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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Under 30)

Geplaatst op mrt 29, 2014 in News

When I’m 34

Silicon Valley’s Brutal Ageism

The New Republic

Silicon Valley is perhaps today’s most polarizing business locale and topic, in the media at least. Noam Scheiber’s investigation into the tech community’s bias against older entrepreneurs and programmers (older = over 30ish) only fuels the persistent accusations of sexism, racism, and an overall beer-drenched culture. To be sure, there’s a lot to find disturbing: The story of a 40-something Boston entrepreneur with a great product and no funding; hiring processes that emphasize “culture” and thus weed out anyone who seems like a grown-up; and an almost absurd story of a busy San Francisco plastic surgeon who has seen an uptick in male clients. Scheiber points out that it doesn’t have to be this way — there are places where innovation doesn’t rely so heavily on the industry-disrupting bets that draw hordes of young people. Germany, for one — German innovation is more focused on incremental improvements.

Other takes on the topic include a piece by Jon Nathanson, who proposes that the real problem isn’t profiling or the pattern of celebrating the Zuckerbergs of the world, but the lack of a reliable data set proving that people in their twenties are the only ones capable of building the next Facebook. Or there’s Ann Friedman’s response: “While I empathize, I found myself stifling a yawn as I read the Botoxed bros’ tales of woe. I’ve heard all of these stories before. It’s just that the storytellers are usually women.”




Talking About the Future

The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility

Working Knowledge

The way in which a company articulates its vision of the future is related to how socially responsible it is — but we’re not talking about lists of 10-year goals. Recent research by a group of business scholars, including Christopher Marquis of Harvard Business School, found that it’s the construction of language that really matters. Building on a previous finding that speakers of languages (such as English) with strong future tenses focus less on the future (because, in part, it seems so far away), the group tested the corporate social responsibility performance of companies in countries with both strong and weak future tenses. Corporations in countries with strong-future-tense languages scored 26% lower on CSR values than those with weak-future languages. But don’t fret, all you people who speak English or Spanish! If your company has branches around the world, it’s less likely that your language will affect the firm’s CSR performance.




One-Sheet Strategy

Inside Airbnb’s Grand Hotel Plans

Fast Company

Maybe I’m less plugged into the sharing economy than I should be (I’ve decided that a pink Lyft mustache would look positively hideous on my foreign subcompact), but I do sometimes wonder how the heck the big-name companies in this field plan to sustain themselves. I got a partial answer about Uber thanks to this helpful article last December, and now there’s an in-depth management profile about vacation-rental business Airbnb. The company is betting not on expansion of its sharing capabilities — what would amount to a horizontal move — but on how it can transform the hospitality industry. CEO Brian Chesky is leaning on a cadre of top advisers, a legendary manager from the boutique-hotel business, and a mysterious one-page strategy document to execute on an all-too-familiar (and yet potentially attainable) goal: “Apple has a consistent UI on every phone, but the content is unique every single time,” Chesky says. “That’s what we want.”




Give It Up

How to Become Productively Generous

Psychology Today

Adam Grant of Wharton gives me something new to worry about: Am I “productively generous”? The term has such a nice ring to it that I shamelessly want it to apply to me, which probably means I’m automatically disqualified. People who are productively generous somehow manage to give to others without compromising their well-being or falling short on traditional measures of success. How do they do this? The trick is that they reject three common beliefs about giving: that it’s about being “nice,” that it’s about being altruistic, and that it’s about refusing help from others. Thus they have the courage to give critical feedback that people don’t always like to hear, they watch out for their own interests even when helping, and they accept aid when they need it. All of this enables them to make sure the assistance they provide is effective — that it truly matters to the people who are the object of their efforts. Productive generosity does wonders for the helper, Grant says, boosting his or her well-being by strengthening relationships and injecting meaning into the helper’s life. —Andy O’Connell




Bridging the Gender Gap

How One College Went from 10% Female Computer-Science Majors to 40%

Quartz

Underrepresentation by women in tech fields is like the weather, as Mark Twain would say: Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. Now Harvey Mudd College is showing that something can in fact be done: Nearly a decade ago, the tech-focused California school hired a female computer scientist and mathematician, Maria Klawe, as president and began a concerted effort to increase the number of women majoring in computer science. The college did things like offering a summer of research between freshman and sophomore years so that students could put their knowledge to use. The result has been a quadrupling of female computer-science majors. The college also made a few strategic name changes, altering the title of one programming course to “Creative approaches to problem solving.” —Andy O’Connell




BONUS BITS

History Lessons

The Cubicle Turns 50 (Men’s Journal)
Going Viral in the Nineteenth Century (Lapham’s Quarterly)
The Fantastical Vision for the Original SeaWorld (The Atlantic)




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