Business talk

Many people working in large companies speak business-buzzwords as a second language. Business language is full of pretty meaningless words. I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore article tells that the language of internet business models has made the problem even worse. There are several strains of this epidemic: We have forgotten how to use the real names of real things, acronymitis, and Meaningless Expressions (like “Our goal is to exceed the customer’s expectation”). This would all be funny if it weren’t true. Observe it, deconstruct it, and appreciate just how ridiculous most business conversation has become.

Check out this brilliant Web Economy Bullshit Generator page. It generates random bullshit text based on the often used words in business language. And most of the material it generates look something you would expect from IT executives and their speechwriters (those are randomly generated with Web Economy Bullshit Generator):

“scale viral web services”
“integrate holistic mindshare”
“transform back-end solutions”
“incentivize revolutionary portals”
“synergize out-of-the-box platforms”
“enhance world-class schemas”
“aggregate revolutionary paradigms”
“enable cross-media relationships”

How to talk like a CIO article tries to tell how do CIOs talk, and what do they talk about, and why they do it like they do it. It sometimes makes sense to analyze the speaking and comportment styles of the people who’ve already climbed the corporate ladder if you want to do the same.

The Most Annoying, Pretentious And Useless Business Jargon article tells that the stupid business talk is longer solely the province of consultants, investors and business-school types, this annoying gobbledygook has mesmerized the rank and file around the globe. The next time you feel the need to reach out, touch base, shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or join a tiger team, by all means do it. Just don’t say you’re doing it. If you have to ask why, chances are you’ve fallen under the poisonous spell of business jargon. Jargon masks real meaning. The Most Annoying, Pretentious And Useless Business Jargon article has a cache of expressions to assiduously avoid (if you look out you will see those used way too many times in business documents and press releases).

Is Innovation the Most Abused Word In Business? article tells that most of what is called innovation today is mere distraction, according to a paper by economist Robert Gordon. Innovation is the most abused word in tech. The iPad is about as innovative as the toaster. You can still read books without an iPad, and you can still toast bread without a toaster. True innovation radically alters the way we interact with the world. But in tech, every little thing is called “innovative.” If you were to believe business grads then “innovation” includes their “ideas” along the lines of “a website like *only better*” or “that thing which everyone is already doing but which I think is my neat new idea” Whether or not the word “innovation” has become the most abused word in the business context, that remains to be seen. “Innovation” itself has already been abused by the patent trolls.

Using stories to catch ‘smart-talk’ article tells that smart-talk is information without understanding, theory without practice – ‘all mouth and no trousers’, as the old aphorism puts it. It’s all too common amongst would-be ‘experts’ – and likewise amongst ‘rising stars’ in management and elsewhere. He looks the part; he knows all the right buzzwords; he can quote chapter-and-verse from all the best-known pundits and practitioners. But is it all just empty ‘smart-talk’? Even if unintentional on their part, people who indulge in smart-talk can be genuinely dangerous. They’ll seem plausible enough at first, but in reality they’ll often know just enough to get everyone into real trouble, but not enough to get out of it again. Smart-talk is the bane of most business – and probably of most communities too. So what can we do to catch it?


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Director digital expertise will bring significant business and economic benefits for the company.
    This is revealed by Oxford Economics research institute fresh investigation.

    today only one in five business leaders may invite a so-called digital leader.

    Director of digital skills should be a clear advantage.
    1 Better economic success.
    2 satisfied and committed employees.
    3 A more open culture and a rich breeding ground for new leaders.
    4 A simpler decision-making culture.
    5 Focus diverse organization, more female workers.
    6 Better attitude to young leaders.

    “It is clear that the success of digital business requires a new type of leadership. Young workers expect their employers a more inclusive and more social leadership, diverse management teams and less hierarchy, ”


  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:
    Stack Overflow launches Developer Story, a free résumé profile page tool for programmers

    Stack Overflow puts a new spin on resumes for developers

    Stack Overflow, the community site best known for providing answers for all of your random coding questions, also has a thriving jobs board and provides services to employers looking to hire developers. Today, the team is expanding the jobs side of its business with the launch of Developer Story, a new kind of resume that aims to free developers from the shackles of the traditional resume.

    the team realized that regular resumes put their emphasis on job titles, schools and degrees — but that doesn’t always work for developers. According to Stack Overflow’s latest survey, the majority of developers don’t have degrees in computer science, for example.

    “They are optimized for conveying the importance of your pedigree,” Hanlon told me. The things you’ve achieved, though, tend to be hidden in tiny bullets underneath those headers. So the idea with Developer Story is to pull out your achievements — the problems you’ve solved, the open source projects you’ve contributed to, the apps you’ve written — and highlight those. “Developers, fundamentally, are makers,” Hanlon said. “They are less like a business analyst where a title conveys authority.”

    Developer Story offers two views: a traditional resume view for employers and a more modern timeline view. It’s the timeline view that emphasizes your achievements, but even the traditional view puts its emphasis on which projects you have contributed to, which languages you’ve used, which questions you’ve answered on Stack Overflow, etc.

    “A huge percentage of developers actually never go looking for jobs,” Hanlon said. “They have people come to them. One of the things Developer Story is optimized for is these people.”

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Zalando growth continues – Competitiveness comes from motivation

    New splendid rooms in the center of Helsinki. A pool table, an orange cloth had to be ordered separately. The relaxed atmosphere, where devataan MacBook. Zalando Tech Hub in Kamppi is a pleasant exception to statutory news in the middle. The growth and success is based first and foremost a truly different corporate culture, say the cam men Tuomas Kytömaa and Pekka Kosonen.

    Zalando has been in software development in Finland until the years. Thursday celebrated the grand opening of the new premises.

    Kosonen and Kytömaa say that the old corporate cultures are no longer simply will not work. – There can be no one leader, one who knows and invents all about it, how to keep the action. No current experts can lead the way, the men say.

    For this reason, Zalando teams have a lot of power. They are responsible for their own project completion. Zalando model is called radical and agility of a small organization, it is very obvious. What about the size of the company growing?

    - When a company grows, it must be divided into logical units, where the radical agility can continue Kosonen and Kytömaa say. – It allows corporate culture also works in a bigger company. In fact, better than the old bureaucratic models, convincing men.

