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How The Most Productive CEOs Keep Email In Check

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 05:00:51 GMT

How many hours a day do you spend sifting through your inbox? Does the idea of taking up arms against a sea of emails each morning feel hopeless? You aren’t alone. Some of the most productive people out there struggle with email—or used to, before coming up with some useful hacks and regimens to help them. Email may not be going away anytime soon (even the pros at group messaging companies like Slack and HipChat still rely on it for a few things), but there may be a few ways to make it more manageable. Here’s how some of the busiest execs keep their email time to a minimum. Related: How This MailChimp Employee Limits His Email Time To 90 Minutes A Day Getting To Inbox Zero . . . Some people find the idea of “inbox zero” a totally unwarranted holy grail of email productivity; others swear by and achieve it. Many CEOs strive to clear their inboxes daily, or at the very least weekly, a goal that forces them to stick to certain habits for staying on top of their incoming messages. Typically, that means setting aside multiple windows of time during the day—usually one in the morning and one in the evening—to wade through their inbox. Brad Smith, the CEO of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax and parent company of Mint, sums up his email approach as “read, act, file, or delete.” By limiting himself to these four options—and requiring that he performs one of them—Smith says he manages to clear his inbox daily without the help of an assistant. It “requires real commitment,” he concedes, but the goal is simple: “Never touch something more than once.” In order to leave time for regular inbox maintenance, Smith schedules meetings that can’t run longer than 45 minutes so he can catch up on emails during the 15 minutes in between meetings. BaubleBar CEO Amy Jain is smart about how she uses downtime, too. She spends her subway commute sifting through her inbox and flagging messages. “Once I get to my desk, I take care of the flagged emails first so no one is waiting on me for time-sensitive things,” Jain says. . . . Or Close Enough Some execs manage t0 keep email to a minimum without quite hitting inbox zero. “Twenty emails in my inbox is too many,” says Alex Friedman, co-CEO and cofounder of organic tampon brand Lola. “I try to keep it below 10.” Like Jain, Friedman makes good use of her commute. “A trick I’ve learned over time is that I can keep replies more succinct if I reply on the go,” she says. One of the most effective ways to trim your inbox, of course, is to send fewer emails in the first place. Karl Iagnemma, CEO of the self-driving car startup nuTonomy, is so sparing with email that he aims to cap his sent messages at 25 a day. Whenever he finds himself exceeding that threshold, it “usually means that I’m not spending enough time on more important activities,” Iagnemma says. “Most emails get forwarded or deleted; a few get a brief response; still fewer get longer treatment.” A number of CEOs I spoke to said they didn’t respond at all to emails that weren’t addressed to them directly; if they’re simply copied on a thread, they assume someone else will handle it. Some CEOs use a folder system to organize their inboxes or turn to scheduler tools like the Boomerang extension, in order to set email reminders and manage when their messages go out. Other execs say they’re diligent about taking the time to unsubscribe from mass email lists or else bundle the newsletters they subscribe to using tools like Unroll.Me. Related: Six Ways The Most Productive People Write And Send Emails Forsaking Inbox Zero (And Living To Tell About It) But if you’ve failed to reach or maintain inbox zero (as I have), you’re still in good company, productivity-wise. Many CEOs say it si[...]


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How to Prevent “Move Fast and Break Things” From Breaking You

