Silicon Valley CEOs Have a Life Line

November 29, 2018

A write-up at Fast Company has a unique management tip for struggling tech executives—“Want to Be a Successful CEO? Get a Dog,” they advise. Writer Melissa Locker cites a recent survey performed by Kelton Research for Banfield Pet Hospital. She describes the career-boosting benefits of pet ownership as suggested by the survey. Not only had 93% of the 857 “C-suite” executives surveyed had one or more pets growing up, more than three quarters of those partly credit that experience for their success, Locker notes. She continues:

“There’s more, too: Nearly a quarter (24%) say that their childhood pet taught them more valuable lessons than their first internship. If you’re looking for inspiration, a whopping 77% of C-suite executives said they came up with a business idea while walking a pet (guessing dogs, not gerbils). 62% of these head corporate honchos believe pets had a positive impact on their ability to build relationships with coworkers and clients. Even if you weren’t lucky enough to grow up with an animal around the house, it’s not too late to benefit from a trip to the shelter: 80% of people surveyed said they felt more connected to colleagues who own pets, and 79% believing that colleagues with pets are hard workers.”

Not everyone is in the situation to share their home with a pet, nor does everyone relish the endeavor. However, it seems clear that those who do welcome furry, feathery, or scaly friends into their homes give themselves, and especially their kids, a definite advantage. Woof woof.

Cynthia Murrell, November 29, 2018

High School Science Club Officers Face Member Revolt

November 28, 2018

I don’t want to make a big deal of this high school science club management crisis. In a nutshell, people invited into the Google are members of a type of institution I call “the high school management club.” Now the members are revolting (no pun intended). According to “Employees Call on Google to Cancel China Project,” the members are not happy with the club’s management. What will the science club management do? My idea is that the Facebook “deflect, deny, and keep on going” approach might be up for consideration. Remarkable.

Stephen E Arnold, November 28, 2018

Ah, Facebook: High School Science Club Management in Action

November 23, 2018

In my high school, a person who did not relate to the math and science clubs’ superior humans might find their class notes defaced or something interesting in one’s locker.

I learned that “Facebook admits targeting George Soros after he criticized company.” Mature. I noted that the lean in executive Sandberg has revealed that the Definers relationship “crossed her desk.” Wait. I thought she did not know about hiring this outfit. I suppose the Washington Post is mistaken in its Switch column. Mistakes happen.

But that action was not the surprise I experienced when I read “Facebook Appeals Data-Sharing Fine ‘For Your Sake.” Nifty angle. “My sake.”

Stephen E Arnold, November 23, 2018

The Facebook Management Play: Not Much to Change

November 22, 2018

I read two articles this morning. I came away with the thought that Facebook is not eager to change.

The first article is “As Problems Pile Up, Mark Zuckerberg Stands His Ground in Exclusive CNN Business interview.” The main idea appears to be:

Zuckerberg resisted growing calls for changes to Facebook’s C-suite, reiterated Facebook’s potential as a force for good, and pushed back at some of the unrelenting critical coverage of his company after a year of negative headlines about fake news, election meddling and privacy concerns.

The second article is “The Punctured Myth of Sheryl Sandberg.” Yep, the lean in thinker and doer. The main idea struck me as:

Sandberg played a central role in nearly every misdeed at Facebook that’s described in the Times piece. Singularly focused on the company’s stock price and its advertising-based business model, she worked to minimize data abuse and election interference.

So what?

Three observations:

  1. Facebook is not likely to change without some outside encouragement
  2. Ethical behavior appears to be a dynamic concept. Expedient behavior may be a suitable synonym.
  3. A company founded on getting info about potential dates has morphed into an organization capable of taking down carefully constructed social assemblies.

Change may be difficult. Habit, momentum, and money can be barriers. We may have a digital turkey to monitor.

Stephen E Arnold, November 22, 2018

High School Science Club Management: The Facebook Method

November 16, 2018

I am not much of a Facebooker. We use a script to pump out the titles of the items we post in the Beyond Search blog. I try to ignore Facebook, but – I must admit – that has been tough the last few days. The New York Times finally jabbed its remaining investigative skills into the juicy, fat cables of Facebookland. My takeaway from the long newspaper story which has many atwitter is that HSSCM is alive and well. HSSCM means to me “high school science club management.”

