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Earlier this year, Amazon successfully patented an “ultrasonic tracker of a worker’s hands to monitor performance of assigned tasks.” Eerie, yes, but far from the only creative method of employee surveillance. Upwork watches freelancers through their webcams, and a UK railway company recently equipped workers with a wearable that measures their energy levels. By one study’s estimate, 94 percent of organizations currently monitor workers in some way. Regulations governing such conduct are lax; they haven’t changed since the 19th century.
The most common snooping techniques are relatively subtle. A system called Teramind—which lists BNP Paribas and the telecom giant Orange as customers on its website—sends pop-up warnings if it suspects employees are about to slack off or share confidential documents. Other companies rely on tools like Hubstaff to record the websites that workers are visiting and how much they’re typing.
Such software “solutions” pitch themselves as ways to enhance productivity. But trouble emerges, critics say, when employers invest too much significance in these metrics.
That’s because data has never been able to capture the finer points of creativity and the idiosyncratic nature of work. Where one account manager might do her best thinking behind a desk, another knows he’s sharpest on an afternoon stroll—a behavior that algorithms could blithely declare deviant. This then creates “a hidden layer of management,” says Jason Schultz, director of the NYU School of Law’s Technology Law & Policy Clinic. Those midday walkers might never find out why they’ve been passed over for a promotion. Once established, the image of the “ideal” employee sticks.
Try to hide from this all-seeing eye of corporate America—and you might make matters worse. Even the cleverest spoofing hacks can backfire. “The more workers try to be invisible, the more managers have a hard time figuring out what’s happening, and that justifies more surveillance,” says Michel Anteby, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Boston University. He calls it the “cycle of coercive surveillance.” Translation: lose/lose.
Unless you want to be spied on. In a recent study of Uber drivers, researchers found that a monitored employee can sometimes feel “more secure than the worker who … doesn’t know if her boss knows that she is working.” NYU’s Schultz admits that a degree of oversight can galvanize commitment, but he wants a law restricting its use to workplace tasks. Others insist data should be anonymized. One model is Humanyze, a “people analytics” service that provides clients not with individualized employee reports but rather with big-picture trends. Workers are then accountable to that big picture, each contributing modest brushstrokes. Don’t paint outside the lines.
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LONDON (Reuters) – A British parliamentary committee said on Thursday it had summoned the former chief executive of Cambridge Analytica and a director of the official Brexit campaign group to appear before lawmakers.
The media committee is investigating fake news, and is increasingly focused on the role of Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, and Facebook in the 2016 Brexit vote and in the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The committee said it had asked former CEO Alexander Nix to appear in parliament on Wednesday, June 6. It has asked Dominic Cummings, a former director of the Vote Leave campaign, to appear on Tuesday, May 22.
Cambridge Analytica has denied doing paid work on the campaign for Brexit, and says its work on the Trump campaign did not use data at the center of a Facebook scandal, where the details of millions of users were allegedly improperly obtained.
Nix was CEO of Cambridge Analytica and was suspended after the scandal broke. The company shut down last week.
He has previously appeared before the committee, but it has requested he returns to give further evidence. He has declined, saying he is unwilling to appear while an investigation by the Information Commissioner is ongoing. The committee says there is no legal reason that Nix cannot appear.
“There are serious inconsistencies between Mr Nix’s original testimony of Feb. 27, and evidence received under the inquiry since,” committee chair Damian Collins said in a statement.
Cambridge Analytica says it had pitched to Leave.EU, a Brexit campaign group, but did not do any work for the group after it missed out on the official campaign designation.
Leave.EU chiefs Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore will appear in front of the inquiry on June 12, the committee said on Thursday.
Instead of Leave.EU, Vote Leave was designated as the official campaign for Brexit.
But questions have been raised over whether Vote Leave broke campaign spending rules, with whistleblowers alleging it has illegally co-ordinated spending with a smaller campaign group.
Vote Leave and Cummings have denied wrongdoing.
Reporting by Kate Holton and Alistair Smout; Editing by William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown met Uber [UBER.UL]boss Dara Khosrowshahi in January, a freedom of information request revealed, as the Silicon Valley app fights to keep its cars on the streets of its most important European market.
Uber is battling a decision by the city’s transport regulator last September to strip it of its license after it was deemed unfit to run a taxi service, a ruling Uber is appealing.
Since then Uber has made a series of changes to its business model, responding to requests from regulators, including the introduction of 24/7 telephone support and the proactive reporting of serious incidents to London’s police.
Khosrowshahi flew to London in October for discussions with Brown after which Uber promised to make things right in the British capital city.
The pair had a second meeting in London in January, according to a response to a freedom of information request from Reuters.
“The Commissioner met with Dara Khosrowshahi on 3 October 2017 and 15 January 2018, both meetings took place in London,” Transport for London (TfL) said.
A TfL spokesman declined to provide an immediate comment on what was discussed at the meeting. Uber declined to comment.
Reuters had asked for a list of every meeting which had taken place between Uber and TfL’s private hire team and/or Brown since Sept. 22 but TfL declined to release such details.
“We are not obliged to supply the remainder of the information requested in relation to meetings as it … relates to information where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the exercise by any public authority of its functions ..,” it said.
A court hearing over Uber’s appeal is due this month before the substance of the appeal is heard in June.
Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison
Make yourself indispensable to your clients and employers. You’ve heard it before. But we live in a fast paced, global economy. And it’s easier and faster than ever to replace a talented individual. This means it’s harder than ever before to become indispensable. There’s an easier way that doesn’t involve being a super talented genius.
