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Why Companies Are Failing at Reskilling
April 19, 2019 | WSJ | By Lauren Weber.

Investing in new technology can often be easier for companies than negotiating the organizational challenges that come with reskilling workers, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT.

“It’s one thing to invest in machine learning; it’s another to reinvent an organization or a business model,” he said. “Human capital is quantitatively a much bigger share of the capital in the economy than physical assets like plants, technology and equipment, and we understand it less well.”

Cumulatively, firms spend billions of dollars every year on technology devoted to digital transformation, but executives admit to confusion and uncertainty about the impact.....Other countries are being more proactive: Singapore and France recently started giving workers an annual allowance for approved career training. Through a program called Second Career in Ontario, Canada, low-skilled workers displaced from their jobs receive grants of up to 28,000 Canadian dollars to cover training in growing occupations, along with costs such as child care and transportation.

“Many countries we compete with see continual worker retraining as part of their economic strategy. The way we’ve traditionally treated education in this country is the government is responsible for your education until age 18, and after that it’s more of a private matter,”......How to break through the challenges, inefficiencies and resistance?.....employers and educators can do a better job of helping people find logical, reasonable career paths. Labor experts call this “skill adjacencies,” essentially diagnosing a person’s present skills and identifying promising careers that offer higher wages or growth in demand while requiring minimal investments of time and money in retraining.

“We need a Waze for your career,” ... the navigation app that offers real-time maps and driving directions. “You could look at jobs that are adjacent to your skillset or role, and with fairly light training, you can make a jump into a better job.”

The secret to successful reskilling, he says: keeping training short enough and achievable enough that workers can learn real skills and both they and employers get a return on investment.

Training Daze
Companies face a number of hurdles to successfully training workers for the skills needed in the evolving digital economy. Among the challenges:

* Data: Companies typically don’t have a clear view of their own employees’ talents. Few firms have repositories of data on a person’s skills, internal reputation, learning capacity, ambitions and interests.
* Speed: Converting a mechanical engineer into an electrical engineer, or a business analyst into a data scientist doesn’t necessarily happen in one quarter— or even a fiscal year—the cadences that shareholders understand. “Upskilling takes time. A hiring manager can usually find someone quicker outside the company,” even if it’s a more expensive contract worker.
* Worker engagement: If companies involved workers in decisions on new technology to implement, they would find that some already have the knowledge and others can be trained. “If we change that process, then we would see the potential of the workforce. We would see where the training needs are,”.
* Money: Employers have long shown a reluctance to invest the dollars needed to successfully retrain large swaths of staff, even when the economy is strong. In 2017, organizations spent around $1,300 per employee on training, up 8% from 2013, according to the Association for Talent Development. And as the economy declines, training budgets are typically slashed. One paper found a 28% decline in employer-funded training between 2001 and 2009.
* Unrealistic expectations: Society needs to recalibrate expectations for worker retraining. Laid-off coal miners probably won’t become data scientists, and few AT&T lineworkers will morph into software developers as the company transitions from a telephone company to a wireless and services business.
adjacencies  career_paths  digital_economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  future-proofing  labour_markets  layoffs  retraining  reskilling  skills  training 
april 2019 by jerryking
Why Jeff Bezos Should Push for Nobody to Get as Rich as Jeff Bezos
Sept. 19, 2018 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

