Brllnt’s symbiotic relationship with WeWork hints at a much larger shift in how we organize work, and where. The startup’s choice of a host was not coincidental. With more than 80,000 members spread across 112 locations in 32 cities worldwide, WeWork represents something new in the annals of the office: a talent pool with the scope and scale of a multinational corporation whose collective brain is there for the picking. Whether it justifies its $16 billion valuation, it’s already one of the biggest beneficiaries of two trends driving the unbundling — and rebundling — of creative work.
General Assembly, for example, is just one of a number of coding-bootcamp providers. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by companies such as Coursera and Udacity, feted at the start of this decade and then dismissed as hype within a couple of years, have embraced new employment-focused business models. LinkedIn, a professional-networking site, bought an online training business, Lynda, in 2015 and is now offering courses through a service called LinkedIn Learning. Pluralsight has a library of on-demand training videos and a valuation in unicorn territory. Amazon’s cloud-computing division also has an education arm.
Universities are embracing online and modular learning more vigorously. Places like Singapore are investing heavily in providing their citizens with learning credits that they can draw on throughout their working lives. Individuals, too, increasingly seem to accept the need for continuous rebooting. According to the Pew survey, 54% of all working Americans think it will be essential to develop new skills throughout their working lives; among adults under 30 the number goes up to 61%. Another survey, conducted by Manpower in 2016, found that 93% of millennials were willing to spend their own money on further training. Meanwhile, employers are putting increasing emphasis on learning as a skill in its own right.
If you have heard of the Golden Triangle, it might be because of this: Mississippi State football. Around here, everybody loves the Bulldogs. And “bulldog” is an apt description of the man who runs economic development for the area: Joe Max Higgins. He considers job creation a full contact sport.
At 6.0 percent, unemployment is now just above the national average and a lot of people here credit Joe Max Higgins. He has attracted $6 billion of advanced industry including this mill run by Steel Dynamics. It’s one of the most hi-tech steel mills in the country. He got this helicopter factory up and running. Truck maker PACCAR used to build engines only in Europe. It opened its first U.S. plant in the Triangle.
Though she’ll continue to work on the foundation, she’s building up a personal office to dedicate resources and attention to an issue of central personal importance: getting more women into tech — and helping them stay there.
It’s personal. Gates got her start in tech. After graduating from Duke with a computer science degree (and an MBA), she spent a decade working at Microsoft. That was back in 1987, when just over a third of undergraduate computer science degrees went to women. Nearly 30 years later, fewer than one in five CS degrees are earned by women. That, according to Gates, constitutes a crisis. “This has got to change,” she told me when we met to discuss her efforts last week.
In Silicon Collar, I celebrate modern day workers and their machines. So, imagine my joy when Jennifer Pockell Dimas pointed me to a series on NPR about workers in the 1970s
“In the early 1970’s, author Studs Terkel went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs.
The book became a bestseller and even inspired a Broadway musical – something rare for an oral history collection. Working struck a nerve, because it elevated the stories of ordinary people and their daily lives. Studs celebrated the un-celebrated.
But until now, few of the interviews have ever been heard before. For decades, the tapes were packed away in Studs’ home office.
Radio Diaries and our partner Project& were given exclusive access to those recordings and we have spent the past year combing through them. We’re archival tape geeks, and listening to these tapes has felt like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
As I have done with previous books, I will excerpt about 10% of Silicon Collar over the next several weeks in prep for the book release early September. Amazon is taking advance orders for the Kindle version here.
On New Florence, I will excerpt from the 50+ settings - in accounting firms, on the basketball court, in banks, on the battlefront, in digital agencies, in the oil patch, in R&D labs, on shop floors, in wineries, in the warehouse and many more how automation – machine learning, robotics, unmanned autonomous vehicles, white collar bots, exoskeletons etc. – is changing the nature of work. That’s the “machines as our colleagues” angle of the book
On Deal Architect, I will excerpt the historical angle of the book. That looks at automation over decades - in the grocery industry, in the automobile industry, in knowledge work, in the US Postal Service among other sectors. I found "evolution, not revolution" and use that to confront the pessimism about jobless futures coming out of academics, analysts and politicians.
In the meantime, here is the Table of Contents. Enjoy the excerpts.
A California start-up called View, which has raised a whopping $500 million from investors including Corning, General Electric and Khosla Ventures, is making high-tech windows that have the potential to bring to buildings what high-resolution touchscreens did for smartphones.
View’s windows eliminate glare, change hue, moderate internal temperature — and at some point, could show entirely different views of the outside world — via a process that uses a pane of glass sprayed with electrochromic material, which alters light transmission.
The result is smart glass that increases energy efficiency and promises better worker productivity, via technology accessed through an app.