Would you ride in a car without a driver?

#12 | Would you ride in a self-driving car? Yeah, neither would I.  As far as the public at large is concerned, they wouldn’t either. One 2018 survey cited only 21 percent of the public was willing to even try riding in an autonomous vehicle.  I think that’s a BIG problem for a lot of startups and major companies who have already invested a lot of money into the technology.  So, what can they do to convince the public to ride in them? Well, I have a few ideas. Tune in to hear them.


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About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy. His career highlights can be viewed on his website at www.JimStroud.com.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Hi, I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

The path to progress is not always easy. Recently, I read a report from the DailyMail which sounded like a harbinger of things to come. Here’s a quote…

“Police in Arizona have recorded 21 incidents in the past two years concerning vigilante citizens who have hurled rocks, pointed guns at and slashed the tires of Waymo’s autonomous vans. In other cases, people stood in front of the vehicles to prevent them from driving, yelled at them, chased them or forced them off of the road…”

This type of reaction to technology is nothing new. In fact, its been going on for a lot longer than you might think. I’ll explain after this message.

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Imagine you are an Entrepreneur and you produced clothing for various customers around the world. One day, a machine was invented that did the work you performed, and it did it faster and more efficiently than you ever could. And to make matters even more interesting, the cost of using machines was cheaper than the cost of employing highly skilled laborers. Sound familiar? If it does, you might be a student of history because that very thing happened in the 19th century and it sparked a movement – the luddite movement.

The Luddites were 19th-century English textile who protested against newly developed labor-economizing technologies, primarily between the years 1811 and 1816. Inventions like the stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the highly skilled luddites with less-skilled, low-wage laborers who could run those machines and thus, leave them without work. The Luddite movement culminated in a region-wide rebellion in Northwestern England that required a massive deployment of military force to suppress.

Fast forward to the year 2015 and taxi drivers all over the world are protesting how Uber and its technology has disrupted their way of life. The backlash of the protesting taxi drivers included fires, arrests and unprecedented civil unrest. If you want to know the details, Google the term “uber riots” and be amazed by how far the disdain for Uber goes in certain countries.

Now fast forward to 2018 when people are attacking Waymo’s autonomous vans. When I read the article, my reflex was to dismiss the concern as neo-luddites fighting the inevitable future. However, as I read more about why the people were attacking the autonomous vehicles, I had to admit to sharing some of their concerns. Here are a few quotes from an article posted by The Next Web.

“One Arizonan, from the city of Chandler, became so fed up with the sight of Waymo‘s vans in his neighborhood that he stood on his lawn pointing a pistol at the human safety driver inside of one as it passed his home. He told police he wanted the person in the car to be afraid, presumably to send the message that self-driving cars aren’t welcome. He’s one of dozens of citizens (on record) who’ve engaged in wildly dangerous acts provoked by, apparently, nothing more than the idea of a car driving itself.”

Here’s another one…

“People have thrown rocks at Waymos. The tire on one was slashed while it was stopped in traffic. The vehicles have been yelled at, chased and one Jeep was responsible for forcing the vans off roads six times.”

And one more…

“Why are people so angry at self-driving cars? After all, none of the reported incidents we’ve seen indicate the people attacking machines and harassing their human safety drivers are experiencing road rage. It doesn’t appear as though anyone got cut off by a robot, or got tailgated, or had one sitting at a green light in front of them. It seems the existential threat that driverless cars represent is the sole catalyst for these outbursts.”

As I read deeper into the article and others like it, the resentment was not that the autonomous vehicles were taking people’s jobs away. It was primarily a safety concern. In March 2018, Elaine Herzberg was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle and no one wants to see that history repeat itself. I get it. It is a very real concern. So, what can be done about it? What can car companies do to make the general public feel better about autonomous vehicles? Well, I have a few ideas…

“The Society of Risk Analysis” published a report in the Risk Analysis journal which sought to determine how safe is safe enough for self-driving vehicles to be accepted by the general public. According to their research, the answer is approximately four to five times as safe as human-driven vehicles. So, how do you do that?

Let’s say that all autonomous vehicles must be linked to a big brain in the sky that records every accident and every fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle. Once that incident is recorded, everybody sees what happened and every variable that contributed to the accident (weather conditions, human beings not paying attention, whatever). As soon as new data hits the system, a community of scientists works on a solution and programs that solution into all autonomous vehicles so the same accident, under the same conditions will not happen again. Furthermore, inside the autonomous vehicle is data detailing how many days since a fatality was caused by an autonomous vehicles. That data would be or should be, accessible to people before and after they ride in an autonomous vehicle; all so that they can feel empowered to make a decision that’s best for them. Make sense? Maybe not. I’m curious. How would you make autonomous vehicles safer?

