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Preview: Silicon Valley Watcher - at the intersection of technology and media

Silicon Valley Watcher — at the collision of technology and media



Former Financial Times journalist Tom Foremski provides insight into the business and culture of Silicon Valley.



Modified: 2016-12-02T23:39:21Z

Copyright: Copyright (c) 2016, foremski
 



Illuminate - Duarte Debuts New Movements Marketing Practice

2016-12-02T23:39:21Z

The Silicon Valley firm that helped Al Gore create a movement to curb climate change introduces strategy team to help leaders spark and sustain change. Guest post by Chris Knight  In 2012, Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez set out to write a book to help business leaders envision the future and make their big, audacious visions a reality. In their 2016 book Illuminate: Ignite Change through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies and Symbols, they lay out a five-part taxonomy for leadership movements. Based on four years of in-depth research, Illuminate is rich in case studies about how great leaders like Apple's Steve Jobs, Starbucks' Howard Schultz and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used speeches, stories, ceremonies and symbols to mobilize the masses. In a review of Illuminate, Forbes’ contributor Nick Morgan highly recommends the book for organizations that are keen on thinking through and telling stories that take “best advantage of human cultural symbols, signs and signposts along the way. You can run an organization without telling stories to bring employees, customers, and the public into your fold – but you can’t run it very well.” The Silicon Valley firm that helped Al Gore create a movement to curb climate change introduces strategy team to help leaders spark and sustain change. Guest post by Chris Knight  In 2012, Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez set out to write a book to help business leaders envision the future and make their big, audacious visions a reality. In their 2016 book Illuminate: Ignite Change through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies and Symbols, they lay out a five-part taxonomy for leadership movements. Based on four years of in-depth research, Illuminate is rich in case studies about how great leaders like Apple's Steve Jobs, Starbucks' Howard Schultz and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used speeches, stories, ceremonies and symbols to mobilize the masses. In a review of Illuminate, Forbes’ contributor Nick Morgan highly recommends the book for organizations that are keen on thinking through and telling stories that take “best advantage of human cultural symbols, signs and signposts along the way. You can run an organization without telling stories to bring employees, customers, and the public into your fold – but you can’t run it very well.” Last month, the Sunnyvale-based firm announced the launch of a new strategy practice to help leaders ignite powerful, persuasive movements built on the strategic framework and insights from Illuminate.  For the past 30 years, Duarte has played a role in many movements that matter, including its work with Silicon Valley's leading brands such as Cisco and Salesforce, former Vice President Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," and the transportation revolution led by Hyperloop One. Duarte helped Hyperloop One crystallize and communicate its vision for high-speed, on-demand transportation during its first public technology demonstration in the Nevada desert in May 2016. NBC Nightly News was one of the many media outlets to cover the first moment of that movement here. Introducing Duarte’s new strategy practice team…   From left to right: Patti Sanchez, chief strategy officer and co-author of Illuminate; Becky Waller Bausman, SVP; Brie Osgood, communication strategist; and Dave DeFranco, communication strategist. (Photo credit: Chris Knight) Duarte's new team of senior strategists are veterans of moving audiences through systematic use of empathy, storytelling and impactful moments. Practice leader Patti Sanchez has led transformative communications initiatives for brands including Cisco, Hyperloop One, Hewlett-Packard and VMware for more than 25 years. Other founding practice members include three new senior strategists experienced at C-suite advising: - Becky Waller Bausman, SVP of Strategy at Duarte, whose background is rooted in positioning and product strategy.  - Dave DeFranco, who’s led sales enablement and change initiatives for many of the world’s largest B2B tech companies. - Brie Osgood, who has deep experience with [...]



