IBM and Distancing: New Collar Jobs in France

May 23, 2018

I have zero idea if the information in the article “Exclusive: IBM bringing 1,800 AI jobs to France.” The story caught my attention because I had read “Macron Vowed to Make France a ‘Start-Up Nation.’ Is It Getting There?” You can find the story online at this link, although I read a version of the story in my dead tree edition of the real “news” paper at breakfast this morning (May 23, 2018).

Perhaps IBM recognizes that the “culture” of France makes it difficult for startups to get funding without the French management flair. Consequently a bold and surgical move to use IBM management expertise could make blockchain, AI, and Watson sing Johnny Hallyday’s Johnny, reviens ! Les Rocks les plus terribles and shoot to the top of YouTube views.

On the other hand, the play may be a long shot.

What I did find interesting in the write up was this statement:

IBM continues to make moves aimed at distancing itself from peers.

That is fascinating. IBM has faced a bit of pushback as it made some personnel decisions which annoyed some IBMers. One former IBM senior manager just shook his head and grimaced when I mentioned the floundering of the Watson billion dollar bet. I dared not bring up riffing workers over 55. That’s a sore subject for some Big Blue bleeders.

I also liked the “New Collar” buzzword.

To sum up, I assume that IBM will bring the New Collar fashion wave to the stylish world of French technology.

Let’s ask Watson. No, bad idea. Let’s not. I don’t have the time to train Watson to make sense of questions about French finance, technology, wine, cheese, schools, family history, and knowledge of Molière.

Stephen E Arnold, May 23, 2018

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