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:00:00 GMT

More than most people, Jonathan Taplin has seen firsthand how the rise of digital behemoths like Google and Facebook has irrevocably transformed the life of artists and musicians. A former tour manager for Bob Dylan and the Band and a movie producer for Martin Scorsese, Taplin has become an expert in digital media, and has observed how the original decentralized vision of the internet in the 1990s has morphed into an industry controlled by monopolistic companies that wield inordinate influence over the future of music, film, television, book publishing, and journalism. This concentration of power has decimated those industries—newspaper and music revenues have plummeted 70% since 2001, while Google’s YouTube pays for only 11% of the total streaming-audio revenues received by artists though it controls 60% of the streaming-audio business, according to Taplin. Taplin, who now spends his time focused on the challenges that new methods of distribution present to creative types, sits on California’s Broadband Task Force and is the director emeritus of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. He just came out with a new book, Move Fast and Break Things whose subtitle sums up his thesis with a punch to the gut of Silicon Valley’s self-righteous posture: “How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture And Undermined Democracy.” This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length. Fast Company: Reading your bio, I was struck by the fact that you co-produced one of my favorite movies, Wim Wenders’s Until The End of the World. And now I need to see it again, because I totally forget how everyone carries around these handheld screens and can’t help getting lost in watching old videos from their past. That movie came out over 25 years ago, and it was so prescient. Jonathan Taplin: We’re trying to get the studio to release the full five-hour version—Wim and I are trying to get the long version of it released. They’re open to it. We have to have a negotiation. FC: What prompted you to write this book? JT: Ironically, it was at a Fast Company conference back in 2012, where I was debating Alexis Ohanian of Reddit about artists’ rights. And he was saying that artists don’t have the right to make money from recorded music but to make money as live performers. And he was so proud of how he gets all this music for free. So I told him the story of Levon Helms, who was literally fighting for his life while this conference was going on. He got throat cancer. When Napster arrived, all those royalties took a hit and that very point he got throat cancer. And he didn’t even have enough money to pay for health insurance. Some friends got together and organized what became known as the Midnight Rambles, and put on shows in his barn and people would pay some money, and that sustained him for a while. And then he died. After he died, there was a benefit for his wife. And it seemed so unfair. And here you have [Alexis] saying that artist should make money as they did in the 18th century. Meanwhile, we have 5 billion smartphones in the world, and he’s telling me we can’t make money off of that? It’s not like there isn’t money available. And I looked at it and saw that what happened was that the big monopoly platforms were getting all the money. On the Amazon side, they’re what’s known as a monoposony [a market situation in which there is only one buyer], as the middle man forcing lower prices. Essentially, the artists got screwed. With the advent of YouTube and other streaming services, revenue for musicians has fallen 70%. FC: I was reading somewhere that Daft Punk only got something like $13,000 from Spotify for “Get Lucky,” which was streamed literally tens of millions of times. JT: Yeah, that’s right. If you had a song that had a million downloads on iTunes, you would get $900,000. On YouTube, you’d get $900. It just became clear to me that t[...]


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Samsung’s New S8 Feels Rushed, But Consumers Unconcerned About Battery Safety

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:17:27 GMT

Part of the reason for Samsung’s Note 7 exploding battery crisis was that the company was in a big hurry to get the phone to market before Apple could announce its new iPhone 7. The batteries had design flaws, and quality assurance was lacking in their manufacture. Samsung’s first post-Note 7 phone—the S8/S8+—goes on sale today, and while we know of no quality assurance problems, some aspects of the device—particularly the implementation of the fingerprint reader and the Bixby personal assistant—suggest that Samsung is still rushing new devices to market before they’re fully baked. Those considering buying an S8 in the next few days should be aware of this, even if doesn’t end up being a deal-breaker. The S8 is arguably the strongest smartphone in the world right now; what it gets right it gets very right, and lots of people will like it. That makes it all the more confounding that Samsung would release the device with such glaring shortcomings.  A Creative Strategies/Survey Monkey survey finds that 53% of consumers said the Note 7 issue has not impacted their interest in the Galaxy S8, while 17.7% said they were not sure or undecided. Fingering The Culprit One of the things Samsung needed to do in its new phone to stay ahead of Apple was to put a bigger and brighter display on the S8. It did, and the critics love it. But there’s a design trade-off there. To remove the bottom bezel, the “chin” on the front of the phone and replace it with screen area, Samsung needed to find a new place for the fingerprint scanner, one of three biometric methods of logging onto the phone and almost certainly the most popular. Samsung placed it awkwardly on the top back of the phone near the camera. This raises the risk that the user will smudge the camera. Worse, as numerous reviewers said, it’s difficult to locate the button with one’s finger while looking at the front of the phone, and difficult to rest one’s finger on the sensor just right to get proper read. This shortcoming shouldn’t be underplayed—it’s arguably the hardware feature we use most on our smartphones. And it’s not something that can be fixed with a software upgrade; it’s there for the life of the phone. Samsung told The Verge that it could not place the scanner further down on the bottom of the phone because of the placement of the battery inside. To make matters worse, the other two biometric buttons for unlocking the phone don’t work that well either. The iris scanning in the Note 7 took a lot of eye positioning and eye widening for a successful read, and by the sound of the reviews the S8’s iris scanner is largely the same. There’s also a new facial recognition unlock method, which Samsung quickly admitted is far from secure. A Creative Strategies/Survey Monkey survey finds moderate interest in the S8. More than a third of people will upgrade in the next 3-6 months are interested in the new phone. Where’s Bixby? Samsung was noticeably late to add its own smart voice assistant to its phones, after the failure of its not-very-useful S-voice assistant feature. Then came news of a new smart voice assistant called Bixby, which developed from Samsung’s acquisition of Viv, the AI startup founded by some of the same people who built Siri. Samsung expects Bixby to play a role in many functions and apps in the phone. Mobile CTO Injong Rhee told Mashable that the Bixby voice assistant is nothing short of an “interface revolution.”  Samsung even built a special hardware button into the S8 just to activate the Bixby voice assistant. But, for the most part, Bixby won’t be present in the phones that went on sale today. Pressing down on the special button on the left side of the phone won’t call up the voice assistant. Samsung says that function will be activated through a software update coming later [...]


