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Amazon Releases Diversity Numbers For The First Time And Surprise, It’s Mostly Male And White

Amazon.com AMZN +2.12% released workplace diversity figures for the first time on Friday and they did little to set the Seattle online retailer apart from its tech industry peers.

Amazon, which employs more than 88,400 around the world according to its careers website, noted that its workforce was, unsurprisingly, composed of most white males. Some 63% of its “Amazonians” were male, while white employees made up 60% of the workplace. Those percentages were even higher for employees in managerial positions, of which 75% were male and 71% were white.

“Amazon has hundreds of millions of customers who can benefit from diversity of thought,” read Amazon’s report. “We are a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to inventing on behalf of our customers.”

While the company sells products in diverse regions from India to Germany, Amazon was one of the few remaining large American technology companies not to share employee diversity numbers following voluntary disclosures from the likes of Facebook, Twitter TWTR -0.79%and Google GOOGL +1.33%. Last month, the company was pressured by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition and publications like USA Today to release race and gender breakdowns of its workforce. Jackson also reportedly had discussions with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.  Read More

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Why Would Apple Buy a Chunk of Twitter?

By : Shel Israel

The NY Times reported last week that Apple is considering taking a significant stake in Twitter. It observed that it might do so because it “has stumbled in its efforts to get into social media.” I found that observation odd. I follow the social media space pretty closely and can recall no effort on Apple’s part to get into social media other than to provide a hosting podcast hosting platform via the Apple iTunes Store.

Further, you have to wonder why the Times thought a traditional hardware maker should try to play in the social network space.

That being said, I think Apple would be wise to take a stake in Twitter and Twitter should welcome the investment, but I see the story as more complex than the view expressed in the Time article.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece in which I included   Apple, along withFacebookGoogle, Amazon and Microsoft as consumer technology’s Gang of Five. Each of these companies aspires to give other Gang members a bit of a run.

The word Gang sounds tough, but I chose the word, because sometimes the game is more about turf than absolute victory.

Take, for example, the 2009 introduction of Microsoft Bing.  Some people dismissed the move as too little and too late to damage arch-rival Google. No one thought Bing could ever eclipse google Search, and that estimation is probably true.  Read More

Social Media And The Job Hunt: Squeaky-Clean Profiles Need Not Apply

Would you hire this woman?

A young friend who just scored her first internship at a NYC recruiting firm recently told me that she’s uncomfortable with her new job description. Instead of filing and sitting in on interviews, she’s spending her summer days in a high-walled cubicle poring over the social feeds of countless candidates applying “mostly,” she says, “for low- to mid-level financial and legal positions.” Her new bosses seem impressed with her comfort with the technology and are pleased with her vetting of new hires, but she describes the task as akin to “stalking crushes on Facebook,” something she’s “gotten embarrassingly good at in college.”

Either way, at 21, she’s become the gate-keeper to employment for thousands of New Yorkers and I was surprised to hear about the barriers to entry. Wedding pictures? Great. Baby photos? Even better. Photos with friends at parties, beaches and concerts? An absolute must.

“There’s a sense that a profile with no character has probably been scraped of some racy stuff or else the person has no social skills and won’t fit in.” Either way, she says, that candidate has been moved to the bottom of the pile.  Read More

My Beautiful, Obsolete iPhone: Has Apple Lost Its Design Mojo?

My lovely, tech-challenged wife bought her first iPhone the other day. She looked at the price for the 3GS at the AT&T store—99 cents—and she thought it was a typo or some sort of post-Steve Jobs, fine-print come-on. When I assured her that the right to buy a discounted smartphone was rolled into our monthly bill, she was sold.

Her pink Razr would finally be consigned to that Great Cell Phone Graveyard in the Sky.

As the clerk unboxed her shiny new Iphone, I experienced déjà vu all over again. I wanted to pick up my wife’s old-school iPhone and, well, fondle it. Like my own late, lamented 3G, this phone was rounded and smooth, one part worry beads, two parts Brancusi sculpture. As I peeled off the plastic, I cradled it in my hand and it cradled me back.

My new edgy, glassy iPhone4S is a much better phone. The retina display kicks serious butt. But as a piece of design, it just doesn’t compare to the 3G. Its busy design doesn’t look as sleek or feel as good. The 4S is different, but it isn’t better.

And that’s been the trend with the Apple products that have been finding their way into our household lately.  When they’re powered off and unplugged, they’re not ugly or clunky. Unless you compare them to the product they’re replacing.  Read More

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