Why does Jeff Bezos have so much money in the first place? What does his fortune tell us about the economic structure and impact of the tech industry, the engine behind his billions? And, most important, what responsibility comes with his wealth — and is it any business of ours what he does with it?.........Bezos’ extreme wealth is not only a product of his own ingenuity. It is also a function of several grand forces shaping the global economy...the unequal impact of digital technology..... direct economic benefits have accrued to a small number of superstar companies and their largest shareholders.....the most important thing Bezos can do with his money is to become a traitor to his class,” said Anand Giridharadas, author of a new book, “Winners Take All.”.....Giridharadas argues that the efforts of the super-wealthy to change the world through philanthropy are often a distraction from the planet’s actual problems. To truly fix the world, Mr. Bezos ought to push for policy changes that would create a more equal distribution of the winnings ......there are fans of Amazon who will dispute the notion that Bezos’ wealth represents a problem or a responsibility....He acquired his wealth legally and in the most quintessentially American way: He had a wacky idea, took a stab at it, stuck with it through thick and thin, and, through patient, deliberate, farsighted risk-taking,.......Tech-powered businesses are often driven by an economic concept known as network effects, in which the very popularity of a service sparks even greater popularity. Amazon, for instance, keeps attracting more third-party businesses to sell goods in its store — which in turn makes it a better store for customers, which attracts more suppliers, improving the customer experience, and so on in an endless virtuous cycle........Mr. Bezos’ most attractive quality, as a businessman, is his capacity for patience and surprise. “This is guy who was willing to buck what everyone else thought for so long,” Mr. Giridharadas said. “If he brings that same irreverence to the question of how to give, he has the potential to interrogate himself about why it is that we need so many billionaires to save us in the first place
Amazon  Anand_Giridharadas  books  economic_policy  economies_of_scale  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Farhad_Manjoo  Jeff_Bezos  third-party  high_net_worth  human_ingenuity  ingenuity  moguls  network_effects  philanthropy  superstars  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
september 2018 by jerryking
What the history of the electric dynamo teaches about the future of the computer.
JUNE 9 2007 6:18 AM
By Tim Harford

David's research also suggests patience. New technology takes time to have a big economic impact. More importantly, businesses and society itself have to adapt before that will happen. Such change is always difficult and, perhaps mercifully, slower than the march of technology.

More recent research from MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson has shown that the history of the dynamo is repeating itself: Companies do not do well if they spend a lot of money on IT projects unless they also radically reorganize to take advantage of the technology. The rewards of success are huge, but the chance of failure is high. That may explain why big IT projects so often fail, and why companies nevertheless keep trying to introduce them.

Brynjolfsson recently commented that the technology currently available is enough to fuel a couple of decades of organizational improvements.
technology  Alfred_Chandler  historians  IT  productivity  productivity_payoffs  Erik_Brynjolfsson  organizational_improvements  organizational_change  organizational_structure  Tim_Harford  business_history 
may 2017 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum - The New Yorker
By Om Malik , NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Whether self-driving cars and trucks, drones, privatization of civic services like transportation, or dynamic pricing, all these developments embrace automation and efficiency, and abhor friction and waste. As Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, told MIT Technology Review, “Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.” It is, he said, “the great paradox of our era.”
empathy  technology  Silicon_Valley  Donald_Trump  Campaign_2016  efficiencies  empathy_vacuum  automation  Om_Malik  Erik_Brynjolfsson  productivity  paradoxes 
december 2016 by jerryking
In the age of disruptive innovation, adaptability is what matters most - The Globe and Mail
May. 13 2015 | The Globe and Mail |by EAMONN PERCY.

William Gibson, who coined the term Cyberspace, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

It is not the innovation itself that matters, but its implications during this transition. For the individual, the key will be how to take advantage of these changes, while protecting one’s family, business, career, investments and way of life.....In 2013, a study authored by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McFee at the MIT Sloan School of Management argued that advances in technology are largely behind the sluggish job growth and flattening median incomes over the last 10 to 15 years. They believe that the recent rapid advances in technology are destroying jobs more quickly than they are being created, contributing to the recent stagnation in income and the growth of inequality in the U.S. ... However, around the year 2000, this correlation diverged, with productivity continuing to rise but employment levels stagnating. They call the gap between increasing productivity and employment ‘the Great Decoupling,’ and the authors believe technology is behind it....the best way to both survive and then thrive in this coming transition is simple; embrace it as an Age of Adaptability. There is nothing an individual can do to stop these massive global trends in technology, economics, and demographics, other than adapt. Even reacting to the trends is insufficient, since their scale and velocity are will leave you scrambling to catch up, not mind getting ahead. The only solution is to adapt by becoming a lifelong learner, failing fast if necessary, and learning to get ahead of the changes.

