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Who Controls the Blockchain?
Blockchain networks tend to support principles, like open access and permissionless use, that should be familiar to proponents of the early internet. To protect this vision from political pressure and regulatory interference, blockchain networks rely on a decentralized infrastructure that can’t be controlled by any one person or group. Unlike political regulation, blockchain governance is not emergent from the community. Rather, it is ex ante, encoded in the protocols and processes as an integral part of the original network architecture. To be a part of a community supporting a blockcha [...]
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CC’ing the Boss on Email Makes Employees Feel Less Trusted
Ali is sitting at his desk, clearing out his email inbox. Tamika, a colleague, has sent him a question about a client they share, and Ali isn’t entirely sure of the answer. So when he replies, he figures he’ll cc their team leader, so that she can chime in if he’s gotten anything wrong. Ali thinks nothing of it — it’s a collaborative work environment, and transparency is a good thing, right? But Tamika sees it differently. Five minutes later, she’s at Ali’s desk: “Why did you loop our boss in on that email? She’s going to think I can&# [...]
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To Ace Your Job Interview, Get into Character and Rehearse
You’ve landed an interview for the job of your dreams. You’re ideally suited for the position, and your resume is bulletproof. You’ve researched the company, the culture, the job, and the person who will be interviewing you. (Thank you, LinkedIn.) You’ve got your answers ready and selling points lined up. But when the interview starts, something’s “off.” You want to be commanding, but your nervousness gets in the way. Your voice sounds stiff. You hear yourself trying too hard, but you can’t seem to stop yourself. As the minutes tick by, your answ [...]
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Research: Immigrants Played an Outsize Role in America’s Age of Innovation
America has always been “a nation of immigrants” to quote the title of John F. Kennedy’s famous book. Yet the role of immigrants in U.S. competitiveness has become increasingly contentious, especially in light of the recent presidential election. Our research attempts to shed light on this debate, by focusing on the history of immigrants as technological innovators. To study the role of migrant inventors in U.S. innovation, we linked the birthplace of millions of individuals from Federal Censuses between 1880 and 1940 to millions of inventors from patent records. Using l [...]
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One Cost of Increased Globalization: More Industrial Accidents
Industrial accidents can be devastating to the people and communities involved. In addition to the immediate loss of life, such accidents can leave a lasting mark. For example, residents and victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak incident in India still live with the environmental damage created by Union Carbide, and protest yearly to publicize their continuing efforts to obtain financial compensation for damages as well as justice for the remaining perpetrators. Scientists are still trying to determine the long-term effects of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. However, little systemat [...]
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How to Work with Someone Who Isn’t a Team Player
Do you work with someone who isn’t a team player? Maybe they’re overly focused on completing and promoting their own work. Or they don’t chip in when everyone else is scrambling to meet a deadline or pulling a presentation together. This isn’t simply frustrating; it can affect your entire group’s performance. How do you work with this person in a way that doesn’t make you resentful? And how can you encourage them to think more about the team? What the Experts Say When a team member procrastinates or displays a bad attitude, thereR [...]
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Have Our Attitudes About Sexual Harassment Really Changed?
So, Bill O’Reilly — perhaps the biggest name in cable news — has been fired by Fox News after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. The fact that O’Reilly has been the subject of high-profile sexual harassment claims before, and recently inked a fresh contract with Fox, even as news of the allegations was splashed across the front page of the New York Times, has led many observers to ask: “What changed?” Pragmatists have observed that dozens of advertisers had deserted his show, The O’Reilly Factor, while others [...]
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Women Dominate College Majors That Lead to Lower-Paying Work
The pay gap between men and women in the U.S. — the 80-ish cents on the dollar that the average woman earns for every dollar the average man does — has narrowed at such a slow pace that it would be unfair to glaciers to call it glacial. When people talk about the pay gap, what this phrase typically means is that a woman is being paid less than a man for doing the same work. A well-known example is Lilly Ledbetter, who had worked in a tire factory for almost 20 years when a colleague left her an anonymous note revealing she’d been earning thousands of dollars less th [...]
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Should Antitrust Regulators Stop Companies from Collecting So Much Data?
Innovation has always required a constant iteration of trial and error as companies use data about current performance to improve future performance. So it should come as no surprise that companies in the information age want to use ever more data to hone their products. But there is an emerging debate over the competitive implications of big data. Some observers argue that companies amassing too much data might inhibit competition, so antitrust regulators should preemptively take action to cut “big data” down to “medium data.” Others say there is nothing new here, [...]
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The 3 Stages of a Country Embracing Renewable Energy
The world is undergoing a transformation in how it gets its power. In Germany, we have a word for it: Energiewende. It means energy turning point. (We use the same word Wende to describe the fall of the Berlin Wall and all the dramatic changes that came with it.) In this transformation, we are witnessing the decarbonization of power consumption, thanks to the large-scale deployment of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Earlier this year, the European Union announced that its climate and renewable energy targets—a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of EU energy fr [...]
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Mentor People Who Aren’t Like You
Leaders tend to coach and mentor their “own,” and here’s the human impulse that drives it: Even those who believe that diversity improves creativity, problem solving, and decision making naturally invest in and advocate for the development of the subordinates who are most like them. They see less experienced versions of themselves in these folks, and so they’re inclined to believe in their potential — they want to nurture it. Of course, this also means that growth and advancement opportunities go disproportionately to those who belong to the demographic or social [...]
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Airlines Like United Can Underpay Bumped Passengers Because of a Government Rule
By now, many of us have viewed the disturbing video of a bloodied man being dragged off of United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday. To accommodate four crew members who had to get to Louisville, United claims it offered $1,000 per passenger to relinquish their seats (other reports claim United offered $800). When not enough people volunteered, instead of raising the bounty, United opted to play hardball by involuntarily kicking customers off its plane. This incident has thrust the common airline practice of overbooking into the spotlight. New Jersey Governor Chris [...]
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