Showing posts with label Larry Ellison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Larry Ellison. Show all posts

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Remote Work Is Not Either Or

The downside of remote work

It is not to be or not to be. It is how. It is a raging debate.

Kind of like the workspace debate itself. Getting rid of cubicles in favor of open floor office spaces became trendy. Then someone realized me time is also important. There are times when you just need to be by yourself to focus, to be creative. So space is not either or either. You have to be alone. You have to hold small team meetings. The open floor plan is great. But it is not great round the clock.

Remote is like that. Remote has to be an option. Just like flexible schedules.

And remote is a skill not a button you press. You send your team remote and all problems solved? Hardly. You have to work at it. And all the other challenges of work still stay. Remote is just an arrangement.

Communication is great. Being able to reach out to anyone on the team is great. But always-on is a drag. Always-on prevents people from doing their best work. There are times when you just have to unplug. Even while at work.

Remote definitely has to be an option. The best person for a particular job at the price point you can afford might not be in your town, or near you, or even in the same country. Remote can be great. On the other hand, if you don't know or learn how to manage, it can be a disaster. It can get incredibly frustrating.

Even if you are under the same roof, if everyone spends big chunks of their days staring at their computer screens, as knowledge workers are likely to, is that not remote? Are they not better off doing it in environments of their choice?

Communication is best spread out. Email works best when it works best. Instant messaging has its place. Some things are best taken over to voice chat, one on one or a conference call. But that voice chat might appreciate an email backup.

And there is no avoiding the in-person. I believe the Wordpress team is 100% remote. But they make a point to meet in person once a year. Depending on feasibility, that could be once a month, or once a week even. You could have remote workers in the same city who drop by the office one or two days a week. You could have someone 10 time zones away who you can not hope to meet. But you have three people in that same country, maybe they should meet in person when they can.

Remote is an option. It is a good option. It can be an excellent option. But leading a remote team requires certain skills. I am for asking. Ask a potential team member what they think. Ask what kind of work arrangement they might like. Some people just need to show up at the office. They don't know any other way to get work done. That is why people rent desks at co-working spaces, don't they?

We are all knowledge workers. If Microsoft, a trillion-dollar company, considers itself primarily a remote team, who are you?

Remote Work: To Do Or Not To Do? (Preethi's Take)
Anywhere Competes With Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Beijing And London

How remote working can increase stress and reduce well-being 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week, while 53% work remotely for at least half of the week. Some multinationals have their entire staff working remotely, with no fixed office presence at all, which can result in having employees situated all over the world........ Nearly 70% of millennials would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote working ....... Employees value the flexibility it gives them, particularly if they have childcare commitments. People also appreciate escaping long commutes and avoiding office distractions. ....... growing concerns that people’s mental health and well-being can take a hit when working remotely ...... In the UK, businesses lose £100m every year due to workplace stress, depression and anxiety. Research shows that being “always on” and accessible by technology while working remotely leads to the blurring of work and non-work boundaries, particularly if you work from home. A 2017 United Nations report found that 41% of remote workers reported high stress levels, compared to just 25% of office workers. ........ 52% who worked from home at least some of the time were more likely to feel left out and mistreated, as well as unable to deal with conflict between themselves and colleagues. ........ Navigating sensitive territory in a virtual team is an essential skill. If we’re not careful, issues can fester. Emails can be misinterpreted as being rude or too direct. And, with no visible body language it is tricky to convey our true meanings. ........ In a virtual environment there is a tendency to focus too much on tasks and too little on relationships. .......... With more emphasis on deadlines and routine information, virtual workers can feel treated as a cog in a machine, rather than an essential part of the team. Such a leadership approach can worsen the sense of isolation that naturally comes with working remotely and can contribute to virtual workplace stress. ........ Interviewees said a lack of feedback from line managers and senior colleagues gave them no benchmark to judge progress, which led to increased feelings of anxiety and a concern as to whether they were “up to standard”. ....... stress can be productive up to a point and then it results in reduced productivity. ....... colleagues who spend just 15 minutes socialising and sharing their feelings of stress had a 20% increase in performance. ..............

Employers need to put the right structures in place such as scheduled video calls and regular team-building meetups to build rapport.

Bosses need to lead by example and create a culture where those outside the office feel valued......... But it cuts both ways. Everyone needs to think about what makes them productive, happy and successful in everyday life, and try to replicate this in a remote setting – whether this ranges from taking a walk at lunch time, going to the gym, ringing a friend or reading your favourite book....... If the future of work is heading towards more virtual working, then it is not something we can avoid. Instead we should implement ways of managing the stress associated with it, while enjoying the benefits.

