Summary of “A Ghost Army of Workers Is Paid to Do Nothing in the Gulf”

The government was trying to trim a wage bill that eats up more than half its budget – an outlandish share even by Gulf standards.
All Persian Gulf monarchies have some version of this problem.
Government is the employer of first resort – even when it has nothing much for its employees to do.
Now, after years of lower crude prices, and increasingly aware that the oil will run out one day, Gulf rulers are seeking to repair public finances.
At the same time, he said, “Touching the public payroll means tinkering with the core of the Gulf social contract.”
The government, which employs about two-thirds of Saudi citizens who work, is chipping away at a budget deficit that ballooned to almost 16 percent of GDP after the oil shock of 2014.
Last year, Saudi Arabia spent an estimated 440 billion riyals on wages, nearly half of its total budget expenditure of 926 billion riyals, according to government data.
The Saudis, for example, have forced companies to employ more locals, banned expat workers altogether in some industries, and introduced taxes on them and their dependents.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Walmart’s Future Workforce: Robots and Freelancers”

Over the past few weeks, Walmart executives have sketched a picture of the company’s future that features more self-checkouts and a grocery-delivery business-soon escalating to 100 cities from a pilot program in six cities.
A pair of recent studies suggests that it’s also a sign that the U.S. economy is tilting further toward jobs that give workers less market power.
Flexible work arrangements, which include crowdsourcing platforms such as Uber, as well as freelancers and independent contractors, increased about 50 percent from 2005 to 2015.
The second pillar of Walmart’s approach, automation, could also be bad for workers.
In theory, automation doesn’t have to eliminate jobs, on balance, or drive down worker pay.
As its strategy unfolds, it seems that Walmart may cultivate a relatively smaller, better-compensated core of employees who are supplemented by automation and a flexible cadre of gig-economy workers.
Ten years from now, “There will be fewer associates in the Walmart store … and we will see the wage rate continue to go up,” Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon told The Economic Club of New York in November.
Given high turnover in retail, McMillon said, Walmart expects to eliminate jobs mostly through attrition.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Welcome to Zucktown. Where Everything Is Just Zucky.”

Hardy Green, author of “The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy,” said that the tech companies had been reviving elements of the company town in the United States for years now.
In a society where government is increasingly ineffective, company towns are nevertheless likely to be welcomed, or at least tolerated.
The big companies – not only Apple but Amazon, which has an increasingly large presence in Silicon Valley, as well as Facebook and Google – are much wealthier.
If Silicon Valley continues choking on its traffic, the companies will find hiring not merely difficult but impossible.
So the virtual companies are being forced to grapple with the most intractable physical issues.
‘Money in Every Problem’When the tech companies played a much smaller role in Silicon Valley 25 years ago, even the working class could afford to live here.
“They’re doing more than most companies, but most of what they do serves them,” she said.
“I do not expect a company to have as a priority providing community services that a real community needs. They’re in business to be in business.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “1 Irresistible Pitch Tip That Worked for Steve Jobs and the Google Founders”

When I prepare the company’s leaders to launch the product, I’ll be thinking about a technique Steve Jobs and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin used brilliantly: Don’t start with the product details; tell people why the product will change their life.
Tell them how your product will improve their life and you’ll have their attention.
Steve Jobs once said that people don’t want to know about computers; they want to know how computers will help them live better.
Few people recall how much storage was built in to the original iPod, but they can recall that it made it possible to carry a thousand songs in your pocket; “1,000 songs in your pocket” became one of the most iconic taglines in product history.
“A great leader can strip down a complicated product to its essence,” famed venture capitalist Michael Moritz once told me as he recalled the day two Stanford graduate students-Sergey Brin and Larry Page-pitched a company they called Google.
When Page and Brin walked into the offices of Sequoia Capital, they presented investor Moritz with a one-sentence summary of their product that was irresistible in its simplicity.
Every time I’m asked to meet with senior leaders about a new product, I urge them to create a pitch line-one sentence that sells the benefit of the product, answering the question, why should I care? The answer should be short and free of jargon or buzzwords that take up space without answering the question.
Finally, out of frustration, one of the leaders blurted out, “Look, Carmine, if you have a stroke and our product is in the hospital, doctors will be able to make a far more accurate diagnosis much faster than before. Our product could mean the difference between going home and living a full life or never recognizing your family again.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “9 Technology Mega Trends That Will Change The World In 2018”

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder we’re essentially doubling the amount of data created in the world roughly every two years.
Trend 3: Exponential growth in computing power is fueling massive tech advances.
Between 1975 and 2015, computing power doubled at a rate of every two years, before slowing to the current rate of approximately every two and a half years.
We’re reaching the limits of what traditional computing power can handle.
Thankfully, on the horizon, we have quantum computing.
Probably the most significant transformation of computing power ever, quantum computing will see computers become millions of times faster than they are right now.
Tech leaders are in a race to launch the first commercially viable quantum computer, capable of solving problems that today’s computers can’t handle.
Computers are now able to learn in much the same way as we humans do, and this leap in AI capabilities has been made possible by the massive increases in data and computing power.

The orginal article.

