Six months after we first discussed Zappo's planned move to a Holocracy, how is it going? When the deadline arrived on the last day of April, 14 percent of the company, 210 people, took the [severance] offer. Twenty of them were managers, I was told, out of a total of 246. It was a difficult day. Tear-stained faces replaced the typical smiles on the Zappos campus. [more inside]
If you spend any amount of time thinking about the business world and how women work within it, you must listen to The Broad Experience podcast. There are currently 70 episodes, hosted by the very smart, inquisitive, and (perhaps most importantly?) British, Ashley Milne-Tyte. I feel like I have never heard these kinds of discussions between women that are as erudite, insightful and pull no punches like these conversations that she is hosting. [more inside]
Breaking the Tragedy of the Horizon – climate change and financial stability: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warns investors face 'huge' climate change losses - "The Financial Stability Board, an international body monitoring the global financial system that Mr Carney chairs, may recommend G20 countries make it easier for investors to compare the 'carbon intensity' of different assets." [more inside]
Everyone you know will be able to rate you on the terrifying ‘Yelp for people’ — whether you want them to or not
Steve Albini Shows That Punk Rock Ethics Are Good Business “If you start from the premise of refusing to be an asshole, then a lot of other decisions kind of make themselves.” - posted at Psychology Today, of all places.
When arcade game manufacturers produced cabinets in the '80s, they made them to be placed in all sorts of arcades, malls and other areas of young-skewing entertainment. Fast forward to 2015, and while arcades aren't as prevalent — or as popular — as they once were, they're still hanging around. And within these locations, new business models are developing. Many traditional arcades are changing their ways, moving away from the coin-based business model that has long been part of the arcade ecosystem. Meanwhile, combination arcade bars are springing up across the country, bringing their own methods of monetizing games with them, along with other changes to pull the machines in line with more adult — and modern — usage.
Barnett believes the Constitution exists to secure inalienable property and contract rights for individuals. This may sound like a bland and inconsequential opinion, but if widely adopted by our courts and political systems it would prohibit or call into question basic governmental protections—minimum wages, food-safety regulations, child-labor laws—that most of us take for granted. For nearly a century now, a legal counterculture has insisted that the whole New Deal project was a big, unconstitutional error, and Barnett is a big part of that movement today.
What happens in these deals is a matter of perspective. To industry advocates, the transactions get money to people who need it now. They keep desperate families off the streets, pay medical bills, put kids through school [...] But to critics, Access Funding is part of an industry that profits off the poor and disabled. And Baltimore has become a prime target. [more inside]
Mike Bulajewski on the war between labor and management in the software industry, as manifested in the rise (and possible fall) of the Agile development: From this subset of principles, it’s clear that although Agile positions itself as a software development methodology, a closer inspection reveals clues to a greater ambition: to protect the interests of software engineers at work. [...] With this agenda, it is possible to characterize the Agile movement as a labour union.
In a new study from researchers at Columbia University, of nearly 22,000 full-time workers (from a dataset from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions), they saw that 18 percent of supervisors and managers reported symptoms of depression. For blue-collar workers, that figure was 12 percent, and for owners and executives, it was only 11 percent.
These are all very different services. Several of them are cool and useful, but it’s hard to tell them apart. - Send In The Clones
Zoo Zajac is a 130,000 sq ft (120,77.4 sq m) pet store in a small town in Germany. The owner, Norbert Zajac, got his first pet, a golden hamster, when he was 4 years old. He started breeding and selling animals at 8 years old. Today his pet store is officially recognized as the largest in the world and has a selection of animals better than many zoos. They stock 250,000 individual animals of 3,000 different species.
Big Pot: the California Democratic party added marijuana legalisation to its party platform - "Earlier this year Founders Fund, a venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, led a $75m investment round into Privateer, a private equity group focused on cannabis. It is the biggest single investment in the US cannabis industry to date: 'What Privateer is doing is looking like a Procter & Gamble or a Coca-Cola approach. The real value in the market is going to be having the Coke-calibre brand...' Meanwhile, a distinctly California-style backlash is already growing [and] the US has become an exporter of illegal cannabis to Mexico, as cultivation in the US has increased." [more inside]
"They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing... Once allied with but now increasingly hostile to the Republican hierarchy, conservative media is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections."
