The Critical Need to Integrate The Humanities With Deep Technology

After watching “The Great Hack” on Netflix I am appalled by the absence of any moral compass at Cambridge Analytica, which transformed Big Data into a political weapon. Other disturbing examples are Uber’s former corporate culture and Facebook’s collusion with CA in abusing our privacy. These cases are prima facie evidence of the crucial need and the opportunity to integrate the Humanities and ethics with deep technology development. I began my career as a Humanities graduate at Intel Corporation working closely with Ivy League MBA’s and senior engineers. We shared our knowledge and learned together to enable the company to excel. The best companies are those grounded in an appreciation of human values, companies that seek out Humanities graduates with a passion for technology to balance out their teams.

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Since Facebook announced its new Libra currency and mobile payments scheme, the global reaction has been very mixed. Libra is not truly a cryptocurrency though it will use blockchain. It will be pegged to a reserve currency, which cryptocurrencies are not.  Libra will “potentially” be governed by an association independent of Facebook, though that association remains non-binding and sketchy at this point. Potential regulatory issues abound around the World, and Facebook is currently not viewed very favorably by many governments.  But most interesting to me, Libra appears to be modeled after Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile payments system, the world’s leading mobile payments system, invented by mobile carrier Safaricom. Then I asked myself if Facebook, knowing that it needs to move away from selling personal data, has seized on Safaricom’s M-Pesa as its new revenue model. 

Strategic Inflection Points

I want to more fully explain the concept of Strategic Inflection Points. I have referred to this topic in my Week 5 and Week 11 update videos. Former Intel CEO Andy Grove first described a strategic inflection point as a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end. An inflection point can be the result of an action taken by a company or an action taken by another entity. An excellent recent example may be Facebook’s announced intention to enter the cryptocurrency market. The markets have already reacted sharply to Facebook’s move. Analysts have suggested that it may significantly alter the forecasts for cryptocurrencies. Change is inevitable and change is happening more rapidly than ever. Adaptation to change is imperative for corporate survival.

Mayo0615 Reblog from July 22, 2013 It dawned on me that my blog post from July 2013, still […]

Since I joined the high-tech industry years ago, Silicon Valley has had a fundamental need for highly educated engineers and scientists that could not be filled by American graduates. This reality has been bemoaned by Congressional politicians for decades now, who have essentially done nothing to increase the emphasis on STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) for resident Americans, and who instead chose to provide the H1-B Visa enabling Silicon Valley high-tech companies to employ immigrants to fill these crucial positions, and has enabled the high-tech industry to thrive. The election of Donald Trump has changed all that. His platform is almost completely devoid of any acknowledgment of the crucial importance of high-tech innovation to U.S. productivity and economic growth, the need for H1-B immigrants and the parallel need for greater investment in STEM education.

With good intentions, and also a good dose of Facebook business strategy to expand its base of users, Mark Zuckerberg has struck out to promote Free Basics, a free limited Internet for the poor in less developed countries sponsored by Facebook and its local telecommunications partners. While on the face of it Free Basics would seem to have merit, Zuckerberg has run into a wall of opposition. On close inspection of the details, Facebook’s problem, despite all of its global corporate sophistication, appears to be naïveté about the foreign markets it is trying to enter. It is possible to argue that Zuckerberg and Facebook have the best of intentions and sound arguments. But the best of intentions and sound arguments mean nothing if the key element lacking is a clear understanding of the current foreign market, and the crucial need to adapt to it or fail. Zuckerberg could have looked no further back than 2013 for clues to why he has failed.

 Let’s be frank. Finding a decent job commensurate with your new UBC degree in Management has become extremely difficult. I have blogged previously here on the discounted value of a degree, as explained by UC Berkeley economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich.  For those living in the Okanagan or hoping to stay here to enjoy the sunshine, I urge you to relocate to a region with better employment prospects. BC Business recently published a ranking of BC cities for employment prospects.  Kelowna ranked 17th, despite being the second largest region in B.C..   Calgary is no better option for jobs these days.

