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Earnings roundup

Microsoft succeeds... and stagnates. The tech company beat fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue but issued lower quarterly revenue guidance, resulting in minimal stock movement, CNBC reports.

Microsoft beats on revenue and earnings; stock is little changed

Microsoft continues to roll on, but investors will likely start to worry if the growth in Azure, a large part of its cloud business, continues to contract. Other interesting facts: LinkedIn is apparently growing, as are Windows licenses for other computer makers. Revenue for Microsoft's own Surface products

Microsoft continues to roll on, but investors will likely start to worry if the growth in Azure, a large part of its cloud business, continues to contract. Other interesting facts: LinkedIn is apparently growing, as are Windows licenses for other computer makers. Revenue for Microsoft's own Surface products, however, contracted in the quarter. Perhaps everyone knew new products were on the way.

Zuckerberg's battle with trust

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t understand the unbanked. Not everyone is the eighth-richest person in the world. How are you supposed to use Libra if you can't afford a phone?

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t realize other people don’t have money

What US lawmakers continually fail to see is that Facebook is a global company, just based in the US. I actually completely disagree with this article’s author and the senators quoted from the hearing. While it does seems that Zuckerberg is out of touch with the plight of the American poor, I would argue

What US lawmakers continually fail to see is that Facebook is a global company, just based in the US. I actually completely disagree with this article’s author and the senators quoted from the hearing. While it does seems that Zuckerberg is out of touch with the plight of the American poor, I would argue that his Libra solution is very well suited for poor people in developing countries across the world. “Can’t afford a mobile phone” is the lamest argument I’ve ever heard. In the US there are programs at the state and federal level to provide assistance to people who can’t afford a mobile phone. And across the world, where mobile phones leapfrogged landlines and traditional banking, people own mobiles (some “smart” some traditional) and use them to pay for everything in their daily life, completely digitally. Some people in parts of Asia and Africa have consistent access to cell phones and cell service before having access to air conditioning or clean water. The blank stares in that room are because Libra is a tool for the larger world and the common problems out there, not just what goes on in the confines of the USA

"There's underbanking because people are broke," said Rep. Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat. "I fail to see how [Libra] helps people with virtually no money. You are attempting to use technology to solve what is inherently an issue of wealth."

The fact that Zuckerberg used people’s trust in sharing their content with Facebook as a foundational reason to trust its currency is lunacy. I guess he’s been too busy isolating himself on his private island to remember the last three years of public conversation. It’s almost hilarious.

Google’s quantum leap

Google achieves "quantum supremacy." After publishing—and swiftly deleting—a paper claiming to have built a machine that could do 10,000 years of supercomputations in mere seconds, CEO Sundar Pichai finally talked to MIT Technology Review about his company's latest breakthrough.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on achieving quantum supremacy

While this is indeed a milestone (even with a little help by means of sticking to a very narrow task), it's not really relevant for the average person. It just proves in practice something computer scientists expected in theory. That we can prove it now (like what happened with many of Einstein's hypothesis

While this is indeed a milestone (even with a little help by means of sticking to a very narrow task), it's not really relevant for the average person. It just proves in practice something computer scientists expected in theory. That we can prove it now (like what happened with many of Einstein's hypothesis) is a great milestone but not very functional.

On the bright side, the milestone puts pressure on the competition, which will have to accelerate their investments.

Whether or not quantum computing will ever be something that mere humans would need on a daily basis the idea of data analysis on the scale of populations by companies would seem a valuable skill. What will Google ir any social media do if the public decides to protect their data and switch to free access

Whether or not quantum computing will ever be something that mere humans would need on a daily basis the idea of data analysis on the scale of populations by companies would seem a valuable skill. What will Google ir any social media do if the public decides to protect their data and switch to free access systems paid for by advertising.

Putting real women on pedestals

Exceptional humans

Hearing aids are due for an upgrade. New research into the brain's sound mixing capabilities could radically improve how hearing aids work.

A new look at how the brain processes sound could radically improve hearing aids

Different from hearing aids but related: We actually have the technology to address these hearing issues in cochlear implants.

I'm a cochlear implant user (Cochlear, if you're familiar with implant processor companies) and we have features to help us better hear in loud or busy situations mentioned

Different from hearing aids but related: We actually have the technology to address these hearing issues in cochlear implants.

I'm a cochlear implant user (Cochlear, if you're familiar with implant processor companies) and we have features to help us better hear in loud or busy situations mentioned in the article, like the "cocktail party."