The State of Comic Book Retail - David Harper's latest comics industry survey shows bricks and mortar comic stores to be in a surprising period of opportunity and change. But are there now too many comics?
Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today's effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven't its creators made a film since?
Writing at FiveThirtyEight.com, Sam Dean argues that until very recently, there has been no way to meaningfully measure web traffic. For advertisers and site owners, "just having a number that everyone can point to as an acceptable proxy of reality is more important than how accurate that number may be." [more inside]
As part of our special focus on innovation in Africa, we have developed a list of 40 remarkable African innovators. Actually, it’s more like 47 but we counted teams as one. Our decision to celebrate these idea creators and solution providers stems from our belief that the true wealth of Africa is not buried under its soil, but in the brains of its best minds. This list is a testament to that belief.
Gaming Your Brain - How to top the leaderboard of Clash of Clans, and how Freemium games rake in billions of dollars from their players.
Here's literally every single thing that goes into one night of running a Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon: One Night at Kachka
Sony's 2011 contract with Spotify has leaked. The Verge's calculations have Sony making a pretty sizable sum off the deal, without much of it trickling down to artists. Meanwhile, Sony has begun pulling all of its artists' music from Soundcloud. [more inside]
"But the problem runs much deeper, because Silicon Valley’s amorality problem arises from the implicit and explicit narrative of progress companies use for marketing and that people use to find meaning in their work. By accepting this narrative of progress uncritically, imagining that technological change equals historic human betterment, many in Silicon Valley excuse themselves from moral reflection. Put simply, the progress narrative short-circuits moral reflection on the consequences of new technologies."
Get ready to have your insides disrupted by SmartPipe, the Venmo of pipes! (adult swim, 11:01)
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
The Onion Is Not a Joke [The Atlantic] How a fake newspaper is turning into a real media empire.
"So what does this curious tale of a mediocre restaurant prove? It proves that in London’s modern restaurant business, the combination of furiously high costs, reputations and big egos can be explosive. Indeed only one thing is clear to me. Right now the people really making money out of Jinjuu are the lawyers." Guardian restaurant critic Jay Raynor reviews Jinjuu - and the ensuing legal storm he accidentally provoked.
Yesterday, Jay-Z's streaming music service Tidal was launched. The press event featured over a dozen celebrity musicians as signing "owners" of the service (each reportedly received 3% equity in exchange for exclusive content), and, by some accounts, was a bit awkward and content-free. At $19.99, the subscription plan is double the cost of competing services like Spotify, and no "freemium" plan is offered. The justification is two-fold: 1. Artists should be compensated fairly for streaming; and 2. The service's high-fidelity, lossless streaming is far superior to the current standard (320 kbps AAC, as Spotify and Rdio currently provide.) You can take an online blind test between 320 kbps AAC and Tidal's lossless streaming, to see if you have the "equipment and ears" for lossless music. Is there really a noticeable difference, or is this snake oil? Will the artist-forward approach change the conversation and ingrained habits of streaming music listeners? Is Tidal a sort of streaming for the 1% rather than for struggling independent musicians? Is it a walled garden for artists at the expense of fans? Or is this all simply a great vertical move for Jay-Z's Roc Nation label? So many questions.
Women often have decreased access to professional networks and mentors for a variety of reasons--men are more likely to mentor and sponsor other men, informal social networking often centers around gendered activity, women may simply not have the time to do after-work socializing. This is unfortunate, since networks and mentoring are incredibly valuable for female professionals and entrepreneurs. The obvious solution has been to encourage early-career women to network more and "better" and highly-placed women to mentor and support younger women, but this has had mixed results. It turns out that highly-ranking women do disproportionately mentor and support lower-ranking women--but only if they aren't "tokens" at their level of their own workplace but instead part of multiple women at that level. [more inside]
In 2013, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh announced plans to reorganize the company as a holacracy, or a management structure that replaces job titles and hierarchical relationships with self-organizing units. The move has generated resistance from Zappos employees; so much so that, in a long memo, Hsieh says he is going to "rip the bandaid" and give employees until April 30 to either get on board with holacracy or take a severance package. Meanwhile, Hsieh and his close associates are having difficulty saying what the principles of holacracy even are. Commentary on the memo from Andrew Hill and Kim Nash.