Summary of “9 Technology Mega Trends That Will Change The World In 2018”

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder we’re essentially doubling the amount of data created in the world roughly every two years.
Trend 3: Exponential growth in computing power is fueling massive tech advances.
Between 1975 and 2015, computing power doubled at a rate of every two years, before slowing to the current rate of approximately every two and a half years.
We’re reaching the limits of what traditional computing power can handle.
Thankfully, on the horizon, we have quantum computing.
Probably the most significant transformation of computing power ever, quantum computing will see computers become millions of times faster than they are right now.
Tech leaders are in a race to launch the first commercially viable quantum computer, capable of solving problems that today’s computers can’t handle.
Computers are now able to learn in much the same way as we humans do, and this leap in AI capabilities has been made possible by the massive increases in data and computing power.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can Anyone Beat Jeff Bezos?”

In a few years, they would almost certainly be trying to put each other out of business-if they weren’t already doing so secretly.
When the meal-kit delivery service Blue Apron announced it was going public its bankers had planned to price its initial public shares between $15 and $17. But upon the mere news that Amazon had concocted a pithy slogan-“We do the prep. You be the chef.”-for a potential future meal-delivery business of its own, Blue Apron was forced to slash the share price to between $10 and $11. Earlier this year, supermarket chains saw their market capitalization recede by $22 billion in a mass sell-off just hours after Amazon had announced that it was buying Whole Foods.
Presumably, these investors had nightmares of owning shares of the next Borders, which is out of business, or Barnes & Noble, which saw its stock drop some 75 percent in the past two years alone.
The Amazon Effect, alas, is no longer unique to Amazon.
A June 2017 Ball State University study noted that about half of all U.S. jobs could be eliminated in the coming years due to advances in automation.
A March report by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that 38 percent of all jobs in the U.S. could be lost to automation in just 15 years.
In reality, the Industrial Revolution was a horribly painful event that spanned some 80 years.
An abiding and solid company, and even an entire industry, can fall in just a few years as a result of technology in the hands of an adept competitor.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence”

Unlike the Industrial Revolution and the computer revolution, the A.I. revolution is not taking certain jobs and replacing them with other jobs.
Artificial intelligence is poorly suited for jobs involving creativity, planning and “Cross-domain” thinking – for example, the work of a trial lawyer.
More promising are lower-paying jobs involving the “People skills” that A.I. lacks: social workers, bartenders, concierges – professions requiring nuanced human interaction.
The solution to the problem of mass unemployment, I suspect, will involve “Service jobs of love.” These are jobs that A.I. cannot do, that society needs and that give people a sense of purpose.
The volunteer service jobs of today, in other words, may turn into the real jobs of the future.
As for the consumer internet market, seven American or Chinese companies – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – are making extensive use of A.I. and expanding operations to other countries, essentially owning those A.I. markets.
While a large, growing population can be an economic asset, in the age of A.I. it will be an economic liability because it will comprise mostly displaced workers, not productive ones.
So if most countries will not be able to tax ultra-profitable A.I. companies to subsidize their workers, what options will they have? I foresee only one: Unless they wish to plunge their people into poverty, they will be forced to negotiate with whichever country supplies most of their A.I. software – China or the United States – to essentially become that country’s economic dependent, taking in welfare subsidies in exchange for letting the “Parent” nation’s A.I. companies continue to profit from the dependent country’s users.

The orginal article.

Summary of “To become a better leader, don’t read Steve Jobs’s biography”

Steve Jobs has been called the greatest businessman the world has ever seen and the best CEO of this generation.
Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs didn’t just create a Hollywood hit: It created a manual for any bosses seeking a hall pass for their temper tantrums.
Along with recounting Jobs’s blistering behavior and his “Perverse eagerness” for putting people down, Isaacson remarks that “People who were not crushed ended up being stronger” and that those employees who were most abused by Jobs ended up accomplishing things “They never dreamed possible” thanks to his harsh treatment.
As recounted in the Isaacson’s biography, Jobs’s acid tongue eventually caused his employees to burn out.
After working 10 months of 90-hour workweeks, one employee finally quit in exasperation after Jobs walked into the room and told everyone how “Unimpressed” he was with what they were doing.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said “Some of the most creative people in Apple who worked on the Macintosh” left the company and refused to ever again work for Jobs again.
Because of Jobs’ nasty temper, Apple lost out on impressive talent.
“Managers who try to emulate Mr. Jobs by just being rude or aggressive are missing the point,” Issacson says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Steve Jobs: Three Steps to Making Connections That Matter”

Making things simple is more than just making things easy.
In his speech to the Academy, he encouraged listeners to take the time to travel, to see and experience things, to read, and to try different things.
Experience allows us to see connections between things that others may not notice.
The simplest question of all is “Why?” Children ask this all the time, not just because they don’t understand how things work, but also to make the unfamiliar familiar-to make connections between what they know and what they don’t.
If we can think like children-not in a childish way, but to strip away our preconceptions and assumptions about what things are and how they work, we can make new connections and innovations.
We shouldn’t take things for granted, but ask how they can be bettered.
When a person can notice those “Clicks” in things, connections and innovations can be made-but only if one has the awareness and breadth of experience to notice them.
His commitment to being exposed to as many experiences as possible and looking at things in unprejudiced ways to make them simpler and/or better are things we can all do; it just takes patience, observation, practice, and the commitment to make the good better and the better as perfect as possible.

The orginal article.