    Enthusiasm generated Motivation

    Finland has for a long time lamented the poor competitiveness. It is an attempt to gain more by increasing the bit or cutting working hours holidays. – This is a micromanagering, which does not have any effect, said Pekka Kosonen.

    - Working time is not the thing. What is important is that people can be motivated. That they get excited tekemistään things and take ownership of the projects.


  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Baby Boomers Don’t Have a Stronger Work Ethic Than Later Generations, Says Study

    A team of U.S. researchers from Wayne State University in Detroit have published research in Springer’s Journal of Business and Psychology that dispels the popular belief that baby boomers have a greater work ethic than people born a decade or two later.

    “The economic success of the United States and Europe around the turn of the 20th to the 21st century is often ascribed to the so-called Protestant work ethic of members of the baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1964.”

    ” The media and academia often suggest that baby boomers endorse higher levels of work ethic than the younger so-called Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Millennials (born between 1981 and 1999)”

    “The analysis found no differences in the work ethic of different generations.”

    It’s a myth that baby boomers have a stronger work ethic than later generations

    There is no truth to the popular belief that members of the so-called baby boomer generation have a greater work ethic than people born a decade or two later. This is according to scientists who completed a comprehensive analysis of relevant studies.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why Your Devices Are Probably Eroding Your Productivity

    University of California, San Francisco neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and California State University, Dominguez Hills professor emeritus Larry Rosen explain in their book “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World” why people have trouble multitasking, and specifically why one’s productivity output is lowered when keeping up with emails, for example.

    All That Multitasking is Harming, Not Helping Your Productivity. Here’s Why.

    I’ll admit it. I even take my phone with me to fire off a few texts when I go to the restroom. Or I’ll scroll through my email when I leave the office for lunch. My eyes are often glued to my phone from the moment I wake up, but I often reach the end of my days wondering what I’ve accomplished.

    My productivity mystery was solved after reading “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World,” by University of California, San Francisco neuroscientist Dr. Adam Gazzaley and California State University, Dominguez Hills professor emeritus Larry Rosen. The book explains why the brain can’t multitask, and why my near-obsessive efforts to keep up on emails is likely lowering my productive output.

    “The prefrontal cortex is the area most challenged,” Gazzely says. “And then visual areas, auditory areas, and the hippocampus — these networks are really what’s challenged when we are constantly switching between multiple tasks that our technological world might throw at us.”

    When you engage in one task at a time, the prefrontal cortex works in harmony with other parts of the brain, but when you toss in another task it forces the left and right sides of the brain to work independently. The process of splitting our attention usually leads to mistakes.

    If you’re working on a project and you stop to answer an email, research shows, it will take you nearly a half-hour to get back on task.

    We think the mind can juggle two or three activities successfully at once, but Gazzaley says we woefully overestimate our ability to multitask.

    “An example is when you attempt to check your email while on a conference call,” says Gazzaley. “The act of doing that makes it so incredibly obvious how you can’t really parallel process two attention-demanding tasks.”

    Answering an Email Takes A Lot Longer Than You Think

    In other words, repetitively switching tasks lowers performance and productivity because your brain can only fully and efficiently focus on one thing at a time.

    Research has found that high-tech jugglers struggle to pay attention, recall information, or complete one task at a time.

    “When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,” says Stanford neuroscientist Anthony Wagner. “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.”

    But don’t worry. Gazzaley says. It’s not about opting out of technology. In fact, there’s a time and place for multitasking. If you’re in the midst of a mundane task that just has to get done, it’s probably not detrimental to have your phone nearby or a bunch of tabs open. The distractions may reduce boredom and help you stay engaged. But if you’re finishing a business plan, or a high-level writing project, then it’s a good idea to set yourself up to stay focused.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    10 Things Smart People Won’t Say
    There are some things you simply never want to say at work.

    There are some things you simply never want to say at work.

    These phrases carry special power: they have an uncanny ability to make you look bad even when the words are true.

    Worst of all, there’s no taking them back once they slip out.

    I’m not talking about shocking slips of the tongue, off-color jokes, or politically incorrect faux pas. These aren’t the only ways to make yourself look bad.

    Often it’s the subtle remarks—the ones that paint us as incompetent and unconfident—that do the most damage.

    1. “This is the way it’s always been done.”
    2. “It’s not my fault.” It’s never a good idea to cast blame. Be accountable. If you had any role—no matter how small—in whatever went wrong, own it.
    3. “I can’t.” Saying I can’t suggests that you’re not willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
    4. “It’s not fair.” Everyone knows that life isn’t fair.
    5. “That’s not in my job description.”
    6. “This may be a silly idea …/I’m going to ask a stupid question.” These overly passive phrases instantly erode your credibility.
    7. “I’ll try.” Just like the word think, try sounds tentative and suggests that you lack confidence in your ability to execute the task.
    8. “This will only take a minute.” Saying that something only takes a minute undermines your skills and gives the impression that you rush through tasks. Unless you’re literally going to complete the task in 60 seconds
    9. “I hate this job.” The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job.
    10. “He’s lazy/incompetent/a jerk.” There is no upside to making a disparaging remark about a colleague.

    Bringing It All Together

    These phrases have a tendency to sneak up on you, so you’re going to have to catch yourself until you’ve solidified the habit of not saying them.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sequential Programming Considered Harmful?
    Russ Miller wants computer science students to think in parallel from the get-go

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The passion is not self-evident in working

    My passion is accustomed to speak in connection with demanding vocation or profession strong creativity tasks. Everyday working life of passion will be easily passed – but should not, because it is a formidable force.

    I have a firm belief that man will reach its peak when experiencing the passion on job.

    My colleagues and greatest successes over the years have all been fed by passion. Therefore passion is worth to encourage, educate and nurture – both employees and employers.

    Employee: Are you making choices based on passion?

    Does a passion for the work that each task should be approached always fervently?

    It is essential to listen to and understand themselves: What do you value? What you ignite? How important for you is to experience the passion at work? What motivates the long term? What are the successes reward?

    There are jobs in which the importance and necessity of passion is emphasized. Potential of the working environment, you should reflect on what your self is the key. Dare to work when you search for to determine if you are a corporate culture inspiring, stimulating and supporting your goals. Are you seeking for a place where you can realize your passion?

