Sleepy HR Pros Won't Spend More than 30 Seconds On This Post... (The Mary Meeker Slides)

Only the true players will spend 5 minutes or more with this post and it's referred content...It's deep, but pure gold...

Kleiner Perkins general partner Mary Meeker launched the 22nd edition of the Internet Trends Report at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on May 31, 2017. Dating back to 1995, when Mary was still an equity analyst at Morgan Stanley, the annual report compiles and analyzes data from a wide range of sources, providing insights on the state of the Internet Economy. The deck covers a broad array of topics, including global internet user trends, advertising and e-commerce, gaming, online media, digital health, and much, much more. This guide is intended to highlight some of the key topics of discussion in this year’s edition – and to help media navigate the report.

It's deep.  I can guarantee if you spend 10 minutes with it, you'll find 4-5 things to share with you team and you'll look smart as hell.  A trend-spotter, if you will...

Highlights of the 300 slide deck from ReCode (full deck below from Slideshare, click through if you don't see the slides):

  • Global smartphone growth is slowing: Smartphone shipments grew 3 percent year over year last year, versus 10 percent the year before. This is in addition to continued slowing internet growth, which Meeker discussed last year. (editors note - what's next?  Apple needs a new product)
  • Voice is beginning to replace typing in online queries. Twenty percent of mobile queries were made via voice in 2016, while accuracy is now about 95 percent. (editor's note - holy ****)
  • In 10 years, Netflix went from 0 to more than 30 percent of home entertainment revenue in the U.S. This is happening while TV viewership continues to decline. (editor's note - holy ****, even with all those shared passwords?)
  • Entrepreneurs are often fans of gaming, Meeker said, quoting Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman and Mark Zuckerberg. Global interactive gaming is becoming mainstream, with 2.6 billion gamers in 2017 versus 100 million in 1995. Global gaming revenue is estimated to be around $100 billion in 2016, and China is now the top market for interactive gaming.
  • China remains a fascinating market, with huge growth in mobile services and payments and services like on-demand bike sharing. (More here: The highlights of Meeker's China slides.)
  • While internet growth is slowing globally, that’s not the case in India, the fastest growing large economy. The number of internet users in India grew more than 28 percent in 2016. That’s only 27 percent online penetration, which means there’s lots of room for internet user-ship to grow. Mobile internet usage is growing as the cost of bandwidth declines. (More here: The highlights of Meeker's India slides.)
  • In the U.S. in 2016, 60 percent of the most highly valued tech companies were founded by first- or second-generation Americans and are responsible for 1.5 million employees. Those companies include tech titans Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook.
  • Healthcare: Wearables are gaining adoption with about 25 percent of Americans owning one, up 12 percent from 2016. Leading tech brands are well-positioned in the digital health market, with 60 percent of consumers willing to share their health data with the likes of Google in 2016.

Daaaaamn.  There's a lot here.  This one's for the true players. Enjoy...


Amazon's Getting Ready to Crush Another Industry Near You (aka Call Center Services Killer)

When you think about how the business world is changing and how those changes affect the workforce and talent issues, a good place to look first is Amazon.

First, the great marketplace in the sky made shopping online easy.  Then, it made shopping online preferable for many to shopping locally in a store through it's bundle of value called Amazon Prime. Amazon_one1

In the background, it's a been a hub of innovation through it's rollout of corporate services (look up Amazon Web Services to see how it's crushing cloud competitors) and consumer products alike (Kindle, Alexa).  It's so into investing for the future and innovation that it basically keeps it's profitability at zero by reinvesting all earnings into forward-looking ventures (click that link to see the chart).

Sometimes we forget that the advances cause big shifts in the workforce.  The giant sucking sound you hear is the slow implosion of the retail sector, with a lot of jobs going with it.

Next up after retail?  How about Amazon rolling up the call center industry?  More from GeekWire:

"Amazon Web Services is developing a suite of cloud-based tools to sell to enterprises that would help them manage their call centers, based on technology the online commerce giant developed for its own retail call centers, according to a report from The Information. 

According to the report, citing a person briefed on the plans, the programs will incorporate Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa to answer some questions on the phone as well as via text message. The report claims the service will also employ Lex, a chatbot building service that uses the same deep-learning technology as Alexa, and text-to-speech program Polly. All these aspects together paint the picture of a suite of tools that allows customers to build their own customer service programs using bots and voice control with the ability to learn and adapt to specific industries.

