- Jailed for a Text: China’s Censors Are Spying on Mobile Chat Groups
In China’s swiftly evolving new world of state surveillance, there are fewer and fewer private spaces. Authorities who once had to use informants to find out what people said in private now rely on a vast web of new technology. They can identify citizens as they walk down the street, monitor their online behavior and snoop on cellphone messaging apps to identify suspected malcontents.
Years ago, in the Mao Zedong era, people were sent to prison, labor camps and death for opinions expressed in private. In the decades since China launched economic reforms after Mao’s death, prosperity and social mobility created room for more personal freedom and expression. Now China appears to be reverting to old form, empowered by new digital surveillance tools.
- Billionaire CEO Michael Dell tells employees, forget hierarchy: ‘Be willing to break things, make stuff happen’
“At our company, if we want to get something done, we tell them: ‘Just get it done. If anybody gets in your way, just shoot them.’ Not actually shoot them, but like, we’re all from Texas, so we use colorful analogies like that,” says Dell. “Make sure everybody knows we’re not actually shooting” people, Dell says. (Dell is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas.)
“Don’t let anything stand in your way. Look, if you’re gonna do something new, you have to be willing to break things, and sort of make stuff happen,” says Dell. “If you have a big company, there are a lot of people running around that tell you you can’t do stuff.”
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- Too Many Meetings Suffocate Productivity and Morale
So, my appeal to all you entrepreneurs, don’t suffocate the life out of your companies with too many meetings. Hire smart people, trust them to do their jobs, and get the heck out of their way, so they can do the jobs they were hired to do. You don’t have to micro manage every single decision. Empower your team to make their own decisions in a flat organizational structure. Even if they make mistakes, that is fine, they will learn from them. But, the team will be moving twice as fast at getting things done, than if they were burdened with a bunch of meetings. Speed matters with startups.
Challenge yourself and every employee in your company to cap their recurring weekly meetings at 20 percent of their time. That is one day a week, or eight hours in a normal working day. That is up to 16 thirty-minute meetings they can schedule, plenty of slots to working with.
- Drone curbs overtime in Japan by blasting workers with music
Japan has a culture that encourages overtime out of a sense of loyalty, and that’s a serious problem. It not only cuts into family and social life, it leads to entirely avoidable deaths. Taisei (the company behind the main Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium) aims to fix that in an unusual way: having a drone nag you into going home. Its newly unveiled T-Frend is ostensibly a security drone that surveils the office with its camera, but its specialty is blasting workers with “Auld Lang Syne” (commonly used in Japan to indicate closing time) to force them out of the office. In theory, the music and the drone’s own buzzing make it impossible to concentrate.
Photo: Samuel Zeller