What sparks me to write this fine morning in rural Kentucky is an essay by the chief lean inner at his link. To read this essay, I have been informed I have to log in. I did not. I assume I saw the full Monty, but who knows? In practice it doesn’t matter because the drift of the write up is:

What? Who knew?

Yeah, sounds about right. Who put “Great Balls of Fire” on the Woodruff High School PA system at 7 45 am in 1958? Those of us in the WHS Science Club said:

What? Who knew?

Here in frosty Harrod’s Creek, the stories from Facebookland reveal the basic workings of HSSCM: Say what’s necessary to make the annoying Mr. McDonald (our WHS principal) go away.

Image result for mit prank

We were the Science Club. We are the future. We knew better.

Sophomoric explanations work fine when one is 15. Transported to a publicly traded company I grow weary.

Time for a change. Lean into that.

Stephen E Arnold, November 16, 2018

High School Science Club: Employee Walk About

November 1, 2018

High school science club management methods face an interesting situation. The science club has a hierarchy. The whiz kids on the lower levels of that hierarchy are not getting with the program. Allegedly a small percentage of Google’s work force are unhappy with handling of alleged sexual misconduct. Here in Harrod’s Creek, we assumed that members of the high school science club school of thought worried about math, Fourier transforms, and k-means. If “We’re the Organizers of the Google Walkout. Here Are Our Demands” contains accurate information, some affected by high school management methods have other interests; for example, fairness, respectful behavior, and other old fashioned ideas.

I learned:

All employees and contract workers across the company deserve to be safe.

Fancy that.

Here’s an outrageous demand:

A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously. The process today is not working, in no small part because HRs’ performance is assessed by senior management and directors, forcing them to put management’s interests ahead of employees reporting harassment and discrimination. The improved process should also be accessible to all: full-time employees, temporary employees, vendors, and contractors alike. Accountability, safety and an ability to report unsafe working conditions should not be dictated by employment status.

What’s next for practitioners of high school science club membership? Better business processes? Executives not given to dalliances with fascinating methods of motivation? More responsible decision making? Nah, HSSCM methods are just better.

Google’s implementation of such management methods is as interesting as the company’s progress on solving death.

Stephen E Arnold, November 1, 2018


Advice for High School Science Club Type Managers

October 25, 2018

I spotted an interesting quote in “Aramark Exec: ‘Trying to Explain AI and Machine Learning to the C-Suite Is a Waste of Time’”.

Here it is:

“Trying to explain AI and machine learning to the C-suite is a waste of time,” said Pavan Arora, Chief AI Officer at Aramark. “Instead, show them what you can do. In doing so, you need to figure out your metric for this work. For example, if you’re looking at labor and optimization, the metric is about reducing over time and data optimization.”

Is this attitude one of the reasons companies like Facebook and Google take a more general approach to explaining exactly what their systems are doing?

High school science club management theory: Explaining why one puts a motorcycle on the roof of the high school is a waste of time. “They” would not understand. Now about those MIT pranks?

Stephen E Arnold, October 25, 2018

Facebook Founder: Flagged for After Class Detention?

October 18, 2018

I read a interesting and unintentionally amusing item in the UK newspaper (famous for real news too) called “Facebook Under Fire As US Officials Back Removal of Zuckerberg As Chairman.” My recollection is that Marc Zuckerberg owns the school, but the idea is still intriguing.

The idea is that smart money, four state government officials, and some of the “only” 30 million people whose credentials were breached think it is time for a change in leadership at Facebook.

I noted this statement:

The move comes as Facebook was presented with a new legal challenge. The technology company has been accused of misleading advertisers by inflating the viewing figures for videos on its site. A group of US advertisers launched a fraud claim against the social media giant on Tuesday, stating that it had overstated the average viewing time of advertising videos on the site by between 100 and 900pc before reporting them in 2016.

Does this mean that Facebook shaped facts? Let’s let the legal process chug along.

I also highlighted this passage:

“For years, Facebook has graded its own homework to the benefit of its shareholders and to the detriment of its advertising partners and a healthy marketplace,” said Jason Kint, chief executive of Digital Content Next. “This unfair and deceptive behavior underscores why industry and policymakers should have zero trust in the leadership of Facebook.”

High school science club management? Well, sort of. I anticipate some “I’m sorry. Really, really sorry” outputs.