    IT industry typically seeks people who are fascinated by the problem-solving. It is a good starting point.

    Passion is a necessary ingredient when we solve problems, create new concepts, we help completing the change, or are training our people.

    Employer: Do you build culture where there is space for passion?

    Passion can not be forced. If the corporate culture is not supported by enthusiasm, it is unnecessary requires, let alone market, that passion is the way to the house. Corporate culture prevails in relations between people, and the strengthening and development work is carried out continuously, just like the front of any human relationship.

    I believe that passion goes hand in hand with confidence. A relationship of trust between the employer and the employee must take to build

    Be aware of the passion killers: fear, uncertainty and indifference – and the old classic lack of communication. Build a culture where success is taken into account. Failures are allowed. Thoughts are listened to. highlighting ideas and open discussion is encouraged.


  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Five Must-Ask Questions for Successful 5G Design
    Design teams involved with 5G technology must bear much in mind in order to obtain a winning formula.

    You are leading a team to go after this 5G business. Your organization’s strategic imperatives include leadership in 5G and you are an essential part of making that real. Your management, your team, your C-suite, and your board of directors are counting on you. No pressure. You embark on this initiative, you have your team intact, it is time to draw battle plans and start the assault. But is your team ready? Do they have Tom Wolfe’s “Right Stuff” to realize that vision of 5G dominance?

    If you are two years into your effort, it’s not too late—have a chat with your team and find out:

    1. Do you have the right background and expertise?
    I recall once having to make the unpopular decision for my team to standardize on a single programming language. Once I made that call I realized that everyone not only had to learn the language, but also had to become proficient object-oriented programmers—a rarity at that time. It was still the right decision, but the implementation time was greater than originally expected.
    5G means new technologies for many of us.
    5G may mean new business models for you.

    2. Do you have the right tools?
    Some of those new technical areas will require new tools for your team. In many cases, they will know a lot about what will make the difference. Is there new hardware?

    3. Are you properly connected to your key customers?
    I am a fan of the agile software manifesto, especially in its commentary about putting your designers close to customers and providing rapid and frequent updates to functionality, while embracing regular and rapid changes in requirements.

    4. Is your timing consistent with theirs?
    The recipe for the most fabulously successful projects I have witnessed are probably familiar to you: your project is timed to supply your lead 2-3 customers in perfect alignment with their project timing and the overall market demand is simultaneously growing. This magical combination is, to some extent, the result of luck, but my very first boss in this high-tech world always told me that you make your own luck. What this means to me is to start with a well-prepared team, with the right tools tightly connected to their most important customers, and then make sure your schedule matches theirs.

    5. Do you have the support you need from your organization?
    This is hardly unique to 5G, but we all need this reminder. I have never personally witnessed a manager leading a “strategic imperative” who was satisfied with the support coming from the rest of the organization. I have also never witnessed true innovation in a relaxed atmosphere. Therefore, we leaders are asked to embrace these challenges.


    Talk to your team and find out what they think would make the difference. They and you will not get everything you ask for, but this process will likely clear a few roadblocks. And the innovation associated with a well-prepared, customer-connected, and motivated team will help you overcome the other challenges.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Changing Work Environment for Engineers Today

    IEEE Engineering360’s third annual “Pulse of the Engineer” report asked engineers and technical professionals in the industrial sector questions related to their jobs.

    The Pulse of the Engineer research report presents the answers obtained from 1,581 survey respondents. In the information below parentheses show the percentage of respondents for that statement. The job functions included:

    Design engineers (35%)
    Engineering consultants (14%)
    Individual contributors (30%)
    Managers or senior managers (24%)

    Figure 1 provides a good indication of today’s engineering community. Three items stand out that indicate how engineers are surviving in a competitive environment.

    Engineers are required to do more with less (55%)
    Pace of engineering is constantly increasing (51%)
    Technology is improving productivity (43%)

    Engineers are under several pressures that impact their ability to perform their jobs because product development is going through some changes

    Designs are more complex/sophisticated (47%)
    Design cycles are shrinking (46%)
    There are more time-to-market pressures (42%)

    Workload in most cases depends on company size and the amount of work they have in-house. An indicator of this is the number of projects an engineer is working on

    The highest percentage is for 3-5 projects (42%)
    More than 20 projects was rare (2%)
    1-2 projects (29%)
    6-10 projects (22%)

    ngineering evaluation factors for team/department performance:

    Customer service/satisfaction (61%)
    Product quality (57%)
    Meeting launch dates (42%)
    Product unit costs (35%)

    the constraints that an engineer feels are jeopardizing a company’s productivity, innovation, and/or product quality.

    Resources/people constraints/shortage (48%)
    Talent/specialized knowledge shortage (46%)
    Budgetary constraints/shortage (44%)
    Project/product deadline/time constraints (45%)

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Proceed with caution when rolling back programs like work-from-home

    Removing programs designed to foster openness can be tricky—even destructive.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ask Slashdot: What Are Some ‘Best Practices’ IT Should Avoid At All Costs?

    From telling everyone they’re your customer to establishing a cloud strategy, Bob Lewis outlines 12 “industry best practices” that are sure to sink your company’s chances of IT success: “What makes IT organizations fail? Often, it’s the adoption of what’s described as ‘industry best practices’ by people who ought to know better but don’t, probably because they’ve never had to do the job.”

    12 ‘best practices’ IT should avoid at all costs
    From telling everyone they’re your customer to establishing a cloud strategy, these “industry best practices” are sure to sink your chances of IT success.

    The 12-Fold Path to IT Failure

    What makes IT organizations fail? Often, it’s the adoption of what’s described as “industry best practices” by people who ought to know better but don’t, probably because they’ve never had to do the job.

    Scratch the surface, however, and you begin to find these surefire recipes for IT success are often formulas for failure.
    1. Tell everyone they’re your customer
    2. Establish SLAs and treat them like contracts
    3. Tell dumb-user stories
    4. Institute charge-backs
    5. Insist on ROI
    6. Charter IT projects
    7. Assign project sponsors
    8. Establish a cloud computing strategy
    9. Go Agile. Go offshore. Do both at the same time
    10. Interrupt interruptions with interruptions
    11. Juggle lots of projects
    12. Say no or yes no matter the request

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    90% Employees face awkward interview questions: JobBuzz Study

    Interview preparations are a tough task, given the varied and weird nature of questions one could face in job interviews. Proper preparation and research is the key to excel. JobBuzz a company rating platform powered by TimesJobs reveals the most awkward questions asked in an interview.