Facebook is a tech-enabled media company

2016-11-18T21:34:11Z

Every day Facebook publishes millions of pages of content with advertising - what's "not a media company" about that? Yet Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has lately been determined to identify Facebook as a tech company who's engineers are on a global mission of simply trying to connect people with each other. Reuter's Giulia Segreti reported on Zuckerberg's recent comments in Rome, where he visited the Pope. Every day Facebook publishes millions of pages of content with advertising - what's "not a media company" about that? Yet Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has lately been determined to identify Facebook as a tech company who's engineers are on a global mission of simply trying to connect people with each other. Reuter's Giulia Segreti reported on Zuckerberg's recent comments in Rome, where he visited the Pope. "No, we are a tech company, not a media company," said Zuckerberg, after a young Italian asked him whether Facebook intended to become a news editor. "...we build the tools, we do not produce any content The world needs news companies, but also technology platforms, like what we do, and we take our role in this very seriously." But Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas objects and wants Facebook to be treated as a media company "even if they do not correspond to the media concept of television or radio." The European Union is concerned about hate speech on Facebook and if it were a media company it would be able to force it to act faster in removing it. Media defines responsibility... The battle over defining Facebook's business is not a semantic issue - it is much more serious. It could devastate Facebook's business model and that of many other "technology platform" companies. The difference is in responsibility: - Media companies are legally responsible for the nature of the content that they publish. - Facebook has no legal responsibility for the content it publishes because it is a technology platform - it doesn't create the content. However, Facebook does choose what to put into people's news feeds and it deletes content that violates the editorial policy of its terms of service. Some of this is done by automated tools but a lot of it is done by people. This means that Facebook is making editorial choices of which content to publish. That sounds like a media company. But if Facebook were defined as a media company it would have to employ thousands of staff to delete hate speech and keep other illegal content off the site. It would have to do this for every country and observe their media laws. It would be horribly expensive. It's not just Europe: The recent presidential elections resurfaced this issue and now Facebook is facing mounting pressure in the US. A Washington Post column by Hayley Tsukayama headlined: Facebook must confront the responsibilities of being a media company If these companies continue to push their media efforts, they can't then shy away from the responsibilities that come with the business. Foremski's Take: If Facebook loses its tech platform status then Google Search and Youtube won't be far behind, and the same for others. It would result in a massive redistribution of responsibility in our modern world. Media companies daily shoulder the high costs of their responsibilities in publishing content. But Facebook, Google et al, argue that they have no such responsibilities to society - as is plainly seen in their aggressive tax payment strategies. Given the rising importance of these companies to society, and the digital global economy, it is becoming an indefensible position. As governments begin closing tax loopholes there is another loophole that will come under tighter focus: technology platform. Like taxes, it's about taking responsibility for being a part of society -- not standing apart. It's unavoidable. - - - Please see Ross Mayfield: Facebook Can Address Fake News and Raise Media Literacy [...]



Redfin: Big Jump In Women On Tech Boards Could 'Reshape' Business

2016-11-18T00:45:57Z

The number of women on the boards of tech companies has more than tripled since 2013 according to analysis of 100 public technology companies by Redfin, a national real estate brokerage. The study says that tech company boards began to change because of a newspaper story. The New York Times pointed out that Twitter, which was preparing to go public in 2013, had an all-male board.

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The number of women on the boards of tech companies has more than tripled since 2013 according to analysis of 100 public technology companies by Redfin, a national real estate brokerage.

The study says that tech company boards began to change because of a newspaper story. The New York Times pointed out that Twitter, which was preparing to go public in 2013, had an all-male board.

Over the past three years, tech companies filing for an IPO have tripled the number of women appointed to their boards. The national average is one woman for every six men.

But in the space of three years, this ratio for the technology industry changed threefold, to one woman for every two men: not at parity, but evidence that the technology industry's gender diversity can increase significantly.

In a blog post, Glenn Kelman, Redfin's CEO, and Bridget Frey, Redfin's CTO, argue that even though women will continue to be in the minority on boards, their influence will be larger than their numbers.

It's worth noting that the presence of just one different perspective affects a group's decision-making. This effect, known as a "panel effect," is well-established ... the influence of the member in the minority is strong: what matters is just hearing another point of view.

They point out that, "Boards hire CEOs, set executive pay, investigate high-level discrimination complaints and approve executive promotions."

The rise in diverse appointments could re-shape an entire generation of new businesses in profound ways

Read about Redfin's recent appointment of board directors Julie Bornstein and Robert Bass.