Blue light isn’t the main source of eye fatigue and sleep loss – it’s your computer

Sunday, October 06, 2019

AI And Fire, I.E. Larry Ellison On Fire

Earlier in the afternoon, Ellison had made the point that the same regulators who are scrutinizing autonomous driving would likely have felt the same way about the invention of fire—too dangerous. Is AI dangerous? “Probably,” Ellison said with a grin. “More dangerous than fire.”

-- Larry Ellison

Oracle’s Larry Ellison on Uber, Tesla, Autonomous Driving, and More

Friday, April 19, 2019

Elizabeth Holmes: Fraud? Failure? Non-Technical Visionary? First Attempt?

Elon Musk hit speed bumps with the SEC, and Elon Musk fans think he is a hero.

I never really read much about Elizabeth Holmes during the decade when she was ascendant, although I meant to. It was interesting a woman was doing it. Also, this was not some photo sharing app. She was marrying bio with infotech. I thought that was really something.

There's a picture of Holmes sharing stage with Bill Clinton and Jack Ma. If that is not social acceptance, what is? She put Henry Kissinger on her Board. She raised money from Larry Ellison, not my idea of a gullible guy. Tim Draper still defends her as a visionary who got wronged and got bullied by white men in black suits.

What happened? I don't know. I am not in a position to know.

But think about it. There is as much information in one drop of blood as in 100 drops of blood. And it should be possible to extract all information from that one drop of blood and to digitize it. And once you have digitized it, you should be able to scale it. Whether you look for cholesterol one time, or next time you look for another needle in that haystack, there is no difference. You can do it.

The basic premise feels doable to me. Somebody should be able to do it in less than 10 years from now. Too bad it was not Elizabeth Holmes.

Otherwise she attempted something Marissa Mayer did not, Sheryl Sandberg did not.

She was not the scientist who built what needed to be built. She started with a vision. She raised a lot of money. She hired the best of the best. She did all that an entrepreneur is expected to do.

If she is a fraud, she is a really good fraud. The movie on her should beat Catch Me If You Can at the ratings.

But then Steve Jobs, her hero, could not have put together the PC. It was the engineer Steve Wozniak who did that. On the other hand, there was no way Woz could have built a company. And very soon Apple did hire a ton of engineers such that when Woz left to teach elementary school, Apple did not exactly suffer.

So not being a scientist is not a fraud.

Bill Gates came up with something like an iPad in the late 90s. But the product did not take off. Was he a fraud? Was he ahead of the times?

This is not me defending Holmes. This is me asking some questions.

You could not have built YouTube in 1995. Maybe this Theranos experiment was a decade too early.

Being in stealth mode is not fraud either. The iPhone was built in super stealth mode. Theranos being in stealth mode for 10 years, is that too long though? I don't know. The iPhone unit stayed undercover for something like two years, maybe more.

The media did a remarkable job of building her up for over a decade. Then it spent a few years tearing apart her image. So the media reports are not reliable gauges.

Was this failure? Was this fraud? Was this an attempt too early? Like trying to build YouTube in 1995? 10 years too early?

Holmes did manage to articulate a valid vision. She did manage to raise money from people like Larry Ellison, who does not strike me as gullible. She did manage to put Henry Kissinger on her Board. That guy dealt with Chairman Mao. She did manage to hire the best of the best in the field.

Google has had hundreds of failures many of which you don't know about.

Granted a photo-sharing app is different from a blood testing tool.

Maybe a PhD is not such a bad idea after all.

Or, more likely, the scientists that would bring the valid vision to fruition simply have not existed. You can't find those PhDs that you need. They don't exist.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Elon Musk, Talulah Riley

Larry Ellison on stage.
Larry Ellison on stage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have a theory or two about self made billionaires doing exciting work. If the work is exciting, they get interesting. The billions are just tools they need to do what they need to do. Plus, I guess you can buy things with the money.

Elon Musk seems to have had some bad experiences growing up in apartheid era South Africa. Looks apartheid was not just hard on the black people. That can impact you. And I am not sure therapy helps, although it might. But if you are simply focused on your work and are obviously good at it, is that focus a problem? Something that needs to be "cured" through therapy? I think not.

A prior billionaire also all over the map in terms of private life is Larry Ellison. So he is with his first wife. And they barely get by. She has a job. He does barely enough work to be able to help with the bills. And one day he goes ahead and puts a down payment on a boat. For a future billionaire, that is no big deal. But that sends the wifey into therapy. During one of the therapy sessions, when he realizes, maybe money is one of the issues why his marriage is so obviously breaking down, he blurts out he is going to "make a million dollars." The wife bursts out laughing. She thinks he is making it up to impress her. That was not his first divorce.

Both Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs were adopted. If you think that is emotionally vexing, there are always hungry children in Somalia, but I guess that does not help.