We have "Beam," for my implant microphone to specifically focus on one speaker and where my processor lowers the sound of distracting background noise, best for a one-on-one conversation at a crowded restaurant. And we have "Scan," where I can open my implant microphone's focus to hone into about 1-3 people I'm facing, for casual conversations with friends in a loud setting and where multiple people are talking (sort of an "expansion" of the "Beam" setting).

There are other features I haven't mentioned——My audiologist and I can place these settings on certain "programs" (I have four of them on my current processor) and I can toggle between them anytime I'd like. I use the features here and there when they may come in handy.

I had no idea loss of hearing can increase incidence of cognitive decline, like dementia. I also never realized that scientists still do not understand quite how the brain chooses which voice to concentrate on and listen to in chaotic or layered auditory environments (bar, sporting event or cocktail

I had no idea loss of hearing can increase incidence of cognitive decline, like dementia. I also never realized that scientists still do not understand quite how the brain chooses which voice to concentrate on and listen to in chaotic or layered auditory environments (bar, sporting event or cocktail party). I take a lot of my day for granted.

Marking 30 years of the web

The Steve Jobs speech that made Silicon Valley obsessed with pirates. In the early 1980s, Steve Jobs delivered a speech to Apple employees that included a metaphor about pirates. Since then, startups and tech companies have embraced the tale, while simultaneously misinterpreting it.

The Steve Jobs speech that made Silicon Valley obsessed with pirates

It's a tale as old as time: scrappy, innovative outsider becomes the establishment, and the ethos that helped make them that way becomes warped by copycats. The phrase is a perfect microcosm for the tech industry as a whole.

Great article. There is an investor-fueled myth that being a “pirate” is required. Surely, no one gets to define new categories without challenging the status quo. But pirates will be more effective if they can scale like the navy... that’s where the big returns come from.

I’ve had the opportunity

Great article. There is an investor-fueled myth that being a “pirate” is required. Surely, no one gets to define new categories without challenging the status quo. But pirates will be more effective if they can scale like the navy... that’s where the big returns come from.

I’ve had the opportunity to advise some startups and have seen the gamut of overly ambitious with no execution to the opposite end of purely tactical with no bigger ambition. Neither extreme is the place to be over the long term.

But from a cultural perspective, I agree, perhaps new symbols are needed to enable a culture that challenges rules while respectful of individuals...

Jobs was being literal about pirates. According to Wikipedia Jobs misled Atari, lied to Wozniak so he could rip him off and broke laws selling blue boxes to phone phreaks.

Lying stealing greed and a willingness to break the law sounds like a pirate.

Don't understand the confusion.

Technology has opened different doors that make this happen. Remember Napster? It opened the door to music subscriptions and looking at music distribution in a different way, while breaking nearly all the rules in the industry.

To me, Jobs understood the Sillicon Valley ethos long before it became

Technology has opened different doors that make this happen. Remember Napster? It opened the door to music subscriptions and looking at music distribution in a different way, while breaking nearly all the rules in the industry.

To me, Jobs understood the Sillicon Valley ethos long before it became mainstream. He was one of the original pirates, before it became cool to want to break the way things have worked. I suppose there’s an allure to the notion of being iconoclastic, and Jobs inspired that within Apple’s walls.

White House under pressure

US tech grows globally

Snapchat is finding new life outside the US. Parent company Snap posted its third-quarter earnings report this week, which revealed that it added 7 million new daily active users. The bulk of the new users, 5 million of them, are from new, burgeoning markets.

Snapchat is finding new life outside the US

Netflix’s quarterly report showed that the bulk of their growth Q3 was also outside of the US. Aside from the day-to-day business struggles of a giant silicon-valley funded company, US consumers need to take note that they may be playing second fiddle before long when it comes to their favorite brands and Apps

Positive signs for Snap, but I still think it’s going to be a massive test for them to compete for ad revenue against Instagram and now TikTok. It’s great that they’re experimenting and finding new users outside of the US, but without new revenue streams, I can’t see how they get to profitability anytime

Positive signs for Snap, but I still think it’s going to be a massive test for them to compete for ad revenue against Instagram and now TikTok. It’s great that they’re experimenting and finding new users outside of the US, but without new revenue streams, I can’t see how they get to profitability anytime soon. Hope I’m proven wrong though, as they’re one of the few social sites constantly taking risks and trying new things.