This ability to adapt starts with a mindset that the status quo is not a safe haven, but the place of greatest risk. It means accepting complete responsibility for your destiny, rather than subordinating your well-being to other groups or people. It requires you to take 100 per cent control of your circumstances, particularly if you are responsible for a family, or other people in the form of a business. It entails moving to a state of absolute clarity and awareness of the coming onslaught of change, and then taking a personal leadership role in making incremental, but permanent, changes to your life now.
mindsets  information_overload  disruption  the_Great_Decoupling  Erik_Brynjolfsson  MIT  Andrew_McFee  economic_stagnation  adaptability  innovation  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking
The changing face of employment - FT.com
January 30, 2015 12:41 pm
The changing face of employment
Gillian Tett

One widely cited statistic at the World Economic Forum was a projection that automation would end up replacing some 45 per cent of jobs in the US in the next 20 years. And the consensus was that it would be the middle tier of jobs that would disappear. The future of employment — at least according to Davos — is a world bifurcated between low-skilled, low-paid service jobs (say, dog walkers and cleaners) and highly skilled elite roles (computer programmers, designers and all the other jobs that Davos luminaries do). Everything else is potentially vulnerable....What is still critically unclear is how all this investment in infrastructure and training is going to be paid for. Philanthropy? Taxes? It is also unclear how mass access to the internet will recreate those disappearing mid-tier jobs. Given that, it is perhaps no surprise that when I asked a group of Davos grandees for a show of hands on whether income inequality would get worse in the coming years, almost everybody in the room voted “yes” — without hesitation. That is deeply sobering.
Gillian_Tett  WEF_Davos  innovation  middle_class  unemployment  mobile_phones  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  MIT  Erik_Brynjolfsson  automation  Andrew_McAfee 
january 2015 by jerryking
Summer Reads, Courtesy of JPMorgan - NYTimes.com
By SYDNEY EMBER JUNE 6, 2014 11:32

the complete 2014 JPMorgan reading list:

“Things a Little Bird Told Me,” by Biz Stone
“The Second Machine Age,” by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
“The Metropolitan Revolution,” by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley
“Talk Like TED,” by Carmine Gallo
“Thrive,” by Arianna Huffington -- "When she went around promoting it, "I found that this [sleep] is the one thing people wanted to talk to me about more than anything else in the book." A convert to the value of sleep by Simon Kuper, FT, 10 December/11 December 2016.
“Art & Place,” by the editors of Phaidon
“The Billionaire and the Mechanic,” by Julian Guthrie
“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” by Chris Hadfield
“Olives, Lemons & Za’atar,” by Rawia Bishara
“The Future of the Mind,” by Michio Kaku
summertime  reading  booklists  books  Arianna_Huffington  Andrew_McAfee  Erik_Brynjolfsson  JPMorgan_Chase 
june 2014 by jerryking
What Machines Can’t Do - NYTimes.com
FEB. 3, 2014 | NYT | David Brooks.
here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live
========================================================================
We’re clearly heading into an age of brilliant technology.computers are increasingly going to be able to perform important parts of even mostly cognitive jobs, like picking stocks, diagnosing diseases and granting parole.

As this happens, certain mental skills will become less valuable because computers will take over (e.g. memorization)

what human skills will be more valuable? The age of brilliant machines seems to reward a few traits. First, it rewards enthusiasm, people driven to perform extended bouts of concentration, diving into and trying to make sense of these bottomless information oceans. Second, the era seems to reward people with extended time horizons and strategic discipline. Third, the age seems to reward procedural architects (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. , people who can design an architecture/platform that allows other people to express ideas or to collaborate. Fourth, people who can organize a decentralized network around a clear question, without letting it dissipate or clump, will have enormous value. Fifth, essentialists will probably be rewarded--the ability to grasp the essence of one thing, and then the essence of some very different thing, and smash them together to create some entirely new thing. Sixth, the computer is the computer. The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
David_Brooks  Erik_Brynjolfsson  career_paths  MIT  emotions  empathy  problem_solving  persuasion  Andrew_McAfee  Communicating_&_Connecting  indispensable  skills  Managing_Your_Career  21st._century  new_graduates  focus  long-term  self-discipline  lateral_thinking  sense-making  platforms 
february 2014 by jerryking
More Data Can Mean Less Guessing About the Economy - NYTimes.com
By STEVE LOHR
Published: September 7, 2013

