High School Science Club Perceptions: The Nobody Cares Posture

January 24, 2022

I try to note some of the management positions I prefer to classify as “high school science club management methods” or HSSCMM. The idea is that school boy ideas, beliefs, mental processes, and attitudes persist through the school boy’s ageing and developmental processes. The result is a series of breath-taking management decisions. But a Duzie caught my attention as it was expressed in “Insider,” a Silicon Valley “real” news outfit which presents content to a click-adept audience.

The trigger for this post is the write up “Warriors Co Owner Chamath Palihapitiya Says the Ugly Truth Is Nobody Cares about What’s Happening to Uyghur Muslims in China? That makes the point, doesn’t it?

Several observations relative to my tallying of HSSCMM:

  1. This is similar to a high school science club member saying, “I don’t care if I can’t get a date for the prom. I can assemble a Heathkit.”
  2. The idea that a comment from a science club member to a person who is engaged in high school athletics, “No wonder you got a D in algebra.”
  3. The notion that lesser entities are irrelevant; for example, a high school science club member once said to my female pal Linda Mae, “Why are you working at the Salvation Army this Thanksgiving? There are plenty of jobs for those people.”

Linda Mae, I wish to add, graduated in the Top 10 of our class and went on to work in Africa as a health care provider for 40 years. Yep, Linda Mae, the time wasting do gooder helping those people.

To sum up: HSSCMM can put one’s teeth on edge. But those people are wonderful managers. Just ask some of those doing the resignation thing or applying for work at Dr. Timnit Gebru’s new firm DAIR, which may not purchase season tickets to Warrior basketball games.

Stephen E Arnold, January 24, 2022

Be More Like Elon, Bill, and Jeff: Read These Books

January 20, 2022

I read an amusing write up called “These Are the 25 books That Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Think You Should Read to Get Smarter about Business and Leadership.” I would have suggested a little more tame headline; for example, “Did You Read These Books Yet?”

Why would I suggest a plain vanilla headline and a slightly less enthusiastic approach to a list of books?

Here are my reasons:

  1. Bill Gates has some interesting email accusations in his past, and there is the allegation that he found Jeffrey Epstein a person with whom time might be spent in a productive way. Elon Musk has the non-shipping self driving thing and the vapor cyber truck. Jeff — ah, the creator of the Bezos bulldozer which crushes that which is in its path — has the space cowboy thing going to complement some mobile pix.
  2. The books pour fuel on the ethos of the Silicon Valley vision. Do I need more Silicon Valley? Do I want to experience another Theranos moment complete with private text messages? Answer: Nah, I am okay.
  3. Equating making lots and lots of money with literary taste is similar to the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback suggesting a play for the final seconds of a game. Amusing but unproductive.

Some of the books strike me as having value. However, the endorsement of three individuals with colorful personalities and — we must not forget — tons of money, interesting personal behaviors, and scintillating personalities does not enhance in my view.

Wow. Benjamin Franklin’s biography. Didn’t that esteemed American get booted from France as a result of some interaction with servants? Yep, super intelligent. Robots, seeing stones, and a book about companies built to last until the firms drop off the Fortune 1000 list.

Leadership. Business. Outstanding.

Stephen E Arnold, January 20, 2022

Amazon Twitch Vs Star Amouranth

January 17, 2022

The stars of new media are creating a new twist on the Hollywood studio moguls fight to control the stars of the silver screen. Class Struggle in Hollywood, 1930-1950: Moguls, Mobsters, Stars, Reds, and Trade Unionists documents some of the power struggles. Yep, you can buy it from Amazon, the outfit which is one of moguls, mobsters, stars, reds, and trade unionists-type protagonists in the study by Gerald Horne.

