by wage-earners who punch the clock, wear uniforms, and don’t remotely have any power to “lean in” to climb the corporate ladder. For decades now we’ve been sold the idea that a growing army of knowledge workers, innovating and ideating in amenity-rich office parks, hold the key to our nation’s prosperity. Column after column written by the likes of Thomas Friedman and David Brooks argue that the future success of our economy rests on cultivating skills such as creative problem-solving and critical thinking, with a special affinity for fields in science, technology, and engineering.


pages: 280 words: 75,820

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Build a better mousetrap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, fundamental attribution error, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, music of the spheres, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Walter Mischel

The particular way Brown uses attention to organize yet limit his world by enhancing certain targets—hidden cameras—and suppressing competing stimuli is just one example of the complex relationship between identity and attention, from Martha Stewart’s focus on the home to Barack Obama’s concentration on politics. When discussing his favorite targets, Brown also describes the two expressions of the quintessential personality trait—often called “extraversion”—and the different attentional styles that tend to complement them. At one end of this continuum lies the introverted disposition and inward concentration typical of many “knowledge workers” drawn to the big cities where surveillance cameras abound. As Brown says, “Most of them are not really in the world. They’re just hooked into themselves, paying attention to their own thoughts and fears, as well as their cell phones, iPods, and BlackBerries. They walk very, very quickly with their eyes down diagonally, towards people’s shoes. They tunnel through urban space.” A person who has an extraverted personality and an outward focus behaves very differently when out and about.

James, Henry James, William on attentional styles cognitive therapy and on improving attention Langer compared with on length of focus on rapt attention on wisdom Japan, Japanese Jefferson, Thomas Jha, Amishi Johns Hopkins Hospital Johnson, Samuel joy Jung, Carl justice Kabat-Zinn, Jon Kahneman, Daniel bounded rationality and effects of adaptation and fortune cookie maxim and Nobel Prize of personality tests and Kaiping Peng Kant, Immanuel Kaplan, Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Karney, Benjamin kindness Kine, Starlee King, Martin Luther Kismet (robot) knowledge, previous, integration of new information with knowledge workers Kohut, Heinz Langer, Ellen language Lazarus, Richard learning explicit vs. implicit of language leisure decision-making and Leonard, Elmore leverage points Levertov, Denise life, as creation of what is focused on see also meaning; quality of life Limb, Charles Listening to Prozac (Kramer) Locke, John longevity “look for the silver lining” loss risk vs. lottery winners love unconditional LSD Lykken, David McCain, John McClelland, David McGinty, Joe MacLean, Paul magnetoencephalography (MEG) Marceau, Marcel Marcus Aurelius marriage attentional flexibility in balance of power in biased rose-colored vision in demand-withdraw pattern in fundamental attribution errors and housework and self-esteem differences in marriage counseling martial robots Maslow, Abraham Maugham, Somerset meaning meditation and virtues and meditation attentional training and health and mindfulness Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) memory as biased and unpredictable championship competition and improvement of orgasm and remembering vs. experiencing self and Mertz (robot) Merzenich, Michael Mesulam, Marsel meteoric mode of paying attention Meyer, David Michelangelo Michigan, University of Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Milarepa Miller, Arthur Milton, John mind “mind/brain problem” mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) Mindless Eating (Wansink) mind-wandering Mischel, Walter modafinil monks Morrison, Toni mothers motivation ADHD and dieting and emotions and grit and self-esteem and unconscious willpower and movies see also specific movies Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) multitasking Murray, Henry Murray, Sandra music, musicians alertness and childhood experience of creativity and leisure and mystery moods names, forgetting of narcissism National Institutes of Health nature motivation and see also genes, genetics negativity bias theory Neisser, Ulric Nelson, Horatio nervous system neurons, mirror neuroscience Newton, Isaac New York, N.Y.


pages: 72 words: 21,361

Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, combinatorial explosion, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hiring and firing, income inequality, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, shareholder value, Skype, too big to fail, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy

Instead, it's an ongoing process of creative destruction; innovators use both new and established technologies to make deep changes at the level of the task, the job, the process, even the organization itself. And these changes build and feed on each other so that the possibilities offered really are constantly expanding. This has been the case for as long as businesses have been using computers, even when we were still in the front half of the chessboard. The personal computer, for example, democratized computing in the early 1980s, putting processing power in the hands of more and more knowledge workers. In the mid-1990s two major innovations appeared: the World Wide Web and large-scale commercial business software like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The former gave companies the ability to tap new markets and sales channels, and also made available more of the world’s knowledge than had ever before been possible; the latter let firms redesign their processes, monitor and control far-flung operations, and gather and analyze vast amounts of data.


pages: 83 words: 26,097

Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations (TED Books) by Dan Ariely

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, science of happiness, Snapchat, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Nor is the link between motivation and output direct or clear. Sometimes I might be highly motivated to find a particular answer to a question, but the concept I am working on is not the right one. Sometimes I might not be terribly motivated, but I stumble on a good research topic. The challenges with measuring my productivity are not unique to professors; in fact, they are common to most knowledge workers. Your productivity is likely to be as complex, if not more so, than mine to measure. To test the effectiveness of different motivations, we needed to study a work environment in which employee output could be easily and accurately measured and where the tasks were more or less constant. I lucked out when Guy Hochman, then a Duke postdoctoral fellow, introduced me to Liad Bareket, who worked in the HR department at Intel in Israel.


pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Zipcar

Perlow says that while brick-and-mortar retail will not disappear, in “ten years hence [the] retail footprint will be a shadow of its former self and heavy competition from online will allow only the strongest brick-and-mortar businesses to survive.”32 As in other industries where automation is quickly reducing human labor, virtual retailing is following suit. At best we can say that the future does not look good for the 4.3 million workers in brick-and-mortar retail as we move closer to near zero marginal labor costs and a near workerless world.33 Even Knowledge Workers are Expendable By 2005, the anecdotal evidence of automation replacing workers in the manufacturing and service industries was no longer an object of curiosity. Automation had become pervasive. Everywhere we turned, it seemed, workers had disappeared and we found ourselves surrounded by intelligent-machine surrogates talking to us, listening to us, directing us, advising us, doing business with us, entertaining us, and watching over us.

Bill Herr, an attorney at a U.S. chemical company who used to pack an entire army of lawyers in an auditorium to read documents for weeks at a time, says that “from a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out.”34 Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, another eDiscovery firm, calculated that with the new search software, one lawyer can do the work of 500 lawyers, and with greater accuracy. Using eDiscovery software, Herr found only 60 percent accuracy when attorneys were doing the research, leading him to gripe: “Think about how much money had been spent to be slightly better than a coin toss.”35 Very few professional skills are being spared the long arm of IT and Big Data–crunching by algorithms. Knowledge workers of every stripe and variety—radiologists, accountants, middle managers, graphic designers, and even marketers—are already feeling the heat as pattern-recognition software begins to penetrate every professional field. Mike McCready is the head of a startup company called Music Xray, a firm that uses Big Data and algorithms to identify potential musical hits. The company, which has secured recording contracts for more than 5,000 artists in less than three years, uses sophisticated software to compare the structure of a song to songs previously recorded to assess its potential to break out and hit the charts.

., 193–194 Frydman, Gilles, 242 Gaia hypothesis, 184 Gandhi, Mahatma, 104–108 Gates, Bill, 171, 174 GDP, 17, 20–22, 54, 74, 123, 129, 240, 266 General Electric (GE), 13, 14, 54, 73–74, 165, 210, 234 General Motors, 53, 54, 228–230 General Public Licenses (GPL), 94, 175–176 Germany and cooperatives, 213–216 flood in, 287 and Google, 201 and renewable energy, 82–83, 101, 141, 253, 257 and 3D printing, 101–102 Gershenfeld, Neil, 94 Gillespie, Tarleton, 203 Girsky, Stephen, 228–229 globalization versus reopening the global commons, 187–192 GM, teams up with RelayRides, 228–229 GNU operating system, 174–176 God of oil. see Hall, Andy Google cashes in on selling Big Data, 199–200 and control of the U.S. media market, 54 and driverless vehicles, 230 energy usage, 85 favors free Wi-Fi connection, 148 market share and revenue generated by, 201 as natural monopoly, 202–205 Ngram Viewer, 18 primary revenue stream is weakening, 251 as tracking tool, 245 Gore, Al, 219 Gorenflo, Neal, 238 Gou, Terry, 124 “The Governing of the Commons” (Ostrom), 158–162 Gram Power, 103–104 Green Button initiative, 146 Great Chain of Being, 30, 58–59, 61 Great Recession, 20, 122–129, 233, 255–262, 281–282 green feed-in tariff(s), 139, 206 Guardian, 104, 116 guilds by trade, 36–37 Gutenberg, Johannes, 35–37 hacker(s) connotations of the term, 93 and cyberterrorists, 291–292 and environmentalist(s), 170–172, 187–188 and the Free Culture Movement, 173–174 and the Makers Movement, 99–104 and 3D printing, 95 Hall, Andy, 87 Hansen, James, 287 Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (Layard), 277 Haque, Umair, 253 Hardin, Garrett, 155–159 Hazen, Paul, 213 healthcare, 13, 74, 130, 240–247 hedonistic treadmill, 276 Hegel, Georg Friedrich, 279, 301 Heilbroner, Robert, 5, 105 Herr, Bill, 129 higher education. see massive open online courses (MOOCs) The High Price of Materialism (Kasser), 277 high-tech Armageddon. see cyber attacks/cyberterrorism Hoch, Dan, 243–244 Hotelling, Harold, 136–137, 150, 206–211 how best to judge economic success, 20–21 Hoyt, Robert, 58 human race empathetic sensibility of, 278–286, 301 and Enlightenment, 60–65 and human nature through a capitalist lens, 57–65 liberating the, 7, 70 and ostracism, 163 rethinking salvation, 58–59 what makes us happy, 276–285 Hume, David, 62, 308 hybrid economy. see capitalism; Collaborative Commons IBM, 13, 14, 80, 130, 234, 250 infofacture vs. manufacture, 90 Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources (Frischmann), 193–194 Integrated Transportation Provider Services (ITPS), 228 Intel, 79, 148 Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), 195–196 the Internet of Everything, 14, 73 the Internet generation, 132, 145, 179, 226, 230 the Internet of Things (IoT), 11–16, 65 and Big Data. see Big Data and the chief productivity officer (CPO), 15 as a double-edged sword, 78, 267 and healthcare. see healthcare made up of, 11, 14–15 and near zero marginal cost society, 73–78 negatives associated with, 14 obstacles that slowed the deployment of, 74 and smart cities. see smart cities as source of employment, 267–268 and use of sensors, 11–13, 73–74, 143, 219, 230 Internet of Things European Research Cluster, 11 infrastructure, requirements of, 14 Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, 292 Jakubowski, Marcin, 102–103 James, William, 279–280 Jennings, Ken, 130 Jobs, Steve, 305, 308 Jumpstart Our Business Start Ups Act, 257 Kaku, Michio, 79 Kasser, Tim, 277 Keynes, John Maynard, 5–7, 105, 268 Khoshnevis, Dr. Behrokh, 96–97 Kickstarter, 256 Ki-moon, Ban 285 Koenig, Friedrich, 44 Konrath, Sarah, 280 Kuhn, Thomas, 9 Kümmel, Reiner, 71 Kurzweil, Ray, 84 Lamberth, Laurie, 74–75 Lange, Oskar, 5–7 last worker standing, 121–133 and the end of work, 121–128 even knowledge workers are expendable, 128–133 Latif, Majib, 288 laws of thermodynamics, govern all economic activity, 10–11 Layard, Richard, 277 Leontief, Wassily, 5, 105 Lessig, Lawrence, 175, 177–180, 185, 188 Lewis, James W., 281 Linux, 170, 175–176, 199, 309 live healthier lives, how to, 275 local exchange trading systems (LETS), 259–262 Locke, John, 60–62 Loescher, Peter, 14 The London Independent, 188 Lovelock, James, 184 L3C laws, 265 Luther, Martin, 58–59 Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), 241–242 Lynch, Mike, 129 Lynn, Mary Scott, 147 Makerbot Industries, 94 Makers Movement, 93–94, 99, 103 manufacture vs. infofacture, 90 marginal cost economy. see near zero marginal cost society Margulis, Lynn, 184 market economy, 4, 61 rise of the 32–38 Martin, Dean, 144 Marx, Karl, 33, 41, 105 massive open online courses (MOOCs), 4, 109–119, 247, 309–310 and the decline of the brick and mortar classroom, 113–119 negatives of, 117–118 the one-room schoolhouse with two billion students, 109–113 and peer-to-peer grading, 115–116 and service learning, 111–113, 264 and teachers as facilitators, 110 see also Coursera; edX; Udacity materialism/materialist(s), 276–279 mercantilist policies, 37 Mestrallet, Gérard, 141 microcurrencies, 259–262 microgrid(s), 103–104, 107, 294–295 microplot(s), 239 micropower plant(s), 69, 101, 102, 146, 267, 294–295 Millennial Generation, 19, 226, 230, 252, 264, 280–283 Mill, John Stuart, 63 Moglen, Eben, 175–176 monopoly or oligopoly, 6–8, 23, 198, 202, 307 and AT&T, 49–51 and effect on capitalism, 3 “natural monopoly,” 8, 50–51, 136–138, 203–204 temporary, 8 Montreuil, Benoit, 219–220 Moore, Gordon, 79–82 Moore’s Law, 79–80, 82, 147, 169 More, Sir Thomas, 31 Morgan Stanley, 54, 292 Mosaic, 146, 256–257 Moss, Frank, 242 music sharing, 232 Music Xray, 130 Myspace, 201 Napster, 170, 232 National Human Genome Research Institute, 169 Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 147 Science Foundation, 96 Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 149 near zero marginal cost society, 68–151 ascent of the prosumer and the build-out of the smart economy, extreme productivity, the Internet of Things, and free energy, 69–87 getting closer to, 84–87 the last worker standing, 121–133 and marginal cost controversy, 135–138 MOOCs, 109–119 reluctance to come to grips with, 5 3D printing, 89–108 see also paradigm shift from market capitalism to Collaborative Commons network neutrality, 197–198, 203 The New Capitalist Manifesto (Haque), 253 Networked Commons, 119, 151, 173, 190, 194, 202, 212, 221, 222, 229–233, 237–241, 309 Newmark, Craig, 249 The New York Times, 5, 129, 251, 281 Noam, Eli, 151, 194 Northern Renaissance, 36, 300 Noubel, Jean-Francois, 262 Obama, President Barack, 71–72, 128 Occupy Movement, 57 oil cost of, 87, 137–138, 233 crude oil reserves are dwindling, 86–87 and infrastructure, 72 mass production of automobiles, effect on, 52–53 and the Second Industrial Revolution, 47–54 spills, 165, 290 Standard Oil Company, 48–49, 51 see also fossil fuel(s); Hall, Andy online higher education. see massive open online courses (MOOCs) Open Source Initiative (OSI), 176 “optimum general welfare,” 3 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 21, 277 The Origin of Species (Darwin), 64 Ostrom, Elinor, 158–162, 175, 190 Paine, Thomas, 65 paradigm shift from market capitalism to Collaborative Commons, 1–25 and changing the economic paradigm, 9–11 and the Internet of Things, 11–16 and the rise of the Collaborative Commons, 16–25 Parkifi, 145–146 Patagonia, 263 patent(s), 138, 165–167, 170, 174–177, 180–181, 202 patient-driven research (PDR), 19, 240–247 peer-to-peer social lending, 255–257 Perens, Bruce, 176 Perlow, Jason, 128 Perry, Mark J., 122–123 Personal Genome Project, 180 The Philosophy of Money (Simmel), 259 phone, importance of, 49–51 population, key to stabilization of, 285 poverty, 21, 107–112, 209, 264, 275–278, 283–286 print, and the impact it had on the way we do business, 35–36, 178–179 printing press(es), 33–37, 44–45 privacy, age of, 75–77 property relations, notion of, 30–32 prosumer(s) ascent of the, 135–151 beyond governments and markets, 150–151 and the clean web, 144–147 definition of, 4, 90 and free wi-fi for everyone, 147–149 and power to the people, 138–144 protests to reclaim the public Commons, 187–188 QR code, 127 Quigg, Donald J., 166 rallying around free software, 174–177 Raspberry Pi, 80 Raymond, Eric S., 176–177 RelayRides, 228 rental(s)/renting. see social capital and the sharing economy reputation rankings on the web, 257–259 reviews, consumer-generated, 248–249 Rifkin, Milton, 305–306, 309 rise in collaborative innovation, 21 Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, 212–213 Rockefeller, John D., 48–49 Rose, Carol, 157–158 Rowe, Jonathan 190 Royal Dutch Shell, 49, 54, 142 Ruben, Andy, 237–238 Rural Electric Administration (REA), 209–210 Say, Jean-Baptiste, 3 Say’s Law, 3 scarcity. see abundance Schelgel, Heather, 262 Scherzer, Norman, 243 Schlatter, Richard, 30, 62 Schor, Juliet, 280 Schumacher, E.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

