How Muslims Defined American ‘Cool’

“‘Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn’ is not exactly a revolutionary mantra.”

Tracking that line through hip-hop songs is awesome fun. Also, this piece is an important reminder of how huge parts of American culture are evolved and defined, and how much we take them for granted as being “mainstream” once they, well, become mainstream.

Link

“It was just dumb”

This a good parable on what can go wrong in large organizations when incentives are not working as planned.:

But the reality seems to be messier and more boring: Wells Fargo wanted its employees to push lots of real accounts, it asked too much of them, and the employees rebelled by opening fake accounts to get the bosses off their backs. The fake accounts weren’t profitable for Wells Fargo, and no rational executive would have wanted them, which is why Wells Fargo kept telling the employees not to open them. But the employees did anyway because they felt like they had no other choice. It was not an evil high-level plot. It was just dumb. It was a form of employee resistance that was channeled into fraud by bad incentives and bad management. There is a limit on how many times you can ask a guy in a hearing “this thing you did was pretty dumb, wasn’t it?” Though look for the Senate Banking Committee to test that limit.

Knowing very little about the details, back in IT-land problems like this usually mean the culture needs some tweaking.

Check out some more commentary.

Improving IT recruiting by rethinking IT priorities

Allstate people working

Most people seem to have complaints about hiring IT staff. They can’t find the right skills, or just people. Of course, what little economics I know would suggest that this means the price (wages) should be higher.

Also, there’s probably a need a rejigger how organization’s think about IT, namely by dividing projects up into low-value (non-differentiating), and high value/differentiating buckets. Those answers are all too simple, really. The question is how to get the IT department to the point where management can do those things.

Jon Reed summerize a and comments on an article on this topic:
Continue reading “Improving IT recruiting by rethinking IT priorities”

The return of story telling with splash of booze

“Tony is an incredibly strong storyteller—he tells stories through food and travel and a little alcohol mixed in,” says Zucker. “Really, that’s what CNN should be about. I learned as much about Israel and the Palestinians from Tony’s hour on Jerusalem as I did from any reporting that I’ve seen.”

I think there’s something magical in that statement. As the Boomers disappear into retirement and the next generation starts running things, I sure as shit hope that framing takes over media and “story telling.” That Cronkite-cum-PC, “everything is clean and tidy and yet culturally balances” has been stifling.

Which is to say: gonzo, hopefully it’s back.

The return of story telling with splash of booze

Digging behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, Carr explores the hidden costs of allowing software to take charge of our jobs and our lives. Drawing on history and philosophy, poetry and science, he makes a compelling case that the dominant Silicon Valley ethic is sapping our skills and narrowing our horizons.

Blurb from Nicholas Carr’s upcoming book, The Glass Cage