The modern social media spin is that Amazon Twitch finds itself in an uncomfortable old school Hollywood moment. Its “audience” is manufacturing or spawning “stars.” Unlike the digitally inhibited book publishers, Amazon Twitch is now finding it more difficult to corral and manage the streamers. These individuals with fame blasting into orbit with unique insights and talent allow Amazon Twitch to sell ads. And those ads? Pre rolls demand attention before one knows if the Twitch creator is online, doing the BRB (be right back) pause, or just leaving the inflatable pool naked in the digital stream. The ad produces revenue and the person wanting to form a digital bond with the star gets annoyed. Even Amouranth haters have to endure ads in order to post angry emojis and often hostile comments in the starlet’s live stream.

Amouranth Calls for Twitch to Start Revealing Ban Reasons for Streamers” includes some interesting observations and statements, some attributed to the social media starlet Kaitlyn Siragusa aka Amouranth. (One of her talent is creating video hooks like chewing on a microphone whilst breathing and donning a swim suit and splashing in an inflatable kiddie pool. She is also pretty good at getting media attention and free publicity. Plus she allegedly owns a convenience store. Did you, gentle reader, when you were 29 years old?)

The write up includes this statement:

Amouranth has called for that to change, and soon ?— according to the Amazon platform’s top female streamer, Twitch must change their tune, start being clearer when it comes to explaining bans for suspended stars, and finally “accept accountability” for the site’s rules.

She is quoted in the write up as saying:

“They [Amazon Twitch] do it because they don’t want the accountability of telling you what you did wrong. They don’t want to be in charge of upholding their own policies.”

Before you scoff at her talent, consider the allegation: A large technology outfit which is believed by some to be a monopoly type operation wants the money, wants the control, and does not want to upfront about who gets punished and who does not.

If the assertion is accurate, the social media star’s “situation” could become a flywheel and bump into the flywheel inside the Amazon money machine. Think in terms of one Tour de France racer bumping into another racer’s machine.

image

Amouranth is a human, and the products which Amazon offers are not. Amazon’s services are not people to the bits and bytes either. But Amouranth, the talent, is a human, and the human can create some waves. In a phone chat with one of my research team, we identified these momentum enhancers:

  1. Amouranth can claim discrimination and take her objection to a legal eagle or — heaven help the US government — one of the committees investigating the behavior of the largely unfettered tech giants. Wow, Amouranth testifying and then doing the talking head circuit.
  2. Amouranth can enlist the support of other individuals who have allegedly been digitally and financial abused by the high school science club management methods in use at some of the other high-tech, “we do what we want” outfits. Are there unhappy YouTubers out there who would respond to a call for action from a fellow traveler.
  3. An outfit struggling for traction — maybe a BitBucket like set up? — could make a play for these stars and use their followers to kick a video streaming service into gear? What happens if a somewhat rudderless operation in the streaming business embraces Amouranth and pulls off a Joe Rogan-type of deal? Imagine having Amouranth on ESPN as a commentator for a sports event which pulls an audience so small it’s tough to measure? What about Amouranth on the Disney Channel? (Come on, Minnie. Join Amouranth in her inflatable pool. Let an Amazon accountant manage the money from the program’s ad revenue.)
  4. More interesting, Amouranth might become the first Twitch personality to become a social media Adam Carolla in an inflatable kiddie pool.

Net net: Amouranth may be a starlet-type problem for Amazon Twitch. If not managed in an astute manner, a disruption of considerable size could result and travel at the speed of social media. Ad hoc censorship may have a hefty price tag.

Stephen E Arnold, January 17, 2022

Google and Its Management: More Excitement

January 7, 2022

In western countries, the technology industry is predominantly white and male. This has led to AI algorithms are accidentally programmed with “racial bias.” These awkward and humorous incidents include a “racist” soap dispenser that could not sense dark pigmented skin and photo recognition software identifying black people as gorillas. AI algorithms can easily be fixed when they are fed more diverse data, however, it is harder to fix human habits. Google is once again under fire for its treatment of minority employees, specifically, “Google Facing Probe For How It Treats Black Female Workers,” says Daiji World.

