What Happens After You’re Forced to Resign

Harvard Business Review

What Was Once There

Resigned: The Fast Fall of a Washington Career

The Washington Post

Their faces are plastered on TV sets and web pages in brief moments of public outrage; but what happens to the people forced out of their jobs by scandal, particularly if their resignations were more symbolic than indicative of any leadership failure? This is the story of one such person, Martha Johnson, who resigned two years ago as the head of the U.S. General Services Administration after a scandal involving an extravagant employee conference that involved lots of federal contract violations. Though she wasn't involved in the conference, she took the fall. Now, as the Washington Post's Lillian Cunningham writes, "time hasn't quite started up again." Johnson is now "just another 61-year-old without a job." Her losses – job, money, prestige, influence – are a poignant reminder of how important work can be, and why coping with its sudden disappearance is a much bigger challenge than going into the office every day, no matter how high-pressure the job may have been.




Becoming Invisible

As Objects Go Online

Foreign Affairs

The future of the Internet of Things is bright, especially in areas such as energy, health care, weather, and making cities more livable. But in order to realize this future, we need to learn and employ the lessons from the architectural evolution of the internet, facilitating openness and distributed operations rather than the closed proprietary systems of individual manufacturers and service providers. A team at MIT is focused on developing "Internet 0," a slower, simpler system for bringing IP to the smallest devices. The hero of this system is the microcontroller, a simple processor with just a small amount of memory. As the technology becomes more integrated into everyday life, it will, paradoxically, become more invisible. –Jeff Kehoe




Sans Chic

Making Wearable Tech More Wearable

The New Yorker

Speaking of technology becoming invisible, let's face facts: Wearables are ugly. Indeed, Facebook's most recent acquisition, Oculus VR, "looks like a scuba mask with a metal plate bolted to the front of it," writes Amy Merrick. As former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts joins Apple this week, Merrick wonders whether she can solve one of tech's most vexing challenges: "how to create wearable technologies that people actually want to wear." To do this, she must address a couple of issues: 1) Engineers may "delight in advertising they're wearing the new device," but most other people don't want to look like a weirdo resembling "the character Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager"; and 2) People don't generally want to be reminded that they're constantly plugged in. One solution may be for Ahrendts to adhere to what's called "intimate computing," which "evokes a product that is sensual and tactile, personal and discreet." Or, in Trekkie parlance, "more Burberry, less Borg."




An Argumentative Evolution

The Untold Story of Larry Page's Incredible Comeback

Business Insider

Perhaps the most revealing aspect of this long piece about Google's Larry Page is the way being argumentative evolved in both Page's mind and within Google's organizational culture. In the beginning, butting heads was the rule: It's how Page and cofounder Sergey Brin bonded in the first place and how they came to be seen as caring more about ideas than people's feelings. This worked, until spectacular growth, as well as a massive public firing of managers, led investors to demand a more seasoned CEO – someone to lead and, in part, babysit Page. So that’s what Eric Schmidt did.

Almost a decade later, here’s reinstated CEO Page telling senior staff members that Google "would never reach its goals if the people in that room did not stop fighting with one another." While it's tempting to see this shift as the ultimate redemption story, it actually kind of is, but not because Page is suddenly Mr. Rogers. It's because Page learned to recognize when fighting is useful for a company – and when it isn't. In essence, he learned how to manage it.




Vortex of Debt

Scammed

Matter

In poor communities, there's a vicious world of debt that's mostly invisible to middle-class folks. It starts with payday loans – money borrowed to close the spending gap before the paycheck arrives. Worse, borrowers fall victim to scammers who demand hefty payments, threatening legal action. That's what enrages Mike Davis, a computer-security expert and former hacker who takes a particular interest in internet con artists.

As Danny Bradbury writes in Matter, Davis has become a white hat amid uncountable black hats online, and his goal is to lure scammers so he can bust them. But over the course of this long and winding tale, his white hat starts to look dingy as he stealthily records phone calls, phishes for passwords, and generally gets his hacker on in pursuit of the crooks. The point of all this isn't Davis's lack of saintliness but a much larger issue that's rarely raised in discussions about computer security: that despite all the publicity about attacks on banks and big corporations, the reality is that on the internet, as elsewhere, crime disproportionately victimizes the poor, exploiting their fear and powerlessness. –Andy O'Connell




BONUS BITS

Do You Want to Know?

Why Only One Top Banker Went to Jail for the Financial Crisis (The New York Times)
Is Your Job at Risk from Robot Labor? (Quartz)
The Origins of Office Speak (The Atlantic)




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