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Research: Adding Women to the C-Suite Changes How Companies Think

Our study begins to explore those mechanisms, finding that when women are appointed to the C-suite, they catalyze fundamental shifts in the top management team’s risk tolerance, openness to change, and focus on M&As versus R&D.

'Emotional' reviews predict business success, new study shows: That five-star rating? It doesn't say what you think it does -- ScienceDaily

In one study, they looked at the movie industry and examined 13 years of Metacritic reviews from 2005 to 2018. Star ratings, they found, were a significant negative predictor of box office success. Emotionality, however, was a significant positive predictor. The researchers also were able to predict the success of books on Amazon using the same model based on 20 years of data from 1995 to 2015. They found that 91% of books received a positive rating (four or five stars). The average star rating was an unreliable and sometimes even negative predictor of purchases; however, greater emotionality was predictive of more sales in 93% of genres.

Commuting Hurts Productivity and Your Best Talent Suffers Most - HBS Working Knowledge

When measuring the number and quality of patented inventions by high-tech inventors, Wu and his colleagues found that for every 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of added travel distance, the firm employing those inventors registered 5 percent fewer patents. The quality of the patents took an even bigger dive, dropping 7 percent with every 6.2 miles added to the inventors’ commute. The most talented inventors suffered the most; the greatest productivity losses were found among the highest-performing inventors, those among the top 10 percent.

Teen Vogue Editor’s Tweets Aren’t the Whole Story | The New Republic

The danger is it’s the easy narratives—and they are so easy—that tend to catch fire. Cancel culture is quickly being made out to be the problem in society today, and it’s not by accident that the stories that get picked up and picked apart are those of campus activists or young staffers at a glossy magazine, who are easily painted as too privileged and too woke. And now the arguments have become so meaninglessly replicable that they’re echoed by the likes of Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump—some of the most powerful, most protected politicians in the country—as a defense when they are being held to account.

Outgrowing software — Benedict Evans

The car industry probably created more millionaires in retail and real estate than in the actual car industry - making cars was just one industry, but mass car ownership changed everything else. I often think that’s a good way to think about the state of tech today: 80% of the world’s adult population has a smartphone now, so how many things can we do with that? That’s what ‘software is eating the world’ means. But part of that is also that Walmart wasn’t built by car people, from Detroit. It was built by retailers. Sam Walton was born a decade after the Model T, and this year’s MBA class was born the year Netscape launched. At a certain point, everyone has grown up with this stuff, everything is a software company, and the important questions are somewhere else.

Goldman CEO Warns Remote Work Is Aberration, Not the New Normal - Bloomberg

“This is not ideal for us and it’s not a new normal,” Solomon said at a Credit Suisse Group AG conference. “It’s an aberration that we are going to correct as quickly as possible.”

The hazards of second-guessing | Chicago Booth Review

Overall, the participants asked to analyze whether their first guess had been too high or low performed worse on their second prediction—that is, their second guesses were more likely to be more extreme and thus less likely to be in the correct direction relative to the first. The results held across several experiments, both online and in person. The researchers also wanted to test the phenomenon in a situation without the boundaries of percentages, so they asked another group of participants to look at stock prices for 10 well-known companies and predict what the prices would be two weeks in the future. As before, one group analyzed their first guess before making a second one—and once again, this group produced second guesses that were more extreme than the first, making the average less accurate.  Asking people explicitly to evaluate their first guess may cause them to use that first guess as a reference point, which can lead to a second guess that’s further from the actual target, the researchers explain.

Introducing Working From Anywhere | HR Blog

A flexible working culture is built on trust, communication, collaboration, and connection and acknowledging that we’re all individuals, with different needs and rituals gives us the right frame of mind to let go of a few chosen truths and instead find what’s right for our business and our people. We have considered labour law, tax and insurance readiness for our workforce to be ‘working from anywhere’ – whether that’s working from home, in a café, hotel lounge or a co-working space. And, not forgetting the investment required to make sure the safety and growth of our people. Part of our DNA has always been controlled chaos. So, in the spirit of this, we’re trying this out knowing that there are likely to be some adjustments to make along the way. By experimenting and unlocking all talent we also enable diversity and inclusion, and making new jobs and markets available.

Hybrid Remote Work Offers the Worst of Both Worlds | WIRED

Hybrid creates two fundamentally different employee experiences to manage. Despite recent successes with remote work, employers are reopening offices to some of their employees to encourage social bonding, reinforce culture, and increase business collaboration. The assumption underlying these reopenings is that some critical things can’t be done as effectively outside of the office. Leaders who built their businesses in offices counted on shared space to act as a glue for culture and as a stopgap for inefficiencies in communication systems and processes. While the office-based model has historically proven to be successful for many companies, it will provide significant challenges for companies committed to also supporting a remote workforce. If an office is the “glue,” and processes and systems don’t adapt for a remote workforce, remote team members will not feel included and will face constant communication barriers. This will make it harder for them to perform at the same level as their in-office peers.