India's coal addiction

What makes coal so dirty? It’s a crucial question, given that without cutting its use drastically, the world won’t hit its greenhouse gas emissions targets. Quartz reporter Akshat explains the trouble with the sedimentary rock, which India uses for 55% of its energy. ✦

The science of what makes coal so dirty

Coal's many sins shouldn't be used to forget the value it has offered to humanity. Coal powered the industrial revolution and it continues to pull people out of poverty in much of the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, coal helped create the carbon-based branch of chemistry we call "organic chemistry,

Coal's many sins shouldn't be used to forget the value it has offered to humanity. Coal powered the industrial revolution and it continues to pull people out of poverty in much of the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, coal helped create the carbon-based branch of chemistry we call "organic chemistry," which I studied to gain my PhD from the University of Oxford. Organic chemists have won one in five of all Nobel Prizes in chemistry awarded over the last 120 years.

Coal is typically just carbon when taught in chemistry class. I had no idea that in reality, it contains so many other elements (mercury, cadmium, etc). The coal scientist Akshat quotes sums it up nicely: “coal is the most complex solid we’ve ever found and analyzed”.

Quartz at Work

Butter come back soon 🦋

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The Death of the Sick Day

The Death of the Sick Day

Read more on The New York Times

From Our Members

  • I remember taking what my mom called a “mental health day” and just staying home school and watching General Hospital. (Yes, that reference dates me). Regardless of your company and/or personal policy everyone needs to disconnect in order to reconnect - especially in the digital age. So make sure you

    I remember taking what my mom called a “mental health day” and just staying home school and watching General Hospital. (Yes, that reference dates me). Regardless of your company and/or personal policy everyone needs to disconnect in order to reconnect - especially in the digital age. So make sure you take your vacation dates, personal days, emergency days or whatever you call them.

  • I would argue that the blending of work from home and sick days, has also allowed people who are not visibly so ill as to have to use a sick day, to spend time recovering at home.

    It also helps with the spread of disease of contagious things.

    I agree this is progress, with more flexibility and privacy for workers.

  • Showing for work when you are sick with infectious virus like flu just to show how much you love your work or care about the company actually shows lack of concern for fellow employees. It’s okay to take sick days but don’t abuse them for partying hard all weekend and calling in sick because you have bad hangovers every Monday.

  • Another way to look at it: if you’re connected from home, it might raise questions as to how sick you really are... A wise manager once told me, “if you’re sick, stay home and get well. If not, get here because we need you”.

    If you think an occasional sick day will make the whole company stop and say

    Another way to look at it: if you’re connected from home, it might raise questions as to how sick you really are... A wise manager once told me, “if you’re sick, stay home and get well. If not, get here because we need you”.

    If you think an occasional sick day will make the whole company stop and say “wait, do we really need them around?”, then my only advice would be to acknowledge that first, you’re not the center of the universe, and second, if you provide real value when you’re not sick (let’s assume it’s the majority of days in a given year, shall we?), you’re not going to be judged by the days that you are sick.

  • Let’s go beyond the temptation of “Yes vs. No” on this one. Before any answer on this issue is given we would need to know:

    A) does the employer provide the working environment and location of the work place that encourages healthy lifestyle? Eg: does the company lobby for sustainable living changes

    Let’s go beyond the temptation of “Yes vs. No” on this one. Before any answer on this issue is given we would need to know:

    A) does the employer provide the working environment and location of the work place that encourages healthy lifestyle? Eg: does the company lobby for sustainable living changes in the city/area where their employees work/live?

    B) Do we think that full remoteness of work is actually something good?

    After answering the two above then lets talk details. But talking the details before the principles are not obvious and universal, makes no sense.

  • Employers need to ensure their staff and contract workers know that working sick 1) Is unproductive 2) can risk colleagues getting sick 3) Doesn’t mean you’re redundant.

  • I haven’t ever a day off because of illness in a over decade. I’m lucky, in that I’ve never been seriously ill. But, I also refuse to be weak enough to be beaten by a common cold. The sick day shouldn’t be a right, it should be a last resort.

  • Henry you are the exception not the norm. People get sick. It takes more time to get over it if you have a boss without the empathy and compassion to give you the time off / WFH to recuperate.

  • Don’t go to work if you’re ill.

  • For myself, the type of work that I do makes taking a sick day a murky subject. I am usually in a camp in a remote location for up to 3 weeks, and then I get a few weeks time off. So if I feel sick I find myself asking "can I take time off? Will I even really be able to rest and recuperate?". As well

    For myself, the type of work that I do makes taking a sick day a murky subject. I am usually in a camp in a remote location for up to 3 weeks, and then I get a few weeks time off. So if I feel sick I find myself asking "can I take time off? Will I even really be able to rest and recuperate?". As well I really understand the feeling of feeling of if you take to many sick days, that you will seem like more trouble than it's worth, especially working contract work in remote locations. Definitely an interesting aspect of work-personal life in North America.