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This Climate Change Doc Is A Wake-Up Call For Trump’s Administration

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:40:21 GMT

When the topic of climate change comes up, people are either armed with the latest damning statistics, ready to deny its existence, or caught somewhere in the middle between acknowledging the need for action and mustering up the energy to do anything themselves. Co-directors Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent are gunning for that last category with their documentary Tomorrow. After gaining significant traction upon its release in France two years ago, selling more than one million movie tickets and winning the 2016 César Award for best documentary, Tomorrow has come stateside with a new approach for addressing climate change and the apathy that comes with it. Instead of relying on the scare tactics of natural disasters, Tomorrow relentlessly digs past the surface of climate change into agriculture, energy, the economy, democracy, and education, threading it all together to show that because of the complexities of the problems at hand, there are no immediate solutions, just a guiding point toward reevaluating decisions. “I’ve been an activist for the last 10 years and I co-founded an ecological movement in 2006. For years I had the feeling that we couldn’t really mobilize people in the right way because we were asking them to quit many things, like to quit eating meat, quit taking baths, and so on. It was not really efficient to make them move and act,” Dion says. “I wanted to show that everything is connected and that we cannot address, for example, the problem of agriculture without thinking about energy. I wanted to explore these connections and also as a way to build the story because I didn’t want the movie to be a catalog of solutions one after another—I wanted the movie to be really pedagogical.” Dion credits two things that set Tomorrow into motion: a terrifying study in the journal Nature that dated the extinction of mankind to occur before the end of the 21st century, and environmentalist George Marshall’s book Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate. “He’s explaining that when we hear terrible news and something bigger than us, the brain is just trying to defend itself by refusing the news and diving into denial,” Dion says. “I had the feeling that we needed some new vision for the future something that could emphasize the creativity and the energy of people. And if we could put it together in a new story for the future, maybe that would be more efficient than only showing the catastrophes.” Cyril Dion on the right Dion and his crew traveled across the world to spotlight ideas like urban farming, permaculture, and community currency that, if applied on a broader scale, could provide the world with a better framework for actual progress. Tomorrow debuting in the U.S. feels prescient given the Trump Administration’s seemingly steadfast desire to torpedo the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama’s legacy in fighting climate change. Much like the impact Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth had in raising awareness of the dire state of global warming, Dion is aiming for Tomorrow to spark a movement, starting at the absolute ground level. “We need to start something where we live, in our neighborhood, in our day-to-day lives, in our jobs, just to try to be able to take back some power in our world and on our destiny,” Dion says. “That’s the reason why I think we need a a big vision, like something that we can follow and try to figure out how we can implement something here and now.” Learn more about Tomorrow and its initiatives here. [...]


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How In-Home Package Delivery Could Save E-Commerce

