A Mark Zuckerberg Presidency Isn’t Ridiculous—It’s Terrifying


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Another needull on Mark Zuckerberg’s potential run for presidency. I don’t necessarily agree with the article but important issues are to be discussed.

Trump’s hate-mongering and vulgarity are likely to make whoever occupies the White House after him seem innocuous by comparison, but a Zuckerberg presidency would be dangerous in far more subtle ways. The benign public face of the Obama administration masked an unprecedented program of privacy invasion and surveillance, all carried out in the alleged interests of “national security.” Who’s to say whether “innovation” and “fresh thinking” under a Zuckerberg administration wouldn’t serve as euphemisms for an even broader campaign of observation and analysis, implemented not just to protect us from enemies abroad, but to surreptitiously shape and manage our society at home? If we do find Zuckerberg tossing his hat in the ring come 2020, we should take care to remember what he built at Facebook—and, more importantly, how—and ask ourselves whether elevating a quasi-progressive boy genius is worth the significant costs to our privacy and our freedom.

The complete article

Jake Bittle – The Nation

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Shareholder Value Theory: Social Responsibility Can Increase ROI


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Friedman begrudgingly admits that “social responsibility” and business practices that eventually increase share price sometimes align. “… it may well be that in the long-run interest of a corporation that is a major employer in a small community to devote resources to providing amenities to that community… That may make it easier to attract desirable employees, it may reduce the wage bill or lessen losses…” He then goes on to label these moves “hypocritical window-dressing because it harms the foundations of a free society.” He backs off telling companies to avoid these moves because “that would be to call on them to exercise a ‘social responsibility!’”

The complete article

Yves Smith — Naked Capitalism

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How Honest Apologies Can Help Leaders Bounce Back


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In today’s needull former Medtronic CEO Arthur D. Collins, Jr. discusses how honest apologies can help leaders redeem their credibility.

Collins cited Johnson & Johnson’s response during the Tylenol contamination incident of 1982 when then CEO James Burke took personal responsibility for an unknown saboteur’s work, launched a nationwide recall and returned to market with tamper-proof packing to reclaim and strengthen the company’s reputation. Collins also praised General Motors CEO Mary Barra for apologizing in 2014 in the case of faulty ignition switches. “She did it in a very specific way: It was timely; she showed genuine remorse for the resulting injuries and any lives lost, and she came out of that in a much better situation.”

The complete article

Knowledge@Wharton

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In praise of Facebook Instant Articles


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Everything seems to be moving to Facebook these days. Journalism, Business, Activism.

Two years since the product’s launch, Instant Articles has been criticized for underwhelming monetization, the absence of robust subscription options, an inability for publishers to directly connect to their readers, the limited amount of user data returned by Facebook, and the lack of autonomy provided to publishers over their ad space. One publishing executive described them as “a public flop.”

But the Daily News still sees potential in courting a mobile audience. This represents a considerable shift in strategy in the past few months. The Daily News has always posted a high volume of articles on Facebook compared to other publishers—typically almost 100 per day. But the paper barely used Instant Articles; the strategy was all about driving back to nydailynews.com.

The complete article

Pete Brown — CJR

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The Trouble with Incentives


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Human beings are complex. It is difficult to predict their response to incentives. Today’s needull is a review of the book – The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives Are no Substitute for Good Citizensby Samuel Bowles.

According to legend, when the father of modern Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, attempted to address the malnourishment of his people by importing and freely distributing potatoes, the Greeks roundly rejected his offer. Heeding Laocoön’s ancient wisdom, the people of the Peloponnese knew better than to trust a Greek bearing gifts. As the story goes, Kapodistrias responded to the people’s refusal to accept the potatoes by unloading a shipment on the streets of Nafplion and instructing his soldiers to pretend to stand guard. The untrusting Greeks would not accept free potatoes—if they are free, something must be wrong with them—but were more than happy to steal provisions so important they needed to be guarded by the army. Kapodistrias’ ploy worked, and potatoes soon became a staple of the Greek diet. In Nafplion, the offer of free potatoes did not stimulate demand. Nor did the threat of punishment deter theft. Instead, the threat of punishment communicated the value of the potatoes. If something is worth guarding, it is worth stealing, and the Greeks responded to the new information by stealing more.

The complete article

Dimitrios Halikias – The New Rambler

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Why We Need to Kick Incivility Out of the Office


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Most of us would have had a supervisor or a colleague who was just plain nasty. And you would also remember the unnecessary stress these characters added to the work environment. Today’s needull is a discussion with Christine Porath, author of “Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace”.

Knowledge@Wharton: Is part of what’s leading to these changes the fact that HR departments are coming to understand that they need to hire not just excellent workers but also excellent people, and that culture fit really needs to be a key component when they add people to an organization?

Porath: I think that’s exactly right. There’s been some really great research coming out of Harvard that has shown that one toxic worker is much more costly than two superstars. The idea is that it really pays to recruit and select well, and that’s probably the place where I’d encourage leaders in organizations to invest in the most. That’s where I think they get the biggest return. Because unfortunately, again, this stuff spreads. If you select someone who is toxic, it’s not only going to probably affect their coworkers, it’s also going to infest the organization.

The complete discussion

Knowledge@Wharton

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Amazon vs. Walmart: Which One Will Prevail?


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Are we going to witness a head-on clash of the two titans in the coming years? It is interesting to see Walmart buying online retailers and Amazon buying brick and mortar retail chain and in the process each becoming more similar to the other. But in my view Amazon has a big advantage over Walmart – Jeff Bezos.

But Wind thinks Walmart’s tactics are “a little confusing and a little late” as it tries to catch up with online merchants. However, he notes that with its scale and track record of success, the discounter will eventually become digitally savvy even if it takes longer than expected. Meanwhile, Amazon could bungle the integration of Whole Foods by making changes too quickly and not paying enough heed to cultural differences, Dahlhoff says. Adds Lodish: “I’m not sure how much experience Amazon has in running a big operation like Whole Foods that’s got a lot of logistics that are not in warehouses but are on shelves.”

At least, Amazon can afford the $13.7 billion price tag for Whole Foods — last year’s free cash flow alone was $9.7 billion. And Wall Street will likely give Amazon some room to run because it has a proven business model and an innovative and aggressive CEO. “The market has been giving Jeff Bezos a lot of room to do what he feels is in the long-term best interest [of the company] and they’re not punishing him if he has short-term uses for his capital that don’t go to the bottom line right away,” Lodish says.

The complete article
Knowledge@Wharton
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