The Information reports that the new products could be announced as soon as mid-March and could jolt the call center software industry. It’s a market that features many players such as Seattle-based Spoken, as well as other companies like Cisco Systems, Avaya and Genesys.

Amazon Web Services has been in the news a lot lately for new products that it has announced and others it is considering. Amazon’s cloud service arm is reportedly considering bundling its email, file storage, and video conferencing apps into a productivity suite that would compete with Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365."

If there's any good news in this for current call center outsourcers, it's that Amazon seems intent on owning the technology part of the call center business model rather than owning actual call centers.  Of course, at one time it didn't have any interest in the shipping business either, and it's now getting ready to ramp up it's own fleet of planes and hub.  

Thanks for the memories, Fed Ex and UPS.  I'm sure Amazon will name a conference room after you to commemorate what you meant to each other at one time.

The good news for HR?  Amazon doesn't seem to have any interest in rolling up the HR industry.

#yet

 


Here's 3 Things You Can Do With Talent Claiming "Disruptor" Status...

If you're in the business of thinking about management and leadership, you'll get this post.

We love to celebrate the disruptors, right?  Big ideas, crazy results, etc. Rainman

Of course, the dirty little secret is that we only love the disruptors that don't get capped at the knees by the cultures they are trying to change.  The disruptors who don't make it?  We hate them.

We only celebrate the disruptors who make it.  The ones who don't are freaks/abnormals/cancers.  To tell the difference, you probably need to focus on the ideas rather than the behavior.

On my mind today related to this great post on LinkedIn by Bob Lyons (read it all, but here's a snippet):

"The legend of Steve Jobs is immortal. There have been countless articles, books and movies made about him and the way he founded and ran Apple. He was such a hard ass, he got fired from his own company in 1985. The establishment people he personally hired and surrounded himself with said they wanted him out. These were not strangers he inherited. How bad did it have to be for that to happen? In 1997 , on the verge of bankruptcy, Apple acquired the company Jobs created and made him CEO once again. Shortly after, products like the iPod, and iPhone started to hit the market. Apple even created a phenomenal customer centric experience through its Apple Stores unlike any consumers had experienced before (and some say since). Jobs certainly goes down as one of the great disruptors of our time, but going through it during its formative years was considered "hell on earth."

Bob's got some other great examples in his post so go check it out.

I'll leave you with this from my notebook after thinking about Bob's post:

Shit stirrer + no good ideas = fire immediately.

Shit stirrer + good ideas = incubate from rest of company and find mentor to round the corners.  Fire later if experiment fails in epic fashion.

Shit stirrer + good ideas + ability to execute through others = execute employment contract and find handler similar to Tom Cruise handling Dustin Hoffman in Rainman.

KD out.


The Heisenberg Rules: What HR Can Learn from Breaking Bad (#2 - Affiliation Matters)

Capitalist Note - I finally got around to binge-watching the former AMC hit Breaking Bad on Netflix, which follows high school chemistry teacher Walter White's journey through a lung cancer diagnosis and his subsequent turn to becoming a world-class meth producer.  This series (The Heisenberg Rules) represents what I was reminded of as a HR leader by Breaking Bad.  If you haven't seen the series, you can view a synopsis by clicking here. Spoilers abound in this series.

Rule #2 in the Heisenberg Rules is AFFILIATION MATTERS:

One of the best things about Breaking Bad is the time it takes to develop the primary characters Pinkman in the series.  In my last post in this series, we talked about the emasculation of Walter White. Would he have turned into the monster he became if those around him could/would have acknowledged his high performance?  We'll never know.

Today we move away from Walter White and take a look at my favorite character in the series - Jessie Pinkman.  Here's a description of Jessie: 

Jesse Bruce Pinkman is the deuteragonist of Breaking Bad. He is the former partner of Walter White in the methamphetamine drug trade. Jesse was a small-time methamphetamine user, manufacturer, and dealer. He was also an inattentive student in Walter White's chemistry class, leading to his dropping out. In his mid-20s, Jesse became Walt's business partner in the meth trade. Before his partnership with Walt, he, operating under the pseudonym "Cap'n Cook", added a little Chili Powder to make his methamphetamine stand out in the market.

Walt insisted on making a pure product, however, and thus eschewed the chili powder altogether, patronizingly teaching Jesse how to make "proper" meth. Walt often treated Jesse like a foolish son in constant need of stern correction. Jesse's own family kicked him out because of his drug use. Despite the friction between them, he and Walt have a deep bond of loyalty. Like Walt, Jesse is horrified by the brutality at the higher levels of the drug trade, but does what he thinks is necessary. He wrestles with feelings of guilt about the deaths, all drug-related, of people he's been associated with, especially his girlfriend Jane Margolis. He often attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings to help deal with these feelings.