If you love what you heard, hate what you heard or, don’t know what you just heard, I want to know about it. You can reach me at my website – www.JimStroud.com. In addition to finding source material and related information for this podcast episode, you’ll find other goodies that I hope will make you smile. Oh, before I go, please financially support this podcast with a little somethin’-somethin’ in my virtual tip jar. (There’s a link in the podcast description.) Your generosity encourages me to keep this podcast train chugging down the track. Whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot…

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Seven Ways to Make LinkedIn Better

Jim Stroud - Sr. Director at Randstad SourcerightBack in 2014, I was between opportunities and interviewing with diverse companies. The two companies that held my interest the most were my beloved employer – Randstad Sourceright (Yay!) and LinkedIn. During my interviews with LinkedIn (I had several), I shared a plethora of ideas that I thought would take their platform to the next level. It was not until recently that I stumbled across my notes and revisited the suggestions I made to LinkedIn, three years ago.

As I reviewed my writings, I wondered what would have happened if LinkedIn did all I suggested back then? Would they have had more product offerings today? Would they have resisted a buyout from Microsoft because they were too big to fail? And then I thought, what if I had shared these ideas with some of their competitors? Would LinkedIn had been forced to do similar innovations to keep up or to remain dominant? Hmm… I guess I will never know and that kind of bugs me.

So, just for giggles, I thought I would share the ideas I had for LinkedIn back in 2014. I invite any and all thoughtful comments so long as you remember that these notions are circa February/March 2014. (Oh! Forgive me in advance if this seems a bit rambly; because it is.)

IDEA #1: PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS

LinkedIn already detects when someone is sprucing up their profile. What if a significant percentage of a company’s employees are updating their profile over the course of a few days or week? LinkedIn says to itself, “Hmm… looks like your company is about to layoff a bunch of people.”

So, as a service to job seekers…

A) LinkedIn looks at your work history, present employer and previous job searches then, starts suggesting jobs of interest to you.

B) LinkedIn goes further and analyzes your skills, professional interests and your LinkedIn groups; surmises that you have a lot in common with these companies and shares jobs that may be of interest to you.

C) LinkedIn looks at the companies it is pitching to you and where they recruit from and suggests that you explore opportunities there because a lot of people from your present company tend to migrate there.

Doing this helps a job seeker increase their chance of being hired quicker and gives employer leads in line with their preference. If this algorithm does not work for some (for whatever reason, maybe they do not have enough of a career to analyze?), LinkedIn suggests that they pattern their search according to trends.

IDEA #2: SUGGESTIONS BASED ON TRENDS RESEARCH

Umm… Say, for example, jobs in the healthcare industry is trending high for left-handed nurses. Your skills suggest that you might be a match for left-handed nursing jobs. However, you are not very responsive. Before you know it, LinkedIn is showing you adverts for online classes that would put you on the pathway of being a left-handed nurse or some other job that is trending hot.

To take these classes, that will make you an even more attractive candidate, you login to the online classroom with your LinkedIn profile. Once the class is completed, your scores are on a LinkedIn page. You can then link to your academic grades and have them display prominently on your LinkedIn profile. Unless you decide to opt out, LinkedIn sends a list of top scorers to companies who have paid to receive news on top students as soon as their grades post. (wink)
Musings of Man and Machine by Jim Stroud

New Book: Musings of Man and Machine: How Robots
and Automation Will Change Recruiting

IDEA #3: LINKEDIN SHOULD BUY LYNDA

LinkedIn should buy Lynda or consider buying something like it. Why? Imagine this scenario! LinkedIn partners with high schools to give students free online classes that will prepare them for future roles. High scorers are matched with a mentor for a day, to ask what it’s like to do the work they do. LinkedIn gets members now and for the future. LinkedIn trains for the future. LinkedIn sets the standard for credentials in certain markets. LinkedIn takes the professional community to a new level. And each year, LinkedIn produces a trends report based on government stats, annual articles and LinkedIn data. It becomes the most quoted HR related report in history and cited on most (if not all) leading publications. Just a thought…

IDEA #4: SENTIMENT ANALYSIS AND TARGETING

If I knew who was most likely to respond to my emails, I would reach out to them first. That being said, what if LinkedIn sent an email to passive candidates on a monthly basis and asked them if they were happy working for Company X? If a significant percentage of employees at a certain company are unhappy, Company X would get notified that they may want to boost their retention strategies. (I, then,  suggested they check out Morale.me for inspiration or possible acquisition. At least, I think I did. I should have if I did not.)