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:50:42 GMT

Would you allow UPS to drop off a package inside your home when you’re not there? That question is at the heart of a three-month pilot program that smart lock maker August tried out last winter with 76 of its users in an attempt to see if the company could help jumpstart the e-commerce industry. In most other films, we wouldn’t spend much time with the dimwitted muscle at an arms deal gone bad, but Wheatley’s as fascinated by the characters in the background as he is in the stars in front, and the result is a film where every bullet matters. Free Fire is violent, and funny, and absurd–there’s an element of early Tarantino to it, where style and ’70s aesthetics combine with brutality and humor to create something unique–but each time a shot is fired in the film, we become acutely aware that it’s going to land somewhere, and that when it does, the world of the film we’re watching is going to change. A character who could run is going to stumble with a limp; a character who swaggered is going to clutch at a wound for the next forty minutes. Shooting in real-time makes all of those stakes high, and it’s something that Wheatley is keen to drive home for the audience. “A lot of films have become one guy mowing down an army of faceless characters. You know you’re in trouble when your hero starts fighting guys in balaclavas or gas masks or something, because you know they’re just going to be recycling stuntmen again and again and again,” Wheatley says. “This is a weird film in that it’s a symmetrical war film, where you’ve got both sides, you know both sides, and there’s no black hats or white hats in this. And so you take it personally when they’re hurt–as you should do. You have empathy. You feel sad about it at the same time you’re enjoying the action. So what do you like about it? Why do you enjoy this stuff? And that’s a question for me, when I enjoy action movies, and when I’m thrilled by them because, at the same time, they’re kind of appalling.” To that end, Free Fire avoids the other easy trap of action movies–not only do we get to know the characters that normally spend these movies in the background, but the characters played by actors we’ve seen star as heroes in bigger movies in the past aren’t untouchable here the way that they might be in their previous work. And Wheatley, who’s extremely interested in the consequences of the sort of violence we see in movies, recognizes the way that his film zigs where you expect it to zag–and what it means to be making an action movie where every bullet counts. “The film really should have been Armie Hammer falling in love with Brie Larson as they went on all sorts of capers all over Massachusetts,” Wheatley laughs. “But it never escapes the first scene of the film, and the film is broken by characters who should really be extras. They shouldn’t have any emotional moments in this film. They’re the people who just get shot.” [...]


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The Surprising Ways You Ruined Your Interview Before You Even Opened Your Mouth

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:00:26 GMT

If there’s ever a time in our lives when everything we do will be scrutinized, it’s when we’re at a job interview. With that in mind, many of us spend hours preparing what we’re going to say to wow the hiring manager. And while this part of the pre-interview process is extremely important (just make sure that you’re preparing the right way), you also want to make sure that you don’t neglect the nonspeaking part of the interview. After all, a bad first impression is extremely difficult to undo. Related: Why It’s So Hard To Change A Bad First Impression  Here are some things that can ruin your chances at a job interview, even before you open your mouth: Your Handshake Sweaty palms, attempting a fist-bump, or trying the “shake and hug” on the hiring manager can all create unfavorable first impressions. According to a 2016 Harris Poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, 22% of responders listed weak handshakes as the biggest body language deal-breaker. On the other hand, 9% listed “having a handshake that was too strong” as the biggest physical gesture mistake they saw. A good handshake needs to be strong, but not so much that you almost crush the other person’s hand. And don’t hold the handshake for too long, as that would just be awkward. Not Making Eye Contact The same CareerBuilder survey also saw 67% of responders listing lack of eye contact as one of the main factors that ruined an interviewee’s chances. Crystal Barnett, senior human resources specialist at HR services provider Insperity, previously told Fast Company that a failure to look someone in the eye could be interpreted as a lack of confidence. In the case of group interviews, Barnett advised candidates to “initially maintain eye contact with the person who asked the question. “In the course of responding, the candidate should also look at other interviewers to read their nonverbal cues and keep them engaged,” Barnett suggested. Arriving Empty-Handed Have you ever been to an interview where the hiring manager asks for a copy of your resume and you have to embarrassingly say you don’t have it? It’s true that we live in a digital world, and your interviewer could probably easily pull it up on their phones or walk to their desk and hit “print.” But remember, at a job interview, it’s on you to make the case of why you’re the best for this job. As Fast Company previously reported, bringing hard copies of your resume, portfolio, and copies of references can “show that you’re prepared to move forward with the job should an offer be forthcoming.” Wearing Inappropriate Clothing When you’re in a job interview, you want to make sure that you’re presenting the best version of yourself. That said, what you’re wearing should be reflective of the company culture. So while it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, you probably wouldn’t want to show up in a three-piece tailored suit if most of the office wears jeans and T-shirts. That may signal that you’re not a culture fit. So pay attention to your industry, the company’s website, and the type of role you’re being interviewed for to figure out what the best version of you should look like. Surveys have shown that colors can convey meaning. Black, for example, signals strength and authority—meaning that it’ll probably be a good choice if you’re going for a management role, while purple suggests uniqueness and creativity—a great pick for those seeking jobs in the creative industry. The one color that you should probably avoid? Orange. In one survey, 25% of employers indicated that it’s [...]