Jessie's my favorite character because he actually struggles to cope with all the things he sees in the drug trade.  Still, he's a simple kid making a load of cash with few other options available to him professionally.  

Walter White and Jessie are "partners" only in finance.  As the subject-matter expert, Walter has all the power in the relationship.  The green shading above accurately outlines how Walter patronizes Jessie throughout the series, only appealing to him as an equal when there's a murder to be completed to ensure their safety. 

As a result of that treatment, Jessie is what I call, "gettable" for anyone who wants to take the time to drive a wedge between him and Walter.  

Jessie knows that Walter doesn't consider him a true partner.  That means people willing to treat him better than Walter have a chance to turn him to their side. That ultimately happens when Gus, a drug load who Jessie and Walter work for, instructs his henchmen to take Jessie out of the meth lab to run various organized crime errands with them. They even go to the trouble of setting up a fake robbery that Jessie can save others from, which results in praise, deeper connection and - you guessed it - Walter going crazy that their bosses have Jessie doing work other than being his patronized assistant.

When Walter displays his paranoia to Jessie about the new relationship he can't control, it pushes Jessie to trust his new friends more, not less.

Of course, they're all criminals, so what's the point?

The point is that in any organization, AFFILIATION MATTERS. 

Walter's the best at what he does, but Jessie is treated as manual labor, not a partner.  When the drug lords involved need to make Walter feel unstable and at-risk, all they have to do is show Jessie Pinkman the love he doesn't get from Walter:

--come work with us.

--come hang with us.

--seems like you're doing well - nice work!

It's the same blueprint whether you're developing software, running a restaurant, or yes - cooking Crystal Meth.

If you're treating someone valuable on your team like a commodity, just know this - if there's a market for their skills, all it takes is for someone who needs them (or needs to hurt you) to show them love, affiliation and respect.

Once that happens, they're probably gone.  Or as Jessie Pinkman would say, "YO, MANAGING PEOPLE 101, B***H".


3 Ways to Brainstorm and Reserve The Right To Tell Someone Their Idea Sucks....

If you're responsible for leading a team through change, you ultimately need ideas about what you should do given challenges your company or team are going through.

That means you're going to ask for ideas - usually in the space most often described as brainstorming.

When we lead our teams through brainstorming, we like to say "there are no bad ideas". Ideas

Of course, that's wrong.  Often times, most of the ideas aren't great, and a few suck.

Which begs the question:

"How do you lead a team through brainstorming and keep your ability to tell people their idea IS NOT A GOOD ONE?"

That's hard, right?  Here's my list of 3 ways to do this:

  1. Do a better job of describing the problem/issue and providing a couple of key features the right solution will deliver. This one's on you. You not only need to define what the problem is, you need to define the pain that problem causes, which allows you to provide simple features any solution has to deliver.
  2. Put all ideas on a visual medium.  It's called peer pressure.  If you know your idea is a throwaway, you're less likely to give us a half-baked thought before you flesh it out a bit. Team members that go through a second and third level self-evaluation on any initial idea (often times in under 1 minute!) before sharing provide better ideas and don't hijack the groups.  Putting the ideas on a visual space creates the pressure you need for people to troubleshoot their own ideas for a minute before sharing.
  3. Use a form of Idea Evaluator to guide the team through an assessment of ideas.  I didn't create this, I've seen in multiple places.  Use a evaluation space to talk about the Cost vs. Value each idea provides.  Guide a process where the team - rather than you alone - evaluates each idea and places it on the right spot on the X vs Y of Cost vs Value.  Let the team do the work of evaluating the idea and putting it in the "unlikely to be implemented" category.

You don't have to be the bad guy/gal when it comes to telling someone their idea is average at best.  Define the problem deeper (most of us aren't good at this), make the brainstorming process visual (most of us do this part), then use a Cost/Value chart to guide the team in a conversation to identify the best ideas.

Brainstorming on problems is good. You being Darth Vader and killing the ideas/hope of someone on your team alone is bad.  Broaden your approach and make your stormtroopers evaluate the ideas of their peers.

May the force be with you, my dark prince/princess. 


UI Design: Do Amazon Echo and Google Home Have Anything to Teach Us About The Power of Being Nice?

