Tag Archives: business

Don’t Call Women “Girls”

At my job before this one, one of the millennial guys said, “Oh this vendor is going to have their girls look over this.” And one of the woman VPs said, “Really? They have little girls doing this for us? That’s amazing.” It was a good way to call it out with gentle ribbing and a reminder that language matters.

From MeFi:

I work with plenty of men who refer to their professional female colleagues as ‘girls’. It’s especially bad when it’s referring to an all-female team, like ‘the HR girls’.

They don’t call their male colleagues boys. Children generally have lower social status than adults. Women generally have lower social status than men. Calling women ‘girls’ in a professional contexts suggests you view them as extremely low on the social ladder. It’s demeaning and belittling, and implies that they’re more naive and less competent than their male equivalents.

Some women get socialised to go along with this and only ever be nice and unthreatening in the workplace, even if it costs them personally and professionally, because shit like calling women girls pigeonholes grown women as all of the negative things society implies about very young women 24/7 – annoying, irrational, flighty, overly emotional.

Reducing some women’s status in this way can be harmful to all women – I’ve learned to be firm and icy enough at work that I don’t think anyone does this to me, but doing it to my peers devalues the status of a group that also contains me. It makes us all a bit more dismissable and disposable as a demographic.

I call my male colleagues out on this all the time and it feels like a sacred duty.

Discussion in context.

How Intel Killed AMD

From a commenter on Reddit:

“AMD had the Athlon 64 put ahead of everything Intel had available and they were making tons of money off its sales. But then, suddenly, sales went dry and benchmarks began to run better on Intel despite real world deltas being much smaller than synthetics reflected.

“Can you guess why? Because Intel paid PC manufacturers out of its own pocket for years to not buy AMD’s chips.

“Although they were faster, manufacturers went with the bribe because the amount they made from that outweighed the amount they get from happy customers buying their powerful computers. And thus, the industry began to stagnate a bit with CPUs not really moving forward as quickly. T

“They also attacked all existing AMD chips by sabotaging their compiler, making it intentionally run slower on all existing and future AMD chips. Not just temporarily, but permanently; all versions of software created with that version of the compiler will forever run worse on AMD chips, even in 2020 (and yes, some benchmark tools infected with it are still used today!).”

Further reading at https://np.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/3s5r4d/is_nvidia_sabotaging_performance_for_no_visual/cwukpuc

Image from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiQV7SFoZq4

Digital Music Executive on Tidal Launch

Former digital music exec on Tidal:

“Tidal is offering nothing new. They have exactly the same catalog, product, features, even names of tiers the same as everyone else, with the exception of the $20 “lossless” feature. Even that’s not defensible, because every other service can and will offer it (and probably for less), and the $20 is not reflective of any real costs. It’s totally arbitrary pricing.

Aside from being audio overkill, lossless isn’t even a new or unique idea. This has been on every service’s roadmap for a while…but streaming lossless is pretty dumb, at the moment. Many people don’t have data connections fat enough to support it, and on mobile it’s silly.

Tidal can claim somehow they’re ‘more fair’ in paying artists, but they’ve been completely opaque about what that actually means. Given Tidal’s deals are almost certainly identical to every other service out there (Rhapsody, Spotify, Beats, etc.), it’s hard to believe their payment structure is going to be any different either.

The only difference as I see it is the presence of the select celebrity co-owners, who are either silent partners (in which case they’re just like any other investor, likely to be disappointed in Tidal’s returns) or are actively involved in development and management (in which case I pity the poor teams at Tidal that have to work with them).”