How to Triple the Number of Women Appointed to Boards in Three Years - @Redfin




HBO Comedian Loves That Silicon Valley Can't Take A Joke

2016-11-15T23:37:33Z

The winter issue of CNET Magazine is out and comedian T.J. Miller is on the cover and featured in an interview. Miller is one of the characters in HBO’s sitcom Silicon Valley. In the interview he says, I consider everybody who takes themselves seriously to be a little bit off,” Miller says. “And Silicon Valley seems to be the most effusive about how important their contributions are to society. Miller proved his point last year when he hosted The Crunchies awards and upset many in the audience with his jokes about startups and the organizers said he would not be asked back. Please see: The Crunchies’ Bitchgate: High Horses With Fake Unicorn Horns Ignore Decades Of Silicon Valley Misogyny -SVW

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The winter issue of CNET Magazine is out and comedian T.J. Miller is on the cover and featured in an interview.

Miller is one of the characters in HBO’s sitcom Silicon Valley. In the interview he says,

I consider everybody who takes themselves seriously to be a little bit off,” Miller says. “And Silicon Valley seems to be the most effusive about how important their contributions are to society.

Miller proved his point last year when he hosted The Crunchies awards and upset many in the audience with his jokes about startups and the organizers said he would not be asked back.

Please see: The Crunchies’ Bitchgate: High Horses With Fake Unicorn Horns Ignore Decades Of Silicon Valley Misogyny -SVW

Also in the Winter issue:

- A winter buyer’s guide with 61 excellent gift ideas, just in time for the holiday shopping season. From tiny drones that fit into the palm of a hand to chic wireless speakers fashioned from organic glasses, CNET breaks down this year’s most coveted tech products.

· In “Can the Rhino Be Saved?,” CNET takes an in-depth look at how scientists, conservationists and tech companies are working to stop poachers from killing rhinos who are on the edge of extinction.

· The tech industry is the source of great wealth in San Francisco, but can it help the city’s least fortunate? In “Tech and the City,” CNET examines if tech can help solve San Francisco’s homelessness problem.

· CNET catches up with actor Dan Fogler, star in the Harry Potter spinoff movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” who shares his thoughts on the new film and technology’s role in creating special effects.

· CNET editor Dan Ackerman provides an excerpt from his new book, “The Tetris Effect,” who explains how this simple game from the Soviet Union became a global phenomenon.




Glassdoor Study: Big Gender Gap In Key Tech Salaries

2016-11-15T22:58:14Z

Robert Hohman, CEO of  Glassdoor announces gender pay gap study at Stanford University Many US tech jobs show high levels of gender pay discrimination, well above other professions reports online jobs site Glassdoor in a study of more than 500,000 salaries. The report listed the widest gender pay gap as 28% for computer programmer, 16% for game artists, 15% for information security specialists, 11% for software architects, and 10% for SEO strategist. A further 11 jobs were singled out for gender pay gaps, the lowest 2% for hardware engineers.

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Robert Hohman, CEO of  Glassdoor announces gender pay gap study at Stanford University

Many US tech jobs show high levels of gender pay discrimination, well above other professions reports online jobs site Glassdoor in a study of more than 500,000 salaries.

The report listed the widest gender pay gap as 28% for computer programmer, 16% for game artists, 15% for information security specialists, 11% for software architects, and 10% for SEO strategist. A further 11 jobs were singled out for gender pay gaps, the lowest 2% for hardware engineers.


For 12 of the 16 job titles the gender gap was well above the national average across all types of jobs  highlighting the size gender pay gap in tech jobs.

Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist for Glassdoor said,"The majority of the tech roles we examined for this analysis had male-female pay gaps well above the U.S. average--even after we accounted for differences in age, education, experience, and other important factors."

Chamberlain could give no explanation for why the gender gap exists in tech jobs.

"While there is no one simple solution to the gender pay gap in tech, we are committed to working to close the gender pay gap through greater pay transparency."

Chamberlain points to a welcome overall trend: the gender pay gap has narrowed from 41% in the 1950s to to 24% today.

Glassdoor is encouraging employers to use its statistical models on their payroll data to compare "apples-with-apples" and uncover any gender bias. The statistical models have been refined to account for many job factors such as experience, seniority, etc so that gender is the only factor left.

Foremski’s Take: What's missing from the data is the numbers of females and males in each job. Gender bias is not just seen in salary data but also in hiring levels. It would be interesting to see those numbers and it would certainly be compatible with Glassdoor's campaigns for greater workplace transparency.

But creating diversity in the workplace is difficult because employers legally cannot hire based on any qualities of diversity such as color, gender, sexual preference, etc. Hiring the best person for the job is the only legal requirement.




