Link: The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students

While I don’t disagree with this kind of ASTOUNDING FINDING, what it usually means that in addition to engineering, it turns out you need these other skills. I sure STEM is necessary, but not sufficient to be a good nerd in corporate America:

“among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.”
Original source: The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students

Link: Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?

‘between 2011 and 2012, the polling company Gallup conducted the most detailed study ever carried out of how people feel about the thing we spend most of our waking lives doing – our paid work. They found that 13% of people say they are “engaged” in their work – they find it meaningful and look forward to it. Some 63% say they are “not engaged”, which is defined as “sleepwalking through their workday”. And 24% are “actively disengaged”: they hate it.’


‘To them, finding an antidepressant didn’t mean finding a way to change your brain chemistry. It meant finding a way to solve the problem that was causing the depression in the first place.’
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Link: Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Win – and Neither Did His Campaign

“During that first month, Walsh’s disbelief and even fear about what was happening in the White House moved her to think about quitting. Every day after that became a countdown toward the moment she knew she wouldn’t be able to take it anymore. To Walsh, the proud political pro, the chaos, the rivalries, and the president’s own lack of focus were simply incomprehensible. In early March, not long before she left, she confronted Kushner with a simple request. “Just give me the three things the president wants to focus on,” she demanded. “What are the three priorities of this White House?”

It was the most basic question imaginable — one that any qualified presidential candidate would have answered long before he took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Six weeks into Trump’s presidency, Kushner was wholly without an answer.

“Yes,” he said to Walsh. “We should probably have that conversation.””

** Managing is complex, but starts with some pretty simple tasks.
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Link: Diversity in Tech Remains Elusive Due to Racism, Lack of Representation and Cultural Differences

‘As a self-proclaimed Black “nerd” and active social media user, Moore also cites cultural differences as one of the main reasons tech companies don’t hire more people from underrepresented minorities groups. She herself remembers laughing awkwardly alongside white college peers and classmates to jokes she didn’t necessarily find funny due to cultural differences in social cues and communications styles: “If you weren’t friends with a Black woman in your class partly because there were no Black women in your class or partly because your interests, maybe her interests aren’t the same, if you’re not even friends with those people, you’re definitely not going to start a business with those people. You’re not going to think about those people when you’re creating your technology.”’


Creativity: not much needed at your job

Capabilities such as creativity and sensing emotions are core to the human experience and also difficult to automate. The amount of time that workers spend on activities requiring these capabilities, though, appears to be surprisingly low. Just 4 percent of the work activities across the US economy require creativity at a median human level of performance. Similarly, only 29 percent of work activities require a median human level of performance in sensing emotion.

Four fundamentals of workplace automation

Thinking wrong about knowledge workers screws up their productivity

…or: “Knowledge work is a lot more like cloud than traditional IT.”

Of course, it is most certainly not in the interest of knowledge workers to go to their bosses and declare that they have “spare capacity.” At best, they might then be judged in performance reviews as having an easy job and being not very productive. At worst, the bosses might decide that these employees could be cut. Thus it is to every knowledge worker’s benefit to look busy all the time. There is always a report to write, a memo to generate, a consultation to run, a new idea to explore. And it is in support of this perceived survival imperative that the second driver of productivity—knowledge transfer—gets perverted.

The rest of the piece is good stuff. Notice how much of the thinking follows the same pattern of opex vs. capex thinking of cloud, and the somewhat similar notions of continuous delivery. I’d also add that if you follow a small batch (smaller amounts of work delivered more frequently, rather than big projects delivered once), you’re given more opportunity to re-allocate your “knowledge workers” to different projects. As the author points out, this means you have to rejigger how HR/roles and responsibilities work; staff policies don’t currently favor moving people from project to project like you see in (management) consulting.

Couple this with the “you need to constantly be coming up with new businesses” pressure from Transient Advantage, and you have good operating theory.