Full discussion http://www.metafilter.com/148481/Tidal#5993070

Why New Coke Failed

It wasn’t a conspiracy:

“The reason why coke changed it is a simple one, Pepsi happened. Whilst Pepsi had existed for practically the entirety of Cokes history they were never a large threat to the dominance of Coke after WWII. However this changed in the mid 70s with Pepsi running two well known ad campaigns. The first was the Pepsi Challenge with featured a blind taste test which showed that people preferred Pepsi to Coke. The second was an aggressive celebrity endorsement with the likes of Michael Jackson which pitched Pepsi as The choice of the new generation. As these campaigns were successful and the market share for Pepsi grew Coke knew they had to hit back. So they got food scientests to look into what was it that made people say the liked Pepsi and the answer they came up with was that Pepsi was sweeter then coke. So once they knew that they came up with a new sweeter version of Coke called New Coke that according to their own tests was preferred to both Pepsi and Old Coke.”

Full commentary New Coke Failure: What caused the New Coke campaign in the 80s to fail so spectacularly? What is the rationale for changing the Coke formula in the first place? : AskHistorians.

The Music Industry, Post-Payola

Secrets from the music industry:

“[A]ny citizen could walk into an airport and buy plane tickets with cash.

A common ruse was to have the A&R guy ( Artist and Repertoire) use company cash, buy tickets and give them to Local PDs at radio stations. These tickets were as good as cash but not a direct payment. The PD could either take a nice vacation or return the tickets to the airline at the airport. The friendly ticket lady would then refund the cash price of the ticket in full. Bingo! The PD “just got paid today.”

Gosh! If you have access to a wealthy and connected producer plus a steady supply of cocaine to stuff disk-jockey’s faces, there no telling how high your career might fly! It might fly like an eagle! You could buy a stairway to heaven!

That sounds hard to believe in today’s credit card world, but that’s how it was done. This was WAY before 911, so airports were more like train stations. You could just walk in and buy two tickets to paradise with cash; no ID, no record, no surveillance cameras, no traceability. That was how hits were made.”

via Nozame comments on What is a “dirty little (or big) secret” about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?.

Pushing Crumbs Around in The Sharing Economy

Commenter on Metafilter about a thread on the ‘sharing economy:’

“Well, I think what we’re looking at here is that we’re rapidly dismantling not just the safety net but the traditional employment structure and while that may be all exciting in a “Woo, smash the system!” kind of way, there’s not going to be a lot left standing.

Like the high schools where I grew up were busily dismantling their vo-tech programs because in the future we were all going to be Knowledge Workers doing something in an office, so why even have these boring old Making of Things training courses? Naturally even the increased demand for skilled workers didn’t actually bring BACK vo-tech programs once that structure was dismantled, so there was just less access to training for that kind of job. Instead you’re now herded relentlessly towards college and all that entails.

I mean the future I’m worried about isn’t grinding away in a vast corporate dystopia. The real dystopian future is the one where we’re all “independent contractors” fighting each other for pennies for jobs on something like Mechanical Turk or Fiverr where not only are we responsible for our work, we’re also responsible for marketing ourselves, handling our taxes and payroll, building new business, and so forth.

We’re forcing ourselves into the “sharing economy” because that’s what they want us to do, be so focused on pushing our crumbs around our plate that we don’t notice who the hell has most of the pie to begin with. Capitalism has monetized compassion and goodwill and trust in a remarkable why. So okay, I dig AirBnB as much as the next yuppie, but what happens to all those hotel and hospitality jobs once we’re all couchsurfing across America? How do you even participate in the “sharing economy” if you have no resources you could share?”

Full thread http://www.metafilter.com/137331/The-Collaborative-Consumption-Trap#5454124

Image is from a London workhouse in 1808 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Workroom_at_St_James_Workhouse.jpg

Inside NFL Locker Room Culture

From Sports Illustrated (via Digg’s top stories):

“People wanted to get on Richard Sherman for being brash and aggressive in his post-game interview after the NFC championship game, but they sure enjoyed watching the bloodbath that took place on that field for 60 minutes between San Francisco and Seattle. One of the best games of the playoffs was one of the most brutal, physical games I saw all season. NaVorro Bowman had his leg snapped in half during a fumble recovery, and while he was writhing in pain on the ground, Marshawn Lynch came over and stole the ball out of his hands. First down Seattle. Crowd goes wild. Fans want to see stripped-down gladiators out on the field and buttoned-up businessmen in the locker room. You can’t always have it both ways.