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3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

The other is the fear that thinking machines will dominate and ultimately destroy humankind. Both distract from the fact that at the heart of the debate is a very real John Henry moment. In the folktale of the late nineteenth century, the mythical steel-driving man John Henry dies beating a steam-powered hammer during a competition to drill blast holes into a West Virginia mountainside. White-collar and knowledge workers now face a race against being outperformed by machines driven by artificial intelligence. In this case, AI is mainly a synonym for new levels of mainly digital productivity. Which is of course not quite as exciting as either waiting for the moment of Singularity or the advent of doom. At the same time, the reality of AI is not quite as comforting as the realization that machines, if properly handled, will always serve their masters.

Working masses have always been replaceable by efficiency measures or cheaper labor. And no labor is cheaper and more efficient than machine labor. Just like the steam hammer in John Henry’s tale, most digital tools will outperform humans at highly specialized tasks. So of course there will still be a demand for high skills and outstanding talent. No computer will ever replace a scientist, an artist, an innovator. It’s the midlevel white-collar or knowledge worker who will fall behind. As AIs’ efficiencies and skill sets increase, they also become tools of power. Surveillance, warfare, and torture are done much better by an entity not prone to emotions, conflicted values, or fatigue. Still, the danger that hostile or even lethal machines will develop an evil consciousness and turn against humankind is nil. The agency is in the institutions and organizations that will use them—for whatever benign or sinister objective.

The agency is in the institutions and organizations that will use them—for whatever benign or sinister objective. It won’t take the advent of a superior intelligence to turn abstract debates about AI into very real questions of power, values, and societal changes. Technology can initiate and advance historical shifts; it will never be the shift itself. The John Henry moment of the twenty-first century will be neither heroic nor entertaining. There are no grand gestures with which white-collar and knowledge workers can go down fighting. There will be no folk heroes dying in the office park. Today’s John Henry will merely fade into a sad statistic. Undoubtedly calculated by a skillfully thinking machine. MACHINES AREN’T INTO RELATIONSHIPS N. J. ENFIELD Senior staff scientist, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; professor of linguistics, University of Sydney; author, The Utility of Meaning When we think of machines that think, we usually think of thinking in the pocket-calculator sense of the word.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

In 1964 John McCarthy, a mathematician and computer scientist who had coined the term “artificial intelligence,” began designing a set of technologies that were intended to simulate human capabilities, a project he believed could be completed in just a decade. At the same time, on the other side of campus, Douglas Engelbart, who was a dreamer intent on using his expertise to improve the world, believed that computers should be used to “augment” or extend human capabilities, rather than to mimic or replace them. He set out to create a system to permit small groups of knowledge workers to quickly amplify their intellectual powers and work collaboratively. One researcher attempted to replace human beings with intelligent machines, while the other aimed to extend human capabilities. Of course, together, their work defined both a dichotomy and a paradox. The paradox is that the same technologies that extend the intellectual power of humans can displace them as well. In this book, I have attempted to capture the ways in which scientists, engineers, and hackers have grappled with questions about the deepening relationship between human and machine.

In the wake of the 2008 recession, there were indications of a new and broader technology transformation. White-collar employment had been the engine of growth for the U.S. economy since the end of World War II, but now cracks began to appear. What were once solid white-collar jobs began disappearing. Routinized white-collar work was now clearly at risk as the economy began to recover in 2009 in the form of what was described as a “jobless recovery.” Indications were that knowledge workers’ jobs higher up in the economic pyramid were for the first time vulnerable. Economists such as MIT’s David Autor began to pick apart the specifics of the changing labor force and put forward the idea that the U.S. economy was being “hollowed out.” It might continue to grow at the bottom and the top, but middle-class jobs, essential to a modern democracy, were evaporating, he argued. There was mounting evidence that the impact of technology was not just a hollowing out but a “dumbing down” of the workforce.

Today, with online conferences, support systems, and Google, the idea seems trivial, but at the time it was a breakthrough. It had been at the heart of Doug Engelbart’s original NLS system, but as the personal computer had emerged, much of Engelbart’s broader vision had been sidelined as first Xerox PARC and then Apple and Microsoft had cherry-picked his ideas, like the mouse and hypertext, while ignoring his broader mission for an intelligence augmentation system that would facilitate small groups of knowledge workers. Gruber created a software program that automatically generated a living document of the work done by a group of people. Over a couple of weeks he sat down and built a program named Hypermail that would “live” on the same computer that was running a mail server and would generate a threaded copy of an email conversation that could be retrieved from the Web. What emerged was a digital snapshot of the email conversation complete with permanent links that could be bookmarked and archived.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

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Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

Anyone committed to supporting these communities must undo the damage of earlier efforts first, before being able to meaningfully engage. 15.In a study with its partner, Voluntary Association for Rural Reconstruction & Appropriate Technology, Digital Green was found to increase annual income by 68 percent, on average, from $144 a year to $242. Some households saw their incomes double. 16.It’s also possible for technology projects to build the institutional capacity required from scratch. Grameen Foundation (2014), a nonprofit I advise that seeks technological innovations for global poverty, did exactly that in its Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) project in Uganda. It identified, recruited, trained, and empowered local villagers to serve as CKWs in their communities. 17.Ramkumar (2008) includes a case study on social audits, including challenges of implementation, as written by a former MKSS member. 18.Veeraraghavan (2013). 19.“Vincent” is a pseudonym used here to protect the boy’s identity. 20.Gamification is a hot trend among tech-minded social activists, but it turns out to be incredibly difficult to design games that people voluntarily play that are also educational or productive.

Probing school success of Asian Americans. New York Times, Sept. 11, 1990, www.nytimes.com/1990/09/11/science/probing-school-success-of-asian-americans.html. ———. (1995). Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books. GOP Doctors Caucus. (n.d.). Health information technology, http://doctorscaucus.gingrey.house.gov/issues/issue/?IssueID=9947. Grameen Foundation. (2014). Lessons learned, 2009–2014: Community Knowledge Worker Uganda Program. Oct. 2014, http://grameenfoundation.org/sites/grameenfoundation.org/files/resources/Grameen-Foundation_CKW-Lessons-Learned-%282009-2014%29_Executive-Summary_0.pdf. Green, Elizabeth. (2014). Why do Americans stink at math? New York Times Magazine, July 23, 2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/why-do-americans-stink-at-math.html. Grenfell, Michael, ed. (2008). Pierre Bourdieu: Key Concepts.

See also Self-help groups Collectivism, individualism and, 93 Colombia: One Laptop Per Child, 8 Communications Arab Spring suppression of, 33–34 cyberbalkanization, 47 history of technologies, 7–8 latent desires driving habits, 40–41 management, 44–46 personal and political interaction, 46–47 telecenters, 105 texting, 25, 56, 69, 235(n33) unintended consequences, 56 See also Mobile phones; Social media Community efforts. See Collective action; Mentorship Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) project, 247(n16) Compartamos Banco (Mexico), 58–60, 66–67, 236(n7) Compassionate class, 188–191, 270(n48). See also Self-transcendence Computer literacy, 9, 17–20, 27–28, 105, 122–124 Computer programming classes, 114–115, 120–121, 125–127, 248(n25) Computers and society. See Technology and society Confucianism, 96, 214, 266(n7) Consequentialist virtue ethics, 213–214, 274–275(n4) Consumer culture, 96–97, 177–178 Consumption capacity, 82–84 Consumption smoothing, 59.


pages: 336 words: 88,320

Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook by Michael Lopp

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finite state, game design, job satisfaction, John Gruber, knowledge worker, remote working, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sorting algorithm, web application

What are you going to do about it? You're the boss. On Experience In order to appreciate this chapter, you need to make a leap—you need to believe that your boss's experience is valuable. You need to believe and accept that the fact he's been doing this 10 years longer than you means his opinion is more informed. His decisions are based on something more than gut feel and delusions of grandeur. We're knowledge workers, which is an awkwardly lame way of stating that we don't actually build physical things with our hands. We build nonphysical things with our minds. We create interesting arrangements of ones and zeros in the confines of our caves, coalescing our ideas into things that are, hopefully, useful enough that someone else is willing to pay for them. There are no sets of physical tools we need to collect and master to make our jobs easier.

See job changing, Measures Versus Content grades vs. content, as useful information, Measures Versus Content growth, Growth, Growth, Delivery, Simplifying the Infinite, Spend an Hour a Day on Each Req You Have career philosophy of, Growth, Delivery growing your team, Spend an Hour a Day on Each Req You Have H Handler, The Handler hate, professional, You Might Be Lying hatred of engineering, On Language healthy tension on teams, Circle Analysis help, asking for, On Experience High, the, Your Nerd Has Built Himself a Cave, Make It a Project hiring, Wanted Holy Shit, the, The Reveal HR departments, realities of, The Sanity Check humor and the nerd, Your Nerd Has Built Himself a Cave I I Quit response to bad news, My Bad ignorance, admission of, The Answer Process Illuminator, The Illuminator impossible requests from CEOs, The Impossible improvisation, Structured Improvisation, Improvise, Improvise during presentations, Improvise structured, Structured Improvisation inactivity, necessity of, An Essential Exercise in Inactivity inbox strategies, The Leaper industry, career choice considerations, Established information, On Experience, On Excuses, Sigh, Sigh, The Unspoken Royal We, Your Nerd Has an Amazing Appetite for Information, Bits, Our relationship is with the bits, Power and Influence: "Maestro", Network and Communication: "The Insider", This Sucks during times of crisis, Sigh flow of communication, Network and Communication: "The Insider" game of, in companies, On Excuses management's role with, Our relationship is with the bits movement of, and org charts, On Experience nerds' appetite for, Your Nerd Has an Amazing Appetite for Information tactical vs. strategic, This Sucks truth, locating, Bits when Insiders leave the company, Power and Influence: "Maestro" working in the Pond vs. remote, The Unspoken Royal We Insider team members, Power and Influence: "Maestro" inspiration, You're in a Hurry Internet bubble, first, Start-up Interrogator, The Interrogator interviewers, types of, Interview Creatures interviews, The Sanity Check, The Nerves, The Answer Process, The Answer Process, The Button answering questions, The Answer Process the Button, getting interviewers to talk, The Button the Nerves, handling, The Nerves vs. phone screens, The Sanity Check itches for change, types of, The Itch J job changing, The Itch, You Are the Business, Deliberate Want, The Taste of the Day, Three Choices, Three Choices, What's Next building a career strategy, Three Choices engineer to manager, The Taste of the Day growth and, You Are the Business itch for change, The Itch nonobvious reasons for, What's Next recruitment, Deliberate Want Jobs, Steve, Presentation or Speech? judgment, as source of the Nerves, The Nerves K keyboard support, My Tools Are Designed to Remove Repetitive Motion Keynote software, The Unforgivable Mistake knowledge, Delivery, The Gaps, The Gaps Alpha Knowledge team members, The Gaps as fundamental unit of growth, Delivery knowledge workers, On Experience L language, Apprenticeship, You Will Be a Multilingual Translator, You Will Be a Multilingual Translator in company groups, You Will Be a Multilingual Translator industry, Apprenticeship lawyers, calls from, The Itch leadership, People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You, Circle of Comfort, Context Switcher, Context Switcher, Knowledge and Ability: "Alpha Knowledge" as composure under stress, Context Switcher evolution of roles, People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You Maestro team members, Knowledge and Ability: "Alpha Knowledge" role of, Circle of Comfort listening, Bridge, Bridge, You Go to a Lot of Meetings detecting company culture, Bridge management responsibility for, You Go to a Lot of Meetings lists, The Taste of the Day, The Taste of the Day, The Trickle List taste of the day, The Taste of the Day Trickle List, The Trickle List lying, as skill, People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You lynchpin departure, Why are they letting them go?


pages: 261 words: 103,244

Economists and the Powerful by Norbert Haring, Norbert H. Ring, Niall Douglas

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, central bank independence, collective bargaining, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, diversified portfolio, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, illegal immigration, income inequality, inflation targeting, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, new economy, obamacare, open economy, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, Renaissance Technologies, rolodex, Sergey Aleynikov, shareholder value, short selling, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, union organizing, working-age population, World Values Survey

This means that firms employing high-commitment work practices perform better than others, and also implies that the stock market does not understand and appreciate this, even after the successful investments in human capital are made visible by a highly publicized award. Otherwise the THE POWER OF THE CORPORATE ELITE 129 stock price of the company in question would jump on the granting of the award. Instead, stock prices only gain over time as the better company performance becomes obvious in the bottom line (Edmans 2011). This is particularly unexpected given the ample theoretical and empirical evidence that very high-skilled and knowledgeable workers – exactly those most sensitive to workplace conditions and those most able and willing to relocate if they feel their employer is anything less than committed to them – are driving ever-increasing amounts of long-term company value as technology marches forward (Grant, 1996; Deeds and Decarolis 1999). It is probably no coincidence that in any given year approximately one-third of the best companies to work for are private (i.e. not listed on the stock market).