measurement shortfall in the small-business sector, and a series of other information gaps in the economy, may be overcome by what experts say is an emerging data revolution — Big Data, in the current catchphrase. The ever-expanding universe of digital signals of behavior, from browsing and buying on the Web to cellphone location data, is grist for potential breakthroughs in economic measurement. It could produce more accurate forecasting and more informed policy-making — more science and less guesswork.... THE economics profession is gearing up to exploit new sources of digital data. In a recent paper, “The Data Revolution and Economic Analysis,” two Stanford economists, Liran Einav and Jonathan Levin, concluded that “there is little doubt, at least in our minds, that over the next decades ‘big data’ will change the landscape of economic policy and economic research.”

At Intuit, the small-business data portray a sector that was “hurt much more than big business by the recession and its recovery has been far worse,” says Ms. Woodward, the economic consultant. Over the last three and a half years, payroll employment for all companies has increased 6.9 percent, while small-business employment has risen far less, just 1.9 percent. Hiring among the small companies, though still sluggish, has inched ahead in the last three months.
data  Steve_Lohr  massive_data_sets  Intuit  information_sources  small_business  measurements  Freshbooks  economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  economics  indicators  real-time  forecasting  economic_data  information_gaps  signals  economists  data_driven 
september 2013 by jerryking
How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class - NYTimes.com
August 24, 2013, 2:35 pm 30 Comments
How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class
By DAVID H. AUTOR AND DAVID DORN

In the four years since the Great Recession officially ended, the productivity of American workers — those lucky enough to have jobs — has risen smartly. But the United States still has two million fewer jobs than before the downturn, the unemployment rate is stuck at levels not seen since the early 1990s and the proportion of adults who are working is four percentage points off its peak in 2000…. Have we mechanized and computerized ourselves into obsolescence?... Economists have historically rejected what we call the “lump of labor” fallacy: the supposition that an increase in labor productivity inevitably reduces employment because there is only a finite amount of work to do. While intuitively appealing, this idea is demonstrably false. In 1900, for example, 41 percent of the United States work force was in agriculture. By 2000, that share had fallen to 2 percent, after the Green Revolution transformed crop yields…. Fast-forward to the present. The multi-trillionfold decline in the cost of computing since the 1970s has created enormous incentives for employers to substitute increasingly cheap and capable computers for expensive labor. These rapid advances — which confront us daily as we check in at airports, order books online, pay bills on our banks’ Web sites or consult our smartphones for driving directions — have reawakened fears that workers will be displaced by machinery. Will this time be different?
A starting point for discussion is the observation that although computers are ubiquitous, they cannot do everything. … Logically, computerization has reduced the demand for these jobs, but it has boosted demand for workers who perform “nonroutine” tasks that complement the automated activities. Those tasks happen to lie on opposite ends of the occupational skill distribution.
At one end are so-called abstract tasks that require problem-solving, intuition, persuasion and creativity. These tasks are characteristic of professional, managerial, technical and creative occupations, like law, medicine, science, engineering, advertising and design. People in these jobs typically have high levels of education and analytical capability, and they benefit from computers that facilitate the transmission, organization and processing of information.
On the other end are so-called manual tasks, which require situational adaptability, visual and language recognition, and in-person interaction….. Computerization has therefore fostered a polarization of employment, with job growth concentrated in both the highest- and lowest-paid occupations, while jobs in the middle have declined. Surprisingly, overall employment rates have largely been unaffected in states and cities undergoing this rapid polarization. Rather, as employment in routine jobs has ebbed, employment has risen both in high-wage managerial, professional and technical occupations and in low-wage, in-person service occupations….…workers [can] ride the wave of technological change rather than be swamped by it [by] investing more in their education.…The good news, however, is that middle-education, middle-wage jobs are not slated to disappear completely. While many middle-skill jobs are susceptible to automation, others demand a mixture of tasks that take advantage of human flexibility.…we predict that the middle-skill jobs that survive will combine routine technical tasks with abstract and manual tasks in which workers have a comparative advantage — interpersonal interaction, adaptability and problem-solving….The outlook for workers who haven’t finished college is uncertain, but not devoid of hope. There will be job opportunities in middle-skill jobs, but not in the traditional blue-collar production and white-collar office jobs of the past. Rather, we expect to see growing employment among the ranks of the “new artisans”: licensed practical nurses and medical assistants; teachers, tutors and learning guides at all educational levels; kitchen designers, construction supervisors and skilled tradespeople of every variety; expert repair and support technicians; and the many people who offer personal training and assistance, like physical therapists, personal trainers, coaches and guides. These workers will adeptly combine technical skills with interpersonal interaction, flexibility and adaptability to offer services that are uniquely human.
productivity  middle_class  automation  algorithms  interpersonal_interactions  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  MIT  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Andrew_McAfee  Luddites  problem_solving  job_destruction  job_displacement  barbell_effect  technological_change  blue-collar  white-collar  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts 
august 2013 by jerryking
Thriving in the Automated Economy
March-April 2012 | | World Future Society Vol. 46, No. 2 ›
By Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
Erik_Brynjolfsson  Andrew_McAfee 
july 2013 by jerryking
A tech-powered end to the middle class
Feb. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | CHRYSTIA FREELAND.
One way to divide people is into those who think this time is different and those who believe there is never anything new under the sun. That split can be a matter of temperament, of politics or even of religion. But today it is relevant for another, more urgent reason: It describes how people think about the most critical economic problem in the industrialized world – the dearth of well-paying middle-class jobs....
"thanks to the tech revolution, the traditional link between rising productivity and a rising standard of living (i.e. wages) for the middle class has been broken. Gore worries that severed link may be causing the economic slowdown in the developed economies: A weakened middle class lacks the spending power to drive growth.

