President Trump mentioned several times that he believes Amazon is getting too big and is demonstrating a monopoly posture. Are Amazon, Google, and Facebook getting too big and destroying competitive environments? I try to answer that exact question this week.
Last Tuesday, President Trump announced that Apple would be opening three manufacturing plants within the United States. The news left many technology journalists scratching their heads since Apple doesn’t build manufacturing plants. This week we dive into Trump’s announcement to determine fact from potential fiction.
A breakdown of the US departure of the Paris Accord: Elon Musk, Google, Microsoft, and more decry Trump’s withdrawal from Paris accord
In a speech delivered in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said withdrawing from the accord would “protect America and its citizens” and that he would seek new negotiations for terms more favorable to the U.S. “We are getting out,” Trump said. “But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.”
Tesla’s Elon Musk and Apple’s Tim Cook reached out to the White House in recent weeks to underscore the reasons for remaining in the accord. This morning, Musk tweeted that he had “done all I can to advise directly” Trump and others in the White House. Musk sent another tweet shortly after Trump ended his lengthy speech, announcing his own departures from Presidential councils.
If ending our participation in the Paris Accord slows the U.S. advanced energy market, our American companies will be at a huge competitive disadvantage globally. They won’t have a robust local market to build on. Before long, we will find ourselves buying energy technology from other countries, just as other countries now soak up our digital tech products.
Worse, the damage can go beyond energy to all U.S. industry. New energy sources aren’t getting adopted just because they might stave off climate change — they’re getting adopted because they are becoming cheaper than carbon-based energy.
But if we are talking about a true e-Procurement system that is going to be rolled out to everyone across a Global 3000 organization with the authority to make a requisition or spot buy, this will be tens of thousands of users, serviced by hundreds of Procurement professionals doing daily spot buys and MRO inventory management and dozens of strategic buyers and analysts looking for opportunities and conducting complex events using optimization and deep data mining, an average high end server is not going to do the trick. Multiple server instances are going to be needed, but they are all going to have to work off of the same data store, and a significant amount of this data is going to need to be accessed and updated in real time, so it’s not just a matter of replicating the database and allowing the users to go to town.
Do you need to be a dick to be a successful leader?
Crass title, but very interesting video (obviously there is some NSFW language)
Here Are the Airports You Can’t Fly From With Your Laptop
In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a rule that requires passengers flying to the United States from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries to put electronics bigger than a smartphone into their checked luggage. The DHS categorized cameras, e-readers, portable DVD players, tablets, travel printers and scanners and laptops as the devices that wouldn’t be allowed on board.
The airports that were affected by the ban are Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport, Cairo International Airport, Queen Alia International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Mohammed V Airport, Hamad International Airport, King Khalid International Airport, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport and Ataturk International Airport.
What Really Happened with Vista (interesting read)
Microsoft badly misjudged the underlying trends in computer hardware, in particular the right turn that occurred in 2003 to the trend of rapid improvements in single-threaded processor speed and matching improvements in other core elements of the PC. Vista was planned for and built for hardware that did not exist. This was bad for desktops, worse for laptops and disastrous for mobile.
“It’s America first—you better believe it,” Mr. Trump said during a speech at Snap-On Inc., a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wis., before signing an executive order that calls for a government-wide review aimed at stricter enforcement of immigration and other laws governing the entry of workers into the U.S.
A by-product of the Trump administration’s attempts at modifying immigrant labor regulation is a drop in H-1B applications for the first time in years:
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said Monday it had received 199,000 H-1B applications for the next fiscal year, according to the federal immigration agency. This is a steep decline from the 236,000 received last year and the 233,000 it received in 2015.
SFGate.com spoke with Martin Lawler, a Bay Area immigration attorney that suggests H-1B applications declined due to frustration. Applicants are selected at random and have to wait months to learn the final decision on their status.
Companies operating in US technology hubs like San Francisco have been complaining that these modifications will result in access to less qualified resources with math-based skills.