One such study from 2002 cites, as informal but impressive evidence, a survey of six fast food restaurants located within a one mile radius. The six restaurants made offers of starting wages to new employees that ranged from US$5.15 to US$6 per hour, a range of 16 percent. Getting a pay rise of 16 percent is a big deal for most employees, especially those close to minimum wage (Bhaskar, Manning and To 2002). Even for highly compensated, highly skilled and highly mobile knowledge workers such as top end IT workers earning well over US$100,000 a year, there is significant monopsonistic power employed to hold down compensation and work against the interests of employees: In 2010 the US Department of Justice ruled against Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit and Pixar for entering into secret agreements not to solicit one another’s high-skilled employees, and a class action civil suit is due to be heard in the courts during 2012 (Forbes 23 January 2012).


pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

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23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

Expensive von Neumann-level emulations would have the greatest wage-enhancing impact if they accelerated innovation. Only a minuscule number of people have the ability to do science at the level of Einstein or von Neumann, and these men’s accomplishments were undoubtedly limited by having to collaborate with lesser minds. By removing this genius bottleneck, emulations would create an explosion of innovation and scientific knowledge. Workers in rich countries have much higher salaries today than they did a century ago primarily because of better production technology. By improving production technology even further, the high-priced emulations would allow each worker to do more than he could before, and so would allow workers to command still higher salaries. What I’ve written so far about the economics of emulations probably seems correct to most readers.

This boredom premium only goes away if the drug equalizes the excitement level of different fields by making its user’s level of excitement solely a function of the drug. Overall, however, cognition enhancers would almost certainly raise the average worker’s wage because they would allow society as a whole to produce more. Even workers in professions where being smarter didn’t raise their wages would receive higher salaries because of the drugs. By increasing the wages of knowledge workers, these drugs would boost the amount these laborers paid for services performed by relatively unskilled laborers. They would spend more in restaurants, hire additional domestic servants, and consequently raise the salaries of the unskilled. Cognition enhancers would also allow some low-skilled workers who hadn’t been smart enough to become highly skilled professionals to find better jobs, which would benefit both them and those who remained in low-skill occupations (who would then face less competition).


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

A clue might ask, for example, for “A rhyming reminder of the past in the city of the NBA’s Kings.”16 To answer correctly, a player would have to know what the acronym NBA stood for (in this case, it’s the National Basketball Association, not the National Bank Act or chemical compound n-Butylamine), which city the NBA’s Kings play in (Sacramento), and that the clue’s demand for a rhyming reminder of the past meant that the right answer is “What is a Sacramento memento?” instead of a “Sacramento souvenir” or any other factually correct response. Responding correctly to clues like these requires mastery of pattern matching and complex communication. And winning at Jeopardy! requires doing both things repeatedly, accurately, and almost instantaneously. During the 2011 shows, Watson competed against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two of the best knowledge workers in this esoteric industry. Jennings won Jeopardy! a record seventy-four times in a row in 2004, taking home more than $3,170,000 in prize money and becoming something of a folk hero along the way.17 In fact, Jennings is sometimes given credit for the existence of Watson.18 According to one story circulating within IBM, Charles Lickel, a research manager at the company interested in pushing the frontiers of artificial intelligence, was having dinner in a steakhouse in Fishkill, New York, one night in the fall of 2004.

Whether or not he’s part of this mafia, Andy will vouch for the power of SOLEs. He was a Montessori kid for the earliest years of his schooling, and agrees completely with Larry Page that “part of that training [was] not following rules and orders, and being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit differently.”12 Our recommendations about how people can remain valuable knowledge workers in the new machine age are straightforward: work to improve the skills of ideation, large-frame pattern recognition, and complex communication instead of just the three Rs. And whenever possible, take advantage of self-organizing learning environments, which have a track record of developing these skills in people. Failing College Of course, this is easier said than done. And it appears that it’s not being done very well in many educational environments.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

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Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

In the workplace, automation’s focus on enhancing speed and efficiency—a focus determined by the profit motive rather than by any particular concern for people’s well-being—often has the effect of removing complexity from jobs, diminishing the challenge they present and hence the engagement they promote. Automation can narrow people’s responsibilities to the point that their jobs consist largely of monitoring a computer screen or entering data into prescribed fields. Even highly trained analysts and other so-called knowledge workers are seeing their work circumscribed by decision-support systems that turn the making of judgments into a data-processing routine. The apps and other programs we use in our private lives have similar effects. By taking over difficult or time-consuming tasks, or simply rendering those tasks less onerous, the software makes it even less likely that we’ll engage in efforts that test our skills and give us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

(quiz show), 118–19, 121 Jobless Future, The (Aronowitz and DiFazio), 27–28 jobs, 14–17, 27–33, 85, 193 automation’s altering of, 67, 112–20 blue-collar, 28, 109 creating, 31, 32, 33 growth of, 28, 30, 32 loss of, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 40, 59, 115–18, 227 middle class, 27, 31, 32, 33n white-collar, 28, 30, 32, 40, 109 Jobs, Steve, 194 Jones, Michael, 132, 136–37, 151 Kasparov, Garry, 12 Katsuyama, Brad, 171 Kay, Rory, 58 Kelly, Kevin, 153, 225, 226 Kennedy, John, 27, 33 Kessler, Andy, 153 Keynes, John Maynard, 26–27, 66, 224, 227 Khosla, Vinod, 153–54 killing, robots and, 184, 185, 187–93 “Kitty Hawk” (Frost), 215 Klein, Gary, 123 Knight Capital Group, 156 know-how, 74, 76, 115, 122–23 knowledge, 74, 76, 77, 79, 80–81, 84, 85, 111, 121, 123, 131, 148, 153, 206, 214, 215 design, 144 explicit (declarative), 9, 10–11, 83 geographic, 128 medicine and, 100, 113, 123 tacit (procedural), 9–11, 83, 105, 113, 144 knowledge workers, 17, 148 Kool, Richard, 228–29 Korzybski, Alfred, 220 Kroft, Steve, 29 Krueger, Alan, 30–31 Krugman, Paul, 32–33 Kurzweil, Ray, 181, 200 labor, 227 abridging of, 23–25, 28–31, 37, 96 costs of, 18, 20, 31, 175 deskilling of, 106–12 division of, 106–7, 165 intellectualization of, 118 in “Mowing,” 211–14 strife, 37, 175 see also jobs; work Labor and Monopoly Capital (Braverman), 109–10 Labor Department, U.S., 66 labor unions, 25, 37, 59 Langewiesche, William, 50–51, 170 language, 82, 121, 150 Latour, Bruno, 204, 208 lawn mowers, robotic, 185 lawyers, law, 12, 116–17, 120, 123, 166 learning, 72–73, 77, 82, 84, 88–90, 175 animal studies and, 88–89 medical, 100–102 Lee, John, 163–64, 166, 169 LeFevre, Judith, 14, 15, 18 leisure, 16, 25, 27, 227 work vs., 14–16, 18 lethal autonomous robots (LARs), 188–93 Levasseur, Émile, 24–25 Leveson, Nancy, 155–56 Levesque, Hector, 121 Levinson, Stephen, 101 Levy, Frank, 9, 10 Lewandowsky, Stephan, 74 Lex Machina, 116–17 Licklider, J.


pages: 323 words: 92,135

Running Money by Andy Kessler

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Andy Kessler, Apple II, bioinformatics, British Empire, business intelligence, buy low sell high, call centre, Corn Laws, family office, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, interest rate swap, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pets.com, railway mania, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Toyota Production System

“I did some research in the ’50s and figured out there was a superscaling effect,” Doug said matter-of-factly. “But what do you mean by scale? What did you see back then?” “Two things. I did a scaling study in the ’50s that convinced me that components would keep getting cheaper and there was going to be all the bandwidth you could ever use—” Doug answered. “That was before the integrated circuit,” I interrupted. “So that every knowledge worker was going to be equipped.” Doug Engelbart rightly ignored me and kept talking. “The other scale was human scale—” “You mean, computers easy to use,” I interrupted again. “Well, that’s part of it. Yes, certainly there is scale from getting people to use complex systems, from hiding the complexity from them, so the hurdle is lowered.” 122 Running Money “That’s the human scale.” “No, the bigger thing I saw was that knowledge scales.”

See intellectual property IPOs, 3, 60, 97, 212–16, 248, 293 iron industry, 52–53, 55–57, 59, 125 IRR (internal rate of return), 170–71 Island, 207, 288 Janus, 229 Japan, 134, 175, 204, 257, 259–60, 261 consumer economy and, 68 economic output of, 234 U.S. debt and, 257 yen crisis, 162–65, 168, 292 Japanese Fair Trade Commission, 160 Java (programming language), 151 J-curve, 264–66 JetBlue, 292 job market, 241–45, 246, 261 305 Jobs, Steve, 118, 119, 121, 128 Johns-Manville, 236 Johnson & Johnson, 236 joint-stock companies, 92–93 Jones, Alfred Winslow, 10 JP Morgan, 11, 49, 144, 209 junk bonds, 11 Kapor, Mitch, 121 Karlgaard, Rich, 195 Kay, John, 64 Kaye, William, 9–13, 48, 153 Kessler, Kurt, 245 Kessler, Nancy, 117–18, 193, 194–95, 288 Kilby, Jack, 101 Kittler, Fred, 1–4, 6, 14–17, 29–31, 33–36, 47, 49, 60–62, 73–76, 81–82, 91, 96, 97, 104, 106–7, 138–43, 164, 167, 169, 172, 175, 203, 205, 206, 209–16, 219, 223–26, 246, 288, 295, 296 hedge fund partnership, 144, 151–52 Kleiner Perkins, 195, 197 Kleinrock, Leonard, 183, 184–86, 191 knowledge workers, 121–23 Korea, 1, 3, 134, 208, 234, 259–60 Kotick, Bobby, 50 Kramlich, Dick, 144, 194, 195, 197 labor costs. See outsourcing LANs. See local area networks laptops, 155, 259, 277 Lardner, Dionysius, 93 Larscom, 97 Larson, Bill, 18, 19 laser diode drivers, 81, 84 layer 4–7 switching, 140 306 LCDs, 2, 3, 155, 156–57 Lehman Brothers, 44 Lerner, Sandy, 191 Lewis, Michael, 25 Liar’s Poker (Lewis), 25 Liberate, 176, 177 limited liability corporations, 57 Lincoln Lab (MIT), 187 Linux operating system, 247 liquid crystal displays, 155, 156–57 literacy, 122 local area networks, 187, 188, 189–91, 197, 199 locomotives, 92–93 Logitech, 259 London Metal Exchange, 94 Long Term Capital Management, 11, 163, 166–69 looms, 64–65, 66 Lotus, 200 Lotus 1–2–3 spreadsheet, 66 Lotus Notes, 200 Lovitz, Jon, 262 LSI Logic, 130, 141 Lucent, 290 Lusitania (ocean liner), 95 Lynch, Peter, 27–28 Macromedia, 97 Malaysia, 1, 132, 175, 199, 252, 270, 281 management, 106–7 manufacturing capital investment in, 90–91 design vs., 99–100, 234, 268 intellectual property separated from, 128, 130–35, 136, 234–35, 238, 251, 271 inventions and, 55–56, 58, 89, 125–26, 272 Index job market and, 241–45, 246, 261 outsourced low costs of, 133–35, 175, 251, 258–59 second derivatives, 26–28, 72, 77, 226 See also industrial economy; Industrial Revolution margin surplus, 234, 259, 260, 262–63, 266, 270, 295 importance of, 275, 277, 279, 280–83 PC’s effect on, 258 MAR/Hedge, 169 market demand, 78 components of, 57–59 Marks, Art, 144 Matsushita, 134 Mauretania (ocean liner), 95 Mayfield, 194 MCI, 61, 62, 72 Mead, Carver, 183 Meeker, Mary, 228 memory chips, 124, 126, 127, 154–55, 156 Metcalfe, Bob, 183, 188–91, 202, 290 Metcalfe’s Law, 190, 226 Mexican debt crisis, 164 Michelson, Albert, 190 microchips, 11, 46–47, 102–3, 129–35, 154–55 company sales, 208 development of, 124–28 outsourced manufacture of, 130–35, 199, 252–55, 259 production costs, 141 See also microprocessors Microma, 127–28 Micron Technology, 19–21, 154 Index microprocessors, 101, 123–28 demand for faster, 66 significance of, 125, 183 Microsoft, 61, 69, 97, 128, 142, 194, 207, 260, 270 browser, 199–201 company value, 274 innovative process of, 278 tie-ins by, 197 as top market cap company, 111 See also Windows Microstrategy, 177 Microsystems, 44 Milken, Michael, 11 Miller, George, 223 mining industry, 53, 57–59 MIT, 184, 185, 187 MMC (chip company), 208 momentum funds, 207 Mondale, Walter, 187 Monetary Conference, 264–65 monster markets, 45, 46, 67, 248, 279, 295 Montgomery Securities Hedge Fund conference, 29–33 Moore, Gordon, 103, 124, 128 Moore, Nick, 18–21, 72, 162, 175–81, 188, 208, 217–19, 228–29, 293, 296 Moore’s Law, 103, 124 Morgan Stanley, 11, 24–25, 39–40, 45, 131, 153, 160, 224, 251 Morgan Stanley Tech Conference (2001), 228–29 Morgan Stanley Tokyo, 154 Morley, Edward, 190 Morse Chain, 110 Mosaic Communications, 193, 195, 196–97 Mostek, 127 Motorola, 11, 127 307 mouse inventor of, 118, 119 outsourced manufacture of, 259 MP3.com, 212–16, 226, 248, 293 MP3 files, 206 Mueller, Glenn, 194, 195, 197–98 Mueller, Nancy, 198 music downloading, 202, 205–8, 247 copyright violation, 293 domain rights, 212–16, 226, 248 piracy, 206–7, 263 See also Napster music software, 146–49 mutual funds, 290 nanotechnology, 296 Napoleonic Wars, 25, 271 Napster, 190, 202, 203, 205–7, 213, 248, 263 NASA, 101, 184 NASA/Ames, 187 NASDAQ, 223, 224, 225, 288 Nash, Jack, 14–17, 24, 29, 105, 278 National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 197 NCP, 185 Nelson, Ted, 118 NetApp.