  • Interesting article. It offers a good reflexion of the social construction of the concept of a sick day. After all, what does that really mean?

    In the past, workplaces were more paternalistic. So, the sick day was easily defined. It was a day where you could do what you want, away from the all-seeing

    Interesting article. It offers a good reflexion of the social construction of the concept of a sick day. After all, what does that really mean?

    In the past, workplaces were more paternalistic. So, the sick day was easily defined. It was a day where you could do what you want, away from the all-seeing supervisors.

    In many workplaces, especially in low wage employment, this is still the case. For many, however, employment has become either more vocational (as it is the case for RBG), collaborative, or results driven. This means that in many fields that "employees" are no longer perceived as replacable cogs in a machine, but are perceived to be integral to the overall functioning of a system and sometimes the community, or even society. It is a consequence of a changing economy that sees manufacturing jobs replaced by work in the creative economy or in the service industry. Work that can be sometimes done at home thanks to technology.

    This has helped empower people by recognizing the value of their work, but it also increases the pressure there is on these individuals to perform at high levels all the time. Management's job, in these situations, isn't to babysit the employee, it's to assure that they get what they need to reach their goals, especially is fields where "talent" is perceived as a key to productivity.

    In this context, the sick day, becomes a day of reduced productivity. The empowerment related to work is linked to unavoidable responsibilities that can't be undertaken by others (in theory). This potentially anxiety enducing situation is the reason why some people work all the time. As it becomes more normal for people to have 'personal days' or sick days, the convention slowly shifts from a day off, to a day of work at home.

    While the initial perception may be that this represents a move in the right direction, it also means that the responsibility for productivity is slowly shifting away from employers to employees. Individuals are forced to produce, no matter the context, or suffer the consequences. Contract work, reduced unionization, and less stable employement has led to this instability and, in turn, the instability leads to a reconfiguration of the workplace and its rules.

    This shift isn't suprising. Workplace rules are becoming more relaxed because people, in some sectors, have to increasingly self-discipline, or else...

  • I haven’t take a sick day off work in years... but it could be that I don’t get sick.

  • THIS “Working from home may sound relaxing, but the “working” part of that phrase underscores the expectations that accompany it: being available to check and respond to email, hop on a conference call and generally be productive, even if you feel lousy.” The fact is when you are sick, sometimes you

    THIS “Working from home may sound relaxing, but the “working” part of that phrase underscores the expectations that accompany it: being available to check and respond to email, hop on a conference call and generally be productive, even if you feel lousy.” The fact is when you are sick, sometimes you need to feel it is ok to just “be”

  • At my past few jobs those rare moments where I’m sick and contacting my employer I tend to lean on either work from home OR come into the office and tough it out.

    Granted the severity is a big factor.

    But unfortunately, some people abuse this privilege (having not worked outside of the US) and end

    At my past few jobs those rare moments where I’m sick and contacting my employer I tend to lean on either work from home OR come into the office and tough it out.

    Granted the severity is a big factor.

    But unfortunately, some people abuse this privilege (having not worked outside of the US) and end up testing a manager who otherwise understands we’re all human.

  • “It also takes into consideration mental health and whether a child or another family member who depends on the employee is sick and requires care.”

    “No longer does the employee have to “sell” their sickness to their boss with a list of symptoms.”

    “There is a certain amount of privilege in not having

    “It also takes into consideration mental health and whether a child or another family member who depends on the employee is sick and requires care.”

    “No longer does the employee have to “sell” their sickness to their boss with a list of symptoms.”

    “There is a certain amount of privilege in not having to take sick days because you can work from your bed.”

    The 3 mantras above should be in every Human Resources manual and some version of them should be in every employee handbook.

    This premise is a giant leap forward in the health of the Labor sector. If you can do your job from home, it means you and the company you work for are adaptable enough to a change in an ever evolving ”work” environment.

    Areas where this poses an issue are jobs in the service industry, construction, non-full time, any field where employees are more transient and requires a physical presence.

    Job positions where a physical presence is critical, do not typically have paid sick days. Most restaurant jobs, construction, manufacturing, clerical, etc. these types of jobs never have the “privilege” of taking a paid sick day or working from home.

    It can be argued that these specific employment sectors are where paid “leave” days are needed the most. These mostly transient positions are typically filled by people whose mental health and family issues are at their most vulnerable.

    The value of these employees to their families and communities are often times more critical to their overall well being than compared with their white collar counterparts. These jobs are filled by single parents, minorities, those from broken families and lower on the social economic scale. Therefore individuals have a higher (social or economic) burden compared to those with a stronger social and/or economic support structure.