    A whopping 90% of the 820 employees who participated in this study confessed that they have faced inappropriate or awkward questions in job interviews as admitted to JobBuzz, a company rating platform powered by TimesJobs.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Julie Verhage / Bloomberg:
    Study of 116 unicorns founded after 1994 finds that about half used complex stock mechanics to raise valuation, devaluing employee and early shareholder stakes — Study finds private valuations aren’t grounded in reality — Employees, early investors often lose with stock provisions

    Here’s How Unicorns Trick You Into Thinking They’re Real

    Unicorns aren’t real, and neither are the valuations ascribed to many of the startups that say they’re worth $1 billion or more.

    About half of private companies with valuations exceeding $1 billion, known as unicorns, wouldn’t have earned the mythical title without the use of complex stock mechanics, according to a study by business professors at the University of British Columbia and Stanford University. The tools used to negotiate a higher share price with investors often come at the expense of employees and early shareholders, sometimes drastically reducing the actual value of their stock.

    The chasm between public and private valuations is a topic of increasing prominence following several disappointing listings.

    The use of special investor protections has soared in recent years as startups chase dreams of becoming a unicorn. A lofty valuation can build credibility and help recruit talent in a tight labor market. But it has also complicated the already-opaque process of valuing a private business.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The ‘two pizza rule’ is a secret to productive meetings that helped Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos become one of the world’s richest men

    On Thursday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos became the richest man in the world.

    When Amazon’s earnings missed expectations and its stock fell later that day, Bezos was dethroned by Bill Gates. As of Friday, Bezos holds the not-too-shabby title of second-wealthiest man in the world, with a net worth of $85.9 billion.

    One potential key to Bezos’ success is that he minimizes the amount of meetings he takes.

    He’s said he meets with Amazon investors for just six hours … a year. And he avoids early-morning meetings at all costs.

    One of Bezos’ more creative strategies for not losing entire days to unnecessary meetings is the “two pizza rule.”

    It’s simple. The more people you pack into the meeting, the less productive the meeting will likely be. The solution? Never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group.

    Whether you work at Amazon or another company, gathering together a massive squad for your meeting will probably just stifle creativity. In Fast Company, Rachel Gillett writes that “the idea of working within small teams is believed to help diminish various innovation killers like groupthink and social loafing.”

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Avoiding The Engineer-Saviour Trap

    Walking Into The Trap…

    I’d say that far too many (certainly software) engineers are guilty of this on a daily basis. I’ve seen many carefully designed (or thrown together…) UIs – graphical, commandline and function-based, where what the user actually wants to achieve has not been considered in the slightest. Far too rarely does the engineer ask “what do you want to _do_” and provide steps to do this, rather than provide functions to do ‘everything’ and leave the user to muddle their way through a minefield

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Anti-diversity memo author James Damore confirms Google has fired him; Pichai tells employees that portions of his memo violated the company’s Code of Conduct — Engineer wrote memo blasting “politically correct monoculture” — CEO Pichai said Google employee violated Code of Conduct

    Google Fires Author of Divisive Memo on Gender Differences

    Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.

    James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

    The imbroglio at Google is the latest in a long string of incidents concerning gender bias and diversity in the tech enclave.

    Earlier on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” But he didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee. A Google representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo.

    Damore’s 10-page memorandum accused Google of silencing conservative political opinions and argued that biological differences play a role in the shortage of women in tech and leadership positions. It circulated widely inside the company and became public over the weekend, causing a furor that amplified the pressure on Google executives to take a more definitive stand.

    After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google’s new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with him, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.

    “We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown said in the statement. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

    Google fired engineer James Damore after he wrote a 10-page document about “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” taustin writes from a report via Inc. about the potential legal trouble the company may face from firing the “anti-diversity” engineer:

    Whether Demore is right or wrong, whether one agrees with him or not, Google may have legal trouble for firing him. Employees are protected by federal law when they discuss working conditions with other employees (and this was an internal memo). His memo could be considered whistleblowing, which is also protected

    No, Google Should Not Have Fired the ‘Anti-Diversity’ Engineer
    We have to consider all laws when terminating an employee

    Google fired engineer James Damore after he wrote a 10-page document about “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” Many people called for his head on a platter, and Google delivered. He was fired for perpetuating gender stereotypes and violating Google’s code of conduct. Fair enough. California is an at-will state, and if a company doesn’t want an employee to perpetuate any gender stereotypes, that’s its right.

    Except when it isn’t.

    Employment attorney Dan Eaton, a partner with the San Diego law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, wrote an article for CNN before the firing that gave three reasons why Google shouldn’t fire, or possibly even discipline Damore (who was unidentified when Eaton wrote it).

    Federal law allows employees to talk about working conditions.

    You can’t fire someone for political views–in California.

    The engineer as a whistleblower.

    To be protected, “the engineer doesn’t have to be right that some of Google’s diversity initiatives are unlawful, only that he reasonably believes that they are.”

    Former senior Google employee Yonatan Zunger wrote that this engineer should have been fired because his memo makes it clear that Damore was a terrible engineer.

    federal law allows you to hire a woman or minority candidate over a male or white candidate if both are equally qualified. But what it doesn’t allow you to do is hire a less qualified female or minority candidate

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kara Swisher / Recode:
    Google CEO Sundar Pichai cancels all-hands meeting, citing leak of questions and employees’ names; sources say some employees have experienced doxxing — Doxxing of search company staffers had already started. — Google CEO Sundar Pichai has canceled the company’s much-anticipated meeting to talk about gender issues today.

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai canceled an all-hands meeting about gender controversy due to employee worries of online harassment
    Doxxing of search company staffers had already started.

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai has canceled the company’s much-anticipated meeting to talk about gender issues today. The move came after some of its employees expressed concern over online harassment they had begun to receive after their questions and names have been published outside the company on a variety of largely alt-right sites.

    “We had hoped to have a frank, open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward. But our Dory questions appeared externally this afternoon, and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally,” wrote Pichai to employees. “Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed’ publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall.”