One of the smartest academics studying this phenomenon is Erik Brynjolfsson, a management professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The co-author of a new book, Race Against the Machine, believes the tech revolution is having a powerful and unprecedented impact. “Most of the debate … is missing the tectonic changes in the way the economy works, which are driven by technology,” he said recently. “This is the big story of our time, and it is going to accelerate over the next 10 years.”

Like Mr. Gore, Mr. Brynjolfsson thinks the canary in the coal mine is the decoupling of gains in productivity and in wages. “Productivity since 2000 has grown faster than in the 1970s, ’80s or ’90s,” he said. “But starting in the late 1990s, we’ve had this decoupling of wages from productivity.” He sees this as a historic watershed, noting that there is “no economic law” that productivity and jobs go together.

That change has tremendous implications. Productivity and innovation, the focus of policy makers and business leaders, no longer guarantee widely shared prosperity. “Digital technologies are different in that they allow people with skills to replicate their talents to serve billions,” Mr. Brynjolfsson noted. “There is really a drastic winner-take-all effect because every industry is becoming like the software industry.”

The danger isn’t structural unemployment (as many feared during the depths of the financial crisis). The problem is what kind of jobs, at what kind of salaries, the tech-powered economy of the future will generate.
Chrystia_Freeland  Albert_Gore  books  Erik_Brynjolfsson  MIT  downward_mobility  seismic_shifts  middle_class  winner-take-all  Al_Gore  Kleiner_Perkins  Luddites  productivity  innovation  hollowing_out  the_Great_Decoupling  economic_stagnation  '90s  This_Time_is_Different 
february 2013 by jerryking
It’s the P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as the I.Q. - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: January 29, 2013