A 'Tumultuous Decade' Rolls On... More Lost Generations Of Journalists

2016-11-03T22:41:54Z

Journalism’s uncertain future This book looks interesting- Journalism’s Lost Generation: The Un-Doing of U.S. Newspaper Newsrooms by Scott Reinardy, a journalism professor at the University of Kansas. Deron Lee at CJR, writes When Scott Reinardy began studying the state of morale in newspaper newsrooms more than 10 years ago...He didn’t know the industry was about to enter a traumatic period of upheaval that would deplete the ranks of journalists around the country and force newspapers to reassess their mission...in that tumultuous decade. Journalism’s uncertain future This book looks interesting- Journalism’s Lost Generation: The Un-Doing of U.S. Newspaper Newsrooms by Scott Reinardy, a journalism professor at the University of Kansas. Deron Lee at CJR, writes When Scott Reinardy began studying the state of morale in newspaper newsrooms more than 10 years ago...He didn’t know the industry was about to enter a traumatic period of upheaval that would deplete the ranks of journalists around the country and force newspapers to reassess their mission...in that tumultuous decade. Reinardy interviewed hundreds of journalists and surveyed thousands more. [He] heard stories of uncertainty, anxiety, and burnout. Tens of thousands of layoffs and buyouts and an evolving, still unsettled business model have created what he calls a “lost generation” of journalists. [Please see:What a Kansas professor learned after interviewing a ‘lost generation’ of journalists] I tried warning people. A decade ago I was asking, "What if the old media dies before the new media learns how to walk?" I could see the digital revenue chasm looming for newspapers and I knew it would be a devastating challenge. There’s a wonderful American expression: You can’t get there from here.  Follow the money...down My insight at that time derived from my recent experience of moving from a newspaper job at the Financial Times, to publishing SiliconValleyWatcher.com. Follow the money and you find the story. There’s a lot less money in digital media - advertising earns one-tenth of paper and the move to mobile has decimated that revenue stream yet again. Journalists hate to think about the commercial activities of their employer and have traditionally considered it a moral and ethical duty to be totally ignorant of newspaper economics. I find the economics of the media industry fascinating. I tried to warn my colleagues about the years of misery ahead. Some of my friends lost their jobs, some didn't. But surviving in the newsroom meant constant uncertainty and terrible morale. Disruptive technologies disrupt... Warnings are useful only when you have a choice. Sometimes there's not much you can do. The problem with facing a disrupting business model is that you are in the way — no matter which way you turn. There's not much you can do. Disruptive technologies disrupt. The New York Times, and the Guardian are two examples of newspapers that have taken bold steps in digital initiatives, innovative reporting formats and pioneering risky new digital revenues such as native advertising. But both are still struggling and more job cuts are in the works. Digital ads, subscriptions, tech initiatives cannot stem further damage to journalism. The "tumultuous decade" won't stop. There’s nothing to stop it because there’s no sign of a stable business model on any horizon. There continues to be rapid deflation in the main revenue streams for news media — both in paper and digital ads. We have failed to construct a sustainable economy around a vital resource. Is it a failure of innovation? More likely, innovation requires stable and predictable markets to disrupt. Media markets are done for — there's more opportunities for innovation in industries not yet digitized. High-tech media companies such as Google and Facebook are creating the advertising deflation. But they can ride the waves of the deflationar[...]



