Today’s Top Stories
NewCo’s New Dialogs: We launch an ambitious new series of video interviews.
Looking Forward to 2025: How to think long-term about early-stage startup investments
Mismanaging Millennials: Today’s employers really don’t understand the new generation of workers.
What’s Holding Growth Back: Could it be technology?
The Next Step in AI: Conventional wisdom says it’s unsupervised learning. Nope.
NewCo’s New Dialogs: Today NewCo Shift launches our Dialog series of interviews with top executives at companies out to change the world. Our CEO and editor in chief John Battelle kicks it off with two wide-ranging conversations: one with Microsoft’s Brad Smith, chronicling the dramatic changes in the Redmond giant’s culture in recent years, and one with AltSchool’s Max Ventilla, in which the Google veteran goes deep on his plan to revolutionize education.
Mismanaging Millennials. Why do older managers treat millennials like aliens? In Why Employers Need to Empathize with ‘Entitled’ Millennials, Fortune’s Jonathan Vanian reports on a panel at a conference the magazine sponsored yesterday. Yet the language the reporter, the panelists, and the attendees use to describe what millennials want suggests that there’s still a fundamental disconnect between the generation of managers and the generation of new people coming up. Paul Canetti, founder of MAZ, is quoted as saying employers looking to assuage concerns of millennial employees should say things like “I understand how you could think this is annoying to you,” which seems painfully close to a non-apology apology like “I’m sorry if you were offended by what I just said.” There’s some useful information here–it’s good to be reminded every day that millennials want so much more than a good salary from work–but the piece unintentionally shines a light on how far employers have to go.
What’s Holding Growth Back. We’re written previously here about Robert Gordon’s magisterial The Rise and Fall of American Growth. You ought to read the whole thing but you won’t, so Martin Wolf’s take in the Financial Times is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with its basic concepts. Gordon’s thesis, in a nutshell: we live in an age of disappointing growth “because the technological breakthroughs are relatively narrow.” Many in technology and academia have challenged Gordon, but Wolf believes that the critics are engaging in “facile optimism about the future.” He points out how Gordon’s position is quite balanced: “We are neither in the middle of an era of unprecedented economic advance nor on the brink of an era of exceptional job destruction.”
The Next Step in AI. Many argue that the next step in artificial intelligence is to move from supervised to unsupervised learning. But Mike Loukides argues that even though unsupervised learning can be critical to humans at particular moments of development (like object permanence), you don’t see it very often (O’Reilly Radar). In particular, Loukides calls for more attention on transfer learning, in which learning in one realm is transferred to another. “Taking an idea from one domain and applying it to another is perhaps the most powerful way by which humans learn.”
Looking Forward to 2025. Also on NewCo Shift today, Foundry Group’s Brad Feld shares a long-term perspective on investing in early stage startups.