pages: 321 words: 97,661

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine by Trisha Greenhalgh

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call centre, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, deskilling, knowledge worker, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, New Journalism, p-value, personalized medicine, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, the scientific method

When I wrote the first edition of this book in 1995, a minority of hospitals had a rule that staff nurses couldn't go into the medical library or dial up an Internet connection. The role of the knowledge manager is to blow this sort of nonsense away and ensure that (in the case of EBM) everyone who needs to practice it has links to the relevant knowledge base, protected time to access it and appropriate training. 2. Knowledge workers: These individuals have it on their job description to help the rest of us find and apply knowledge. The person on the computer helpdesk is a kind of knowledge worker, as is a librarian or a research assistant. To use some contemporary jargon, the tools of EBM should be offered as an ‘augmented product’ with designated members of staff hired to provide flexible support to individuals as and when they ask for it. 3. Champions: Adoption of a new practice by individuals in an organisation or professional group is more likely if key individuals within that group are willing to back the innovation.


pages: 407 words: 109,653

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

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Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs

According to University of North Carolina professor Bradley Staats, productivity per person can drop 40% even on a small team. It eats up a lot of time to coordinate a team’s efforts—making sure everyone has replaced the April 10, 5:00 P.M., draft with the April 10, 6:00 P.M—no, wait—6:15 draft. Magic is supposed to happen when a group of people are united in their dedication to a singular purpose. But modern, corporate teams aren’t remotely like that: estimates are that up to 90% of knowledge workers are on multiple teams, each team fighting for its members’ time and attention. No project gets singular devotion. And with the rise of technology-assisted “virtual teams,” where coworkers are spread around the country or world, people may have no real relationship with teammates; often, they don’t even meet. In studies of thousands of companies that have implemented teamwork, there’s no firm evidence that, on average, they make any more money, or are even more productive, after instituting a team-based structure.

One economic incongruity the researchers had observed: most highly educated East Germans did not pursue new careers in engineering or technology, despite being qualified to do so. Instead, they took low-paying jobs in the construction industry, as laborers. This perpetuated the productivity gap between East and West, because so many college grads in the East took jobs beneath their intellectual capabilities. They had the education of a modern knowledge worker, but not the mindset. Over time, researchers started to see a pattern. Those who succeeded—those who became competitive and innovative—were higher in agency. Agency is the capacity to act independently, to make one’s own free choices, and to make decisions quickly. Agency is the core inside self-starters, the trait that grows into personal initiative. Those low in agency don’t trust themselves, and they are more reliant on others’ leadership.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

In its initial proposals, the OGAS Project estimated that it would take over thirty years to be fully online, that it would need a labor transfer of some 300,000 personnel, that costs would be upward of 20 billion rubles for the first fifteen years, and that tens of thousands of computing center and interactive access points would be distributed across the Soviet population. All this would prove net efficient, promised Glushkov. The 300,000 knowledge workers would constitute an enormous labor transfer, as well as a net reduction in the ever-rising number of people who were employed in economic planning. The 20 billion rubles would be distributed over three five-year plans, with the first requiring a seemingly modest 5 billion rubles. Acutely aware of the advantages of the well-regulated financial management that was enjoyed by the successful military nuclear and space programs, Glushkov insisted to Prime Minister Kosygin that, if the OGAS were to be developed, this civilian program would require a similarly well-managed funding stream, even though it would prove more complicated and expensive than both military programs combined.

The OGAS, for Glushkov, was to be a national communication network, countless local paperless offices, and a dynamic management system that connected them—a global-local network. A proper economic reform, in his mind, must benefit the factory worker, the general secretary, and the whole populace. The OGAS sought to pole-vault socialism toward communism at the Hegelian level of historical progress and to usher in a better work life for the knowledge worker: in the command economy, everyone needed to work knowledgably with economic plans. The OGAS would grant both at once, automatically storing relevant digital files on every local actor while granting remote access anywhere else in the country. The origins of the ideas behind the OGAS computing network also point to a preexisting academic network, including the circulation of a 1955 Academy of Sciences proposal by Nemchinov to erect large but unconnected state computer centers in Moscow, Kiev, Novosibirsk, Riga, Kharkov, and other major cities.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

They have transformed from countries where famines killed tens of millions of people during the 20th century to two of the largest and most vibrant economies in the world. Their futures will see transformative change every bit as exceptional as the past three decades have. For decades, China demonstrated that a somewhat open economy and a closed political system can achieve growth by being home to knowledge workers and manufacturing centers. But it is now seeking to prove that it can provide the conditions for innovation of its own. To this end, the core question for China’s future is whether its model of relative economic openness but tight political control can foster real innovation. Thus far, it seems that its knowledge economy has been hampered. For example, China’s successes in the Internet economy have all come from either building Chinese versions of technologies previously invented in the United States or Canada (and often stealing the intellectual property to do it) or from providing low-cost manufacturing to build the hardware for non-Chinese companies.

Roubini observes that “in India you see the bypass of infrastructure. In Mumbai, flyovers go over shantytowns. A homeless person may have the right to not be moved from the little place he sleeps on the street. It can take years, then, to move stuff forward. This is why infrastructure is superdeveloped in China and is underdeveloped in India.” What India lacks in central planning for manufacturing it has made up for in producing knowledge workers. India trains around 1.5 million engineers every year, which is more than the United States and China combined. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, focused significant resources on IT and higher education. His government oversaw the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Technology, and the Indian Institutes of Management, which are among the best professional training centers in any emerging market—indeed, in any market at all.


pages: 407 words: 103,501

The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Netwo Rking by Mark Bauerlein

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, centre right, citizen journalism, collaborative editing, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, disintermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pets.com, Results Only Work Environment, Saturday Night Live, search engine result page, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technology bubble, Ted Nelson, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, web application

“Our software tools were essentially designed to compete with one another for our attention, like needy toddlers.”33 Even brief interruptions can be as disruptive as lengthy ones, if they involve tasks that are either complex in nature or similar to the original work (thus muddying recall of the main work), Donald Broadbent has found.34 In total, interruptions take up 2.1 hours of an average knowledge worker’s day and cost the U.S. economy $588 billion a year, one research firm estimated.35 Workers find the constant hunt for the lost thread “very detrimental,” Mark reports dryly. . . . Mary Czerwinski, an energetic Microsoft researcher designs a kind of high-tech “wallpaper” to better our age. Czerwinski is the manager of the Visualization and Interaction Research Group in the company’s thought ghetto, Microsoft Research Labs.

Examining the Nature of Fragmented Work,” proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (Portland, Oregon, 2005), pp. 321–30. Also interview with Gloria Mark, July 2006. 32 Ibid. 33 Thompson, “Meet the Life Hackers,” p. 42. 34 Tony Gillie and Donald Broadbent, “What Makes Interruptions Disruptive? A Study of Length, Similarity and Complexity,” Psychological Research 50 (1989), pp. 243–50. 35 Jonathan Spira and Joshua Feintuch, The Cost of Not Paying Attention: How Interruptions Impact Knowledge Worker Productivity (Basex, 2005), pp. 2 and 10. 36 Suzanne Ross, “Two Screens Are Better Than One,” Microsoft Research News and Highlights, http://research.microsoft.com/displayArticle.aspx?id=433&0sr=a. Also Tara Matthews et al., “Clipping Lists and Change Borders: Improving Multitasking Efficiency with Peripheral Information Design,” Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (April 2006), pp. 989–98. 37 Scott Brown and Fergus I.


pages: 132 words: 31,976

Getting Real by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, Matthew Linderman, 37 Signals

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call centre, collaborative editing, iterative process, John Gruber, knowledge worker, Merlin Mann, Metcalfe's law, performance metric, premature optimization, slashdot, Steve Jobs, web application

Or make the first or the last half of the day the alone time period. Just make sure this period is contiguous in order to avoid productivity-killing interruptions. A successful alone time period means letting go of communication addiction. During alone time, give up instant messenging, phone calls, and meetings. Avoid any email thread that's going to require an immediate response. Just shut up and get to work. Get Into the Groove We all know that knowledge workers work best by getting into "flow", also known as being "in the zone", where they are fully concentrated on their work and fully tuned out of their environment. They lose track of time and produce great stuff through absolute concentration...trouble is that it's so easy to get knocked out of the zone. Noise, phone calls, going out for lunch, having to drive 5 minutes to Starbucks for coffee, and interruptions by coworkers — especially interruptions by coworkers — all knock you out of the zone.

Data Mining: Concepts and Techniques: Concepts and Techniques by Jiawei Han, Micheline Kamber, Jian Pei

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bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation coefficient, cyber-physical system, database schema, discrete time, distributed generation, finite state, information retrieval, iterative process, knowledge worker, linked data, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Occam's razor, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, random walk, recommendation engine, RFID, semantic web, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, statistical model, stochastic process, supply-chain management, text mining, thinkpad, web application

They cover most of the day-to-day operations of an organization such as purchasing, inventory, manufacturing, banking, payroll, registration, and accounting. Data warehouse systems, on the other hand, serve users or knowledge workers in the role of data analysis and decision making. Such systems can organize and present data in various formats in order to accommodate the diverse needs of different users. These systems are known as online analytical processing (OLAP) systems. The major distinguishing features of OLTP and OLAP are summarized as follows:■ Users and system orientation: An OLTP system is customer-oriented and is used for transaction and query processing by clerks, clients, and information technology professionals. An OLAP system is market-oriented and is used for data analysis by knowledge workers, including managers, executives, and analysts. ■ Data contents: An OLTP system manages current data that, typically, are too detailed to be easily used for decision making.

A data warehouse is also often viewed as an architecture, constructed by integrating data from multiple heterogeneous sources to support structured and/or ad hoc queries, analytical reporting, and decision making. Based on this information, we view data warehousing as the process of constructing and using data warehouses. The construction of a data warehouse requires data cleaning, data integration, and data consolidation. The utilization of a data warehouse often necessitates a collection of decision support technologies. This allows “knowledge workers” (e.g., managers, analysts, and executives) to use the warehouse to quickly and conveniently obtain an overview of the data, and to make sound decisions based on information in the warehouse. Some authors use the term data warehousing to refer only to the process of data warehouse construction, while the term warehouse DBMS is used to refer to the management and utilization of data warehouses.

Other features that distinguish between OLTP and OLAP systems include database size, frequency of operations, and performance metrics. These are summarized in Table 4.1. Table 4.1 Comparison of OLTP and OLAP Systems Note: Table is partially based on Chaudhuri and Dayal [CD97]. FeatureOLTPOLAP Characteristic operational processing informational processing Orientation transaction analysis User clerk, DBA, database professional knowledge worker (e.g., manager, executive, analyst) Function day-to-day operations long-term informational requirements decision support DB design ER-based, application-oriented star/snowflake, subject-oriented Data current, guaranteed up-to-date historic, accuracy maintainedover time Summarization primitive, highly detailed summarized, consolidated View detailed, flat relational summarized, multidimensional Unit of work short, simple transaction complex query Access read/write mostly read Focus data in information out Operations index/hash on primary key lots of scans Number of records accessed tens millions Number of users thousands hundreds DB size GB to high-order GB ≥ TB Priority high performance, high availability high flexibility, end-user autonomy Metric transaction throughput query throughput, response time 4.1.3.


pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, car-free, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

Billions of people can play active roles in their workplaces, communities, national democracies, and in global forums and institutions, too. At the same time, the new world of wikinomics gives organizations an opportunity to tap into new sources of insight and value. Closed, hierarchical corporations that once innovated in secret can now tap, and contribute to, a much larger global talent pool—one that opens up the world of knowledge workers to every organization seeking a uniquely qualified mind to solve their problem. Scientists can accelerate research by open sourcing their data and methods to offer every budding and experienced researcher in the world an opportunity to participate in the discovery process. Doctors can collaborate with self-organizing patient communities where people with similar medical conditions share insights, provide mutual support, and contribute to medical research.

Of course you still need a knowledge base, and you can’t Google your way through every activity and conversation. But what counts more is your capacity to learn lifelong, to think, research, find information, analyze, synthesize, contextualize, and critically evaluate; to apply research to solving problems; to collaborate and communicate. This is particularly important for students and employers who compete in a global economy. Labor markets are now global and given networked business models, knowledge workers face competition in real time. Workers and managers must learn, adapt, and perform like never before. The answer for educational establishments is not simply to expand distance learning offerings—though this would help. Nor is it about students being able to access lectures by some of the world’s leading professors from free online sites like Academic Earth—though this practice has proven popular and useful with both professors and students.

Next-generation faculty will create a context whereby students from around the world can participate in online discussions, forums, and wikis to discover, learn, and produce knowledge as a community of learners who are engaged directly in addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. Of course, such open platforms could provide a means to address the needs of all learners, not just twenty-somethings. For today’s knowledge workers, remaining truly competitive in fast-moving fields of research and innovation means constant retraining and retooling to begin and/or continue their working lives in a modern, dynamic, and technology-focused environment. The cost of building new continuing education programs from scratch could be prohibitively high, but new models of collaborative education can help bring greater efficiency and creativity to the efforts to help graduating students and aging employees update their skills.23 Indeed, why not allow companies and governments to participate in this global network for higher learning too?


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra

But they also need to understand that to thrive as a country we need a steady flow of legal immigration. Our ability as a country to embrace diversity is one of our greatest competitive advantages. We need to control low-skilled immigration so our own low-skilled workers are not priced out of jobs, while removing all limits on H-1B visas for foreign high-skilled knowledge workers. We should also double the research funding for all of our national labs and institutes of health to drive basic research. Nothing would spin off more new good jobs and industries than that combination of more basic research and more knowledge workers. 7. To ensure that next-generation Internet services are developed in America, she would put in place new accelerated tax incentives and eliminate regulatory barriers to rapidly scale up the deployment of superfast bandwidth—for both wire line and wireless networks.