I ordered a Google Home a few months ago.  It's an interesting if not life-changing first step into the intersection of AI and digital assistants.  I'm a big user of the Google suite of products, and I smiled when I found out that I had to say "OK Google" or "Hey Google" to activate the digital assistant.  Google has a nice way of making a lot of their products softer than they have to be.

That softness makes them less threatening when you realize Google has a lot of your information.  Like when I got into my car a few weeks ago to drive 2.5 hours to Atlanta, and Google told me what the traffic on my route would be - before I told it where I was going.

Gulp.

But back to that implied soft side - which makes Google products seem "nice".  Johna Paolino recently wrote a piece on Medium where she compared Google Home vs the Amazon Echo, specifically on how each drove a different type of vibe/interaction with her and her boyfriend:

"A year ago, my boyfriend got an Amazon Echo. I remember first using the product, dazzled at its ability to process requests from across the room. Alexa, play us some music. Home vs echo

As the year progressed, the wow factor faded quickly.

The product features continued working to their full effect, but I felt very unsettled. I found myself constantly agitated as I observed my boyfriend bark commands at this black cylinder.

Alexa, turn off the lights. Alexa, set my alarm for 8am.

This declarative speech was so incongruous with how he interacts with me, with how he interacts with any human.

Was it how he was asking?

Was it that she was female?

Was I jealous?

Paolino goes on to describe her reaction is driven by two factors - the name of the Amazon product and conversational triggers.  The echo is driven by a female name, and Paolino was taken aback by hearing her boyfriend bark orders at a female voice.  Commenters on her post rightfully let her know that you can change the trigger to the name Amazon or Echo.  That problem can be solved. 

But the use of conversational triggers is interesting to me.  Using "OK" and "Hey" as softening factors is meaningful. It means that people are going to approach communication with Google Home in a softer fashion than they will with the Echo, and that's an important factor when the technology is far from perfect.

That same conversation tone transitions to the messaging we use in HR.  If you're an HR leader and have allowed your teams to use the default messaging that was provided with your ATS and/or Performance Management system, you've missed an opportunity to sound human.  We're rolling out a system right now and the stock messages sound like a mix between Mussolini and the worst HR Manager you've every encountered wrote the default messaging.

If Google Home tells us anything, it's that it's pretty easy to put a human side on your brand.  If you're not perfect, it probably matters more than you think that people like you in HR and are willing to cut you some slack when you mess up. 

Try making HR communications sound like normal people talk.  
"

 


Here's a Quote To Make You Look Smart About The Relationship Between Technology and Jobs...

"THE FUTURE HAS ALREADY ARRIVED.  IT'S JUST NOT EVENLY DISTRIBUTED YET"

--William Gibson

Capitalist Note - This one works no matter what your politics are.  Use it to make the non-HR members of your leadership team look pedestrian compared to you. You're welcome. H/T to Steve Boese.


Could Giving Your Employees WeWork Memberships Help Your Recruiting Efforts?

All of us have recruiting challenges, often times centered around technology.  

At the same time, our employees can long for a bit more freedom - to work remotely, or even just to break the monotony of the day to day grind.. We-work-transbay-2

Of course, the employees we should seek to satisfy related to that need for freedom are often of the same ilk as the ones we have the biggest need to recruit.

What if I told you there might be a way for you to satisfy both those needs at the same time?

Microsoft is making a co-working play that looks to meet a bunch of needs at the same time:

  1. Giving remote workers a place to go from time to time.
  2. Giving office workers a place to go to mix it up.
  3. Allowing both those groups access to a potentially strong sales and recruiting source.

Stay with me. Here's more from Inc.com:

"Microsoft is dipping a toe into the coworking world by giving nearly 30% of its New York employees WeWork memberships.

The company plans to take 300 WeWork memberships -; WeWork's basic, flexible membership plan -; in two WeWork spaces in New York. Those 300 employees make up 70% of Microsoft's global marketing and sales teams in New York.

The company also has 40 employees working in a private office in an Atlanta WeWork, and will have employees working out of WeWorks in Philadelphia and Portland as well.

But the move to coworking spaces represents something of a shift for Microsoft, which has lately been redoubling its outreach to startups and developers. Donovan said Microsoft employees will now have more flexibility and mobility but will also bring them closer to the startups working out of WeWorks.

"We’re a big fan of startups," Donovan said. "We were one ourselves at the beginning, so we know what those early days were like. We’ve been lucky enough to scale as a business and become a large enterprise, but certainly Satya [Nadella] is ensuring that we retain that growth mindset and that early hunger that we had as a business."