Google’s recent diversity report stated that only 1.8% of its work force consists of black women. The tech giant explains that it wants to be a viewed as a welcoming environment for black people. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has questioned Google employees about harassment and discrimination in response to complaints. Google has a known history of harassment and discrimination:

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) researcher Timnit Gebru, who was fired from Google after sending an email of concern to her Ethical AI team, has now set up her own research institute that will be an independent, community-rooted institute set to counter Big Tech’s pervasive influence on the research, development and deployment of AI.

Gebru was the technical co-lead of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence team. She was fired over an email where she expressed her doubts about Google’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. Two Google engineers, including one of Indian-origin, quit Google over the abrupt firing of Gebru.

While engineering director David Baker said that Gebru’s dismissal “extinguished” his will to work at the company, software engineer Vinesh Kannan announced that he was quitting because Gebru and April Christina Curley, a diversity recruiter, were “wronged”.”

All industries should be merit-based, but allowances must be given for sex and ethnicity as these factors heavily weigh on society. All ethnicities and sexes want acceptance, respect, and inclusion in the workplace. This means racist, sexist, discriminatory, and harassing behaviors are taboo. If they do occur, the perpetrator should be punished, not the victim.

Here is a big secret about women in the workplace: they want to work. Here is a big secret about ethnic minorities in the workplace: they want to work too. Why is it so hard to curb rude behavior and treat women and ethnic minorities like everyone else?

The tech industry is like a huge good old boys club. When the male club members are confronted with change, they do not want to relinquish their power. Toxic male behaviors are not the only problem. As a whole, society still pushes women towards more traditional female roles. These roles stem away from science, math, and technology.

Things are better, but they can and will improve. The biggest holdups are old predilections that will face as older generations pass. Once Generation Z reaches adult hood, society will have improved. The biggest downside is the present.

Whitney Grace, January 7, 2022

Google: Who Us? Oh, We Are Sorry

January 4, 2022

One sign of a decent human being is when they admit their mistakes and accept their responsibilities. When people accept their mistakes, the situation blows over quicker. Google leaders, however, are reluctant to accept the consequences of their poor actions and it is not generating good PR. The lo shares the story in: “Google CEO Blames Employee Leaks To The Press For Reduced ‘Trust and Candor’ At The Company.”

During a recent end-of-the year meeting, Google employees could submit questions via the internal company system Dory. They then can vote on the questions they wish management to answer. The following questioned received 673 votes:

“The question was: ‘It seems like responses to Dory have gotten increasingly more lawyer-like with canned phrases or platitudes, which seem to ignore the questions being ask [sic]. Are we planning on bringing candor, honesty, humility and frankness back to Dory answers or continuing down a bureaucratic path?’”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai was exasperated and he blamed employees leaking information to the media for the inflated, artificial answers. He said the following:

“‘Sometimes, I do think that people are unforgiving for small mistakes. I do think people realize that answers can be quoted anywhere, including outside the company. I think that makes people very careful,’ he said. ‘Trust and candor has to go both ways,’ Pichai added.”

Pichai also explained that the poor relationship between employees and the top brass is a direct result of Google’s large size and the pandemic. Google employees were upset with their leaders prior the the COVID-19 pandemic. They stated they were frustrated with how Google handled sexual harassment complaints, lack of diversity issues, and sexism. Google employees formed their first union in January 2020.

Pichai would do better to admit Google has problems and actively work on fixing them. It would make him and the company appear positive in the media, not to mention better relationships with his employees.

Whitney Grace, January 4, 2022

The CEOs Have a New Best Friend: Information Technology People

December 21, 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, organizational leaders turned to their IT departments to keep business running. IT professionals were propelled into leadership roles and were integral to keeping the entire globe from crumbling. ZD Net explains how, “Technology Leaders’ Influence In Their Businesses Grows Beyond Expectations.”