Creating a Best Workplace from Anywhere, for Everyone - Salesforce News

This employee feedback has guided our re-opening strategy and how we’ll work going forward. We learned that nearly half of our employees want to come in only a few times per month, but also that 80% of employees want to maintain a connection to a physical space. So we are giving employees flexibility in how, when and where they work with three ways of working: Flex – When it’s safe to return to the office, most of our employees around the globe will work flex. This means they’ll be in the office 1-3 days per week for team collaboration, customer meetings, and presentations. Fully Remote – For employees who don’t live near an office or have roles that don’t require an office, they will work remotely full-time. Office-based – The smallest population of our workforce will work from an office location 4-5 days per week if they’re in roles that require it.

College classrooms are still chilly for women, as men speak more, study finds: Gendered participation has a long way to go to reach equity -- ScienceDaily

Men speak 1.6 times more often than women in college classrooms, revealing how gender inequities regarding classroom participation still exist, according to a Dartmouth study. By comparison, women are more hesitant to speak and are more apt to use apologetic language. The findings are published in Gender & Society. When students didn't have to raise their hands to participate in class, men spoke three times more often than women. "You would think that it would be more equitable for students to not have to raise their hands to speak in class because then anyone could talk but our results showed otherwise. The higher level of participation relates to the idea of who may have felt like they were entitled to speak or had permission to do so," explains Janice McCabe, an associate professor of sociology at Dartmouth College. "Once you take away the structure of a professor calling on students, you see more of the cultural expectations that people may have, and the gender hierarchies present in the college classroom today."

Dogmatic people seek less information even when uncertain -- ScienceDaily

Dogmatic individuals and moderates did not differ in their accuracy or confidence of their decisions. However, the researchers found that more dogmatic participants were more likely to decline the helpful additional information. The differences between more and less dogmatic participants were especially large when participants had little confidence in a decision. Senior author Dr Steve Fleming (Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging at UCL, Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry & Ageing Research and UCL Experimental Psychology) said: "Previous work has found that there is a close link between how confident we feel and whether or not we seek out new information. In the current study we found that this link was weaker in more dogmatic individuals." In general, the reduced search was detrimental, with more dogmatic people being less accurate in their final judgements.

Opinion: COVID-19 is like running a marathon with no finish line. What does sports science say about how we can win it? - The Globe and Mail

It turns out that, if you ask yourself “Can I keep going?” rather than “Can I make it to the finish?” you’re far more likely to answer in the affirmative. That’s the approach the Quarantine Backyard Ultra and events like it force on you. “The next loop, always the next loop,” French runner Guillaume Calmettes told The Guardian after notching 59 laps in 59 hours to win a similar (but non-virtual) event in 2017. “You’re never overwhelmed by what you have left to run, because you simply don’t know what you have left to run.”

Opinion: COVID-19 is like running a marathon with no finish line. What does sports science say about how we can win it? - The Globe and Mail

By the time Mr. Wardian decided to pull the chute in his ultramarathon, his only remaining competitors were a guy on a treadmill in the Czech Republic and a woman in Sweden who had plowed her loop through several feet of snow. With the dawn of a third day of racing still a few hours off, he wandered over to the tent he’d set up outside his house and told his wife, who was crewing for him, that he didn’t want to continue. “That’s not a good excuse,” she replied. He considered it and decided she was right. He headed back out for another lap.

Paul McCartney reflects on meeting John Lennon and their songwriting partnership

“I think, ‘Wow, how lucky was I to meet this strange Teddy Boy off the bus who turned out to play music like I did, and we get together and, boy, we complemented each other’. They say with marriages opposites attract and we weren’t madly opposites, but I had some stuff that he didn’t have and he had some stuff I didn’t have so when you put them together it made something extra.”

What Donald Trump Could Learn From Playing Poker - POLITICO

In 2004, the game of poker in full boom, Trump once again gave an interview about the game, when he graced the cover of the newly launched Bluff magazine. He still hadn’t found time to play, he admitted. But he did know where he would direct his invitations if he had to pick six historical figures to play with: Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Moses, Leonardo da Vinci and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He reckoned he would be a favorite in the lineup. “Would I win?” came his musings. “Most likely.” An interesting assumption, given that at least one of his imaginary opponents, Churchill, was no poker slouch. But that’s the thing about bad players—they always think they’re going to win. Right until the moment they lose.

When power is toxic: Dominance reduces influence in groups -- ScienceDaily

"Dominant individuals can force their will on the group by being pushy, but that also makes them socially aversive. When it comes to bringing peers to consensus during more sophisticated tasks, it is the least aggressive individuals that exert the greatest influence. Our results illustrate that although domineering individuals most often ascend to positions of power, they can in fact create the least effective influence structures at the same time."