IDEA #5: HIGH VALUE TARGETING

Candidates who graduate from a certain school, location, relevant job titles and are following your company fit the profile of your typical hire. As such, they get a high “recruitment probability” score and as such, appear higher in the search results based on your company when logged into LinkedIn recruiter. This will make LinkedIn Recruiter a more desirable purchase.

IDEA #6: LINKEDIN BECOMES YOUR BUSINESS ID

LinkedIn should buy DocuSign! When someone virtually signs a document online, their signature links to their LinkedIn profile. In this way, LinkedIn becomes your online ID for your business and inseparably linked to your professional brand. Also for the sake of reputation management, let companies add comments to their blogs that are ratified by logging into LinkedIn.

IDEA #7: LINKEDIN SHOULD COMPETE WITH GARTNER

LinkedIn should produce more business intelligence reports. Like the kind of reports “Business Insider” and Gartner produces. This would cause the business world to see LinkedIn as more than a recruitment tool and expand their customer base beyond HR.

Okay, so, those were all the notes I had on the topic. What do you think? Would these ideas still work in 2017? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, if you have not already.

🙂

 

The Future of Email and its Impact on Recruiting

During the SourceCon conference, I had the pleasure of being a guest on the “Talk Talent To Me” podcast with Rob Stevenson. After catching up with one another, we discussed some of the finer points of my presentation, “Email, I love you! You’re perfect. Now, change.” Listen in to see what you missed.

By the way, check out my lucky socks! (Thanks Rob!)

My lucky socks

Would you hire a social justice warrior?

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Do you know what a “social justice warrior” is? I’ve heard that term a lot in the news and depending on your ideology, it could be a pejorative or a badge of honor. According to Google, a social justice warrior is “a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views.”

Definition of social justice warrior

The Urban Dictionary has a somewhat more amusing take on the term. It says that a social justice warrior is…

“A person who causes problems for normal people through protest and constant nagging because they cant accept that life isn’t fair.”

A more developed definition from the Urban Dictionary says…

“…an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of. They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return. They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle.”

I think, based on general searches on the web, the term is widely considered a pejorative. For example, when I image search on “social justice warrior” I tend to see the term represented in a negative light.

social justice warrior meme

When I search on YouTube for videos about social justice warriors, I see mostly denouncements with a trend of videos suggesting  that being a social justice warrior is illogical.

 

In search of a counter-balance, I specifically looked for people who were proud social justice warriors and read through some of their justifications. in one instance, I read a shameful accounting on how female superhero action figures were underrepresented at Toys R Us. On the other side of the spectrum,  the calling for genocide of white people was justified because in all likelihood, it would never happen.

To quote…

” Do I actually literally want white people/men to die? No. And I wouldn’t condone that. But the reason it’s OK to say is because NOBODY WILL EVER DO IT.” [source]

So, what brings all of this to my mind now? Free Speech Week is coming to Berkeley University, and with controversial speakers like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos  scheduled to speak, mass protests from social justice warriors are sure to follow. My hope is that no one gets hurt, property is not destroyed and that there is a peaceful exchange of ideas. Yet, I am skeptical. I am also apprehensive for the millennial generation populating the social justice warrior movement. I do not think they realize the repercussions of acting out so violently in public, which is, risk to their personal brand. A negative personal brand is something that could severely damage future employment prospects and stymie their present-day career as well. Sigh… The world is changing exponentially fast and I have a great concern for the future of my country and the world.

I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively; domestically and internationally. I speak with all sorts of people but, predominantly my conversations are with people in the HR space. Invariably, the discussion turns to preparation for an uncertain future. The robots are not only coming, they have arrived and jobs are gradually being eliminated. No doubt, new jobs and industries will rise up as old skills are no longer needed. Imagine how cars displaced the horse and buggy, music downloads did away with record stores and the iPhone birthed a whole new industry. It is quite possible to conceive that people starting college this year will not have the skills for jobs that would have been created at their graduation date. This is why the skills that will make you the most employable are soft skills.