A few years ago, I had lunch with the head of a major motion picture studio, who declared that his central problem was not finding good people—it was finding good ideas. Since then, when giving talks, I’ve asked audiences whether they agree with him. Almost always there’s a 50/50 split, which has astounded me because I couldn’t disagree more with the studio executive. Pixar President Ed Catmull on the culture that generates Pixar's artistic and commercial success.
"We don't want them to see diversity as a burden or a moral obligation. We want them to see it as a business imperative."UCLA’s Bunche Center for African American Studies has released its 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report: Flipping The Script [PDF]. The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive story (with lots of sidebars.)
Wire: Dear RadioShack, This Is Why We Adored You. Love, WIRED. "The time is near to bid farewell to that old security blanket, RadioShack. When the remote control broke, it was there. When we needed a cable or 20, it was there. But soon, it won’t be. The company is about to file for bankruptcy. Shares of its stock have been suspended from trading. We are forced to acknowledge that the era of personal electronics championed by the franchise stores that sold soldering gear and robots and had a Battery of the Month Club is really and truly over." [more inside]
Back in November one of my primary concerns was that the general public had little to no knowledge of ocean oil drilling to begin with. I wasn't modeling the game realistically (in fact, I did little to zero research on oil drilling at all) but I knew that the focus of the game might hurt me a bit. Who the heck would know, or care, anything about ocean oil anyways?David Galindo describes what happens when you launch an oil drilling game as an independent developer just after the largest oil spill in history took place in the Gulf, in part one of his series on how much indy devs earn. [more inside]
- L.A. Weekly: I Went to UCLA, But My Real Film School Was Vidiots
- Laist: Filmmakers And Fans Mourn The Loss Of Los Angeles' Greatest Video Store
- Academy Originals: Rewind: The Story of Vidiots
Vidiots video store set to close in April after 30 years
- Vidiots Foundation
Kinja user "Curious Squid" is an Australian woman who moonlights as a prostitute. She keeps a diary of her life as a sex worker, writing about the banal (arranging jobs) to the very interesting (sexual violence against sex workers).
The End of Banking: Money, Credit, and the Digital Revolution - "Unregulated banking with access to government guarantees is an enticing business model. It offers the profits of excessive risk-taking in good times, and allows passing on the inevitable losses to taxpayers in bad times." [more inside]
We Know How You Feel Computers are learning to read emotion, and the business world can’t wait.
If you’ve ever said, “markets are conversations” you’re quoting the words of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the ’90s-era opus on the promise of the Web [previously]. David Weinberger and Doc Searls (two of the original authors of Cluetrain) are publishing another provocative work today called New Clues. [more inside]
Book publishers back then didn’t always have much interest in books as such. They were experts at merchandising. They manufactured a certain number of titles every year, advertised them, sold as many copies as possible, and then did it all over the next year. Sometimes a book would be reprinted and sold again. Print runs were modest and so, generally, were profits.
Then, one day, there was a revolution...Pulp’s Big Moment
Then, one day, there was a revolution...Pulp’s Big Moment
The New York Times looks back at the Stanford Class of 1994 and what they are all up to today.
Alamo Drafthouse aside, not many movie theater chains have reported increased attendance in the past few years. Large chains have propped up revenues with ticket price hikes, premium concessions and drinks, but the specter of Netflix and other home viewing platforms looms ominously over the industry. Annual ticket sales in the U.S. have declined to 1995 levels from their high in 2002 (although revenues have grown 3.6% annually over the same period, well outpacing inflation). This January, AMC Theaters will begin testing a new business model in partnership with MoviePass, beginning in Denver and Boston. Subscribers can pay $30-45 a month for a membership good for one film per day at any AMC location. The move echoes a 2013 effort to reopen an independent theater in Oakhurst, CA using a member subscription model. Will it be enough to get more film aficionados off their couches and into a theater seat? The jury's still out.
Art is a business – and, yes, artists have to make difficult, honest business decisions - Amanda Palmer