2016 February 22 Monday
Lower Paid Jobs At Greater Risk Of Automation

See: The robots are coming for jobs that pay $20 an hour or less, White House finds. The probability of your job getting automated is higher if you get paid less.

This might seem counter-intuitive since the cost of capital to replace your labor has to be much lower if your labor isn't worth much in the first place. But some lower paid tasks are simpler (at least in some respects) and therefore easier to automate.

It used to be that robots couldn't do the image processing and coordinated moves required to replace manual laborers in many tasks (e.g. picking fruit from trees). But that's changing. If you are getting paid poorly you need to think seriously about developing skills that will let you shift into an occupation that will survey the coming robot onslaught.

By Randall Parker 2016 February 22 10:41 PM 
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2016 February 20 Saturday
Gig Work Not Becoming Main Income Source For Most Giggers

Interesting article: Your Uber Driver Probably Has Another Job.

Quick response on-demand lower skill jobs are a lot easier to sell thru an online broker (e.g. Uber) because there isn't a need to do complex matching of workers and bidders for services. The more complex the skill the more likely that the screening process to choose a suitable worker will take a lot of time.

I realize that some people bid on small software development jobs. But people I know who've done it found the flow of work was uneven and managing relationships with customers fairly time consuming and frustrating. Go ahead and pop up in the comments tell me this style of doing software development for a living works great for you. But I've known a lot of devs and none of them ended up trying to do lots of small jobs for very long.

As for Uber drivers: I think their gig work will disappear by the year 2030. Autonomous vehicles will take over most of the taxi driving. Can you think of another on-demand service occupation that can become as big as Uber/Lyft driving is now? Maybe home care services for older retirees.

By Randall Parker 2016 February 20 07:46 PM 
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2016 February 13 Saturday
Why Nokia Lost To Apple

Read this: Who Killed Nokia? Nokia Did.

Honesty is incredibly valuable in a large organization. You can't make good decisions without accurate information. If the upper reaches of the organization put fear into their middle managers and scream at them (read the article above) then the middle managers will not pass up the information that the top needs for decision making. Failure will ensue.

What else is important? Competence at the top in relevant subjects. If, say, your top management does not understand software development and software development suddenly becomes the most critical competency of the organization then your company is in deep trouble.

Which reminds me of my favorite advice for young software developers: do not go into an industry and company that isn't run by software developers. Okay, the CEO doesn't have to have experience writing code (though it helps. But if direct reports to the CEO don't know how to code you will deal with worse working conditions and poorer quality decisions.

Another piece of advice: If you can see a way your struggling employer can turn around and you wait for years for them to come to their senses it is very likely you are wasting your time and your precious career. Move on.

By Randall Parker 2016 February 13 11:54 AM 
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