So Elon Musk's first wife goes on this tangent where basically she is invading his privacy. She blogs every detail of their life. Elon compares that to having to "eat glass."

His second wife I think is very, very pretty. They met in a bar. She approached him. She actually supposedly likes talking about electric cars and space travel. Maybe the guy talks about little else. He is in this zone. You have to be. Or you can't perform at those levels.

The entrepreneur is the ultimate minority person who qualifies for minority rights. There ought to be a Bill Of Rights for entrepreneurs. As in, if you work for Elon, and he fires you, no hard feelings. It was a work relationship. He was not trying to bond, exactly. No hard feelings. You perform, and you last.

I am intrigued by the home school Elon has designed for his kids.

I am happy for him that his second wife decided to come back to him because "there is no one out there even remotely close to like him." Better than one of Ellison's wives (ex) boasting that her divorce was better than her friends' marriages. She might have been talking money. I don't know.

Madonna said at one point, "My life is not a democracy."

An entrepreneur takes huge risks. People who go to work for them know what they are getting into. Especially for someone like Elon who is out there at the far cutting edges, he's got to push people so they do their very best and then some. This is not a Soviet job. You are not pushing paper, and digging trenches.

And to think he came so close to losing it all. That dip might have cost him his first marriage. The wife should not have blogged. Or she could have blogged about her hobbies, whatever. If the only reason you want to be close to him is so you can destroy his privacy, you don't deserve to be close to him.

One of Larry Ellison's wives, at around divorce, had a choice between Oracle stocks and the family pickup truck. She went for the truck! I guess Larry must have gone for her looks or something. She sure was not seeing anything in him.

My advice to Elon, if you have a wife who makes you ride planes, keep it. I mean, keep her. You like risks? Here we go. Seems to be the message.

Elon Musk: Myths And Legends: Be That As It May

Sustaining marriage for the 44-year-old billionaire entrepreneur and innovator is almost as challenging as developing his electric car Tesla, designing rockets that deliver supplies to the space station- SpaceX, or founding PayPal. ....... Silicon Valley tycoon, Elon Musk, called the Thomas Edison of our time, remains married to his second wife, Talulah Riley, after divorcing her once, marrying her twice and tearing up the second set of divorce papers........ Talulah met her man at London's West End club, Whisky Mist, in Mayfair in 2008 when he was trying to clear his head after divorcing his first wife, Justine Wilson, after a six-year marriage that produced five children. ........ Introduced by the club's promoter, Musk was aroused by the curvy, sultry-eyed actress who arrived with a girlfriend, wearing a full-length, flowing gown showing her 'dazzling figure' ....... 'She did look great, but what was going through my mind was 'Oh, I guess they are a couple of models. You know, you can't actually talk to most models.' But Talulah was really interested in talking about rockets and electric cars.' ..... They had lunch the following day and Musk told Talulah, still a virgin at 22, that he wanted to show her his rockets....... They met up again in Beverly Hills several weeks later and lying in bed together at the Peninsula Hotel, he asked her to marry him. He didn't have a ring so he suggested they shake on it and they did. ...... 'I remember him saying, 'Being with me was choosing the hard path'. I didn't quite understand at the time, but I do now. It's quite hard, quite the crazy ride'.......It turned out to be a baptism by fire. His divorce was not final from Justine, he was short on cash and his two big investments, SpaceX and Tesla desperately needed cash infusions. ......

He had intense nightmares that made him yell out, climb on her and start screaming in his sleep.

....... She saw him through a very rough period of borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars, burning through $4 million a month to keep his projects alive, borrowing from friends to make payroll and negotiating with investors. ..... He retreated within himself. He lost a lot of weight, bags formed under his eyes and 'he looked like death itself', Riley said. ...... 'I remember thinking this guy would have a heart attack and die. He seemed like a man on the brink' – that is until SpaceX metamorphosed from the joke of the aeronautics industry into one of its most consistent operators.' ..... she came back to Elon because of 'the lack of viable alternatives'. ........ 'I looked around, and there was no one else nice to be with. Number two is that Elon doesn't have to listen to anyone in life. No one. He doesn't have to listen to anything that doesn't fit into his worldview. But he proved he would take s**t from me'. ........

'Elon does what he wants and he is relentless about it', Justine said. 'It's Elon's world and the rest of us live in it.'