    Pichai was set to address the search giant’s 60,000 employees in 30 minutes in an all-hands meeting about a recent post by recently fired employee James Damore. In it, the software engineer claimed that women might not be as good as men at tech because of biological reasons, like “neuroticism.” In other words, they could not handle stress and high pressure as much.

    Speaking of high pressure, Google is under that for sure in the wake of Damore’s blog and the reaction it has engendered from outside the company, especially among deeply conservative sites like Breitbart and others.

    Wired reported earlier that conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos “posted on his Facebook page the Twitter biographies of eight Google employees who criticized Damore’s post.”

    Sources inside Google said some employees had begun to experience “doxxing” — online harassment that can take various forms and is defined as “searching for and publishing private or identifying information about [a particular individual] on the internet, typically with malicious intent.”

    Several sites like this one have been publishing internal discussion posts and giving out information on those employees.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fired Google engineer James Damore defended his controversial memo in Bloomberg TV interview, says company execs smeared him — James Damore defends his controversial memo on Bloomberg TV — The former Google engineer, whose controversial memo has triggered a nationwide debate …

    Fired Google Engineer Says Company Execs Shamed and Smeared Him
    James Damore defends his controversial memo on Bloomberg TV

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fired Google engineer compares high-paid tech job to Soviet forced labor

    Former Google engineer James Damore, who was fired for distributing a memo suggesting women are not biologically suited for certain types of work, is now branding himself as a brave truth teller. In what appears to be his new Twitter account, Damore can be seen wearing a shirt with the word “Goolag,” a play on “Google” that means to suggest the Silicon Valley search company is something like the infamous Soviet camps where prisoners were worked and starved to death as part of one of the 20th century’s worst genocides.

    Google, which provides free meals, massages, and fitness classes at its Mountain View, California headquarters, pays engineers like Damore a typical salary of $162,000, according to Glassdoor, not including extra compensation like healthcare benefits, retirement savings, and equity. The company also offers its employees training opportunities, including volunteer sessions on subjects like diversity and unconscious bias.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fired Googler: Hoist with His Own Canard

    What we must ask about the fired Googler who wrote a ‘diversity’ memo is this: Did he know his job as an engineer?

    Last week when an internally shared memo written by a Google software engineer triggered an eruption of culture war in Silicon Valley, I was in Europe. But the news hit close to home for me.

    I found in this little tirade an indisputable attack on women’s ability (or lack thereof) to do science, engineering and coding. Naturally, I was offended. But I decided to weigh in on this topic now – after so much ink was already spilled – not because I was compelled to defend my gender.

    What actually fascinates me is that this so-called “diversity” memo offers such fertile ground to debate many issues at so many levels. They include the eternal controversy over “biological differences between men and women,” accusations about the “politically correct monoculture at Google,” an examination of “freedom of speech for employees at corporations,” and the author’s reported plan to take legal action against Google.

    Job as an Engineer
    The final straw, inspiring me to speak up was an essay written by Yonatan Zunger, who nailed the manifesto-writing Googler for not knowing his job as an engineer.

    Zunger, who served as Distinguished Engineer on Privacy at Google until recently, defined his engineering mission as “not the art of building devices.” He said, “It’s the art of fixing problems.”

    Pointing out that “devices are a means, not an end,” Zunger wrote: “Fixing problems means first of all understanding them — and since the whole purpose of the things we do is to fix problems in the outside world, problems involving people, that means that understanding people, and the ways in which they will interact with your system, is fundamental to every step of building a system.”

    In short, the point was that if you can’t understand women as users of your system and don’t have women in your engineering team, how can you, Mr. Engineer, fix problems and build your system that speak to the entire outside world (more than half of which is women)?

    ‘Echo Chamber’ Debate
    Read carefully the offending blog, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” you find that the author’s central grievance is political bias on Google management’s part that proscribes Googlers from an “open and honest discussions” on diversity issues. The author’s full manifesto can be read here.

    Let’s accept the guy’s premise and believe that a hunger for intelligent discourse motivated him to cry out, “J’accuse!”

    Freedom of Speech
    Under the current divisive political climate, a backlash was inevitable. But it’s misguided to use Damore’s blurt as a serious freedom-of-speech issue.

    Note first that virtually every U.S. corporation insists on being an “at will” employer. Hence, anyone who believes that the company exists to protect his or her First Amendment rights is smoking dope on company time. Any employee who uses the corporation’s computers and corporate e-mail systems to publish controversial personal views — especially the kind that go viral and offend powerful interest groups — is risking a pink slip.

    The best argument I found on this issue was a story on Business Insider. The story made it clear: “The First Amendment protects Americans’ free-speech rights from being restricted by the government, not their employer.”

    In conclusion, Zunger said: “It’s true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people’s emotional needs and so on — this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones.”

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google is teaching my girl that ‘complaining to HR’ is path to success, says Peter Thiel-linked investor

    Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital, said Google was teaching girls that their “path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR.”
    Weinstein’s comments drew criticism from users on social media.
    His comments came after a Google engineer was fired for circulating a memo that argued biological differences were the reason for the shortage of women at the company.

    Google is teaching girls that their path to “financial freedom” lies in “complaining to HR,” the managing director of a Peter Thiel investment fund said on Tuesday, drawing sharp criticism on social media.

    The comments, made by Eric Weinstein, the managing director of Thiel Capital, come after Google fired engineer James Damore for circulating a memo that argued biological differences were the reason for the shortage of women at the company.

    Many employees in Google were outraged by the memo. One employee Jaana Dogan, took to Twitter saying that she would leave the company if HR does nothing. The tweet was later deleted.

    And then the Thiel Capital managing director likened Damore’s dismissal from Google to firing a biologist for making a factual comment on biology but accusing him of sexual harassment.

    A Google spokesperson pointed towards a statement released by CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday explaining the decision to fire the engineer, and trying to reassure staff that they can freely express their views.

    “First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it,” Pichai wrote in a memo.

    “However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

    Google, like many tech firms, has been grappling with issues around discrimination.

    The broader technology industry has also been rocked by a number of scandals related to discrimination and sexual harassment.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told her daughter about the Google anti-diversity memo

    YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s daughter asked her about the controversial anti-diversity memo that surfaced within Google and has since been circulating around the web, the CEO writes in an essay for Fortune.

