Today’s Top Stories
— Net Neutrality Has Its Day: An Appeals Court ruling supports the FCC.
— Apple’s Mid-Life Opportunity: Are we about to see a more open, less insular Apple?
— Zenefits Wants You To Leave, One Way or Another: Layoffs are here, buyouts are coming.
— A Universal Basic Income Primer: Knocked down in the polls, it still holds interest.
— The Ultimate Commitment to an Organization: Would you get a neck tattoo with your company’s logo on it?
— Falling Growth Rates Slows Down the Developing World: The path forward for emerging economies is getting tougher.
Net Neutrality Has Its Day
Yesterday was a good day for supporters of net neutrality, barely. In a split decision, a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld an FCC decision that broadband is a utility, subject to its regulation (New York Times). This decision has ramifications for everything from consumer privacy (it helps) to carriers’ ability to prioritize data from different content providers (they can’t). It’s not over yet, though. The ultimate stop, according to the carriers who oppose the FCC: the Supreme Court.
Apple’s Mid-Life Opportunity
There’s plenty of Apple talk this week since its annual developers’ conference is happening. But forget software for a moment. In his weekly column, our founder and editor in chief John Battelle shows how Apple’s retail stores are in the midst of a fundamental shift. This could be the start of a more open, less insular Apple.
Zenefits Wants You To Leave, One Way or Another
Another shoe is dropping at Zenefits. Now that the company has decided to follow the law, it’s laying off another 100 people (BuzzFeed), or 9 percent of its employees. That’s on top of the 250 people who lost their jobs in February. And this isn’t the end: The company gave all employees until Thursday to consider “a one-time offer to leave the company, in exchange for two months’ severance pay and four months’ health coverage.” Turnaround CEO David Sacks says “The Offer” is intended to make sure that the people who stay really want to be there. Tomorrow he’ll find out how many such people there are.
A Universal Basic Income Primer
For an idea that keeps getting its butt kicked at the polls and in the press, universal basic income keeps garnering attention. This time it’s James Surowiecki’s turn in The New Yorker to lay out the pros and cons and speculate over what might be. Anyone following the story won’t learn much, but this is useful for those new to the topic who want a reasonably unbiased primer. For those already familiar with the topic, Surowiecki reminds us that the U.S. has a rich history of completely unrealistic economic benefits (Social Security, Medicare) coming true despite opposition and mockery.
The Ultimate Commitment to an Organization
Spoiler: In next week’s NewCo Weekly, I’ll be writing about Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan’s recent and quite excellent The Secret Life of Markets. For now, read The Case for Neck Tattoos, According to Economists, an excerpt from the book running in The Atlantic. On the surface it’s a Freakonomics-style story of running a non-economic matter through an economist’s toolkit, but in fact it’s a much deeper investigation of what extremely public tattoos say about the extent of one’s commitment to a cause, an organization, even a brand, as well as the ramifications of having your commitment be a permanent part of your self-presentation. No one around the office here is likely to get a “NewCo” neck or face tattoo anytime soon. But as a media organization that covers businesses on a mission, it’s fascinating to learn about people whose mission is so central to their lives that it’s written all over their faces.
Falling Growth Rates Slows Down the Developing World
Conventional wisdom has been that emerging economies are catching up with the developed world. Maybe not, says The World Bank (The Economist).
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