The Brilliant Janitor Intelligent assistants are not simply websites you can access. They are also portable tools that can turn AI into IA in remarkable new ways so that so many more people, no matter how educated or dexterous, can live above the average adaptability line—and even thrive there. Consider what it is to be a janitor today at the Qualcomm campus in San Diego. Hint: thanks to intelligent assistants, it’s become a knowledge worker job. Ashok Tipirneni, director of product management for Qualcomm’s Smart Cities project, explained to me why: Qualcomm has created a business in showing companies how they can retrofit wireless sensors to every part of their buildings in order to generate a real-time, nonstop sort of EKG or MRI of what is going on deep inside every one of their buildings’ systems. To create a demonstration model, Tipirneni started with six buildings at Qualcomm’s Pacific Center Campus in San Diego, which included parking garages, office spaces, and food courts; the area was about a million square feet in total and used by about 3,200 people.


pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

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23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management

Management, said Bowman, pushed to “reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data.... And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.” Google honors its engineers as creators, treating them the way the legendary management consultant Peter Drucker suggested a half century ago that companies should treat “knowledge workers,” said Hal R. Varian, Google’s chief economist. But an engineering-dominated culture has drawbacks. “In some ways, they have not done enough to communicate what they are doing internally or externally,” said Paul Buchheit, Google’s twenty-third employee, the one who coined their “Don’t be evil” motto and who left with three other Googlers to launch a social network, FriendFeed, in 2006. “Part of the culture is not to communicate.

Fortune, May 26, 2008, and confirmed by Google. 18 conveys a sense of freedom: author interview with Krishna Bharat, September 12, 2007. 18 Burning Man’s ten stated principles: Burning Man Web site. 18 “Google is a cross”: author interview with Peter Norvig, August 21, 2007. 18 She described the culture as “flat”: author interview with Stacy Savides Sullivan, August 21, 2007. 19 the best U.S. company to work for: Fortune, January 2008. 19 salaries are modest: SEC 14-A filing, March 24, 2009. 19 stock option grants: Google 10-K filed with the SEC for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2008. 19 more applicants are accepted by Harvard... packet about each: author interviews with Lazslo Bock, August 22, 2007, Leesa Gidaro, September 12, 2007, and David Drummond, March 25, 2008, and Google orientation for new employees, October 8, 2007, attended by author. 20 consisted of 130 people: author interview with David Krane, August 22, 2007. 20 a total of eight hours of his time: author interview with a senior executive at Google. 20 a blog explaining why he left: “Why Designer Doug Bowman Quit Google,” Google Blogoscope, March 21, 2009. 20 “knowledge workers”: author interview with Hal Varian, March 28, 2008. 20 “In some ways”: author interview with Paul Buchheit, June 9, 2008. 21 user experience matters most: author interview with Matt Cutts, August 20, 2007. 21 “church/state wall”: author interview with Larry Page, March 25, 2008. 21 four thousand dollars a day: Jason Calacanis blog from AdSense, July 28, 2008. 21 one thousand employees have received this subsidy: supplied to the author by Google. 22 “moral force”: author interview with Eric Schmidt, June 11, 2008. 22 “great values”: author interview with Al Gore, June 10, 2008. 23 “How can you”: author interview with Eric Schmidt, September 12, 2007. 23 Winograd . . . recounted a discussion at a TGIF: author interview with Dr.


pages: 429 words: 114,726

The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise by Nathan L. Ensmenger

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barriers to entry, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Grace Hopper, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, loose coupling, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, performance metric, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

By this point the rhetoric of crisis had become so commonplace in the computer industry literature that for many young programmers the software crisis was “less a turning point than a way of life.”16 This comes back to some of the central questions of this book: How can we explain the continued existence of a seemingly perpetual crisis in what is generally considered to be one of the most successful and profitable industries of all time? How can we understand the role of computer specialists—in many respects the paradigmatic “knowledge workers” of post-industrial society—within this troubled framework of crisis, conflict, and contested identity? If, as Shoshona Zuboff has suggested, computer-based technologies are not simply neutral artifacts, but rather “embody essential characteristics that are bound to alter the nature of work within factories and offices, and among workers, professionals, and managers,” then what are the “essential characteristics” of software and software development that shape our understanding of work, identity, and power in the information technology industry (and the many industries that rely on information technology)?

His analysis was remarkably comprehensive, covering such issues as training and education, structured programming techniques (“the software manager’s answer to the conveyor belt”), the social organization of the workplace (aimed at reinforcing the fragmentation between “head” planning and “hand” labor), and careers, pay, and professionalism (encouraged by managers as a means of discouraging unions). Greenbaum followed Kraft’s conclusions and methodology closely in her book In the Name of Efficiency: Management Theory and Shopfloor Practice in Data-Processing Work in 1979. More recently, she has defended their application of the Braverman deskilling hypothesis: “If we strip away the spin words used today like ‘knowledge’ worker, ‘flexible’ work, and ‘high tech’ work, and if we insert the word ‘information system’ for ‘machinery,’ we are still talking about management attempts to control and coordinate labor processes.”30 There is validity to both interpretations of the changing attitude of managers toward programmers that occurred in the late 1960s. Certainly there were numerous technical innovations in both hardware and software that prompted managerial responses.


pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

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8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

They’re often subject to loud and uncontrollable noise, which raises heart rates; releases cortisol, the body’s fight-or-flight “stress” hormone; and makes people socially distant, quick to anger, aggressive, and slow to help others. Indeed, excessive stimulation seems to impede learning: a recent study found that people learn better after a quiet stroll through the woods than after a noisy walk down a city street. Another study, of 38,000 knowledge workers across different sectors, found that the simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers to productivity. Even multitasking, that prized feat of modern-day office warriors, turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know that the brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent.

., Environmental Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2005), 162. (8) Davis, “The Physical Environment of the Office.” 38. people learn better after a quiet stroll: Marc G. Berman et al., “The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting with Nature,” Psychological Science 19, no. 12 (2008): 1207–12. See also Stephen Kaplan and Marc Berman, “Directed Attention as a Common Resource for Executive Functioning and Self-Regulation,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 5, no. 1 (2010): 43–57. 39. Another study, of 38,000 knowledge workers: Davis et al., “The Physical Environment of the Office.” 40. Even multitasking … a myth: John Medina, Brain Rules (Seattle, WA: Pear Press, 2008), 87. 41. Backbone Entertainment: Mike Mika, interview with the author, July 12, 2006. 42. Reebok International: Kimberly Blanton, “Design It Yourself: Pleasing Offices Laid Out by the Workers Who Use Them Can Be a Big Advantage When Companies Compete for Talent,” Boston Globe, March 1, 2005. 43.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

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1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, patent troll, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

Starting with an analysis of risk factors, a piece of software could prioritize each day’s inspections instead of just working through a sequential list of addresses on some rigid calendar. Then, during the actual inspection, another analysis would point out the most likely trouble spots that needed scrutiny by the inspector’s expert eye. Goldsmith wanted to turn city workers from automatons into knowledge workers. The stated goal of this approach was an increase in productivity and effectiveness. But as with his privatization efforts in Indianapolis, it was also a Trojan horse for an assault on the city’s powerful labor unions. Fully implemented, Goldsmith’s reforms would make redundant an entire swath of middle managers, the supervisors and dispatchers who jockeyed line workers through their daily procedural paces.

He understood that it is nothing more than a diagnostic tool: “A single data point that does not tell you that a house is going to fall into blight but [the index could signal] that there is a higher than normal probability that it will be in disrepair.”33 The data could then be used as an input when allocating revitalization funds or directing social workers to trouble spots. It was a strategy cut from the same cloth as Goldsmith’s vision for transforming bureaucrats and civil servants into knowledge workers, but without the union busting. As a triage tool for stretching scarce city resources, it’s hard to argue against this kind of data-driven management. But as data becomes more central to how we measure government performance, it can create perverse incentives. One of the largest and longest-running data-driven management systems of any American city is the New York City Police Department’s CompStat program.

Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia by Dariusz Jemielniak

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Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citation needed, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Debian, deskilling, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, moral hazard, online collectivism, pirate software, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

Everybody on Wikipedia knows that this measure is flawed (in Wikipedia jargon, obsession with edit count is called “editcountitis”; see [[WP:Editcountitis]]), but in the absence of other quantified indicators, it is used nevertheless. Many editors routinely check the volume of edits of other editors (O’Neil, 2010). The situation resembles the amount of time spent at work as a measure of effectiveness of programmers and other knowledge workers: even though everybody agrees that it does not signify anything, many managers of software companies use it anyway since there is no better alternative (D. Jemielniak, 2009). Similarly, it creates pathologies, as organizational actors understand how the system works and act accordingly (for example, by working late to create a better impression). Moreover, even though Wikipedia is a voluntary community and geared to collaboration rather than playing a zero-sum game, the problem with editcountitis is exacerbated by friendly competition.

Journal of Organizational Change Management, 20(4), 491–508. Jemielniak, D. (2008). Software engineers or artists: Programmers’ identity choices. Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 7(1), 20–36. Jemielniak, D. (2009). Time as symbolic currency in knowledge work. Information and Organization, 19, 277–293. Jemielniak, D. (2010). W obronie biurokracji. Master of Business Administration, 2(103), 72–79. Jemielniak, D. (2012). The new knowledge workers. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar. Jemielniak, D. (2013a). Netnografia, czyli etnografia wirtualna: Nowa forma badań etnograficznych. Prakseologia, 153, 97–115. Jemielniak, D. (2013b). Ż ycie wirtualnych dzikich. Warsaw, Poland: Poltext. Jemielniak, D., & Gorbatai, A. (2012). Power and status on Wikipedia. Unpublished manuscript, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

He could work from home and see his family, and he was writing about an important topic, perhaps the central issue of our time. He was respected as a climate change expert and had 37,000 Twitter followers, and he loved being able to turn to them for conversation, to answer questions, or just idle chatter: “It was like this really erudite, diverse cocktail party that was always going on and that I could always wander into and just get into a chat.” But still the routine, the never-ending labor of the contemporary knowledge worker, got to him. After almost ten years of this, he wasn’t sure how much more he could handle. Part of that was the onslaught of information with which he had to deal. “There’s so much coming in all the time,” he said. “By the time I got to my computer, there’s this mass of stuff waiting.” He’d dispatch that in time, but this kind of informational busywork—e-mail, social media, keeping up with mailing lists and news sources, talking with his colleagues—would crop up constantly throughout the day.

My situation differs from Roberts’s in a few particulars, but as a freelance journalist, one who theoretically could always be working, finding new assignments, searching for stories, tracking invoices, or simply building up social capital and connections on social media, it can seem as if there is no distinction between work and not-work. There is always more information to consume, more work to be done, more pitches to write, or colleagues’ work to catch up on. Especially when one’s income is variable and contingent, it seems that the knowledge worker’s job is never done. More challenging is the sense of guilt and nagging anxiety that can come with putting the devices away and trying to carve out time to be alone or with friends. Like Roberts’s wife, my partner works mostly conventional hours at an office. When she comes home, we want to see each other, compare notes on the day, clean up, cook, read together, watch The X-Files—all those shared tasks and felicities that constitute domestic life.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

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3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

Thus, mechanisms for finding and transcluding material need to be efficient, as generally speaking whatever is inefficient is done much less often and therefore is not as valuable in practice as it sounds in theory. A recommendation: the more developers might collaborate to create common models of transclusion, as opposed to the endless one-upmanship now practiced—the more transclusion can come out of the closet, and be seen as a core capability that helps all knowledge workers lift their game across all their work, creating greater value for their organizations and clients. Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited. References 1. Akscyn RM, McCracken DL, Yoder EA (1988) KMS: a distributed hypermedia system for managing knowledge in organization.


pages: 215 words: 56,215

The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches by Marshall Brain

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Amazon Web Services, clean water, cloud computing, computer vision, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, income inequality, job automation, knowledge worker, mutually assured destruction, Occupy movement, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, working poor

So the printing plant at the FAA will close, along with all of the related jobs at the plant. All of the shops selling paper maps lose that source of revenue and lay off hundreds of workers. The demand for paper, ink, printing presses and fork lifts goes down, so jobs are lost there too. And there is far less shipping involved. Yes, a jobs do get created at tiny iPad app companies. These are the knowledge worker jobs, primarily for computer programmers. None of the people who used to run presses, forklifts, cutters, trucks or shops will ever be writing code for apps, and the compression rate is 10 to 1 or more. In other words, something like 10 jobs are lost for every new job created. That same kind of job compression is happening through so many sectors right now - newspapers, magazines, books, etc.


pages: 187 words: 55,801

The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market by Frank Levy, Richard J. Murnane

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Atul Gawande, call centre, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hypertext link, index card, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, pattern recognition, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, talking drums, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, working poor

The second is that computers will largely do high-level work, leaving most people no alternative but menial jobs. Peter Drucker, the management theorist, has been an enthusiastic member of the first school. In Drucker’s mind, computerization subsumes routine work, and so the real danger is a shortage of trained managers to direct what computers should do. Writer Jeremy Rifkin is a member of the second school. In The End of Work, Rifkin argues that the economy’s requirements for high-level knowledge workers can never compensate for the number of jobs computers will eliminate. The result will be a large concentration of workers in low-level dead-end jobs. Apparent support for this prediction comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects that food preparation and serving workers—a low-paying occupation requiring little training—will gain more jobs in the decade from 2000 to 2010 than any other occupation.8 In his 1960 essay Herbert Simon made a set of predictions about the job mix in a typical corporation in 1985.


pages: 229 words: 68,426

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

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augmented reality, business process, defense in depth, demand response, demographic transition, facts on the ground, game design, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, James Dyson, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, profit motive, recommendation engine, RFID, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method

And while the intent wasn't to spy on such workers, it was readily apparent how the system could be abused, especially when the device responsible was so humble and so easy to forget about. Original sin came early to ubicomp. Want went on to join Mark Weiser's team at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), where he contributed to foundational work on a range of networked devices called "tabs," "pads," and "boards." As with Active Badge, these were digital tools for freely roaming knowledge workers, built on a vocabulary of form universally familiar to anyone who's ever worked in an office: name tags, pads of paper, and erasable whiteboards, respectively.* * These form factors had been looming in the mass unconscious for a long time. PARC's "pad," in particular, seemed to owe a lot to the slablike media/communication devices used by astronauts Frank Poole and Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