The biggest companies using H-1B visas are large Indian outsourcing firms like Tata, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro, and Accenture. The Trump administration specifically called out Tata and Infosys as abusers of the existing program by supplying low-paid, low-skilled workers instead of the high-skill labor the program was designed to support.
The Trump administration is looking to raise the minimum salary requirements to issue a visa and would also like to place a limit on the number of employees with H-1B visas a company can hire. With these rules in place, Trump is expecting American companies will have no choice but to hire from the domestic labor pool.
Mumbai-based TCS said profit in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31 stood at 66.08 billion rupees ($1.02 billion), up 4.2% from 63.41 billion rupees a year ago. That was just below the 66.23 billion rupees consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Revenue grew 4.2% to 296.42 billion rupees.
As the President refines his immigration policy, will Tata and its competitors be able to maintain growth? More importantly, is President Trump taking actions that will help the US economy in the long run by giving US workers (potentially) more opportunities, or will these decisions ultimately inhibit economic growth?
Laura Tyson, a professor at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business who chaired President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, described much the same fundamental problem with the policy. “For every dollar spent, the amount you get for that dollar is going to depend on the price you have to pay,” she explained. “This kind of policy will reduce competition and raise the price of the product. So, instead of a global set of suppliers competing for U.S. government contracts, only U.S. suppliers will compete. And in some product areas, there won’t be a large number of U.S. suppliers, and [they] may not have the superior products or the superior technology. So, in those cases, both the quality and the price of the product that the government faces with a limited budget to spend on procurement will actually deteriorate.”
The critiques seem to focus on government procurement and explains that by closing bids to foreign companies, products and services will cost more and potentially provide inferior solutions.
Here is a podcast I did a few months ago on the H-1B topic:
Why Office Perks Aren’t Enough to Attract and Retain Millennials
Take GE as an example. The erstwhile General Electric was founded before some millennials’ great-grandparents were born, but it’s doing a true job of remaining relevant for a new generation. In 2015 the company rolled out its “What’s the Matter With Owen” ad campaign aimed at potential millennial candidates. After its release, GE saw an 800 percent increase in applications and a 66 percent increase in traffic to the career site. GE surprised more than a few people by showing a sense of humor about its somewhat old-fashioned reputation. More importantly, the company highlighted some of the innovative work that goes on behind the scenes there, showing that it recognized the importance millennials place on being part of an organization with a well-defined mission. GE’s new look is more than skin deep: Moving its headquarters from suburban Connecticut to downtown Boston is a sign that the company is willing to adapt to how (and where) young employees want to work.
Senate votes to allow ISPs to collect personal data without permission
The Senate voted 50-48 in favor of S.J. 34, which would remove the rules and, under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, prevent similar rules from being enacted. It now heads to the House for approval.
“If signed by the President, this law would repeal the FCC’s widely-supported broadband privacy framework, and eliminate the requirement that cable and broadband providers offer customers a choice before selling their sensitive, personal information,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny in a joint statement.
Students who wrote longhand notes outperformed laptop note takers in recalling information to pass the quiz. And when the researchers examined the students’ notes, they found a clue as to why: The laptop notes tended to include a lot of verbatim transcription of the video, whereas handwritten notes couldn’t be written fast enough to do the same. If we can type fast enough to transcribe information verbatim, we can get away with writing notes without engaging our minds too much—we don’t have to think critically or even pay too much attention to simply write down exactly what someone’s saying.
When you get to the size of a remote workforce that IBM and Yahoo were faced with, the ability to recycle and refresh the tools supporting remote workers almost certainly becomes a management nightmare for IT staff. What likely happened was that rollouts of new tools took place, but the remote workers clung to the legacy tools they knew best.
As IT decision makers, it’s important to look at all aspects of telecommuting policy reversals. Yes, there likely were political and philosophical reasons behind IBM and Yahoo’s reversal on remote work policy. But technology may have also played a role. From an IT perspective, you should perhaps reevaluate your own telecommute processes and tools to make sure they are where they need to be.