Since I don’t use Facebook, I am not qualified to comment on the service, its advertising approach which baffled me when I tried to buy a $25 ad for “Dark Web Notebook,” and the numerous friends Ben and Tess (former pet boxers) attract on Facebook. Neither dog posts, but we do allow a software script to put up information about my antics on occasion.

My problem with the story is the word “leadership.” I am not confident that Facebook possesses this operational process. But, hey, I live in rural Kentucky. What do you expect from a bourbon loving, squirrel hating 75 year old?

Stephen E Arnold, October 18, 2018

Google: Is Technical Erosion Taking Place?

October 17, 2018

Two interesting reports caught my attention.

The first concerns the access problems experienced on October 16, 2018, with YouTube and YouTube Music. The details appear in “Back online. It’s Not Just You, YouTube and Other Google Services Are Down.” The write up states:

According to downtime tracker DownDetector, most people who are seeing the YouTube outage are in eastern and western United States and the UK. The site is seeing a very notable spike in reports of the web’s most popular video hosting site being down. Readers as far spread as Canada, India, Australia and Brazil are also reporting being affected.

Google’s infrastructure is large, complex, and subject to anomalies. Google was on top of the problem. The write up reports that Google dispatched “a team of highly trained monkeys” to rectify the glitch. Understandable, but YouTube is an ad revenue machine. The outage may have had an impact on Google Play, the pay-to-use-it service which will be available in the European Union soon. A YouTube outage is difficult to ignore even for monkeys. Did a monkey cause the problem or was it an annoying human user or a bad actor?

The second issue is related to Google’s self driving automobiles. “Google Engineer Triggered Self-Driving Car Accident That Went Unreported” asserts:

Google never publicly reported multiple autonomous vehicle crashes.

Let’s assume that the statement is accurate. The notion of a “failure to report” echoes the information in “Alphabet in the Soup for Keeping Quiet about Google Plus Data Leak Bug.” The article says:

Alphabet also failed to make investors aware that the company’s security measures “had failed recently and massively”; that they had been breached “due to employee error, malfeasance, system errors or vulnerabilities”; and that security protections had not shielded personal user data.

Google’s technology is quite good. Maybe there is no deterioration. What seems to be surfacing are examples of management decisions which are situational. I will pass these articles to the Beyond Search team compiling data about high school science club management methods.

Glitches and judgment could become the metaphorical equivalent of peanut butter and jelly, ham and eggs, or pressure and cracking in Inconel tubes.

Stephen E Arnold, October 17, 2018

Guess Who Has Not Been in an MIT Dorm for Men?

October 16, 2018

I know that Wikileaks is an interesting source of information. I usually do not mention the organization, its founder, or its information in this blog. However, I read “Leaked Memo: No Internet Until You Clean Your Bathroom, Ecuador Told Julian Assange.” Good stuff. So, let me make an exception to my minimalist approach to Wikeleaks.

I noted this statement in the write up:

London’s Ecuadorian embassy has slapped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with a nine-page memo of house rules to follow if he wants to see the internet again under their roof.

The nine page memo contained this passage, which strikes me as a classic administrative response to a guest who has undesirable habits:

In order to safeguard the sanitary conditions of the Embassy facilities, Mr Julian Assange and his visitors will conserve the cleanliness and hygiene of the bathroom and other spaces that they use inside the embassy. For the same reasons, Mr Julian Assange will be responsible for the well-being, food, cleanliness and proper care of your pet. If the pet is not given due attention, the Head of Mission will ask Mr Assange to deliver the pet to another person or an animal shelter outside the Diplomatic Mission.

Yep, the cat is likely to be a pivot point.

However, what the memo reveals to me is that no one in the Ecuadorian embassy has had an opportunity to live in an MIT men’s dorm, spend time with some of the professionals participating in hackathons which require around the clock coding, or checked out the garbage left on Starbuck tables at 175 East El Camino Road.

Mr. Assange may be behaving in a manner which seems normal and—quite possibly—expected of a person with technical expertise.

Ecuador, however, does not seem to understand the cultural context of Mr. Assange’s approach to maintaining self, pet, and domicile.

What happens when an irresistible force meets and immovable object?

Trash and slovenly behavior escalate. Entropy takes numerous forms.

Stephen E Arnold, October 16, 2018

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