    More affluent white collar jobs usually have better social support related to but outside their job structure. Programs like day care, social functions like staff parties and experienced mentorship are rare in transient, physical labor work structures.

    A strong and healthy labor force has been and always will be the crux of any civilization. AI will have its place but will not usurp human touch or ingenuity. The quality factors of these jobs, in this new post industrial economy, will have to be improved by employers. Issues like healthcare and quality of life will play more and more into the job market. These advancements are already happening in the tech sector and will trickle down to other, less affluent sectors as well.

    This is where financial analysts go wrong when they just look at unemployment figures. A “job” isn’t always a job. A “job” isn’t a doing it’s job if it’s not fulfilling Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”. These jobs haven’t fulfilled the needs of the laborers and the ship won’t right itself until they do. Think of the disgruntled Amazon employees or Walmart employees that can’t afford to feed their families. It’s not the quantity of jobs, but the quality of them that matters.

    Every job in the new economy will be an “on the job training” position, where there’s always room to improve and learn, always an opportunity to advance in the work social standing. Paid sick days, mentorship, healthcare (not health insurance), flexible work hours, daycare, meal programs, gym memberships, these are ways to create a motivated, dedicated work force.

    Our capitalist mantra of making more money and spending more money has reached its saturation point. The goal post is moving. Now what’s becoming more important is “how” we make it and “how” we spend it vs. the actual monetary value and this is a great thing.

    Our moral compass, if not our competitive one, should drive us to progress as a society through improvements in how we spend our time and resources. We progress by learning about ourselves, our history and learning about the world in which we live, through the sciences, the arts and experience. The advancement of our civilization through the sharing of knowledge must be the aim.

    At the core, there has to be an ethical standard to which we live our lives. Can our ethical standard be wrapped in the economic one? Absolutely, but there better be something inside all that glitter and gold, otherwise it’s all long fall down a dark hole.

    Without core ethical values, we become nothing more than mindless robots selling widgets to buy more and different widgets, and we end up using our finite resources to make more widgets just so we can sell them, just so we can buy more widgets. In this viscous circle of our own design, we become slaves to this giant artificial entity and we wonder why we can’t call in sick.

  • It is important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Don’t kill yourself for a job you can easily be replaced.

  • This completely correlated with the mentality that the younger generation must keep working as hard and as much as possible to achieve that of their parents and grandparents. It’s preposterous to make our youth — eve with college degrees or higher education degrees, on top of loads of experience — feel

    This completely correlated with the mentality that the younger generation must keep working as hard and as much as possible to achieve that of their parents and grandparents. It’s preposterous to make our youth — eve with college degrees or higher education degrees, on top of loads of experience — feel as though even sickness should not slow them down.

  • White-collar workers who are sick but well enough to work and smart enough to avoid the office so they don’t pass it around are just part of the new norm - thank the tech revolution. My experience shows me those who are “really sick” take the day completely - but a cold or cough, etc can be nursed at

    White-collar workers who are sick but well enough to work and smart enough to avoid the office so they don’t pass it around are just part of the new norm - thank the tech revolution. My experience shows me those who are “really sick” take the day completely - but a cold or cough, etc can be nursed at home in safety while remaining productive.

    People are afraid to check-out fully because of the endless 24/7 work cycle - a day out and you’re a mountain behind and drowning in email:

    “Warchol decided to work through her cold rather than face “the anxiety of falling too far behind,”...

    We’re all guilty of checking in on vacation or during a “sick day” to keep the “garbage” to a minimum and to complete easy tasks, etc as the short annoyance pays off in spades, but there is benefit in “cutting the cord completely” from time to time.

    Also - I don’t know about you - but I don’t like the idea of baristas with sore throats making my coffee... 🤧

  • Finally people have to work for what they earn.

  • If you work in a home care, nursing home, senior care facility situation and go into work sick you can spread your cold or flu to the senior client, who has a sensitive immune system to being with, and can be a death sentence for them. This is one work area where you really do need to stay home until your no longer sick.

  • Ah, late-capitalism.

  • This is nothing new, can’t say I ever used a sick day. Partially because I rarely am sick, and I’d rather be working. I’m retired and still running my business. One thought, I see many subsisting personal days for sick leave. Makes sense and one doesn’t have to lie...

  • some fake sick and just make other co work work their shift

  • Privacy?

  • Actually I'm a little surprised, cause I'd thought it's normal to take a day off if you're ill in other countries without thinking so much.

    My opinion is just go to bed if you're ill.

  • Must be nice to have a job.

  • at places like Starbucks, they require you to have your shift covered which is practically impossible or you’ll get written up.

  • Snowflakes beware!