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Mindy Kaling Goes Nameless, Dove Turns Hacker: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:15:15 GMT

I’m sure there were more than a few people–particularly those in advertising–who saw McDonald’s new campaign with Mindy Kaling this week and immediately held their noses. The gall! The presumption! The wasted opportunity to clearly cash in on a quirky, if altogether pretty decent celebrity endorsement! But beyond the data and insight behind the spot–outlined pretty clearly in the New York Times–it also assumes that smart, savvy people will understand and enjoy it. You know who likes to think they’re thought of as smart and savvy? Everybody. And for those who didn’t know the ol’ Coke thing before now, it’s new water cooler fodder to soak up some of that awkward silence between coworkers when you’re waiting for your report to print at the office copier. Win-win. Onward! McDonald’s “That Place” What: A new campaign starring Mindy Kaling that aims to tap into the power of word of mouth by not mentioning the brand at all. Who: McDonald’s, We Are Unlimited Why We Care: Last week’s sly Google Home trick from Burger King was cool, but this is taking things to a new level of trying to game the ol’ search giant. This campaign doesn’t even appear on McD’s social feeds or YouTube page. It’s cheeky, but also rooted in the insight that most young people are on their phones while watching TV, a real question around a quirk of quality between Coke and McDonald’s, and a real fan of the brand in Kaling. Nike “Giannis Come Out Of Nowhere” What: A new Nike spot for its Come Out of Nowhere campaign that tells the unexpected story of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Who: Nike Why We Care: Okay, look, I’m a Toronto Raptors fan. Grew up a Celtics fan, but once my hometown got a team of its own in 1996, I went deep for the purple. And here we are in the NBA Playoffs, with the Raps in a tight series with the Bucks– battle of the Basketball Hinterlands! Dinos vs. Deer!–and the Greek Freak is tearing the dinos apart. Still, this is a great story, told in a quick, engaging way that makes even me want to read more. IBM Watson “The Voice of Art” What: IBM’s Watson becomes an art museum guide in Brazil. Who: IBM, Ogilvy Brazil Why We Care: The brand created an interactive guide that lets people have conversations with the artwork in the Pinacoteca de São Paulo Museum. A Watson-powered program built with data from books, newspapers, magazines, biographies, interviews, and the internet, replaced the traditional audio guides, and Watson’s AI capabilities were utilized to answer spontaneous questions about the museum’s collection. A pure example of innovation as marketing tool. Dove “Image_Hack” What: A unique–and totally legal–hack of stock photo site Shutterstock to change the perception of what a “beautiful woman” looks like to advertisers by submitting photos tagged with the terms that didn’t involve a bikini. Who: Dove, Mindshare Denmark Why We Care: The brand and agency teamed with leading ad photographers to take and upload shots of women in non-stereotypical settings–car mechanic, rugby player, academic–tagged to alter stock photo sites’ algorithms to force them to offer a more a realistic picture of women in today’s society. One cool effort, and a reminder we still have a long way to go, no matter what ol’ Mr. Hardee says. MACMA “Everybody Loves Boobs” What: A new nipple-tingling singalong PSA from the folks who brought us #manboobs4boobs last year. Who: MACMA, David Buenos Aires Why We Care: Last year, the Breast Cancer Help Movement (MACMA) launched an award-winning PSA campaign around [...]


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Capturing The Beauty Of Ice, Polar Bears, And Penguins–Before They Are Gone Forever

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:30:03 GMT

A nature photographer who feels most at home in the remote, freezing corners of the world, Paul Nicklen knows about patience. Growing up on Baffin Island in northern Canada and traveling among the Inuit tribes, Nicklen learned how hunters would often wait well over a day, crouched by a hole in the ice, to catch a seal to eat. When Nicklen journeys to the poles to capture images of little-observed species like the Antarctic leopard seal, he’ll wait patiently for the perfect shot. “I can go down under the ice for long periods of time and wait, and come back with images that nobody else in the world can,” Nicken tells Fast Company. “That’s what my mission and my role is now.” In his work, Nicklen captures an environment rapidly shifting away from the arctic landscape he inhabited as a child. In 2005, the same Inuit tribe that Nicklen grew up among sued the American government on the basis that greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S posed a threat to their livelihoods and their culture. The suit went nowhere, but the effects of climate change on the Inuit’s region persist: A friend of Nicklen’s died of hypothermia after the ice sheet cracked under his snowmobile and plunged him into the water. When he ventured to Greenland, Nicklen spoke to an Inuit descendant of Sir Robert Peary, who told him that the sea ice they used to traverse to reach their traditional hunting ground had completely melted away. Along their normal travel patterns across the Beaufort Sea, young polar bears are dying, being forced to swim some 400 miles they once crossed by sea ice. Polar Reflection [Photo: Paul Nicklen]We, thousands of miles away, do not see this. “You know the stats–we’re at the lowest level of sea ice in recorded history; in 20 or 30 years, there will be no multiyear ice left. Without it, there will be a total collapse of this ecosystem,” Nicklen says. But with no visual guide to what that ecosystem is and the people and species it supports, “there’s a huge disconnect,” he says. So when Nicklen, on a donor trip with SeaLegacy three years ago, came across a dead polar bear on the shoreline of Svalbard, he was overwhelmed with a sense of purpose. “This was something I could force-feed to the world,” he says. In the mid-’90s, after abandoning a career as a wildlife biologist in the Northwest Territories, frustrated over his profession’s lack of effective data-sharing and ability to drive change, Nicklen transformed his lifelong passion for photography–which he learned from his mother, who owned the only camera and darkroom on Baffin Island–into a career as a photojournalist. “Science is crucial, but it’s not breaking down the walls of apathy,” Nicklen says. “I thought: If I can use my camera to tell these stories visually, and reach a million people, I’m at least getting the story out there.” His career as a contributing photographer for National Geographic has taken him to the farthest reaches of the arctic and his photographs have won him worldwide recognition. Spirit of the Rainforest [Photo: Paul Nicklen]And while Nicklen’s work is still featured in National Geographic, he’s ventured into more immediate means of sharing the stories for which he is often the only mouthpiece. Nicklen’s Instagram followers number more than 3 million; in the several years since he’s been posting to the platform, he’s watched his followers rise up to quell the (fewer and fewer) doubts expressed by climate-change deniers. And through his nonprofit, SeaLegacy, Nicklen aims to amass “the best visual storytellers in the world—videographers, scientists, photographers.” He says, “We’re going to become like[...]


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The Environmentalist Papers Make The Case For Conservation In The Age Of Trump

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:00:42 GMT

Donald Trump has called himself “an environmentalist” despite proposing a 31% cut to the EPA budget, threatening to pull out of the Paris climate accord, and appointing Scott Pruitt as his chief environmental enforcer–a man with a long record of belittling federal protections of water, air, and public health. Trump has a standard rationale for all this environment-bashing: Regulations stop companies from creating jobs and harm economic growth. He’s said the EPA is “out of control” and described Obama-era rule-making–like one forbidding coal companies from dumping chemicals in rivers–“job killing.” The Clean Air Act produced between $5.6 trillion and $49.4 trillion in health benefits. [Source Images: Bolkins/iStock (pattern), NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (Earth)]There are many ways Trump is wrong on all this, not least the job-killing part. Economists who have studied the issue find mild effects and, in fact, sometimes regulations help create jobs. When, in 2011, the EPA finalized a rule protecting “downwind” states from pollution (mostly created by coal-fired power plants) from upwind, the measure created more than 2,000 compliance-related jobs, the Institute for Public Integrity says. More important, perhaps, environmental protection has a long track record of improving human health–something that can be measured in dollars, cents, and lengthened lives. In the 1990s, under pressure from Congress, the EPA began analyzing the economic impact of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Between 1970 and 1990, if found, the CAA produced between $5.6 trillion and $49.4 trillion in health benefits. By cutting pollution like sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and fine particulates, there were 184,000 fewer early deaths, hundreds of fewer cases of serious bronchitis, and millions of fewer worker hours lost to illness, its analysis showed. On the flip side, the legislation cost only $500 billion in compliance costs. Scientists need to stick up for the positive side of the cost-benefit ledger. [Source Images: Bolkins/iStock (pattern), NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (Earth)]Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of environmental health at Harvard, wants to change the conversation around environmental protection. Scientists, he says, need to stick up for the positive side of the cost-benefit ledger, instead of letting people like Trump and Pruitt repeat their canards without correction. To aid in this effort, Allen has assembled colleagues to write about how environmental protection improves health–an effort he calls the Environmentalist Papers. “Environmental health is often ignored in the discussion that we see around environmental protection,” he tells Fast Company. “Half the equation is being left out and that’s the benefit side. There is a cost to [regulations], but also a benefit side of the analysis.” He points, for example, to Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which regulates fossil fuel-powered power plants. The EPA says it would cost $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion by 2030. But, at the same time, for every $1 invested, we would see $7 in health benefits. The Environmentalist Papers echo the Federalist Papers, which called on the states to ratify the Constitution. Allen admits to “leveraging the popularity of [Alexander] Hamilton right now,” but he nonetheless believes Trump’s attack on the environment rises to a level of seriousness that justifies invoking Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay’s essays. There are four papers in the new series so far, with more in the pipeline, Allen says. The first paper of the series, coauthored [...]


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