Atlas Shrugged
Posted at 16:51h, 16 Jun 2015 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

Of course, the subject line is a reference to Atlas Shrugged, a novel by Ayn Rand.

Steve Jobs was a blatant and unapologetic thief – in the name of innovation, of course. He wasn’t the only one. Both he and Bill Gates walked out of Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) with IP that would changed both their companies forever – for the better, and hey, Xerox, so long and thanks for all the fish. Seems to have set the tone for Silicon Valley in general, if necessary: when it’s in the name of innovation, all is forgiven.

The WWDC was last week and what struck us was the lack of innovation coming from Apple, which, again, was pretty much underreported in the online media (for record, we are an Apple family), although there was finally this: 5 Apple Features We’ve Seen Elsewhere. And of course, this: Why I¹m Breaking Up With the Apple Watch. That love affair didn’t last very long, but it was all a good diversion and helped to take the focus off last week’s true agenda of the tech overlords.

First, let’s not forget the Apple-Google wage-fixing cartel that involved over a dozen tech companies and over a million employees. And in case you missed it, the tech overlords were all lobbying heavily for TPP, and even helped to draft it, again, for cheap labor, or as Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, put it, “The more you learned about the T.P.P., the less it sounded like a simple free trade deal and the more it sounded like a handshake between businesses and investors on all sides of the border.”

Fred Wilson recently posted this: The Freelance Economy. “3 to 4 out of every ten people are freelancers. That’s a big number. And its growing pretty rapidly. Younger people are more inclined to be freelancers. Older people turn to freelancing for flexibility or economic necessity. And employers are more inclined to hire freelancers as technology makes the management and compliance requirements around freelancers easier to handle.” Those are Investor Economics, for the record. It’s more expensive for companies to hire people full time, what with all of the government regulations/costs. We will remind you that Forever 21 cut its full time staff and hired only part-timers for that very reason. (Not that the younger people liked it, mind you: they had no choice.) Important to understand spin when you see it. And to remember that Wilson is an investor, first and foremost, and has had billion dollar exits five years in a row. Can that last in a climate where the Startup Bubble Too Big For Exit, Investors in La-La Land? Or is/are Wilson/investors at least trying to mitigate some of the potential damage/burn, and always best to sugar coat it.

And while we’re sharing: In the Future, Employees Won’t Exist. Consulting! Freedom! And aren’t open office plans awesome? They were going to change everything, too. More transparency, efficiency and great for team building. This just in: Workplace Woes: Turns out that the ‘Open’ Office Is a Hotbed of Stress. Sidebar: We do know that Millenials prefer to work at companies that have some sort of focus on social good, and we’re all for that. In fact, we would recommend that all companies have at least an optional social good option, whereby if the employee so chooses, the company will donate 10% of that employee’s weekly salary to a cause of the employee’s choice. Would be interesting to see what the result is.

Between the technology and TPP, sorry, Apple, that’s not inventing the future: that’s stealing it. On many levels. When you stop truly innovating, that’s a problem. As always, the future belongs to those who can see it coming. When that stops, it’s not time to CYA: it’s time to watch your back. Onward and forward.