new grad need job

READ MORE: Okanagan Economy And Jobs Market Likely To Worsen

The following list of potential employers is admittedly U.S. focused but it does give you some idea of kind of things you should look for in Canada.  Calgary is no longer a good option due to the oil price slump, expected by Goldman Sachs to last at least five years. Avoid the Energy Industry completely unless it is renewable energy, a growth industry. So not much opportunity in fossil fuels industry for the foreseeable future. Two of the ten below are immediately off this list for that reason alone: Chevron and Schlumberger.  In Canada, some UBC FOM graduates have found internships and entry-level positions in financial services companies like Edward Jones. High tech companies like Cisco Systems, Intel, and many others offer internships, but the competition is fierce. If you haven’t already done some serious advance work, you are probably out of the running. Don’t write off smaller companies if they are in an interesting industry.  If you can afford it, social entrepreneurship may pay dividends to your career.  Bottom line: if you want a good internship opportunity you are going to need to cast your net much further than you may have thought. work all possible network connections, and don’t be shy about asking for “informational interviews” with companies you are targeting. Looking in British Columbia only will be limiting though there are a few good companies, so it may be necessary to look across Canada. Follow the strengths of your aptitude, and people you know who can help you. Ask any FOM alumni who has managed to find a good entry-level position and they will tell you that it was a long, hard process. As my tag line says, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

REBLOGGED from CNNMoney:

Challenging projects. The real-world impact of one’s work. Access to company leaders. Free food.

These are some of the hallmarks of a great internship, according to reviews on the jobs site Glassdoor, which recently published its annual list of the highest-rated companies for interns.

Four of the firms in the top 10 are big tech companies; two are in the oil and gas sector, and there’s one each in media, finance, health and business consulting.

The interns who offered anonymous reviews of the companies where they worked also reported their pay. Average amounts for each company ranged from $1,722 to $7,214 a month.

CNNMoney contacted the 10 companies: three confirmed the pay numbers were in the ballpark, four wouldn’t confirm but said they pay competitively, and three didn’t respond. The survey didn’t distinguish between undergrad and grad student interns. Companies may pay graduate students more, so the average pay reported may be higher than what undergrad interns could earn in some cases.

Each company on the list is actively hiring for interns. And geographically, Glassdoor data show that New York currently has the most open internships (2,500), followed by San Francisco (1,500) and Los Angeles (1,400).

  • Company
  • Avg. monthly pay interns reported
  • What interns say
  • Facebook
    $6,779 (software engineer intern) $6,058 (intern)
    Great culture, challenging tasks, access to anyone in company
  • Chevron
    $6,001
    Professionalism, they invest in you, lots of opportunities
  • Google
    $6,788 (software engineer intern) $7,214 (intern)
    Able to make an impact, supportive managers and co-workers, lots of training
  • Quicken Loans
    $1,850
    Learned a lot about mortgage industry, room for personal growth, free lunch
  • eBay
    $5,893 (software engineer intern)
    Felt appreciated, got to work with top execs, “Bagel Wednesdays”
  • Yahoo
    $5,178
    Everyone’s energetic and dedicated; Marissa Mayer a great leader
  • Epic Systems
    $5,003 (software developer intern)
    Well-defined projects, flexibility, fun events for interns every few days
  • Schlumberger
    $5,607
    Lots of learning opportunities, real projects, everyone helpful
  • NBCUniversal
    $1,722
    Great program, professional development sessions beyond your specific job
  • Boston Consulting
    Group
    $5,566
    Surrounded by talent; friendly management; career development made a priority

LinkedIn shares yesterday plummeted precipitously after the company announced poorer than expected results, and downgraded prospects for the remainder of the year. Looking beyond the downgraded forecast and the costs associated with the $1.5 Billion acquisition of lynda.com, some analysts scrutinizing the press release, noted that there was no growth reported in the user base of “over 350 million users”, despite moves into China and other markets. Premium user revenue grew significantly but that did not come near to offsetting the total revenue number. Revenue and number of users are the two numbers followed most closely by investment analysts.
LinkedIn’s recent acquisitions have been noted as a LinkedIn strategy for compensating for flat overall user growth, and for diversifying into new markets to augment growth.

Hopefully this comes as no surprise to many, but for some, alas, I am afraid they have yet to get the email. It’s yet another case of the 1% versus the 99%. Only one percent of Web app developers have made any real money, the other ninety-nine percent are SOL. Forty-seven percent of those, make absolutely no money or less than $100 on their app. Not surprisingly there are now over a million apps on the Apple store, and when you add all of the other sources for apps, you can see that the problem is coming to a head. I saw this coming over two years ago and wrote about the problem on this blog, citing a New York Times story published about that time, describing the dark underbelly of the Web app development culture. In a satire of the problem, last year The Onion published a gag story about a new app called “Squander” that enabled users to “geolocate others nearby who had also wasted $2 on the same app.”