How German companies adopted English as their lingua franca


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Seems like no one has a choice these days to not learn English.

Even German car icon VW last year announced that it would make English the corporate language for its 120 sites worldwide. No other German company employs more people abroad — 340,000 of the 626,000 total last year.

This was a controversial decision. The German Language Foundation, which has set itself the task of protecting the language, was so furious at VW that it sold its company shares in protest. “The words Volkswagen and German unfortunately no longer go together,” fumed the foundation’s chairman Walter Krämer. “I am appalled at how recklessly our elites are giving up their own language and culture.”

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Caludia Obmann — Handelsblatt Global

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Office Space Time Loop: From Open Plans to Cubicle Farms and Back Again


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Do you sit in a cubicle or in an open space?

As Nelson foresaw, Action Office II cubicles went on to become a commercial success and its systems were widely imitated by other companies. Along the way, though, much of the optimism and modular vision was lost. Today’s “cubicle farms” are often static, cramped and the subject of derision in popular media (including Office Space and The Matrix). Herman Miller stills sells a variety of Action Office systems, some of which look quite elegant and functional, but the associations they conjure have changed a lot over the decades.

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Kurt Kohlstedt — 99% Invisible

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THE SECRETIVE FAMILY MAKING BILLIONS FROM THE OPIOID CRISIS


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Story about a rich secretive family and their fortune. Sounds familiar?

That may be because the greatest part of that $14 billion fortune tallied by Forbes came from OxyContin, the narcotic painkiller regarded by many public-health experts as among the most dangerous products ever sold on a mass scale. Since 1996, when the drug was brought to market by Purdue Pharma, the American branch of the Sacklers’ pharmaceutical empire, more than two hundred thousand people in the United States have died from overdoses of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers. Thousands more have died after starting on a prescription opioid and then switching to a drug with a cheaper street price, such as heroin. Not all of these deaths are related to OxyContin—dozens of other painkillers, including generics, have flooded the market in the past thirty years. Nevertheless, Purdue Pharma was the first to achieve a dominant share of the market for long-acting opioids, accounting for more than half of prescriptions by 2001.

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Christopher Glazek — Esquire

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For the last time: Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves


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We all hate taxes but they don’t pay for themselves. Or do they?

How do they come up with such optimistic numbers? Easy: by making optimistic assumptions. That, as former Obama economic advisers Larry Summers and Jason Furman point out, appears to be what they’re doing. They simply seem to assume the best and then say that if this scenario played out over the next 10 years — which it almost certainly wouldn’t — then these tax cuts really would add 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points to growth, which would cover $1 trillion lost in cuts. Although, as bad as that sounds, it’s actually even worse than that, since the Republican economists also seem to have misstated or misunderstood some of the studies that they claim show the economy would grow as much as they say.

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Matt O’Brien — The Washington Post

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Too Harvard To Fail


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Interesting to note that Harvard’s $37.1billion endowment is bigger than half the world’s economies.

But on the second point, Harvard has floundered, turning in consistently “disappointing” endowment returns with material consequences across the University. Harvard Management Company, the University’s investment arm tasked with growing the endowment, has been forced to undergo some institutional soul-searching after years of falling behind peer institutions: This year, the gap between Harvard’s and Yale’s endowments narrowed to within $10 billion.

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Dianne Lee & Michael E. XieThe Harvard Crimson

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Satya Nadella, Empath.


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On Satya Nadella’s book – “Hit Refresh”.

But the book isn’t a bomb. In fact, Nadella and his co authors avoid languishing in the standard wallows of management books. It’s broken into three neat sections. The first is Nadella’s personal journey, which feels both genuine and fundamental to his philosophy of management. It’s also a hell of a story. The second is an exploration of that philosophy, and how it drives his reshaping of Microsoft’s revised mission (I wrote about that mission here). The third section pulls back and considers the larger forces shaping business and society, with particular nods to major policy and technology trends shaping our future.

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John Battelle – Newco Shift

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Why do so few people major in computer science?


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This is for the US. Strange.

4. Immigrants are taking all the jobs. I submit there are two ways to see that immigrants aren’t meeting all the marginal demand. First, most immigrants who come to the US to work are on the H1B visa; and that number has been capped at 65,000 every year since 2004. (There are other visa programs available, but the H1B is the main one, and it doesn’t all go to software engineers.) Second, rising wages should be prima facie evidence that there’s a shortage of labor. If immigrants have flooded the market, then we should see that wages have declined; that hasn’t been the case.

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Dan Wang

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