The partnership with Microsoft also falls in line with some changes afoot at WeWorks nationwide. The company said it's seen an uptick in enterprise clients -; which it defines as large companies with more than 500 employees -; moving some of their employees to WeWork locations. The startup, which was last valued at $16.9 billion, has been "fleshing out" its offerings for bigger companies."

For the uninitiated, WeWork is an American company which provides shared workspace, community, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses. WeWork designs and builds physical and virtual communities in which entrepreneurs share space and office services and have the opportunity to work together.

It's an interesting stroke by Microsoft - give employees more flexibility, remote workers a place to go, salespeople a new audience to sell from, and a place for all to recruit from.  From a corporate perspective, it reduces the need for a long term commitment to office space by outsourcing that burden.

Don't forget- sales and recruiting don't have to be direct, meaning your prospects don't have to be at WeWork - referrals from the people you meet at a co-working facility work just fine as well.

Exploring co-working seems like a smart hedge by Microsoft.  I'm betting some of you are in major markets where coworking is a thing. If so, you'd likely be early to the game from a recruiting perspective if you experimented with getting some of your key employees co-working at least one week a month.

What's that?  Scared your people might get recruited? 

They already are -I talked to them last week.  They took the interview from a cube IN YOUR OFFICE.

 


VP of Equality Is The Rationalized Replacement for VP of Diversity at Salesforce...

Capitalist Note - I originally posted this a couple of weeks back over at Fistful of Talent. While some of you read both FOT and the Capitalist, not all of you do - so I'm reposting here. Take a look, interesting stuff from Salesforce as they seek to change the narrative from Diversity to Equality.  Some will be frustrated, some will think it's brilliant. Here's what I know - Salesforce is playing OFFENSE, not defense, on this issue.

If you don’t like the answer, you can always change the question. Especially if you have money. Lots of money.

There’s a lot of companies across America that struggle with Diversity hiring.  They’re under-utilized in multiple job families, and even as they try to attract diverse talent, it hasn’t gone great.  After all, not everyone wants to work for your company.  Throw in the fact that you can’t pay new hires anything they want without messing up your comp equity, and most companies don’t make the progress they’d like to.

So Salesforce did what any company with loads of cash would do.  They changed the answer, and thus the question.  Turns out the answer isn’t more DIVERSITY, it’s more EQUALITY.

Confused?  You’ll get it soon. More from TechCrunch:

“It’s important for tech companies to have at least one voice at the senior leadership table that advocates for issues around equality, diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case for many companies in the tech industry. Salesforce, a company that said a year ago that a major focus for it was “the women’s issue,” recently became an exception to the rule with the hiring of Tony Prophet, its first-ever chief equality officer. Two weeks into his role, Prophet sat down with me to chat about Salesforce’s evolution from a focus on diversity and inclusion to an overall focus on equality. 

“The notion of being chief equality officer — now that was very thoughtful and deliberate on Salesforce’s part and on Marc’s [Benioff] part versus being chief of diversity or chief of inclusion because you can have a diverse workplace or a diverse culture in many parts of America that are very diverse but are hardly inclusive and there’s hardly equality,” Prophet told me. “We want to go beyond diversity and beyond inclusion to really achieve equality.”

Translation?  Tech companies have huge issues finding enough females and minority to work at their company, especially in the bay area.  If you can’t figure out diversity but can afford to achieve equality when it comes to pay, odds are people are going to be less critical of you.

Earlier this year,Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff revealed that his company spent about $3 million in 2015 to equalize compensation across the company, closing the tech giant’s gender pay gap.

Here’s a chart showing Salesforce’s workforce diversity (email subscribers click through for graph):

Salesforce diversity

Translation – The company still has a lot of work to do, but by changing the conversation to equality, not diversity, they’ve effectively changed how they’re measured by the outside world.

I’m not saying diversity hiring in tech isn’t important. I am saying that Salesforce is working towards a related, equally important goal and now will be considered in a different light than other major tech companies, whom I would expect will follow suit soon enough.

If you can’t find enough diverse hires, it makes sense to ensure the ones you have (including women) are paid on equal footing to everyone else.

Then you obviously want to get your message out.

At Salesforce, that message includes the fact they’re changing the conversation from diversity to equality, with an emphasis on pay equity.

Again, I’m not saying either approach is right – but Salesforce has created a master stroke to relieve some of the diversity hiring pressure and is going all in, with first mover advantage and everything that comes with it.

I’m a cynic on most things.  Even the cynic in me has to respect how Salesforce is controlling the narrative here.