You don’t need to be indispensable to be indispensable. You need merely to hold the only set of keys to essential elements of ongoing business.
The Problem With The Indispensable Argument
Even if you are indispensable, do your clients really believe that?
Companies large and small fire people all the time without knowing how critical they were to the business. People are irrational. And if so motivated, they’ll fire you even at considerable harm to their business. It’s not enough to be indispensable, you need to back it up with strong, material leverage.
What is material leverage?
In business terms, material leverage in business terms is an assisted advantage that exists outside of yourself but is perceived by others. The principle is simple. You legitimately own or control the linchpin of an ongoing transaction, or business and use it to influence terms of an engagement.
Examples include effective control over partnerships, pipelines, websites, apps, platforms, or databases. Or perhaps you have contacts that are essential to the other party’s operations.
Strong vs. Weak vs. No Leverage
The key to understanding the power of leverage usually rests on the amount of time, energy and attention required to replace whatever linchpin you own or control. The more time required, the more powerful the leverage.
No or Weak Leverage
If the resource that you own or control can be easily replaced in a day, you effectively have no leverage. If there is a whole marketplace full of easy alternatives, or the perception of one, you have no effective leverage or at best weak leverage.
Perception is more powerful than the reality. If the other party doesn’t perceive or understand the leverage, they won’t respond to your influence over it.
A good measure of strong leverage is if its value is worth more than your annual salary or fee. If your leverage is perceived to be worth 5x your fee, then they will likely bend your way. Not doing so would risk costing them considerably more. That’s strong leverage.
When & How to Use it
Basically if someone isn’t paying their tab, trying to cut you out, or you feel you’re about to be fired, strong material leverage can come into play.
Step 1. You have to decide what your goal is.
Are you trying to use your influence to keep a good deal going and growing, or is it time for you to cut ties? Decide now.
Step 2. Let them hear the branch creak.
Use your leverage as influence to resolve issues and negotiate, not to bully anyone. Do this by letting those involved hear the branch creak. This means to hint just enough of your potentially hazardous move to cause them to rethink their course of action.
If your goal is to keep things going, then you need to think of the use of strong leverage as more of a dance. It’s not a battle, it’s about keeping the appropriate amount of tension and pressure to move with your partner.
If the goal is to keep profitable engagements going as long as possible, don’t wield your leverage like a sword in battle. You may feel superior to the other party in the moment but you’ll lose the value of ongoing transactions with those involved in the process.
This is a more subtle art. The other party needs to hear the branch creak and contemplate their own peril. You need merely hint at your leverage and let them worry about perilous outcomes.
Remember, leverage only works if they and you both stay in the tree.
Step 3. Make the corrective action clearly known.
If you’re too aggressive, the other party may see no path forward and impulsively jump out of the tree on their own. They need to hear both the branch creak and know the corrective solution to make it stop.
If you decide to cut ties, the first move is usually not to pull the rug out from anyone. A longer exit, is often more profitable. Leverage allows you to negotiate the terms of an exit. You may have the other party simply pay you to keep your resources in play. This is more amenable as it buys everyone time to decide what to do next.
No one likes being under someone else’s thumb. But leverage buys you a seat at the table and an engaged audience, ensuring you can be heard out. Tread softly and carry a big stick.
… it all from cloud computing vendors. That spells bad news for companies like IBM, HP, Dell, EMC, Cisco, the hardware makers selling companies the …
Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal is getting worse fast, and the executive board is in full-speed amputation mode.
The post Porsche Boss to Take Over VW as Bloodletting Gets Going appeared first on WIRED.
Mumbai-based music-streaming service Saavn announced Thursday that former Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin has joined as an investor and strategic advisor.
The news comes less than three months after the company announced $ 100 million in fresh funding. At the time, it said it was adding one million new users per month, with 14 million in total.
As of today, that number has grown to 18 million monthly active users, which it says represents a tenfold increase in daily active users in India since last year.
Beyond that, it’s claiming more than 20 million songs (over 250 million streams per month) and a global team of 145 people across five offices.
“Music streaming is a core app on today’s smartphones, and Saavn is superbly positioned to grow rapidly in the fast expanding smartphone market in India,” Sarin said in a statement.
“As an innovative and nimble music-streaming company, at the heart of one of the world’s most valuable markets, Saavn hits all the right notes,” he added.
Meanwhile, the company’s cofounder and chief executive, Rishi Malhotra, said that over 90 percent of the service’s usage is driven by smartphones, and that it plans to “work more deeply with carriers in India and additional territories” in the coming months.
Sarin’s investment amount was not disclosed.
The company’s most recent series C round in July was led by New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management, and at the time it said that it expects to hit 20 million users by the end of the year.
But while the service may be the market leader on its home turf in India, it certainly has its work cut out if it hopes to expand globally — an area in which Sarin’s expertise will no doubt help. That said, the company did not make any mention of expansion plans today.
In general, the music-streaming space has been busy.
Earlier this week, we reported that Deezer is planning an IPO later this year as the battle with rivals Spotify and Apple Music heats up. And Google Play Music continues to expand with its official entry into Japan a few weeks ago.
Microsoft’s Groove Music just announced support on Sonos speakers, and Spotify hasn’t managed to keep out of headlines either: On Wednesday it launched its new “Mix Mates” playlist generator to help friends find music they share in common. (We also heard rumors that Spotify will be supported on Google’s upcoming second-generation Chromecast.)
The announcements from Saavn today are encouraging, but it’s only just the beginning of the global music-streaming wars — and versus many of the other big players, its user numbers are still relatively low.
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