Snow Software recently conducted a survey of 1000 IT leaders and discovered that they faired well during the world crisis. Their roles became so important that they will venture into leadership positions that fall outside IT. Before COVID-19, 89% of respondents said that their roles were undervalued. Now 90% claim they are viewed as trusted advisors within their companies. Ninety-four percent of IT leaders view innovation as an integral part of their jobs, but 71% said they are spending too much time fixing problems than the former.

In 2022, IT leaders want to concentrate on reducing IT costs, improving customer relations, and improving day-to-ay operations. The survey showed:

“‘These areas of focus can often conflict, or at least compete, with one another which, so often, is an all-too-familiar pain felt by IT leaders,’ the researchers observe. ‘To balance these priorities moving forward, CIOs need a more advanced approach for managing their technology environment. Nearly all respondents say they are in the process of adopting the cloud in some form — and 61% increased their use of cloud services over the last year.”

It is great that IT leaders are influencing business decisions and shaping the work environment, but will things revert back as the world heads towards normalcy? Also since IT is a white, male dominated industry will this exacerbate the bro culture that dominates industry?

Sounds like a winner for the techies who happen to be male.

Whitney Grace, December 21, 2021

Amazon: Engendering Excitement and Questions about Failover and Reliability

December 8, 2021

Amazon’s big-bang conference is mostly a memory. I don’t think the conference announcements or the praise sung by the choir of Amazon faithful can top this story: “Amazon Packages Pile Up after AWS Outage Spawns Delivery Havoc.” The agility of the two-pizza method and the super duper automatic redundancy, failover ingenuity did not work. What’s affected? Just the foundation business of the online bookstore.

The write up states:

Three delivery service partners said an Amazon.com Inc. app used to communicate with delivery drivers is down. Vans that were supposed to be on the road delivering packages are sitting idle with no communication from the company, the person said. Amazon Flex drivers, independent delivery people who carry parcels in their own cars, can’t log into Amazon’s app to get assignments, said another person. The problems come amid Amazon’s critical holiday shopping season when the e-commerce giant can ill afford delays that could potentially create lasting log-jams.

Personally I don’t care too much about my deliver of household cleaner. I do worry that Amazon’s assurances for the existing GovCloud and the newly minted GovCloud West may suffer a similar meltdown. A failure to provide me with three bottles of Krud Kutter are tiny compared with fouling up top secret messaging and secured processes.

Concentration of online in the capable hands of a few technology behemoths makes sense to some MBAs. Efficiency, scale, better service, yada yada. The reality is reported in the start Detroit News’ story: Havoc. Marketing and conference talks are just easier and more exciting than maintaining a hugely complex system which is getting more difficult for some to believe in good, old Saint Bezos.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

Stephen E Arnold, December 8, 2021

New Management Method: High School Science Club Wants to Run the School District

December 8, 2021

I love those confident, ever youthful, and oh-so enthusiastic high school science club members. Many of these individuals maintain their youthful insights into adulthood. In the after life, maybe these imbibers of the fountain of youth-type thinking are in charge. Milton, bless his poetic soul, learned that blind poets are best left to menial duties. Are there Augean stables in heaven? Nope, just techno-wizards.

I read “CTO to CEO: The Case for Putting the Tech Expert in Charge.” After an incident of Dorseying, Twitter has a new captain at the helm. The article is interesting because the author uses the Twitter appointment of Parag Agrawal as the start of a new management trend.

Here’s an example:

CTOs are increasingly being groomed by corporate boards as part of their CEO succession planning, according to Ash Athawale, senior managing director for Robert Half’s executive search division. Athawale told Protocol that he’s witnessed an increase in attention towards technology leaders as potential future chief executives. The reason? Tech is now central to core business functions across all industries…

Logical, no? A technology centric CEO at Twitter is just the ticket.

And what have technology capable adults with a history in their secondary schools’ science clubs wrought?