    “Mom, is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?” the child wanted to know.

    The mother of five replied, “No, it’s not true.”

    The CEO writes that, as a woman in tech, she has grown accustomed to such criticism over the years.

    “Though I’ve been lucky to work at a company where I’ve received a lot of support — from leaders like Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, and Jonathan Rosenberg to mentors like Bill Campbell — my experience in the tech industry has shown me just how pervasive that question is,” she writes.

    She calls the memo “tragic” for its “unfounded bias,”

    The memo comes at a time where the U.S. gender pay gap for full-time, year-round workers has proven stubbornly persistent at about 20 percent.

    Many experts argue that the gap may not be entirely closed until 2152.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Charlie Warzel / BuzzFeed:
    “This Is Just Like GamerGate”: How The Pro-Trump Media Turned James Damore Into A Hero Overnight — A week ago, James Damore was anonymous. Now, the Google engineer who lost his job after he wrote a viral anti-diversity screed has become an icon of the alt-right, with more than 40,000 Twitter followers …

    How The Pro-Trump Media Turned The Google Memo Into A National Story

    The pro-Trump media has found the perfect target in Silicon Valley — and the perfect martyr in James Damore.

    According to multiple self-proclaimed leaders of the new right, the Damore fiasco isn’t just this week’s latest outrage, but a tentpole moment in the larger online culture wars.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fired Googler: Hoist with His Own Canard

    What we must ask about the fired Googler who wrote a ‘diversity’ memo is this: Did he know his job as an engineer?

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I’m a woman in computer science. Let me ladysplain the Google memo to you.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I’ve Interviewed Hundreds Of Job Candidates, And These Three Things Are Deal-Breakers
    Don’t be a memorable candidate for the wrong reasons.

    Nervousness goes with interviewing like scrambled eggs goes with hash browns. You pretty much always find them together.

    In other words, everyone I know–myself included–walks out of the conversation feeling a little iffy. Even if, on one level, you know you did a great job; there’s another part of you that’s questioning if you used that industry phrase correctly.

    But if you happen to see yourself in any of the answers below, change it ASAP!
    1. They Told Me They Never Got Something Wrong (Ever)
    I’m a big fan of the classic: “Tell me about a time you failed.” In fact, I was most likely to ask it of very impressive candidates. That’s because if someone’s used to getting things right, I also want insight into how they’ll respond when things go wrong.

    2. They Said Something Inappropriate

    Have you ever heard the rule that you shouldn’t post anything on social media–unless you’d be OK with your boss and grandmother reading it? The same goes for interviews.
    More than one candidate referred to people of a different race, gender, or background in an offensive way or using inappropriate language, and they were all disqualified.

    3. They Acted Like They Were Better Than Everyone Else
    One candidate rubbed me the wrong way because though he was well-qualified, he was very pompous. In nearly every answer, he spoke poorly of others to lift himself up by comparison. This included other applicants as well the people he’d have been charged with helping in his role.

    I don’t know if you’ve spotted it, but there’s one other thing all of these candidates had in common. They were all certain they were 100% in the right with their answers.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Actual Science of James Damore’s Google Memo

    In early August, a Google engineer named James Damore posted a document titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” to an internal online discussion group. His memo was a calm attempt to point out all the ways Google has gone wrong in making gender representation among its employees a corporate priority. And then, on August 5, the memo jumped the fence. Nobody else was calm about it.

    It wasn’t a screed or a rant, but, judging by his document, Damore clearly feels that some basic truths are getting ignored—silenced, even—by Google’s bosses. So in response, the engineer adopted a methodology at the core of Google’s culture: He went to look at the data. “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” wants to be a discussion of ideas about diversity through solid, ineluctable science.

    The core arguments run to this tune: Men and women have psychological differences that are a result of their underlying biology. Those differences make them differently suited to and interested in the work that is core to Google. Yet Google as a company is trying to create a technical, engineering, and leadership workforce with greater numbers of women than these differences can sustain, and it’s hurting the company.

    The problem is, the science in Damore’s memo is still very much in play, and his analysis of its implications is at best politically naive and at worst dangerous. The memo is a species of discourse peculiar to politically polarized times: cherry-picking scientific evidence to support a preexisting point of view. It’s an exercise not in rational argument but in rhetorical point scoring. And a careful walk through the science proves it.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    James Damore’s memo made giant, unfounded logical leaps and ignored important evidence that didn’t support his conclusion — Last week this newspaper said Alphabet’s boss should write a “detailed, ringing rebuttal” of a viral anti-diversity memo sent at Google. Here is how we imagine it

    The e-mail Larry Page should have written to James Damore

    Last week this newspaper said Alphabet’s boss should write a “detailed, ringing rebuttal” of a viral anti-diversity memo sent at Google. Here is how we imagine it

    Your interpretation is wrong. Your memo was a great example of what’s called “motivated reasoning”—seeking out only the information that supports what you already believe. It was derogatory to women in our industry and elsewhere. Despite your stated support for diversity and fairness, it demonstrated profound prejudice. Your chain of reasoning had so many missing links that it hardly mattered what your argument was based on. We try to hire people who are willing to follow where the facts lead, whatever their preconceptions. In your case we clearly made a mistake.

    Then you make a giant leap from group differences between men and women on such measures as interest in people rather than things, or systematising versus empathising, to differences in men’s and women’s ability to code. At least that’s what you seem to be doing; you don’t quite say so. There is no evidence for such an inference. And that is only the first flaw in your argument. I can see at least six more, any of which would derail it on its own.

    Your memo was a triumph of motivated reasoning: heads men win; tails women lose. Here are a few psychological differences between the sexes that you didn’t mention. Men score higher on measures of anger, and lower on co-operation and self-discipline. If it had been the other way round, I’m betting you would have cited these differences as indicating lack of suitability for the job of coder. You lean on measures of interest and personality, rather than ability and achievement, presumably because the latter don’t support your hypothesis. In many countries girls now do better in pretty much every subject at school than boys—again, if it had been the other way around I’m sure you wouldn’t have neglected to mention that fact. The sole published comparison of competency in coding I am aware of found that women were more likely than men to have their GitHub contributions accepted—but if they were project outsiders, this was true only if their gender was concealed.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hall of Shame Job Postings and Recruiting

    We constantly hear that cyber security has a serious talent shortage. It doesn’t help when job descriptions are completely asinine or when recruiting is embarrassingly bad. This also goes for the tech industry in general.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    People Start Hating Their Jobs at Age 35, Study Says

    Older workers tend to be more unhappy in their jobs than their younger colleagues, according to a survey of more than 2,000 U.K. employees by human resource firm Robert Half U.K. One in six British workers over age 35 said they were unhappy — more than double the number for those under 35. Nearly a third of people over 55 said they didn’t feel appreciated, while 16 percent said they didn’t have friends at work.

    People Start Hating Their Jobs at Age 35
    The shiny newness of life in the workforce begins to wear off.

    Jean Prince was 50 when she started working for a U.K. tech company near Cambridge as a technical author, writing software documentation. “I felt extremely lucky,” she said.

    But she wasn’t happy.

    “The workplace has become more impersonal and tougher,” she said. “Everyone is performance-managed to death.” She felt underappreciated and unloved.

    Older workers tend to be more unhappy in their jobs than their younger colleagues, according to a survey of more than 2,000 U.K. employees by human resource firm Robert Half U.K. One in six British workers over age 35 said they were unhappy—more than double the number for those under 35. Nearly a third of people over 55 said they didn’t feel appreciated, while 16 percent said they didn’t have friends at work.

    There’s the stress of being in a high-ranking position—or the disappointment of not making it far enough up the career ladder. True, salaries are higher, but life starts to get more expensive. “Work-life balance” starts to mean taking care of children, rather than just personal stress management.

    “There comes a time when either you haven’t achieved success, work has burned you out, or lived experience tells you family is more important,” said Cary Cooper, a workplace researcher at Manchester Business School. “You ask yourself: ‘What am I doing this for?’”

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hall of Shame Job Postings and Recruiting

    We constantly hear that cyber security has a serious talent shortage. It doesn’t help when job descriptions are completely asinine or when recruiting is embarrassingly bad. This also goes for the tech industry in general. After reading these tweets from my friend Ed Rojas, I decided to dedicate a hall of shame to this ongoing problem

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Marketing Security Solutions: Is There a Better Way?

    In my previous piece, I discussed the difficulty vendors sometimes have in understanding what security buyers are really looking for. As I mentioned in that piece, this confusion is further compounded by the large volume of vendors and distinct markets that exist within the information security profession. The irony that my previous piece came out during the week of one of the largest security conferences wasn’t lost on me. Why is this ironic? I’ll elaborate.

    The volume of people that attend these conferences is simply hard to grasp until you see it with your own eyes, and even then, it can be a bit overwhelming.

    You know what else is overwhelming? The number of vendors exhibiting at these two conferences. Just how many vendors exhibited at these two conferences in 2017? Let’s take a look at the numbers:

    Las Vegas: 290 exhibitors across two floors of exhibition

    San Francisco: 687 exhibitors across two exhibition halls

    Not all conferences are quite this large, of course. Some of them are downright intimate. And there are also the various different meetups, networking events, and peer-to-peer organizations that try to bring security professionals together, including vendors and customers.

    I do understand the value that some of these different events bring to the security community and don’t mean to be critical of them in any way. I understand that event organizers need to support themselves financially. I also understand the need, or perhaps the perceived need, to be at some of these different events in order to be included in much of what goes on in the industry. Further, I do understand the networking opportunities that some of these events represent for so many people. I don’t argue with these points in any way. Rather, I am making another point entirely.

    At large conferences, vendors may find themselves amongst hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees. How is it possible to stand out from the crowd in a sea of noise, gimmicks, buzzwords, and hype in order to grab the attention of those who are interested in our product or service?

    Although large conferences have many advantages, producing highly qualified leads as a return on the marketing budget invested is not among them.

    Alright you say, so what if I focus some of my marketing budget on smaller, more intimate events such as those put on by peer-to-peer organizations? Well, it is certainly considerably easier to stand out from the crowd in those types of environments. So what’s the downside? For starters, it can be extremely difficult for these smaller events to bring the right, most relevant crowd to their sponsors. Some are better than others.

    The company I worked for paid a fair bit of money to be one of three vendors in attendance at these events. In exchange for this sum, the event organizer promised 10-20 CISOs and explained that non-CISOs would not be permitted to participate in the breakfast events. With promises like those, who would say no?

    As you might have expected, the reality on the ground was quite different. There were very few, if any, CISOs in attendance at the overwhelming majority of the events. In fact, the attendees were mostly a mix of people looking for a free breakfast, people who were brought in by the event organizers to bring up the number of attendees to between 10-20, and occasionally someone who was legitimately interested in hearing what the sponsors had to say.

    Of course, mileage varies significantly with these smaller, more intimate events. Sometimes they can be quite good. But more often than not, sponsoring vendors walk away disappointed.

    Given the current state of affairs, perhaps the time has come for security vendors to rethink how they invest their marketing budgets? Security marketing seems to be stuck in a bit of a “spray and pray” rut.

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The digital economy is measuring misaligned

    The US Federal Reserve Board of Governors, David.M.Byrne , and Professor of Economics, Dan Sichel, write that the slowdown in productivity is more confusing than people think.

    Byrne and Sichel explain the recent slowdown in productivity growth in developed economies by misusing the productivity of the digital economy.

    According to them, new innovations are developing much faster than what can be deduced from the official productivity gauge.

    “The ongoing benefits of innovation make the decline in productivity more confusing in the digital economy” (on-going gains in digital economy make the productivity slowdown even more puzzling).

    “At the same time, we believe that continuous technological development can be the basis for accelerating future productivity growth,” they write.

    According to two, the most difficult challenge to digitization is not to determine nominal, but real GDP. The impact of inflation has been removed from real GDP so it better reflects the development of the national economy.

    They point to research evidence that official measurement methods have shown high tech prices to slow down slowly.

    “But ever-expanding research material suggests that, in the ICT sector, prices actually fall far faster.”

    “In order to explain the slowdown in labor productivity growth, the volume of measurement errors in productivity growth should have increased or the number of wrong-sized sectors should have risen,” they write.

    “Measuring errors have a dramatic impact on how the productivity generated by a combination of factors is divided into different sectors and sectors.”

    “With such a growth in the industry, products and services can be produced more by the same amount of effort. If costs remain stable, product prices should fall over time.”


  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Slashdot Asks: Which IT Hiring Trends Are Hot, and Which Ones Are Going Cold?

    Recruiting and retaining tech talent remains IT’s biggest challenge today, writes Paul Heltzel, in an article on what trends are heating up and what’s cooling off when it comes to IT staffing. “One thing hasn’t changed this year: Recruiting top talent is still difficult for most firms, and demand greatly outstrips supply,” writes Heltzel.

    8 hot IT hiring trends — and 8 going cold

    Recruiting and retaining tech talent remains IT’s biggest challenge today. Here’s how companies are coping — and what’s cooling off when it comes to IT staffing.

    Whether you’re looking to expand your team or job searching yourself, read on to see which IT hiring practices are trending and which ones are falling out of favor.

    Hot: Workplace flexibility
    Cold: Full-time remote work
    Hot: Blended workforces/flexible staffing
    Cold: Gig economy hype
    Hot: Soft skills
    Cold: Perks you don’t actually want
    Hot: Security jobs
    Cold: Actual job security
    Cold: Actual job security
    Cold: Hiring from outside of the company
    Hot: Importing talent from Silicon Valley
    Cold: Finding top talent
    Hot: AI-based recruiting
    Cold: Slow, outdated hiring experience
    Hot: Increased compensation for talent
    Cold: Diversity in the workplace

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fired Googler: Hoist with His Own Canard

    What we must ask about the fired Googler who wrote a ‘diversity’ memo is this: Did he know his job as an engineer?

    Last week when an internally shared memo written by a Google software engineer triggered an eruption of culture war in Silicon Valley, I was in Europe. But the news hit close to home for me.

    I found in this little tirade an indisputable attack on women’s ability (or lack thereof) to do science, engineering and coding. Naturally, I was offended. But I decided to weigh in on this topic now – after so much ink was already spilled – not because I was compelled to defend my gender.

    What actually fascinates me is that this so-called “diversity” memo offers such fertile ground to debate many issues at so many levels.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why Tech Leadership Has a Bigger Race Than Gender Problem

    When it comes to Silicon Valley, Asians are an overrepresented population in the workforce. Even among the tech industry’s most valuable companies, two of the more visible CEOs, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, are both Indian. Which is why it might come as a surprise that Asians—especially Asian women—are among the least likely to be promoted into leadership positions, according to a new study from Ascend Leadership, a nonprofit group for Asian professionals.

    “That’s why we call the report the Illusion of Asian Success,” says Buck Gee, a former vice president at Cisco and one of the authors of the study. The natural assumption is that if Asians are more prevalent in the workforce, they will be more prevalent at the top. But “when you look at the hard data, that is a fallacy,” says Gee.

    After sifting through the data, the authors concluded that race is a stronger impediment than gender when it comes to climbing Silicon Valley’s corporate ladder. Representation of white women in leadership roles improved by 17 percent between 2007 and 2015, whereas for all other minority groups, the percentage went down.

    “White women are continuing to benefit from the system of racism, even when they are also experiencing discrimination because of their gender,”

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Myth of The 30 IQ Point “Communication Range”

    Earlier this week I tweeted a link to a Quora post which, I felt, was rather silly. The post was a response to the question “Are people with very high IQs generally happy?” and it answered in the negative:

    Let’s say high IQ is a blessing which comes with a terrible price. And each and every person with reading east from 135 has paid that price.

    HIgh IQ persons usually have also extremely vivid and wide spectrum of emotions and emotional life, and when they are happy, they are in rapture, and when they are unhappy, it is sheer emotional hell.

    The reason for the frequent misery of the intelligent, according to the Quoran, was something called the ‘communication range’

    The concept of communication range was established by Leta Hollingworth. It is +/- 2 standard deviations (roughly 30 points) up or down on one’s own IQ. It denotes the range where meaningful interaction (communication, discussion, conversation and socializing) is possible. If the IQ difference between two persons is more than 30 points, the communication breaks up. The higher IQ person will look like an incomprehensible nerd and the lower IQ as a moronic dullard – and they will not find anything common.

    This seems to me a significant logical leap. Hollingworth was writing specifically about leadership, and in childen, but Towers extrapolates the point to claim that any kind of ‘genuine’ communication is impossible across a 30 IQ point gap.

    So as far as I can see the ‘communication range’ is just an idea someone came up with. It’s not based on data. The reference to specific numbers (“+/- 2 standard deviations, 30 points”) gives the illusion of scientific precision, but these numbers were plucked from the air.

    Of course, that two people might struggle to communicate because of differences in their mental capacities (or any other personal differences) is hard to doubt, but that this always does happen once a specific difference in IQ points is reached seems doubtful.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open Source Isn’t A Business Model, It’s A Market Strategy

    However, I’ll say a few things that are particularly different about building a business around open source technology. First, open source isn’t a business model; it is a go-to-market strategy. Done right, it really solves one of the hardest problems in building a business — getting traction for the product. Focusing on developer evangelism and community building is key to adoption of open-source technology.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Frank Burge’s New Opportunity

    Any situation can be framed as an opportunity, and if it’s a really bad situation, it might be an even bigger opportunity. That’s what Frank Burge taught me.

    Years ago, I worked on a spinoff of EE Times called OEM Magazine. It was a small bet on a big upside during a golden age of electronics and publishing before the internet era.

    The magazine was launched about the same time as Wired and had ambitions nearly as big. Wired survived; OEM did not.

    One of Frank’s last gifts to the publication was a new motto that we ran on the cover page right below our logo. It read, “Technologies. Markets. Opportunities.”

    I knew all about technologies and markets — I had been writing about them for years. The word “opportunities” threw me for a loop.

    It took a while for it to sink in

    For example, the Mirai attacks highlighted a huge opportunity to deliver security products for the Internet of Things. The lack of a distributed air traffic control mechanism for drones is a vast opportunity for smart drone software and services. And so on.

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    13 signs your coworkers think you’re dumb

    Here are some clear signs that your colleagues do think you’re dum


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