• You should be able to prevent information collected about you for one purpose from being used for others. • You should be able to correct inaccurate information about you. • Your data should be secure. Nearly forty years later, the principles are still basically right, and we’re still waiting for them to be enforced. We can’t wait much longer: In a society with an increasing number of knowledge workers, our personal data and “personal brand” are worth more than they ever have been. Especially if you’re a blogger or a writer, if you make funny videos or music, or if you coach or consult for a living, your online data trail is one of your most valuable assets. But while it’s illegal to use Brad Pitt’s image to sell a watch without his permission, Facebook is free to use your name to sell one to your friends.


pages: 296 words: 78,227

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch

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Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business process, delayed gratification, fear of failure, income inequality, inventory management, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, profit maximization, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, wage slave

Even the 80/20 term itself caught on very slowly and without any visible landmarks. Given the piecemeal use and gradual spread of the 80/20 Principle, it remains underexploited, even by those who recognize the idea. It is extremely versatile. It can be profitably applied to any industry and any organization, any function within an organization and any individual job. The 80/20 Principle can help the chief executive, line managers, functional specialists, and any knowledge worker, down to the lowest level or the newest trainee. And although its uses are manifold, there is an underlying, unifying logic that explains why the 80/20 Principle works and is so valuable. WHY THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE WORKS IN BUSINESS The 80/20 Principle applied to business has one key theme—to generate the most money with the least expenditure of assets and effort. The classical economists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries developed a theory of economic equilibrium and of the firm that has dominated thinking ever since.


pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

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23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, disintermediation, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, Yogi Berra

Companies spent millions on factory gurus, Six-Sigma-smoking consultants from the 1950s all the way through the 1970s to help them squeeze gains out of workers. That’s what drove the stock market and wealth creation for several decades. That’s all fine in an Industrial Age when you can actually measure worker output in the form of widgets per day, cars off the line per hour, and the like. But in a service economy filled with knowledge workers flitting around trying to produce more, uh, banking or more insurance or more satisfaction at McDonald’s, the productivity game isn’t so easy. It’s hard to find ways to make workers more productive. Give’em a BlackBerry or something. Is that the way to create wealth? I doubt it. The trick is to look under the covers to find the new type of technology-bred capital stock—and figure out what all this technology is replacing.


pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe

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Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

None of this must come as a revelation; yet, for 20 years now, neo-liberal ideology has been drummed into schoolchildren in the name of a ‘value-free’, competency-based education system. The jargon used is a good indicator. Policy documents are larded with terms such as ‘educational consumers’, ‘output-based financing’, ‘performance funding’, ‘accreditation’, ‘accountability’, ‘benchmarks’, ‘stakeholders’, ‘human capital’, and ‘knowledge workers’. The annual Dutch budget memorandum is a case in point. In the section devoted to education, the emphasis is on issues such as ‘excelling’, uncovering talent, and performance bonuses(!) for outstanding teachers. Teachers’ organisations have responded angrily, attacking the lack of a central vision of education and the narrow economic focus, and expressing fears that weak pupils will fall by the wayside.


pages: 326 words: 74,433

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld, David Cohen

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augmented reality, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software as a service, Steve Jobs

When you are hiring such a big percentage of your workforce, you have to have a super-high success rate. At Return Path, we have sometimes left critical jobs open for months as we cycle through candidates looking for “the one.” As painful as it has been for us to limp along with the position open, taking our time and hiring the absolutely right person has always been the right decision. It is said that with knowledge workers, the best employee is 10 times more productive and impactful than the average employee. Why settle for anything less than the absolute best? Temptation 2: Firing too slowly. Everyone's heard the analogy about a bad employee being like a cancer in an organization—his poor performance or attitude spread and he needs to be cut out to preserve the rest of the organization. To build on this metaphor, I've always said that hiring a new person, especially an early one, is like doing an organ transplant.

Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities by Thomas H. Davenport

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Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, cloud computing, data acquisition, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, intermodal, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, recommendation engine, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, sorting algorithm, statistical model, Tesla Model S, text mining

The resulting structure may be intended for additional analysis or to be queried by a traditional SQL-based query tool. Many vendors are moving to so-called “SQL on Hadoop” approaches, simply because SQL has been used in business for a couple of decades, and many people (and higher-level languages) know how to create SQL queries. This business view ensures that big data is more consumable by the tools and the knowledge workers that already exist in an organization. Chapter_05.indd 123 03/12/13 1:04 PM 124  big data @ work Applications In this layer, the results of big data processing are analyzed and ­displayed either by business users or by other systems using them to make automated decisions. As I noted earlier in this chapter, the analysis of big data is not so different from traditional data a­ nalysis, except that it is more likely to be done with machine learning (automated model fitting tools), faster processing tools like in-memory and high-­performance analytics environments, and visual analytics.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

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autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

Imagine there was a single measure that could wipe out all poverty everywhere, raising everybody in Africa above our Western poverty line, and in the process put a few extra months’ salary in our pockets too. Just imagine. Would we take that measure? No. Of course not. After all, this measure has been around for years. It’s the best plan that never happened. I’m talking about open borders. Not just for bananas, derivatives, and iPhones, but for one and all – for knowledge workers, for refugees, and for ordinary people in search of greener pastures. Of course, we’ve all learned the hard way by now that economists are no fortune tellers (the economist John Kenneth Galbraith once quipped that the only purpose of economic forecasts is to give astrology a better image), but on this point their views are remarkably consistent. Seven different studies have shown that, depending on the level of movement in the global labor market, the estimated growth in “gross worldwide product” would be in the range of 67% to 172%.17 Effectively, open borders would make the whole world twice as rich.


pages: 202 words: 64,725

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

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David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs

Energy After engagement, the second wayfinding clue to look for is energy. Human beings, like all living things, need energy to live and to thrive. Men and women used to spend most of their daily energy on physical tasks. For most of human history, men and women were working at hunting and gathering, raising children, and raising crops, most of their time consumed with energy-intensive physical labor. Nowadays, many of us are knowledge workers, and we use our brains to do the heavy lifting. The brain is a very energy-hungry organ. Of the roughly two thousand calories we consume a day, five hundred go to running our brains. That’s astonishing: the brain represents only about 2 percent of our body weight, and yet it takes up 25 percent of the energy we consume every day. It’s no wonder that the way we invest our attention is critical to whether or not we feel high or low energy.2 We engage in physical and mental activities all day long.

The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

Search We are strangely nostalgic about the future, and we are often disappointed that the present is not more like the future that was foretold when we were younger. 2015 was the 30th anniversary of the 1985 movie “Back to the Future”, and it was also the year to which the hero travels at the end of the story. Journalists and commentators complained about the failure of hoverboards and flying cars to arrive, as predicted in the film. We didn't get hoverboards, but we did get something even more significant. As recently as the late 20th century, knowledge workers could spend hours each day looking for information. Today, less than twenty years after Google was incorporated in 1998, we have something close to omniscience. At the press of a button or two, you can access pretty much any knowledge that humans have ever recorded. To our great-grandparents, this would surely have been more astonishing than flying cars. (Some people are so impressed by Google Search that they have established a Church of Google, and offer nine proofs that Google is God, including its omnipresence, near-onmiscience, potential immortality, and responses to prayer.


pages: 598 words: 172,137

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mortgage debt, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

That was the title chosen for an economic strategy book by William Niskanen, head of the libertarian Cato Institute, and economist Robert Litan of the liberal Brookings Institution. Free trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati forecast that “in the end, Americans’ increasing dependence on an ever-widening array of technology will create a flood of high-paying jobs….” The older generation coached Generation X to stake its future on becoming engineers, computer programmers, and systems architects—an irreplaceable army of “knowledge workers”—because knowledge economy expertise would protect them from low-cost Asian competitors. The dawning of the digital era, its enthusiasts asserted, was altering the global balance of economic power back in our favor. “You could think of it as brain power vs. muscle power,” said Harvard economist Richard B. Freeman. Free traders in Washington think tanks and in Congress, wanting to put the best face on America’s global trade policies and seeing high-technology industries as America’s strong suit, had pressed the government in 1989 to establish a new category of foreign trade—“Advanced Technology Products.”

In 2009, the industry lobbying group TechAmerica reported that while the industry cut 245,600 U.S. jobs, it added more than 100,000 H-1B visa workers. Syntel: Grad Student to Billionaire Once again, the driving force behind the wave of imported IT workers on H-1B visas was the aggressive coterie of Indian offshoring firms, Infosys, Wipro, Satyam, and Tata. They have recruited tens of thousands of Indian knowledge workers at home and sent them into America. Other so-called body shops or multinational temp agencies, some owned by Americans, have copied the Indian strategy. But the four Indian firms have dominated the field. During the recession, from 2007 to 2009, four of the five largest users of H-1B visas were Indian firms—Tata, Infosys, Wipro, and Satyam—each receiving several times more visas than American giants such as Microsoft and Cisco, according to Ron Hira of Rochester Institute of Technology, who has frequently testified to Congress on offshoring issues.


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

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1960s counterculture, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application

It has always been the sort of place where those devoted to solving some of the biggest challenges in logic, mathematics, and linguistics can find a supportive yet challenging environment.41 It’s the paradigm of the sort of practice that has emerged quickly over the past twenty years and that now dominates the scientific agenda in many fields: entrepreneurial science—the intersection of academic “pure” science and industrial technoscience.42 This technocratic mode of organization is anything but new. In The Engineers and the Price System, a book published in 1921 that fell into 68 G O OG LE’S WAYS AND MEA NS immediate obscurity, the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen identified a new class of what we now call knowledge workers. In the late years of the American Industrial Revolution, Veblen saw that the increase in efficiency of the production and distribution of goods was creating tremendous wealth for the class that owned the means of production yet who were unable to do the mathematics necessary to understand the systems that enriched them. This situation would not stand for long, Veblen surmised. Unlike Karl Marx’s unreliable proletariat, waiting to be sparked into revolutionary action by the sudden realization of historical exploitation, the engineering class might actually capture some of the wealth it created.


pages: 358 words: 106,729

Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram Rajan

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business climate, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, diversification, Edward Glaeser, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, medical malpractice, microcredit, moral hazard, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, price stability, profit motive, Real Time Gross Settlement, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

Schools and universities play a part, as do families and communities: it does take a village to create the values and attitudes that allow children to get the most out of their education! And once individuals complete their formal education, employers play an important role in training them further and encouraging them to continue building their human capital on the job. Such on-the-job development will become more important as the length of our working life increases: the typical knowledge worker may now work for nearly half a century after formal education ends. In what follows, I describe some of the important ways the quality of human capital can be improved in the United States.3 Disadvantages Begin Early The foundation for success in life is laid early. We cannot do anything about the genes a child is endowed with, but nutrition during pregnancy and in early childhood makes an enormous difference to a child’s intelligence and health later in life.


pages: 344 words: 96,690

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff

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business process, call centre, centre right, citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, demand response, Donald Trump, estate planning, Firefox, knowledge worker, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Tony Hsieh

location-based applications?) that will be important in the future stages of your social maturity. Fourth, policies and training. As more employees begin to participate, it’s crucial to have rules and guidelines, not just to prevent mistakes of the “Oops, I mistakenly revealed the product plan” variety, but to spread best practices learned from earlier applications. In a January 2010, survey of knowledge workers using social media, Forrester discovered that 43 percent say there is no social media policy at their workplace. This is a prescription for trouble! Finally, maturing measurement. Companies in the coordinating stage tie the value of social applications to metrics like sales, conversion rate, cost avoidance, or awareness that are mainline indicators of business health. Importantly, they work toward creating a more standardized set of metrics shared by multiple applications.


pages: 227 words: 32,306

Using Open Source Platforms for Business Intelligence: Avoid Pitfalls and Maximize Roi by Lyndsay Wise

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barriers to entry, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, en.wikipedia.org, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, Richard Stallman, software as a service, statistical model, supply-chain management, the market place

In other cases, proprietary solutions were selected for key operational solutions such as ERP with supporting solutions being developed in-house. A good example is reporting, whereby many organizations needed to create their own way of integrating multiple data types to try to get the most out of information, hence the importance placed on Excel. As time went on, as price points started to come down, and as businesses started expanding in relation to the use of personal computers, it was assumed that most knowledge workers did not require access to the source code behind the applications being used. This enabled broader use across the organization and ensured that only developers or those with in-depth knowledge could play around with the solution. Couple this with the fact that many organizations wanted to create and control their own methods and processes and proprietary software was born. To understand OS more completely, it is first important to look more deeply at what proprietary offerings are.


pages: 411 words: 95,852

Britain Etc by Mark Easton

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, British Empire, credit crunch, financial independence, garden city movement, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, social software

The most recent figures published by the OECD show that while 34 per cent of British students end up graduating, it is over 40 per cent in Australia, Norway, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Finland, and Denmark, and over 50 per cent in Poland, Russia and Iceland. Since the mid-1990s, many European countries have seen their graduation rates overtake the UK. Just processing lots of people through often meaningless degrees is not enough, of course. If Britain is going to do well in the twenty-first century, it needs to produce the right kind of knowledge workers, to recognise the skills and abilities that will be most sought after by the global economy. ‘Knowledge’ is a misunderstood word, perhaps. Being able to learn and recall bits of information is important but there is no shortage of people who can do that. And in our Google age, knowing facts may become less critical. The Canadian author of the book Wikinomics, business strategist Don Tapscott, recently argued that what he called ‘the old-fashioned model’ of education, involving remembering facts ‘off pat’, was designed for the industrial age.


pages: 284 words: 85,643

What's the Matter with White People by Joan Walsh

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, clean water, collective bargaining, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban decay, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce

In 1946, two million Americans attended college or university, representing only one in eight college-age students; by 1970, there were eight million undergraduates, one in three in that age group. Much of the student left took for granted the affluent society that stifled their dreams and made them mere cogs of capitalism but that also made their protest possible. They weren’t alone. McGovern strategist Fred Dutton, who worked for Johnson and both John and Robert F. Kennedy, began talking about a “New Politics” uniting students, feminists, minorities, and elite knowledge workers, leaving big union leaders on the sidelines. In the affluent, postmaterial age of “individual purpose” that Dutton and other “New Politics” Democrats believed had finally arrived, union members didn’t deserve a special place at the Democrats’ table anymore. In short, prosperity undermined the New Deal coalition, giving white workers the freedom to believe their enemy was black protesters and white hippies, while providing the New Left with the dream it could create a progressive majority coalition without big labor.


pages: 364 words: 104,697

Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan

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Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, dark matter, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, Gini coefficient, haute cuisine, income inequality, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, McJob, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pensions crisis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce

These are kids who in effect just get “high school” degrees. And as the kids learn a skill, they work and get paid in an employer-union setting; they receive not just a skill but a political education, too. That is, as they receive a skill that they can later use to get a higher wage, they are “taught,” or at least “made aware” of, how not to use it, i.e., to collectively withhold it to get a better deal. Otherwise, they are merely generic “knowledge workers” who can use a computer but have no real specialized skills to withhold. That’s why, to our astonishment, the German unionization rate is higher in the manufacturing or “export” sector (80 percent) than it is in the public or civil-servant sector (40 percent). In the U.S. or the UK, it’s quite the reverse. While I don’t want to overstate it, that’s the special edge that German education has over U.S. education—it can turn out some high school grads who know how to take collective action to protect their skills.


pages: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

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Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize

As for the pharmaceutical industry, the number of hghly successful ‘blockbuster’ drugs has stopped rising over the past decade and fell for the first time ever in 2007; the number of new drugs approved each year in the US has also fallen sharply. Over the past few decades, the number of people employed in research and development in the world’s leading economies has been rising dramatically, but productivity growth has been flat. Yes, there are more patents filed – but the number of patents produced per researcher, or per research dollar, has been falling. We may have booming universities and armies of knowledge workers, but when it comes to producing new ideas, we are running to stand still. This is particularly worrying because we are hoping that new technology will solve so many of our problems. Consider climate change: Bjorn Lomborg, famous as ‘the sceptical environmentalist’ who thinks we worry too much about climate change and not enough about clean water or malaria, argues that we should be spending fifty times more on research and development into clean energy and geoengineering.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

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1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

Engineers earned points by completing work, mentoring peers and leading teams. In March 2002 the pilot was extended to 20,000 engineers, who now self-schedule. After three years, the average engineer was earning more money and working two hours less per week. Productivity was up by 5 per cent and quality up by 8 per cent. BT is adopting elements of the open approach to work because that is the best way to motivate and co-ordinate knowledge workers at low cost. The collaborative values of We-Think are also reshaping how places of work are designed. Modern organisations revolve around offices that are often designed to help managers to stay in charge. Offices are good for politics, flirting and gossip. They are dreadful places for intellectual curiosity. Creativity comes from diversity, from exposure to different points of view and experiences, but offices tend to make everyone conform to the corporate code.


pages: 382 words: 92,138

The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato

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Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, popular electronics, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

While low spending on R&D is a problem throughout much of the European ‘periphery’, it is also true that if a country has lower than average R&D spending, this is not necessarily a problem if the sectors that the country specializes in are not sectors in which innovation occurs necessarily through R&D (Pierrakis 2010). For example, the UK specializes in financial services, construction and creative industries (such as music) – all with relatively low needs for basic R&D. And there are many industries, especially in the service sector, that do no R&D at all. Yet these industries often employ large numbers of knowledge workers to generate, absorb and analyse information. If, all other things equal, these industries represented a smaller proportion of GDP, it would be easier for an economy to reach the 3 per cent target for R&D/GDP (which characterized both the European Commission’s Lisbon Agenda and the current EC 2020 agenda). But would the performance of the economy be superior as a result? It depends on how these industries contribute to the economy.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Often, the operator wouldn’t even know that the Utah computer was networked, and Andrews would have to tell him: “Go over to the far corner of the room where that box is sitting and flip switches three and five and press the button.”9 Now that the network finally existed, it should have been the crowning glory of Engelbart’s system for augmenting the human intellect. NLS should have become the original killer app. It wasn’t. The limited bandwidth of the new network, coupled with the intricacies of using NLS, conspired against Engelbart’s vision of spreading his system to knowledge workers around the world. For all its power, the NLS system’s lack of a welcoming audience beyond SRI was ultimately Engelbart’s greatest failure. For those who mastered its complexities, NLS offered editing, retrieval, and communications capabilities that in many ways have not been matched today. But the system was not easy to learn, it required training and a significant personal commitment, and its availability via the ARPAnet did not draw a flood of users.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

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Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, wages for housework, women in the workforce

If previous eras of capitalism had been based on the increased productivity of machines and labour, then the next must be based on the increased productivity of knowledge. Drucker guessed that the solution must be to connect, creatively, the different knowledge disciplines: ‘The capacity to connect may be inborn and part of that mystery we call genius. But to a large extent to connect and thus raise the yield of existing knowledge, whether for an individual, for a team or for an entire organisation, is learnable.’8 The challenge was to train knowledge workers to make the kind of connections that the brain of an Einstein would make spontaneously. Drucker’s solution was straight out of the playbook of management theory: a methodology, a project plan, better training. Humanity came up with a better solution: the network. This was not the result of any centralized plan or management group, but the spontaneous interaction of people using information pathways and forms of organization that did not exist until twenty-five years ago.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

Implications: Infinite computation (as Moore’s Law continues) and infinite storage, both essentially free; the Quantified Employee; AaaS (Analytics as a Service); hardware as the new software via developments such as Arduino; new business models based on connected products. AI, data science and analytics Description: Ubiquitous usage of Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms to process vast caches of information. Implications: Algorithms driving more and more business decisions; AIs replacing a large percentage of knowledge workers; AIs looking for patterns in organizational data; algorithms embedded into products. Virtual/augmented reality Description: Avatar-quality VR available on desktop in 2-3 years. Oculus Rift, High Fidelity and Google Glass drive new applications. Implications: Remote viewing; centrally located experts serving more areas; new practice areas; remote medicine. Bitcoin and block chain Description: Trustless, ultra-low-cost secure transactions enabled by distributed ledgers that log everything.


pages: 290 words: 94,968

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - the First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage

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Bill Duvall, British Empire, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, New Journalism, packet switching, place-making, Republic of Letters, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

This sort of approach seems to have several benefits: its similarity to Facebook means little or no training is required; sharing documents and communicating via discussion threads is more efficient than using e-mail; it is easier to discover employees’ hidden knowledge and talents; and it makes it easier for far-flung teams to collaborate. A study by McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm, found that the use of social networking within companies could increase the productivity of skilled knowledge workers by 20 to 25 percent and that the adoption of the technology in four industries (consumer goods, financial services, professional services, and advanced manufacturing) could create economic benefits worth between $900 billion and $1.3 trillion a year. Such predictions should always be taken with a very large dose of salt, but McKinsey found that 70 percent of companies were already using social technologies to some extent, and more than 90 percent said they were already benefitting as a result.


pages: 426 words: 105,423

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, wage slave, William of Occam

[Note from Tim: Learn more about the incredible world of medical tourism and geoarbitrage at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism. Even large insurers like AETNA often cover overseas treatments and surgeries.] —ANONYMOUS 12. This habit alone can change your life. It seems small but has an enormous effect. 13. Jonathan B. Spira and Joshua B. Feintuch, The Cost of Not Paying Attention: How Interruptions Impact Knowledge Worker Productivity (Basex, 2005). Step III: A is for Automation SCOTTY: She’s all yours, sir. All systems automated and ready. A chimpanzee and two trainees could run her! CAPTAIN KIRK: Thank you, Mr. Scott. I’ll try not to take that personally. —STAR TREK Outsourcing Life OFF-LOADING THE REST AND A TASTE OF GEOARBITRAGE14 A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.


pages: 324 words: 92,805

The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification by Paul Roberts

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, business process, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, factory automation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, game design, greed is good, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, impulse control, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, performance metric, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

Suddenly there was no team and no sensitivity. “You’d have your senior managers telling everyone, ‘We’ve got to be lean and mean and this means offshoring,’ even when it was manifestly distressing your company, destroying the morale of everyone,” the former IT executive told me. “And this after they’d spent the previous ten years talking about, ‘Oh, our people are our best resource,’ which, in a knowledge-worker industry, is completely true. And yet now you’re prepared to gut this organism in pursuit of cost savings and quarterly bonuses?” One could argue that this, too, is simply a correction for the excesses of a labor movement that, at its height in the 1960s, showed little sympathy for the challenges management faced in a newly globalizing economy. But that correction has now become an overcorrection.


pages: 324 words: 93,175

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely

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Burning Man, business process, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, second-price auction, software as a service, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, young professional

Modern IT infrastructure allows us to break projects into very small, discrete parts and assign each person to do only one of the many parts. In so doing, companies run the risk of taking away employees’ sense of the big picture, purpose, and sense of completion. Highly divisible labor might be efficient if people were automatons, but, given the importance of internal motivation and meaning to our drive and productivity, this approach might backfire. In the absence of meaning, knowledge workers may feel like Charlie Chaplin’s character in Modern Times, pulled through the gears and cogs of a machine in a factory, and as a consequence they have little desire to put their heart and soul into their labor. In Search of Meaning If we look at the labor market through this lens, it is easy to see the multiple ways in which companies, however unintentionally, choke the motivation out of their employees.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, Zipcar

., ordering groceries or paying bills using an online banking app), a quick survey of people in line at a Starbucks or riding the bus during rush hour reveals that most of those three hours are spent doing less-necessary and “unproductive” things like playing Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja. Spare5 takes that “spare” 5 minutes (or more) one currently spends playing video games or browsing social media and turns them into money-making moments. The tasks, which range from photo tagging to completing surveys, are simple tasks (and at times boring), but nevertheless necessary in a technology-centric society. In theory, companies benefit by tapping into the time of skilled and knowledgeable workers and workers benefit by recuperating lost time (e.g., the time they are currently wasting as they commute to and from work, or sit in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or in the lobby of a community center where their child is taking swimming lessons). In a nutshell, labor efficiency is increased not by extracting more out of existing employees but rather by foraging for lost moments of time that can be turned into work.


pages: 283 words: 85,824

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional

telephone operators? service station attendants?). By the ’80s, any job requiring that the same steps be performed repeatedly was disappearing—going over there or into software.25 At the same time the ideal of a “postindustrial society” offered the alluring promise of work in a world in which goods were less important than services. Over time, phrases like “information economy,” “immaterial labor,” “knowledge workers,” and “creative class” slipped into everyday speech. Mental labor would replace the menial; stifling corporate conventions would give way to diversity and free expression; flexible employment would allow them to shape their own lives. These prognostications, too, were not to be. Instead the increase of shareholder influence in the corporate sector accelerated the demand for ever-higher returns on investment and shorter turnaround.


pages: 606 words: 87,358

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus

This, in short, is why the second unbundling produced the Great Convergence while the first unbundling generated the Great Divergence. In the first, the low costs of moving goods sparked innovation in the North which stayed in the North due to the high cost of moving ideas. When it became cheap to move ideas internationally, the vast imbalances in know-how per worker led to offshoring that can be thought of as a form of arbitrage between the high knowledge-worker ratio in the North and the low ratio in the South. The Great Convergence is the fruit of this arbitrage. Today, Dyson is what Dartmouth economist Andrew Bernard calls a “factoryless goods producer.”2 None of its workers are involved in fabrication. They are engaged in the full range of services necessary to produce the goods, but they don’t actually make the goods. Now Dyson combines its technical, marketing, and management knowledge with low-wage Malaysian workers to keep its products competitive with those of other producers who are doing the same.


pages: 525 words: 142,027

CIOs at Work by Ed Yourdon

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8-hour work day, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, distributed generation, Flash crash, Googley, Grace Hopper, Infrastructure as a Service, Innovator's Dilemma, inventory management, Julian Assange, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Nicholas Carr, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Zipcar

His extensive hands-on experience in technology includes stints as a dBASE II programmer, front-line support manager, Macintosh developer, Windows 1.0 programmer, and UNIX systems programmer. Prior to joining Google, he spent more than 13 years in Morgan Stanley’s technology department, where he rose to the level of Managing Director. During his time there, he led teams responsible for software development technology, web and electronic commerce technologies and operations, and technologies for knowledge workers. Ben received his degree in Computer Science from Columbia University. Ed Yourdon: Let’s start by asking about any role models or any early heroes or mentors that may have influenced you to get where you are now. Benjamin Fried: I think there have been a lot. I’ve only had maybe four major employers in my career, three or four employers, but a lot of role models. I think I’ve been lucky in that in every job I’ve been in, there’s been one or more people I’ve been able to look up to and learn from.


pages: 481 words: 121,669

The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See by Gary Price, Chris Sherman, Danny Sullivan

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

AltaVista, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, dark matter, Douglas Engelbart, full text search, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, joint-stock company, knowledge worker, natural language processing, pre–internet, profit motive, publish or perish, search engine result page, side project, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Ted Nelson, Vannevar Bush, web application

Unlike most of the other current awareness services described here, Calishain often writes in-depth reviews and analyses of new resources, pointing out both useful features and flaws in design or implementation. Free Pint http://www.freepint.co.uk/ Free Pint is an e-mail newsletter dedicated to helping you find reliable Web sites and search the Web more effectively. It’s written by and for knowledge workers who can’t afford to spend valuable time sifting through junk on the Web in search of a few valuable nuggets of e-gold. Each issue of Free Pint has several regular sections. William Hann, Managing Editor, leads off with an overview of the issue and general news announcements, followed by a “Tips and Techniques” section, where professionals share their best searching tips and describe their favorite Web sites.


pages: 493 words: 139,845

Women Leaders at Work: Untold Tales of Women Achieving Their Ambitions by Elizabeth Ghaffari

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, business process, cloud computing, Columbine, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, follow your passion, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, high net worth, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, performance metric, pink-collar, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trickle-down economics, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

I have vision as a thought leader in our industry and in seeing the possibilities of what our firm can be and the role it can play. Sometimes that takes courage because it requires me to be unconventional—to think unconventionally. In addition, I need to make investment decisions for the future in order to back that vision and execute against it. That also takes courage. Finally, I think a good leader, at least one in consulting who hires knowledge workers, operates a sort of upside-down pyramid. I need to be there to support others—give them the tools, processes, and environment they need to realize their potential on behalf of our clients. It also requires me to have compassion so that I can be attuned to their needs. Ghaffari: Has your family been behind you? How do you manage family expectations or commitments? Ferracone: My parents have been extremely supportive of me.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra

p. 275 ‘full-scale trebuchets capable of tossing pianos more than 150 yards’. Wall Street Journal, 15 January 1992. p. 276 ‘It was Paul Romer’s great achievement in the 1990s to rescue the discipline of economics from the century-long cul-de-sac into which it had driven by failing to incorporate innovation.’ Warsh, D. 2006. Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations. W.W. Norton. p. 276 ‘As Paul Romer puts it’. Romer, P. 1995. Beyond the Knowledge Worker. Wordlink. Chapter 9 p. 279 ‘I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair’. Speech by John Stuart Mill to the London Debating Society on ‘perfectibility’, 2 May 1828. p. 279 US air pollutant emissions graph. US Environmental Protection Agency. p. 280 ‘the economist Julian Simon tried it in the 1990s’. Simon, J. 1996. The Ultimate Resource 2. Princeton University Press.


