June 14, 2019
We start this week with a few recaps covering Mary Meeker's debut of the Internet Trends 2019 report. More than half the world's population is now online and growth is slowing as the need for internet freedom rises around the world. What does this mean for the future?
We curated a number of important reads on the future of work. First, from McKinsey, a must-read report on how the transition to an AI-driven economy creates a tremendous opportunity as well as a risk for the female workforce. MIT Sloan Management Review lays out the case that job "re-skilling", or the training of your workforce, can become a competitive advantage. Finally, CMO.com reminds us thatGen Z will very shortly become a significant part of our workforce.
It's that time of year, or as Vox called it, "holiday season for data nerds." Mary Meeker presented her 333-slide Internet Trends 2019 deck at the Code Conference this week.
The overarching theme was that we've hit the inflection point where more than half of the world's population is now online, but the growth is slowing. (Note: in her first Trends deck in 1995, she estimated 10 million people where online and "there's lots of upside." We've linked to a Vox piece that extracts a number of stats relevant to this audience. You can also check out a good 10-takeaway summary from PC Mag that outlines themes like "Privacy is a key selling point," the power of social media to amplify and polarize users, and the increasing need for internet freedom around the world.)
Also of note, you might notice the new branding on the slide deck. That's because Mary Meeker left Kleiner Perkins a few months back to start her own $1.25 billion growth fund, Bond Capital. A nice addition to their new website is an archive of all Internet Trend decks neatly collected, going back all the way to 1995.
An important new report from the McKinsey Global Institute:
Between 40 million and 160 million women globally may need to transition between occupations by 2030, often into higher-skilled roles. To weather this disruption, women (and men) need to be skilled, mobile, and tech-savvy, but women face pervasive barriers on each, and will need targeted support to move forward in the world of work.
The future of women at work (full PDF of the report), finds that if women make these transitions, they could be on the path to more productive, better-paid work. If they cannot, they could face a growing wage gap or be left further behind when progress toward gender parity in work is already slow.
The MIT Sloan Management Review published a deep dive into the importance of re-skilling as a competitive advantage.
While the extent of AI-driven automation replacing workers is a hotly debated topic, it's unquestioned that AI will fundamentally reshape the nature of work. This piece lays out the case that companies that focus on the human capital side of enabling AI innovation - the retraining, continuing education, and recruiting efforts - will be the best positioned to be leaders in the innovation economy.
While there is a great deal of literature on how digitally-enabled ecosystems are changing society at a macro-level, they are also significantly changing the micro-nature of organizations. This Harvard Business Review piece looks at how this fundamental shift will significantly change how management approaches things and how behaviors must evolve.
One of our favorite takeaways is that a great manager will shift from being a "high-ranking delegator to an influential orchestrator" (the term was from a BCG report), conducting a symphony of agile business units working in concert to push forward a larger goal.
Just as you started to feel comfortable with your ability to manage millennials, it's time to start thinking about your Gen Z management strategy. By 2020, approximately 20% of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of Gen Z.
This CMO piece, part of their Future of Work series, asks a number of academics, strategists and executives on how they are approaching this shift. They smartly speak to a few Gen Z'ers as well:
“My favorite thing about Gen Z by far is that I think we don’t blink. We grew up in the middle of the Great Recession right after 9/11, and so that kind of instability has always been a part of our childhoods and our lives,” Laramore said. “And so, even though we understand that the world is a very chaotic place, and obviously it feels like it’s getting more unstable every day, we don’t flinch in the face of that.”
- Lydia Laramore, a Spelman college sophomore
We'll follow the lengthy dive above with a quick, easily digestible, but very important reflection from Om Malik. Google's $2.6 billion acquisition of Looker, a major push in their Google Cloud business strategy made headlines this week. This led to Om outlining what he believes have been Google's best acquisitions in its relatively short corporate history.
Android cost them $50 million dollars. After stealing ideas from Apple, Eric Schmidt probably got paid for his Apple directorship. Jokes aside, Android is a data gusher, and it powers everything Google builds. It is why the company has the best maps, the best idea of user behavior and most importantly, why Google Assistant will kick Alexa’s butt.