Every fortnight (or so) I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.
@white_owly — “If you’re looking for obscene wealth it can usually be found right beside obscene poverty.”
“Basically: technological innovation and artificial intelligence are going to accelerate at a pace we’ve yet to really comprehend. (Fifteen years ago, Facebook wasn’t even around. Now it’s so efficient at micro-targeting that it helped sway a democratic election. Imagine what it might be capable of in another fifteen years.) That means automation will likely disrupt your current job (and your next one, and the one after that), and you’ll be the target of attention-grabbing, behavior-modifying algorithms so exponentially effective you won’t even realize you’re being targeted.
The best defense against that? An emotional flexibility that allows for constant reinvention, and knowing yourself well enough that you don’t get drawn into the deep Internet traps set for you.”
“Social media is in a pre-Newtonian moment, where we all understand that it works, but not how it works,” Mr. Systrom told me, comparing this moment in the tech world to the time before man could explain gravity. “There are certain rules that govern it and we have to make it our priority to understand the rules, or we cannot control it.”
Some of the changes [1980’s & 1990’s] that followed were:
- Employees started to set their own targets. The targets they set were higher than those managers set. And they were not just higher. They were exceeded more often. (This is a result we’ve witnessed in other pioneering workplaces around the globe.)
Flexible working hours:
- Setting your own working hours became the new standard. During our visit to their factory in Itatiba, Brazil, we saw this first hand. Employees had the freedom to decide when to work. Rafael, one of the production workers, in one of our interviews, said: “The best thing about SEMCO is the freedom: freedom to do whatever you want as long as you have the right outcome.”
- Salaries were all over the place and there was lots of gossiping about them. Representatives from the business joined the salary commission and in 1987/1988 they started to open up salary levels. In later steps, they allowed employees to set their own levels.
- Instead of HR deciding who was hired, the teams themselves became responsible. Everyone was involved. They could ask the candidates anything. And the teams owned their final decisions.
- Besides profit sharing for all, SEMCO set out to reward entrepreneurship. They wanted employees to benefit from success, and they also wanted employees to feel ownership in rough times. So they created the option for a reduced base salary with greater profit sharing. In good times employees would earn more and, in bad times, less.
- Employees were encouraged to set up their own companies and become suppliers, or customers, of SEMCO. SEMCO provided support like finance, equipment, and its network.
Breaking the hierarchy:
SEMCO broke down the command-and-control hierarchy, reduced bureaucratic layers, and formed so-called concentric circles. Within these circles, employees selected their managers and regularly provided bottom-up feedback to further reduce hierarchy.