pages: 421 words: 125,417

Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey Sachs

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agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, energy security, failed state, Gini coefficient, Haber-Bosch Process, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, low skilled workers, microcredit, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population

For the most part, however, this debate takes place without much evidence being invoked. It is dominated by ideology rather than fact. I hope to remedy that deficiency here. Interestingly, the debate has flared in the wake of globalization. As globalization has proceeded, the working class in the high-income world has suffered a relative decline in income compared with more highly educated knowledge workers, and two sharply contrasting lines of thought have emerged. Free-market ideologues warn that competition in the international system has become even more intense. The perceived threat to a country’s prosperity from overseas competitors means that all attention must be refocused on economic competitiveness and growth. Obstacles to business development and to saving and investment must be eliminated.


pages: 497 words: 143,175

Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies by Judith Stein

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, desegregation, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invisible hand, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Martin Wolf, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, payday loans, post-industrial society, post-oil, price mechanism, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yom Kippur War

From 1950 to 1971, the percentage of workers in goods related industries fell from 49.8 to 38 percent of the workforce; workers in service, including government, jobs increased from 50.2 percent to 62 percent.60 Liberals believed that this meant new possibilities for “non-productive” or social tasks to help the needy and improve the quality of life. These ideas were deeply rooted in the university, which sanctioned reflection, criticism, and social responsibility. Many of the students and knowledge workers lived in the growing suburbs and college towns outside of cities. The modern student movement began in 1960 at one of those huge public institutions, the University of Michigan, in suburban Ann Arbor, thirty-five miles west of Detroit. A small group of students created the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Two years later, gathering at Port Huron, Michigan, SDS penned the program that became a manifesto for students of the 1960s.


pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

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agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey

However, setting aside the question of how modernity’s shortcomings stack up against the not-so-inconsiderable failings of earlier epochs, nothing in our definition of collective superintelligence implies that a society with greater collective intelligence is necessarily better off. The definition does not even imply that the more collectively intelligent society is wiser. We can think of wisdom as the ability to get the important things approximately right. It is then possible to imagine an organization composed of a very large cadre of very efficiently coordinated knowledge workers, who collectively can solve intellectual problems across many very general domains. This organization, let us suppose, can operate most kinds of businesses, invent most kinds of technologies, and optimize most kinds of processes. Even so, it might get a few key big-picture issues entirely wrong—for instance, it may fail to take proper precautions against existential risks—and as a result pursue a short explosive growth spurt that ends ingloriously in total collapse.


pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

As a result of the exponential growth in computer power, ‘entire traditional job categories are at risk of being heavily automated in the not too distant future’. The idea that the new technologies will create jobs at a pace to compensate for these losses ‘is pure fantasy’. Furthermore, the idea that it will only be the low-paying routine jobs that will be eliminated and not high-paying skilled jobs (radiologists, doctors, university professors, airline pilots and the like) is misguided. ‘In the future, automation will fall heavily on knowledge workers and in particular on highly paid workers.’ Ford concludes: ‘Allowing these jobs to be eliminated by the millions, without any concrete plan to handle the issues that will result, is a clear recipe for disaster.’ 10 But what sort of disaster are we looking at? Larger and larger segments of the world’s population will be considered redundant and disposable as productive workers from the standpoint of capital and will have a hard time surviving both materially and psychologically.


pages: 561 words: 114,843

Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg

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airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Broken windows theory, crowdsourcing, deskilling, fear of failure, high batting average, high net worth, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, James Hargreaves, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, pattern recognition, performance metric, pets.com, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype

If you’ve never calculated the denominator, it’s only 168. Even being well paid as a first-year analyst out of college, the hourly rate was dreadful. Thinking about that 121 gives me the shivers today—and it certainly puts those 40, 50, 60, even 70-hour work weeks in perspective. All of those still let you have a life. An average week of 40 hours probably doesn’t make sense for a high-growth company of relatively well-paid knowledge workers. At 121, you barely get to shower and sleep. While you may get a lot done working like a dog, you don’t get a lot more done hour for hour relative to productive people do in a 50-hour-per-week environment. Certainly not twice as much. People who say they thrive on that kind of pressure are simply lying—or, to be fair, not lying but rationalizing the amount of time they spend at work. Your productivity simply diminishes after some number of hours.


pages: 320 words: 87,853

The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information by Frank Pasquale

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks

(Yes, Congress didn’t appropriate enough money for the train, and parking in Manhattan could cost even more than the Amtrak.)142 The complexity of financial fraud ensures that agencies like the SEC will continue to play “catch up.” Beleaguered by the complex schemes cooked up by black box finance’s well-paid accountants, lawyers, traders, and managers, fi nance regulators triage matters by entering into settlements. Many knowledge workers feel “behind the curve” when their computers are three years out of date, but the chair of the SEC admitted in 2010 that her agency’s “technology for collecting data and surveilling our markets is often as much as two 178 THE BLACK BOX SOCIETY decades behind the technology currently used by those we regulate.”143 U.S. financial regulators’ resources are dwarfed by the assets of the firms (and sometimes even the individuals) they police.144 Overmatched and overwhelmed, finance regulators are ill-disposed to seek costly trials.


pages: 468 words: 124,573

How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time by George Berkowski

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Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Y Combinator

What is interesting, on the other hand, is improving something tenfold.10 Achieving that kind of result is true cerebral gymnastics. Delivering 1,000 per cent improvement requires rethinking problems from first principles; it requires that people go out and explore the frontiers of research and development; it means a lot of challenges, and fun in the process. When you think about it, this is nirvana for knowledge workers. Engineers, developers and product managers are all problem solvers. By telling them that their company is a playground – a really well-kitted-out playground designed for them to go and solve gargantuan, meaningful problems – well, that is the ultimate retention tool. And my point from earlier is that Google’s revenue – and profit – per employee allows it to pursue this strategy. Companies that don’t have robust business models will not be able to invest in these kinds of activities, which will make it increasingly harder for them to retain the best people, who in turn, once salary is taken care of, will be looking for a job with meaning.


pages: 309 words: 114,984

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, crowdsourcing, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Glasses, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, pets.com, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra

Studies of technology’s impact in other industries have clearly shown that those organizations with the management processes and culture to take advantage of the new tools are the ones that thrive. In 1988, management guru Peter Drucker, he of “culture-eats-strategy-for-lunch” fame, presciently described how the then-fledgling field of information technology would allow organizations to flatten hierarchies and elevate the roles of “knowledge-workers.” In the future, Drucker wrote, “the typical business will be knowledge-based, an organization composed largely of specialists who direct and discipline their own performance through organized feedback from colleagues, customers, and headquarters.” It was the availability of information—“data endowed with relevance and purpose”—that would catalyze this shift. In health IT, we’re just beginning to work through these issues, and the complexity of medicine and the screwy incentives marbled throughout our payment systems mean that doing so is likely to be even harder than it was in factories and other service industries.


pages: 401 words: 119,488

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

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Air France Flight 447, Asperger Syndrome, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, hiring and firing, index card, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, Yom Kippur War

harder to decide For more on information overload and information blindness, please see Martin J. Eppler and Jeanne Mengis, “The Concept of Information Overload: A Review of Literature from Organization Science, Accounting, Marketing, MIS, and Related Disciplines,” The Information Society 20, no. 5 (2004): 325–44; Pamela Karr-Wisniewski and Ying Lu, “When More Is Too Much: Operationalizing Technology Overload and Exploring Its Impact on Knowledge Worker Productivity,” Computers in Human Behavior 26, no. 5 (2010): 1061–72; Joseph M. Kayany, “Information Overload and Information Myths,” Itera, n.d., http://www.itera.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/ITERA12_Paper15.pdf; Marta Sinclair and Neal M. Ashkanasy, “Intuition Myth or a Decision-Making Tool?” Management Learning 36, no. 3 (2005): 353–70. blanket of powder Snow blindness can also refer to a burn of the cornea, which is the front surface of the eye, by ultraviolet B rays.


pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

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3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

No wonder I lost. • • • I’ll admit it: Watson scared the living heck out of me. As I watched it deftly intuit puns, juggle millennia’s worth of information, and tear through human opponents like some sort of bionic brain-shark, a technological dystopia unfolded in my grim imagination. This is it! We’re finally doomed. I could imagine Watson-like AI slowly colonizing our world. Knowledge workers would be tossed out of their jobs. Shows like Jeopardy!—indeed, all feats of human intellectual legerdemain—would become irrelevant. And as we all started walking around with copies of Watson in our wearable computers, we’d get mentally lazier, relying on it to transactively retrieve every piece of knowledge, internalizing nothing, our minds echoing like empty hallways. Deep conversation would grind to a halt as we became ever more entranced with pulling celebrity trivia out of Watson, and eventually humans would devolve into a sort of meatspace buffer through which instances of Watson would basically just talk to each other.

Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns

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anti-communist, bank run, barriers to entry, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, desegregation, feminist movement, financial independence, George Gilder, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, lone genius, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, side project, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, union organizing, urban renewal, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

She was also one of the first American writers to celebrate the creative possibilities of modern capitalism and to emphasize the economic value of independent thought. In a time when leading intellectuals assumed that large corporations would continue to dominate economic life, shaping their employees into soulless organization men, Rand clung to the vision of the independent entrepreneur. Though it seemed anachronistic at first, her vision has resonated with the knowledge workers of the new economy, who see themselves as strategic operators in a constantly changing economic landscape. Rand has earned the unending devotion of capitalists large and small by treating business as an honorable calling that can engage the deepest capacities of the human spirit. At the same time, Rand advanced a deeply negative portrait of government action. In her work, the state is always a destroyer, acting to frustrate and inhibit the natural ingenuity and drive of individuals.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

Still, external resources can be deployed strategically to build internal capability. Our view is that the starting point for corporate boundary decisions is to understand your industry, competitors, and opportunities for profitable growth—and use this knowledge as the basis for developing a business strategy. From there, the blockchain opens up new opportunities for networking that every manager and knowledge worker needs to consider at all times. Boundary choices are not simply for senior executives, they are for anyone who cares about marshaling the best capability for innovation and high performance. We should add—and this is no small point—that you can’t outsource your corporate culture. Enter the Matrix Taking into account how blockchain technology can enable access to unique capabilities outside corporate boundaries, firms can now define those business activities or functions that are fundamental to competitiveness—that are both mission critical and also unique enough to ensure differentiated value.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

But more things online means more things to hack, giving bad actors access to increasingly intimate parts of our lives from our bedrooms to our own bodies as biology becomes integrated with information technology. And at every step of the way, criminals, terrorists, and rogue governments are ready to exploit our common technical insecurity through the sweeping flaws that persist in today’s software and hardware systems. These illicit knowledge workers of the twenty-first century are deeply innovative, adaptive, and ever learning and employ the latest business practices, from crowdsourcing to affiliate marketing, to subvert the technologies around us. Advances in computing and artificial intelligence mean that crime has now become scripted, run algorithmically, to much greater effect and with far fewer human beings required. Worse, the tools we have available to detect these threats are woefully inadequate.

The Data Warehouse Toolkit: The Definitive Guide to Dimensional Modeling by Ralph Kimball, Margy Ross

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Albert Einstein, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, data acquisition, discrete time, inventory management, iterative process, job automation, knowledge worker, performance metric, platform as a service, side project, supply-chain management

List those data copies you must archive, and list the expected usable lifetime of those archives. Good luck with all this. This is why you are paid so well…. Data Quality Three powerful forces have converged to put data quality concerns near the top of the list for executives. First, the long-term cultural trend that says, “If only I could see the data, then I could manage my business better” continues to grow; today’s knowledge workers believe instinctively that data is a crucial requirement for them to function in their jobs. Second, most organizations understand their data sources are profoundly distributed, typically around the world, and that effectively integrating a myriad of disparate data sources is required. And third, the sharply increased demands for compliance mean careless handling of data will not be overlooked or excused.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, planetary scale, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl

On the other hand, there has been a parallel growth of highly educated occupations and low-skill jobs, with very different bargaining power in the labor market. Exaggerating the terminology to capture the imagination of the reader, I labeled these two types of workers “self-programmable labor” and “generic labor”. Indeed, there has been a tendency to increase the decision-making autonomy of educated knowledge workers who have become the most valuable assets for their companies. They are often referred to as “talent”. On the other hand, generic workers, as executants of instructions, have continued to proliferate, as many menial tasks can hardly be automated and many workers, particularly youth, women, and immigrants, are ready to accept whatever conditions are necessary to get a job. This dual structure of the labor market is related to the structural conditions of a knowledge economy growing within the context of a large economy of low-skill services, and it is at the source of the growing inequality observed in most societies.


pages: 828 words: 232,188

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, British Empire, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, land reform, land tenure, life extension, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, open economy, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, Port of Oakland, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, price discrimination, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

Indeed, both public authorities and pundits in academia and journalism have often embraced the shift to a postindustrial world. Public policy supported deregulation and privatization at home and pushed for free trade and open investment abroad. Particularly in the United States, politicians intervened to weaken the power of trade unions and to otherwise increase the flexibility of labor markets. Individuals were advised to embrace disruptive change and were told that they would find better opportunities as knowledge workers doing creative and interesting things in the new economy. France and Italy stood at the other end of this spectrum, seeking to protect middle-class jobs by imposing onerous rules on companies attempting to lay off workers. By not recognizing the need for adjustment in work rules and labor conditions, they stopped job loss in the short run while losing competitiveness to other countries in the long run.


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

Modern IT infrastructure allows us to break projects into very small, discrete parts and assign each person to do only one of the many parts. In so doing, companies run the risk of taking away employees’ sense of the big picture, purpose, and sense of completion. Highly divisible labor might be efficient if people were automatons, but, given the importance of internal motivation and meaning to our drive and productivity, this approach might backfire. In the absence of meaning, knowledge workers may feel like Charlie Chaplin’s character in Modern Times, pulled through the gears and cogs of a machine in a factory, and as a consequence they have little desire to put their heart and soul into their labor. In Search of Meaning If we look at the labor market through this lens, it is easy to see the multiple ways in which companies, however unintentionally, choke the motivation out of their employees.