..... Justine knew all about Elon's miserable childhood and brutal upbringing in South Africa by his father who exerted some unidentified form of psychological torture. ........ Justine walked into their marriage knowing he was a tortured soul. ....... Growing up with a sister, Tosca, and brother, Kimbal, Elon wasn't interested in sports in an athletics-obsessed culture........ He spent his time reading. He often drifted off into trances and read too many comic books and then two books a day. He became the classic know-it-all who abrasively enjoyed correcting people, happily showing them that their thinking was flawed. ...... His classmates didn't let him get away with that. They loved to beat him up.
He was kicked in the head, shoved down a flight of stairs, kicked in the side, his head bashed against the ground until he passed out. It took a week to recover. ........ 'For some reason, they decided that I was it, and they were going to go after me nonstop. That's what made growing up difficult. For a number of years, there was no respite. ....... 'You get chased around by gangs at school who tried to beat the s**t out of me, and then I'd come home, and it would just be awful there as well. It was just like nonstop horrible'. ....... He escaped South Africa and landed in Canada where he had an uncle in Montreal. He worked his way across Canada and ended up at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. ........ Justine Wilson was a fellow student who 'radiated romance and sexual energy'. She had dumped an older man to go to college and figured that her next conquest would be a damaged James Dean sort...... Elon saw her on campus and went to work on winning her affections. ...... 'She looked pretty great. She was also smart and this intellectual with sort of an edge. She had a black belt in tae kwon do and was semi-bohemian and, you know, like the hot chick on campus.' ...... But she wasn't dating Musk exclusively and that drove him nuts. He wore her down, calling her insistently sending flowers, handwritten romantic musings........ By the year 2000, living together in Silicon Valley, she thought if she was going to put up with all his drama, they should be married and she suggested that he propose to her. He got down on his knee and did so on the spot....... They vacationed in December in Brazil and then South Africa at a game reserve near the Mozambique border........ Elon contacted the most virulent form of malaria that was misdiagnosed and mistreated which nearly killed him. A day later without the proper treatment he would have been dead. Six months passed before he was well again. ..... The couple decided on a change and to begin the next chapter of their lives in Los Angeles where Justine got pregnant. .......... She gave birth to a son, Nevada, who tragically died of sudden infant death syndrome at ten weeks. It broke Elon's heart and he grieved in private. ........ Justine gave birth to twins and then triplets within the next five years but that didn't temper Elon.
He was tough on the people who worked for him. If marketing people made grammatical mistakes in emails, they were let go..... Intimidating, he told employees, 'I want you to think ahead and think so hard every day that your head hurts. I want your head to hurt every night when you go to bed'. ...... He had tirades at suppliers who let him down and talked of balls being chopped off or and other violent or sexual acts....... He spit coffee across a conference room table because it was cold....... To dig Tesla out of its financial problems, he had to lose his entire fortune and almost have a nervous breakdown....... Leonardo DiCaprio begged for a free Tesla Roadster but Musk turned him down. ......... All the while, Justine blogged about the party scene, turning it into a nightmare for Elon who was called 'part playboy, part space cowboy'.......... By spring of 2007, the marriage was in trouble and Justine was suffering postpartum depression...... She felt she was treated like 'an arm ornament and couldn't possibly have anything interesting to say'. Elon had no respect for her writing. ....... She felt like a trophy wife with her team of nannies taking care of their five children........

By June of 2008, Musk was out of money and filed for divorce. Moving in with Justine's parents was not a viable option.

..... Justine went house hunting with Sharon Stone and blogged that the marriage was 'a good run'. ...... 'We married young, took it as far as we could and now it is over.' ........ The morning that Elon filed for divorce, he cut off Justine's credit card....... She continued blogging and fought for more money in their divorce settlement. She appeared on CNBC's Divorce Wars, and wrote a story for Marie Claire, 'I Was A Starter Wife'........ Elon didn't have any liquid assets at the time but she ended up with $2 million in cash, $80,000 a month in alimony, child support for seventeen years and that coveted Tesla roadster....... Justine continued to work out her revenge in her blog, even giving her views on Musk's new girlfriend and future second wife, Talulah........ It was the first time, the public got some insight into Musk's hardline behavior........ 'We were at war for a while, and when you go to war with Elon, it's pretty brutal'.
According to the author, 'the pair have continued to have their difficulties.'

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Data Centers And Light Phones

World map depicting Asia Esperanto: Mondmapo b...
World map depicting Asia Esperanto: Mondmapo bildiganta Azion EspaƱol: UbicaciĆ³n de Asia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If the data centers are pervasive enough and powerful enough, your phone can be light as light. The two extreme ends feed on each other. Larry Ellison is right. There is no cloud. What we refer to as cloud is really these data centers. I am surprised Google lags so far behind in Asia. And I am guessing it lags even further behind in Africa and Latin America. Come on, Google, you can do better than this.

New Google Asia servers expected to bring 30% speed boost when they go live later this year
the new servers could provide up to a 30 percent improvement in the speed of Google services in Asia .... Google already operates seven data centers in the US and facilities in Finland, Belgium and Ireland, but the lack of an Asia center has likely inhibited the company’s potential for growth in the region
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