Managers Think Workers Are Stupid and Other Critical Errors

Today’s feature in meaningless survey research is this new poll by the American Management Association on American workers communication skills. MSN is reporting that ‘American workers fall short’. Should anyone be surprised that this is the conclusion of the American Management Association? There’s an obvious bias right there on the part of the executives who are being surveyed. Would it really be in their interest to say that American’s workers are doing well?

Entrepreneurs, Labor, and Citizen Science

Venkatesh Rao, the blogger at ribbonfarm has written a three-part series “Entrepreneurs are the new labor” for Forbes. His basic argument is that entrepreneurs are becoming a new labor class. Twenty years ago technology entrepreurs, like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, were the Robber Barons of the current technology wave, riding the development of personal computres to massive individual fortunes. Today the entrepreurs in Silicon Valley are building upon the shoulders of these giants, many of their companies are small bore endeavors creating the latest social-this-social-that app for consumer smartphones.

Technological Determinism and the Power of CEOs

A discussion in a recent class about information history and technology swirled around the common theme of technological determinism. It’s a perennial issue for anyone that deals with science and technology studies or the history of technology. On the one side are those who argue that technology drives history, on the other are those who object. A Google search reveals this definition by Daniel Chandler. The technological determinist view is a technology-led theory of social change: technology is seen as ‘the prime mover’ in history.

Education Won't Save Us

I recently wrote about the common canard that education will allow us all to get good jobs in a world where outsourcing and globalization are the dominant economic paradigms. There are so many loads of bunk inside of that idea that it’s hard to know where to begin. Brad DeLong recently posted some thoughts on this very issue. He wrote, in response to Greg Mankiw. I don’t think this works particularly well.

Religion and the Workplace

A recent post at my favorite godless liberal weblog, Pharyngula, on the gender and age distribution of writers for skeptical magazines such as the Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic prompted me to think a bit about attitudes toward religious expression in the workplace. I’d be interested to see what Eric thinks. My personal opinion is that religion should be kept to a minimal level in the workplace as much as possible. I’ve been relatively lucky to work in environments where religion has never been a major issue or concern.

Emusic Rocks! - a long tail success

I was listening to Siamese Dream today by the Smashing Pumpkins while out running errands. It’s a perfect piece of early 1990s sugary pop music. A quick search on Google convinces me that others agree. I think ‘sugary’ is the perfect world to describe the music; it’s overdriven and overlayed guitar insanity. I first heard it from a friend who brought the CD home from college during summer break and played it for me while we were hanging out.

Recent Reading on Knowledge Mangement

Last semester I took a class on knowledge management or information in organizations. We talked a lot about the different routines, incentives, and rewards that encourage or discourage people to share knowledge with each other. Two knowledge management professionals have posted a couple of posts that I’d like to highlight. Dave Pollard at “How to Save the World” writes about creating our own peer-to-peer expertise finder. But then it occurred to me that there is a profound difference between ‘know-what’ and ‘know-where’ on the one hand, and ‘know-who’ on the other: Finding the former are complicated search problems; finding the latter is a complex problem.

Jessica Litman and Law School Publishing

Jessica Litman delivered a paper today to a rump crowd of SI students and faculty about the economic costs of law journal publishing. Her thesis was that the major costs for law school publishing are mostly externalized as the cost of the faculty who perform the research. The actual production and editorial costs of the journal is a fraction of the total cost of production. Given this fact there seems to be no economic reason to suppose that an open access model would do any harm.

Your Weekly Juxtaposition: Fallows and Beale

Last week I started reading James Fallows article “The Age of Murdoch” in the September 2003 Atlantic Monthly. I put the article down for a time to see what was on television and found “Network” on Turner Classic Movies. This was one of the craziest juxtapositions I’ve experienced recently. So for your edification here are some quotes to compare. James Fallows: In the world beyond the FCC’s purview the idea that the news business differed from other businesses had started to erode as early as the 1970s.