Here are a handful of examples:

  • Twitter and its unique ability to provide left and right coasters with a platform to direct their thoughts at those who kick back and enjoy a filter bubble equipped with a one click response mechanism.
  • Facebook and its remarkable impact on social constructs, including vulnerable people who have their self worth inflated or crushed in a mouse click
  • The wonderful world of online advertising which introduced the concept of zero privacy to the world
  • Amazon and its race with Walmart to reduce small businesses to delivery drop off points

There are other examples of what happens when tech-savvy folks run giant companies with money generating feedback mechanisms.

My hunch is that the ideal manager is not likely to be as well received as individuals with a slightly different profile.

Stephen E Arnold, December 8, 2021

An Impossible Dream? Where Is the Windmill?

December 1, 2021

Cyberattacks are only growing in frequency, sophistication, and ROI for hackers. We know most companies need to do a better job at protecting themselves, but what will make the difference? Perhaps the problem lies in the gaps between departments. Network World suggests “3 Steps to Better Collaboration Between Networking and Security Pros.” IT Research firm Enterprise Management Associates finds many companies recognize the need for these departments to work more closely but are having trouble effectively bringing them together. The article identifies four key challenges: separate data silos, skill and knowledge differences between the teams, architectural complexity and, surprise, lack of funding. Writer Shamus McGillicuddy suggests three solutions. The first is to create common data repositories:

“The first priority is to establish a shared data repository that both teams can rely on for a common view of the network. In many companies, security teams are constantly requesting data from the network team when conducting investigations. If that’s the case, the network team should identify the data that security teams frequently request and establish repositories that are accessible to them. … network teams and security teams should centralize packet-capture infrastructure as much as possible so that both teams have a common record of raw traffic data.”

The catch—this change may require updates to data stores, which means spending some dough. Then there is the issue of training staff to better understand each other. McGillicuddy suggests it is up to management, not the teams themselves, to identify the necessary know-how:

“Leadership should recognize how skills gaps are undermine NetSecOps partnerships and lead from the top to close those gaps. Also, network infrastructure professionals are usually quite knowledgeable about network security concepts. They can bring that to bear as much as possible to find common ground with the security team.”

Again, companies must be willing to allocate funds to this endeavor. Finally, architecture should be simplified. The write-up stresses:

“If complexity is getting in the way, the network team should kill complexity and modernize legacy architecture as much as possible. One option is to adopt automation solutions that abstract complexity. And as they move into new environments like the cloud and work-from-anywhere, they should design for simplicity as much as possible.”

This step might be the most costly of the three, especially if legacy systems must be overhauled. All told, companies can be looking at a significant investment to establish harmony between their networking and security departments. The alternative, though, may be to risk a much more costly (and embarrassing) data breach in the future.

Cynthia Murrell, December 1, 2021

Value Decisions and the Silicon Valley Approach to Business Ethics

November 26, 2021

I read “Neurobiologist Reveal How Value Decisions Are Coded into Our Brains.” This research project suggests that smart software might be infused with similar functionality. My question, “Who’s doing the training?” The research paper ignores this type of question.

The authors/researchers have focused on an area within the cerebrum called the retrosplenial cortex. The write up states:

The RSC they found, is the site that we use to make value choices such as which restaurant we decide to visit for tonight’s dinner. We then update the RSC with fresh information based on the new impressions of how much we enjoyed the evening’s soup and pasta.

A quick question: If scientists know the region, is it possible to plant a Musk-esque implant in the brains of certain Silicon Valley high technology luminaries. Then, using appropriate signals, could someone pump the contents of a small collection of books related to ethical behavior, moral choice, and judicious decision making?

It has been obvious to me for years that university educations or, in the case of some high tech luminaries, hanging out with people who did attend esteemed institutions like the Epstein funded Massachusetts Institute of Technology, don’t do a good job with the ethics and morality cognitive functions.

Greed is good is a snappy phrase, and it seems to be the mantra of a coterie of digital wizards who like to win when playing Monopoly with their family.

Let’s give the implant some thought and work on the morality input functionality. Oh, oh, one problem. What if these luminaries don’t have a well formed retrosplenial cortex? Bummer.

Stephen E Arnold, November 26, 2021

Next Page »

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta