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Jobs Techonomy Events

How LinkedIn Wants to Unite the Workers of the World

Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick credits LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner with planting the seed for the annual Techonomy conference, which wrapped up on Tuesday, Nov. 11, in Half Moon Bay, Calif. He also credits Weiner with building what has become a “central facility for the modern economy.” Weiner spoke to Kirkpatrick onstage Monday about his vision for the professional online network, which has grown to more than 320 million members and become “the future of connection, compassion, and the corporation.”   More

Jobs Techonomy Events

Man, Machines, and How the Future Works

It’s 2020—robots and automation have replaced workers in droves. So what are all the people doing? What new systems must emerge to employ and engage people, and what new policies and regulations will be needed to protect them? John Markoff of the New York Times discusses the future of work with Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Jessica Rosenworcel of the FCC, Ford's Ken Washington, and Philip Zelikow of the Markle Foundation in this session from the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif.   More

Jobs Techonomy Events

Was It Just a Dream?

The American Dream—that hard work could lead anyone to prosperity, success and upward mobility—feels increasingly irrelevant for a growing and frighteningly large group of Americans. What will people do to attain economic and social security? Will the middle class survive? What new policies and strategies could we devise to help keep the American Dream alive? Carol Goss of Harvard's Advanced Leadership Initiative, Indiegogo's Danae Ringelmann, Elizabeth Shuler of the AFL-CIO, and Philip Zelikow of the Markle Foundation tackled these and other questions in a discussion moderated by David Kirkpatrick that kicked off our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference.   More

Government Jobs Techonomy Events

Why Institutions Need to Wake Up to a New American Dream

Philip Zelikow says we’re on the cusp of a change “comparable to 1880 or 1890 when the economy was about to fundamentally transform. This should be a really bright era.” Yet Gallup polls show that Americans are more pessimistic about the future than ever. And even a Techonomy panel discussion offered a less-than-optimistic view of the future for the middle class.   More

Jobs

Rebuilding the American Dream in a Global, Networked Economy

Despite strides in jobs and the economy, Americans remain pessimistic about their future, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Three-quarters of respondents said that they are not confident that their children’s generation will be better off than their own. More than half reportedly believe that a growing income gap between the rich and poor undermines the American dream. The fact is that technology and globalization are changing our way of life. While enriching us in many ways, these transformative forces have eliminated secure jobs and eroded economic security for millions.   More

Jobs

eBay’s Devin Wenig on Tech’s Destruction … and Humanism

"While tech is sometimes thought of as a sector or a niche, it's increasingly clear that tech is the economy and tech is the transformative force," says Devin Wenig, president of eBay's global e-commerce business. As tech reinvents industries, jobs, and processes, and changes how people work and act, companies that want to succeed must learn to accept creative destruction. "Any time you go through a disruption, you end up with winners and losers," said Wenig, who joined us at a Techonomy dinner salon in San Francisco. "But I do believe it's a positive-sum game," he added. And he says that in this game, humans, not just machines, are winning. "I don't think the world coming is all full of drones and robots.... It can be amazingly humanistic," Wenig said.   More

Jobs

The Online, Freelance, Globalizing World of Work

The monthly ups and downs of American employment as recorded by the Department of Labor don’t track the full story of modern jobs. The agency doesn’t take into account U.S. freelancers. This is a major omission. There are 70 percent more self-identified independent or freelance workers (17.7 million) than unemployed professionals (10.5 million). While the most recent report eased concerns about the jobless growth (the economy added 175,000 new jobs this February), we will continue to see the transformation of the way we work and hire. Many of today’s traditional office jobs will soon be a relic of the 20th century.   More

Jobs

These Companies Are Giving Virtual Workers a Home

Last year we profiled Web engineering company 10up (which developed this website). Aside from its near-fanatical devotion to all things WordPress, one of the hallmarks of 10up is that it’s a distributed company—its 60-plus full-time developers and project managers live and work all over the country. That model is catching on, with “virtual” companies becoming more and more common in the tech sector. Some, like Mozilla, Basecamp, and Upworthy, are fast-growing software or media companies. Others are developers, marketers, digital designers, or online learning platforms. “Web based” best describes all of the companies that made a list compiled by job search site FlexJobs (which has the distinction of appearing on its own list), but each blend offline and online collaboration in different ways and to varying degrees.   More

Startup Culture

Are the Best and Brightest Still Coming to Silicon Valley?

Are the smartest entrepreneurs and technologists still attracted to Silicon Valley? Does the Valley still pull in the best and brightest from around the world? According to David Kirkpatrick, who I interviewed at an Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event, the answer may well be no. Kirkpatrick tells the story of a remarkably talented Chinese guy he met in Beijing recently who had read his book, “The Facebook Effect,” five times. “I was just amazed I stumbled across that in Beijing,” he told me. This guy, Kirkpatrick explained, was running a 20-person Beijing startup just focused on making Facebook games.   More

Jobs Techonomy Events

Why Millennials Won’t Become Corporate Serfs

Whatever the recession rendered Millennials—cautious, cynical, underemployed, overeducated, boomerang kids who couldn’t be more grateful that debtors’ prisons have gone out of style—most of all, it made us aware. It showed us just how disloyal corporate America can be, no matter how loyal its staffers have been. It proved that security doesn’t exist, however prestigious your background or business card. And it forced us to interrogate the motives that had pushed our economy past its breaking point—to ask ourselves what work ought to be and mean and yield.   More

Global Tech Jobs

Creating Great Employees (Who Happen to be Autistic)

Thirty-year-old Tobias Ussing admits that his Asperger syndrome, on the milder end of the autism spectrum, is “a lot to work with.” Despite loads of motivation and experience, finding a permanent job has been a challenge, even though he is a highly capable computer programmer who began coding in the 1980s on a Commodore 64. Specialisterne, a company founded in his native Denmark, got Ussing “out of the gutter,” he says. Specialisterne helps people with autism spectrum disorders who have business potential find work. Thorkil Sonne founded Specialisterne in 2004 because his son, Lars, who had been diagnosed at age three with autism, demonstrated an incredible aptitude for processing large amounts of information and catching details.   More

Techonomy Events

The Techonomy Experience Looms

With Techonomy 2013 just weeks away, our team at Broadway and Bond in NoHo is putting the final touches on our best program ever. Techonomy carries a heritage from our many years at Fortune. It's a living magazine. Tina Brown calls conferences "theatrical journalism," and we don't eschew that, but ideas are what get us most excited. The conference opens with a look at the extraordinary ways tech is changing business, and ends with an even bigger-picture look at how innovation is transforming the world and life.   More

Jobs

McKinsey’s Susan Lund on Tomorrow’s Workforce

At our recent Techonomy Detroit conference, McKinsey Global Institute director of research Susan Lund shared a worrisome statistic: today four out of five U.S. college graduates can't find work in their field of study. So how can we get more graduating students into the workforce? According to Lund, we need a radical rethink of American education. "The basic way we educate kids hasn't really changed in a hundred years," Lund said. "And what's needed today are workers of all different sorts, but with more skills."   More

Government Jobs

Smart Policies Can Restore a Thriving Middle Class

Labor freed up through technological change is supposed to find its way into other industries and increase the overall production of goods and services. We can produce more goods and services with the same amount of labor as before, and that should allow growth that makes us all better off. But does it make us all better off?Technology has advanced to the point where good, middle class jobs are being replaced rather than those on the lowest rung of the job ladder, and this is polarizing labor markets as the middle class is reduced in size.   More

Jobs Learning Opinion

Class of 2013: Narcissism or Altruism? In a World of Abundance, Time to Decide

I'm jealous of anyone graduating college today. You are stepping as a newly-burnished adult into an era of unprecedented promise, innovation, and opportunity. The world you will witness and contribute to can be fairer, wealthier, and more peaceful than any that people have ever known. What makes all these glories possible is the exponential pace of change driven by technology. Your generation takes that for granted, and revels in it. But it makes those older than you deeply uncomfortable, and many simply refuse to see it. That puts a lot of responsibility on you.   More

Government Jobs Opinion

The Knives of Class Warfare Turn Towards Tech’s Plutocrats

I have lots of quibbles with Joel Kotkin's recent essay published at the Daily Beast and already echoing elsewhere. He gets numerous facts wrong, and some of his assumptions are silly. But anyone in tech better pay close attention to his thorough summing-up of the numerous ways that tech's billionaires and their often-wealthy allies increasingly aim to influence social policy at a time when more and more Americans (and others in the developed-world middle class around the world) find middle-class life out of reach, and poverty grows among the less educated.   More

Jobs

A High-Altitude Hack to Bridge the Skills Gap

Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union, spoke at Techonomy 2011 about why broadband access should be a universal human right. Now, Touré's United Nations agency is partnering with British Airways to look for ways to match emerging talent with new jobs in tech. The two organizations have formed the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and launched an initiative, called "UnGrounded," that aims to identify the engineering, science, and tech skills most needed for today's job market, and create opportunities for training and talent discovery. The project will literally take off this summer when a group of CEOs, founders, and investors use an 11-hour transcontinental flight as a high-altitude hackathon, taking them from San Francisco to London, where they will present their ideas at ISD's Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit.   More

Manufacturing

Why Robots Might Boost Industry While Killing Jobs

Globalization is an easy culprit for the recent wave of U.S. unemployment, with domestic jobs shipped overseas to be replaced by cheap labor, often without adverse impact on the quality of a company's products or services. Apple is just one high-profile example of this trend. But automation and robotics may be contributing even more to our stubborn unemployment figures. Paradoxically, robots could also help bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. The Jan. 13 broadcast of 60 Minutes featured several Techonomists to help explain how this might happen.   More

Jobs

Is Telecommuting Overrated?

The futurist Alvin Toffler predicted the rise of telecommuting, calling the home office an "electronic cottage" that could enhance family and community cohesion. A growing segment of today's workforce telecommutes—in a variety of ways and with varying frequency. But, as reported by Slate's Evgeny Morozov, research indicates that the outcomes of tech-enabled remote work arrangements are decidedly mixed. A Deloitte report about a flexible work pilot program at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management concluded that both employees and their managers had a hard time evaluating performance, and that the quality of work suffered. And while the insurance giant Aetna allows 47 percent of its employees to work from home, those workers tend to be heavier, spurring the company to hire an online personal trainer.   More

Jobs Manufacturing

Skills Don’t Pay the Bills

What is the biggest threat to jobs in American manufacturing: robots or a skills gap? Many manufacturing jobs are vanishing because of computer-driven machinery, as discussed at Techonomy 2012, and nearly as many jobs have been outsourced. Thus, the industry’s future seems to lie in a new generation of highly skilled manufacturing employees who can run the computer that runs the machine. This means they must have a basic understanding of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, pneumatics, electrical wiring, and computer code.Some say there’s a skills gap, and employees with the right training simply do not exist. But that may not be the whole problem.   More