Oxford University did a study based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which rated 35 skills on how important they are in over 600 jobs.  [see chart above] Some of the skills that ranked the highest were…

  • Judgement and decision making
  • Critical thinking
  • Active listening
  • Spoken communication
  • Social perceptiveness
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation

These are skills I do not immediately observe in social justice warriors who, when they are shown on the news protesting, are destroying property, shouting down people trying to speak or show themselves inept at making a cogent argument to communicate their discontent. (To be fair, if I am mislabeling the groups on the news engaged in these activities, I do apologize; yet at this writing, such is my understanding.)

It seems to me that many of these activists are so caught up in their passions that they do not realize that said moments of anarchy are being captured and preserved on social media. Case in point, Twitter users were outing Charlottesville protesters resulting in loss of employment for at least one of the identified parties.

(And for the sake of clarity, I am not stating that all social justice warriors are Nazis; I cite this as an example.) In Louisville, KY, police used social media monitoring tools to track anti-Trump protesters. I bring all of that to say, when employers run a background check on these social justice warriors and their social media history is factored in, it will be challenging for them to secure traditional means of employment.

Consider what an employer may be thinking but, will most likely never verbalize to you, for fear of some sort of legal jeopardy.

  • What if my client is a devoted Trump supporter are you are not? Will the sight of a red “Make America Great Again” hat trigger you to lecture my client on their “wrong thinking?” Will you treat them differently from all my other customers?
  • On one of your recent social media posts, I noticed that you destroyed a statue in a public square. Since I know you are given to destroying property; should I be concerned that you will wreck my office if I fire you?
  • If CNN is on in the breakroom, and a political topic is discussed, will you see that as an opportunity to champion your cause? In other words, will a news report or opinion piece you hear on the office premises, distract you from the work I hired you to do?

Bottom line: Is hiring you, social justice warrior, a risk to my business?

As disparaging as my comments may be towards these social justice warriors, there can be an upside to their exorbitant passions, if it is channeled productively. For example, an estimated 21 million people around the world are victims of forced labor, generating $150 billion in illegal profits in the private economy. An organization called “Know The Chain” works to make sure companies are complying with the law and not allowing slave labor in their overall supply chain. Know the Chain ranked companies like HP, Microsoft and Apple as being exemplary in their efforts to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains. I imagine the abolition of slavery is something a social justice warrior would want to lend their passion to. The right individual could even be a spokesperson for the company and bring greater awareness to the issue. Modern day slavery notwithstanding, there are other causes worthy of note for a social justice warrior. Delta Airlines is very active in ending human trafficking with 30,000 of its employees trained to spot human trafficking situations on airports and flights. Wouldn’t this be a cause worthy of passion, lobbying for new laws and awareness championing?  And for the more health conscious social justice warrior, there is a BIG fight over labeling which foods are GMO (genetically moderated) with some companies taking an ethical stand on the issue. Why not make working for these rebellious companies a stand against the “man” before it becomes a cause célèbre?

So, how can an employer figure out if the millennial standing before her (or him) is a high risk for drama? One company instituted a “Snowflake Test.” Said test includes questions like, “What does America mean to you?” and “When was the last time you cried and why?” Kyle Reyes, the creator of the test, said, “someone who’s not proud to be an American is immediately out of the running, as are people who don’t support the Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

According to Reyes, the new test has been successful so far. About 60% of “applicants to his marketing company drop out when they hear about it.” He also claims other companies have reached out to him with questions about implementing similar tests in their own hiring process, and that it’s been very popular “because people are sick and tired of having to be so politically correct.”

If you like this idea of personality testing for job applicants, you may want to check out what Unilever is doing. In the past year, they hired 450 people based, in part, on how well they scored on a series of online games. These games tested for skills like concentration under pressure and short term memory. I would imagine that personality traits were a factor as well.

So, after all I’ve shared, would I hire a social justice warrior? It depends. If they had the skills, passed my background check and represented themselves well, I see no reason not to. Actually, I hope that they would have conducted themselves in such a way (online and offline) that I would not even know their political leanings. Frankly, who my employees support politically and which social causes inflame their passions, are of no concern to me; until it is. Free speech is the right of every American! As long as said speech and corresponding actions do not disrupt my workplace or business, I have no problem with what people believe; social justice warriors or otherwise.

But I digress, what do you think? Please leave a comment below.

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