If America is to sustain the kind of public institutions and safety nets that we’re used to, it will require a lot more growth by the private side (not just more taxes), a lot more entrepreneurship, a lot more start-ups and a lot more individual risk-taking — things the president rarely speaks about....Facebook, Twitter, cloud computing, LinkedIn, 4G wireless, ultra-high-speed bandwidth, big data, Skype, system-on-a-chip (SOC) circuits, iPhones, iPods, iPads and cellphone apps, in combination, have taken us from connected to hyperconnected.... the old average is over. Everyone who wants a job now must demonstrate how they can add value better than the new alternatives....Indeed, when the digital revolution gets so cheap, fast, connected and ubiquitous you see this in three ways, Brynjolfsson added: those with more education start to earn much more than those without it, those with the capital to buy and operate machines earn much more than those who can just offer their labor, and those with superstar skills, who can reach global markets, earn much more than those with just slightly less talent....How to adapt? It will require more individual initiative...more of the “right” education than less...develop skills that are complementary to technology rather than ones that can be easily replaced by it... everyone needs to be innovating new products and services to employ the people who are being liberated from routine work by automation and software. The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.
career_paths  entrepreneurship  innovation  network_density  risk-taking  Tom_Friedman  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Andrew_McAfee  MIT  curiosity  passions  semiconductors  automation  software  new_products  life_long_learning  Pablo_Picasso  individual_initiative  safety_nets  intrinsically_motivated  winner-take-all  Cambrian_explosion  superstars  cheap  fast  ubiquity  digital_revolution 
january 2013 by jerryking
Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
December 29, 2012 | NYTimes.com |By STEVE LOHR.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality?...recognize the limits and shortcomings of the Big Data technology that they are building. Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?
Andrew_McAfee  asking_the_right_questions  bubbles  conferences  critical_thinking  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  hedge_funds  human_brains  information-literate  information-savvy  intuition  massive_data_sets  MIT  models  problems  problem_awareness  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  skepticism  Steve_Lohr  Wall_Street 
january 2013 by jerryking
Tech drives nails into coffins of Europe’s weak economies
Nov. 30 2012 | The Globe and Mail | by ERIC REGULY.

Technology is having a devastating effect on employment, which in itself is not new. What is new is that the job destruction everywhere among low-skilled workers seems on the verge of being repeated among white-collar jobs. That is the theory of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, digital economy specialists at MIT and authors of Race Against the Machine, a book about the digital revolution and how it is reshaping employment and entire economies.

Technology has been displacing jobs since the Industrial Revolution, but the lost jobs were more or less replaced with new jobs
Eric_Reguly  Europe  EU  debt  Erik_Brynjolfsson  technological_change  Andrew_McAfee  digital_economy  MIT  Greece  technology  job_destruction  job_displacement  automation  white-collar  low-skilled  weak_economy  digital_revolution 
december 2012 by jerryking
"The jobs at the end of the universe."
3 May 2012 |Financial Times |by Douglas Board.