With so much testosterone and so much ego in one room, the possibility of things going off the rails is very high. Like any workplace, however, the most important stabilizing force is good leadership, from an organizational level, a coaching level, and most importantly a player level. From my experience, the best teams are the ones that have strong leadership at each position.

My workplace is not the typical American workplace. It’s far from perfect, but then again, so are we. And, maybe, so is this sport we play. When it’s all said and done, we all will miss the screaming fans, the big games, the packed stadiums, the adrenaline of competition. But the thing I hear the most from guys who retire is how much they miss the locker room. Something tells me that’s not going to change if I share mine with someone who just so happens to have a different sexual orientation.”

Full article http://mmqb.si.com/2014/02/28/connor-barwin-nfl-locker-room-culture/

Graphic from IGN http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/why-are-nhl-nba-locker-rooms-such-crap-compared-to-mlb-nfl.452392155/

Lego’s Post-Branding Branding

From The New York Times:

“Branding may have finally reached its Mannerist phase. Where the old-fashioned brand earnestly embraced a core message that verged on religious doctrine (Apple’s “Think Different,” Nike’s “Just Do It”), the new brand is aggressively self-aware, exaggerated and self-referential to the point of collapsing in on itself; rather than imbuing the product with magical qualities, it embraces and undercuts those qualities in one swift gesture. The effect is to subvert consumer prejudices and preconceptions and make us forget that we’re caught in a commerce-focused undertow.

It’s a counterintuitive sleight of hand: By acknowledging that their central message is unbelievable or at least exaggerated, the branding masterminds gain our trust and bolster our faith in the brand.

The brilliance of “The Lego Movie” lies in providing every piece to the modern branding puzzle, including the surface-level subversion. Not only does the movie effectively celebrate its own enormous, diverse and endlessly seductive universe, not only does it rejoice in the importance of play and creativity, but it also mocks the faux-positivity of modern corporate schlock (“Everything is awesome!”). Eventually, Lego’s core brand message is threatened when President Business transforms into Lord Business, a manipulative mastermind who preaches the religion of Awesomeness to distract everyone from his dastardly plans to make creative play impossible.

In this way, “The Lego Movie” graduates to a new skill level in the game of branding, an approach that’s at once more grandiose and more pernicious than ever. … All of those sophisticated constructions and celebrity minifigures and universes within universes are nothing, we learn, compared to a simple box of (noncross-platform promotional) colorful plastic blocks in the hands of a child. That box of blocks proves that, even though you might feel average and empty-headed, in fact you are ‘the most important, most talented, most interesting, most extraordinary person in the universe.'”

From http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/magazine/the-brilliant-unnerving-meta-marketing-of-the-lego-movie.html

Why Feathers Are The Next Super-Substance

From Modern Famer:

“One thing feathers have going for them are keratin, a tightly wound, crystal structured protein eight times stronger the cellulose. Feathers are packed with the stuff, but you have to work for it. First the feathers must be ground and then placed in a turbulent air flow separating machine that thrusts the quill segments to the base, blowing the barbs to the top. Then they can be softened with heat and molded into shapes. Often other bioplastics are added to optimize strength or flexibility and to make a lighter plastic.

Unlike petroleum-based plastics, they safely biodegrade, often releasing beneficial nitrogen into the soil.

Schmidt is now one of many researchers internationally working with chicken feathers and to date, estimates he’s processed at least 10,000 pounds of them. He and his colleagues are fond of the phrase ‘making chicken salad out of chicken shit.’

The list of things that the keratin-rich material has been used to make is vast: dishes and furniture, clothing, circuit boards, wall insulation, filters and planting pots (the feathers of one chicken makes three one-gallon containers). Feathers are used to make hurricane-proof roofing, shoe soles, and lightweight auto dashboards and glove compartments leading to fuel efficiency. While most are still prototypes, Schmidt says a “handful” of patents have been licensed by research institutes.”

Full article http://modernfarmer.com/2014/02/chicken-feathers/