Media Disruption Accellerates As Paper Ads Plunge

2016-11-02T23:36:25Z

The disruption in the media industry is far from over as the transformation to a digital business model continues to challenge large newspaper groups according to recent financial reports. Gannett and The New York Times Company are among companies reporting a steeper than expected drop in print advertising revenue in their latest financial quarter. The disruption in the media industry is far from over as the transformation to a digital business model continues to challenge large newspaper groups according to recent financial reports. Gannett and The New York Times Company are among companies reporting a steeper than expected drop in print advertising revenue in their latest financial quarter. Digital advertising, subscription revenues and tech ventures have not able to fill the gap of as much as a 19% plunge in print advertising revenues as reported Tuesday by NYTimes Company, amid an overall drop of 8% in total advertising revenue for its third quarter. Last week Gannett reported a 35% drop in national print advertising and job cuts. It also abandoned its hostile bid for newspaper group Tronc. The Wall Street Journal also announced job cuts and changes to the newspaper. Politico reports that WSJ Editor Gerard Baker told staff: "All newspapers face structural challenges and we must move to create a print edition that can stand on a sound financial footing for the foreseeable future while our digital horizons continue to expand. As I previously mentioned, there will unfortunately need to be an elimination of some positions as part of this process." Other large newspaper groups are expected to announce similar large falls in print ad revenues. Print advertising is in a “freefall” reports Pete Vernon at CJR, following years of “relatively stable decline. Between 2010 and 2015, print advertising fell between five and eight percent each year, according to the Pew Research Center … The problem for publishers is that digital revenues have not come close to replacing their dead tree counterparts.” Foremski’s Take: We still do not have a viable business model that can sustain the work of professional news journalists. It’s one of the most important problems we face as a global society. We seem flooded by news media wherever we turn so it might seem as if it is a healthy industry. But it is not. It is important to see that the disruption in the media industry has not ended or slowed. With all our visionaries and tech geniuses we still have not figured out the innovation that will enable us to monetize and sustain professional news organizations.  - Digital advertising is not the answer because it continues to decline in effectiveness and revenues per unit. - Subscriptions are not effective because they limit the reach of the news stories. - And a combination of many revenue streams such as conferences, has failed to created a stable and predictable business model. Print advertising is still very important because it is so large, and it has been in less of a decline than the extremely rapid shift from desktop to mobile advertising, which has caused problems for all-digital media companies. Print’s relatively predictable revenues provided a buffer of time that enabled newspaper management to downsize and experiment with new sources of revenues. This sudden change removes that buffer and will accelerate media disruption. It is clear is that there will be fewer journalists working by the end of this year. It means companies will have to learn how to produce and distribute their own stories — because if you aren’t seen you don’t exist. Every company is a media company….but I bet many will wish they weren’t media companies because it’s hard.  [...]



The Brexit Silver Lining: 20% Discount On Top Euro Talent Says Radius

2016-10-26T23:10:37Z

  Stephen Chipman and his teams at Boston-based Radius have helped a lot of  US companies set up their European headquarters in the United Kingdom especially London, and they are understandably concerned about what to do in the wake of the country’s referendum to leave the European common market. Those UK offices employ a lot of people, a lot of skilled engineers, technicians, marketing and sales staff. So the prospect of moving their operations because of restricted access to the much larger European market is a top concern. “There’s no need to worry right now,  I tell them,“ says Chipman. “And there’s nothing that can be done right now, until we know what the terms of the exit will be. It could take years.”

 

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Stephen Chipman and his teams at Boston-based Radius have helped a lot of  US companies set up their European headquarters in the United Kingdom especially London, and they are understandably concerned about what to do in the wake of the country’s referendum to leave the European common market.

Those UK offices employ a lot of people, a lot of skilled engineers, technicians, marketing and sales staff. So the prospect of moving their operations because of restricted access to the much larger European market is a top concern.

“There’s no need to worry right now,  I tell them,“ says Chipman. “And there’s nothing that can be done right now, until we know what the terms of the exit will be. It could take years.”

 

“In the meantime your UK operations are a lot less expensive because of the drop in the pound,” points out Chipman. 

Radius employs 800 people  UK, Brazil, China, India, Japan and Singapore helping more than 600 companies expand globally by setting up, or managing their operations, running the offices, dealing with HR, taxes, local regulations, etc. 

I met with Chipman on his recent visit to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Radius had organized a series of meetings around the topic of Brexit.

Chipman says he was surprised by the Brexit vote but he doesn’t think that his clients will move to mainland Europe.

“Companies are in the UK because of the talent it has, and the talent it attracts. That’s unlikely to change. But each client is different.”

Chipman says that Radius has been expanding its tech clients locally. It recently acquired Montage Services, a San Francisco based tax and compliance firm. 

“Startups don’t know how to open a sales office in Singapore and we do. We can get them into new markets quickly, help hire the staff, and deal with all the paperwork.”

Radius is not a typical services company. It has built a technology platform that allows clients to manage their offices and people through a desktop app. And a center of expertise in its 600-strong India based operations. It’s counting on being able to use technology to scale the company.