Messrs Brynjolfsson and McAfee suggest that no matter how fast and smart computers become, 6 skills: statistical insight; managing group dynamics; good writing; framing and solving open-ended problems; persuasion; and human nurturing; will always be in demand....three more common quantitative abilities to be valued at senior levels: making the meaning of numbers come alive either visually or in words; a keen sense for when numbers should be an important part of a story yet are missing; and not being bullied by impressive correlations into assuming causality.
Erik_Brynjolfsson  career_paths  MIT  connecting_the_dots  problem_solving  open-ended  persuasion  statistics  Communicating_&_Connecting  indispensable  storytelling  skills  Managing_Your_Career  21st._century  new_graduates  Andrew_McAfee  numeracy  insights  sense-making  jobs  uncharted_problems 
may 2012 by jerryking
Understanding the Digital Economy: Data Tools, and Research
Jul 2001 | The Academy of Management Review.Vol. 26, Iss. 3;
pg. 463, 2 pgs | by Timothy G Babbitt.
Abstract (Summary): Reviews "Understanding the Digital Economy: Data
Tools, and Research, edited by Erik Brynjolfsson and Brian Kahin". In
the second part (Market Structure, Competition, and the Role of Small
Business) the authors examine in aggregate how the digital economy has
changed the nature of competition, markets, and the effect of small
businesses. Smith, Bailey, and Brynjolfsson examine how the internet
affects market efficiency and competition, paying special attention to
the recognition of unusually high price dispersion. In his chapter
Varian emphasizes the principle that "technology changes, economic laws
do not" through the application of economic fundamentals to e-commerce
competition. He analyzes software versioning, loyalty programs,
promotions, and shopbots to illustrate his point.
ProQuest  book_reviews  digital_economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Hal_Varian 
june 2011 by jerryking
When There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Information
April 24, 2011 | HeraldTribune| STEVE LOHR. “The biggest
change facing corporations is the explosion of data,” says David
Grossman, a tech analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.“The best business is in
helping customers analyze & manage all that data.”..The productivity
payoff from a new technology comes only when people adopt new
management skills & new ways of working [i.e. marginal improvements]. “It’s never pure technology
that makes the difference,”It’s reorganizing things — how work is done.
And technology does allow new forms of organization.”...Is there real
evidence of a “data payoff” across the corporate world? New research led
by Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at MIT, suggests that the beginnings
are now visible...Brynjolfsson and colleagues, Lorin Hitt, (Wharton),
& Heekyung Kim, a grad student at M.I.T., studied 179 large
companies. Those that adopted “data-driven decision making” achieved
productivity 5 to 6 % higher than could be explained by other factors,
including how much the companies invested in tech.
Steve_Lohr  information_overload  analytics  data_driven  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Thomas_Davenport  MIT  Northwestern  books  data  massive_data_sets  organizational_design  productivity_payoffs  marginal_improvements 
april 2011 by jerryking
For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word - Statistics - NYTimes.com
Aug. 5, 2009 | NYT | By STEVE LOHR. “We’re entering a world
where everything can be monitored and measured,” said Erik Brynjolfsson,
an economist and director of MIT’s Center for Digital Business. “But
the big problem is the ability of man to use, analyze and make sense of
the data.”" The rich lode of Web data has its perils. Its sheer vol. can
easily overwhelm statistical models. Statisticians caution that strong
correlations of data do not necessarily prove a cause-and-effect link.
E.g., in the late 1940s, before there was a polio vaccine, public health
experts noted that polio cases increased in step with the consumption
of ice cream and soft drinks, says David A. Grier, a historian and
statistician at GWU. Eliminating such treats was recommended as part of
an anti-polio diet. It turned out that polio outbreaks were most common
in the hot mths of summer, when people ate more ice cream, showing only
an association. The data explosion magnifies longstanding issues in
statistics.
Steve_Lohr  Hal_Varian  statistics  career_paths  haystacks  analytics  Google  data  Freshbooks  information_overload  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  measurements  sense-making  massive_data_sets  correlations  causality 
june 2010 by jerryking
Gap Widens Between Tech Richest and the Rest - WSJ.com
MARCH 16, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | Ben WORTHEN. A handful
of cash-rich companies are consolidating power in the technology
industry, using their wealth to expand into new businesses and making it
harder for small and midsize competitors to break through. Why the
industry is evolving this way is rooted in balance sheets. Over the past
2 years, Apple Inc., Oracle Corp., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and 6
other large tech companies have generated $68.5 billion in new cash,
compared with just $13.5 billion for the other 65 tech companies in the
S&P 500 Index combined. Because of their massive cash accumulation,
these companies can afford to take risks that smaller companies can't
at a time when the economy remains fragile. The result is a bifurcated
tech landscape, says Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at MIT's Sloan
School of Management.
Apple  barbell_effect  Ben_Worthen  Big_Tech  cash  cash_reserves  consolidation  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Fortune_500  Google  large_companies  market_power  Microsoft  new_businesses  Oracle  risk-taking  small_business  start_ups  trends  winner-take-all 
march 2010 by jerryking
How Technology Is Changing the Face of Innovation - WSJ.com
AUGUST 17, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON
And MICHAEL SCHRAGE. Technology is transforming innovation at its
core, allowing companies to test new ideas at speeds—and prices—that
were unimaginable even a decade ago. They can stick features on Web
sites and tell within hours how customers respond. They can see results
from in-store promotions, or efforts to boost process productivity,
almost as quickly.
innovation  science_&_technology  Markiter  experimentation  accelerated_lifecycles  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Michael_Schrage  books  in-store 
august 2009 by jerryking

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