Why Remote Work Is So Hard—and How It Can Be Fixed | The New Yorker

In person, for instance, the social cost of asking someone to take on a task is amplified; this friction gives colleagues reason to be thoughtful about the number of tasks they pass off to others. In a remote workplace, in which co-workers are reduced to abstract e-mail addresses or Slack handles, it’s easier for them to overload each other in an effort to declare victory over their own rapidly filling in-boxes. (This may be one of the reasons that, in our current moment of coronavirus-induced telework, so many people—even those without kids underfoot—feel busier than before, despite the absence of time-consuming commutes.)

For complex decisions, narrow options down to two -- ScienceDaily

In two experiments, 139 participants were asked to choose between three different foods that changed over multiple rounds. Based in these experiments, the psychologists determined that people did not distribute their attention equally, but increasingly focused on the two options that they found most promising. This led to faster decisions; the easier it was to discount the worst option, the more quickly the participant was able to decide between the two remaining options.

Why Crowdsourcing Often Leads to Bad Ideas

I found that crowd members differ greatly in terms of why they participate. Some take part because they genuinely love creative problem-solving (what’s called “intrinsic motivation”). Others participate because they want to learn new things (“learning motivation”), make a positive impact on others (“prosocial motivation”), or be part of a social community (“social motivation”). Not surprisingly, some members focus predominantly on winning the prize money or other benefits such as recognition and better career prospects (“extrinsic motivation”). The results also showed that these motivations have different effects on solution quality. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations were associated with higher-quality solutions, whereas learning and prosocial motivations were negatively related to solution quality. Social motivation was not a significant predictor of the quality of ideas.

Trash talk hurts, even when it comes from a robot - Neuroscience News

Each participant played the game 35 times with the robot, while either soaking in encouraging words from the robot or getting their ears singed with dismissive remarks. Although the human players’ rationality improved as the number of games played increased, those who were criticized by the robot didn’t score as well as those who were praised.

How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit | First Round Review

The product/market fit definitions I had found were vivid and compelling, but they were lagging indicators — by the time investment bankers are staking out your house, you already have product/market fit. Instead, Ellis had found a leading indicator: just ask users “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percent who answer “very disappointed.” After benchmarking nearly a hundred startups with his customer development survey, Ellis found that the magic number was 40%. Companies that struggled to find growth almost always had less than 40% of users respond “very disappointed,” whereas companies with strong traction almost always exceeded that threshold.

Yale study shows class bias in hiring based on few seconds of speech | YaleNews

The researchers based their findings on five separate studies. The first four examined the extent that people accurately perceive social class based on a few seconds of speech. They found that reciting seven random words is sufficient to allow people to discern the speaker’s social class with above-chance accuracy. They discovered that speech adhering to subjective standards for English as well as digital standards — i.e. the voices used in tech products like the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant — is associated with both actual and perceived higher social class. The researchers also showed that pronunciation cues in an individual’s speech communicate their social status more accurately than the content of their speech. The fifth study examined how these speech cues influence hiring. Twenty prospective job candidates from varied current and childhood socioeconomic backgrounds were recruited from the New Haven community to interview for an entry-level lab manager position at Yale. Prior to sitting for a formal job interview, the candidates each recorded a conversation in which they were asked to briefly describe themselves. A sample of 274 individuals with hiring experience either listened to the audio or read transcripts of the recordings. The hiring managers were asked to assess the candidates’ professional qualities, starting salary, signing bonus, and perceived social class based solely on the brief pre-interview discussion without reviewing the applicants’ job interview responses or resumes.   The hiring managers who listened to the audio recordings were more likely to accurately assess socioeconomic status than those who read transcripts, according to the study. Devoid of any information about the candidates’ actual qualifications, the hiring managers judged the candidates from higher social classes as more likely to be competent for the job, and a better fit for it than the applicants from lower social classes. Moreover, they assigned the applicants from higher social classes more lucrative salaries and signing bonuses than the candidates with lower social status.

If at first you don't succeed

Researchers analyzed records of scientists who, early in their careers, applied for R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 1990 and 2005. They utilized the NIH’s evaluation scores to separate individuals into two groups: (1) the “near-misses” whose scores were just below the threshold that received funding and (2) the “just-made-its” whose scores were just above that threshold. Researchers then considered how many papers each group published, on average, over the next 10 years and how many of those papers turned out to be hits, as determined by the number of citations those papers received. Analysis revealed that individuals in the near-miss group received less funding, but published just as many papers, and more hit papers, than individuals in the just-made-it group. The researchers found that individuals in the near-miss funding group were 6.1% more likely to publish a hit paper over the next 10 years compared to scientists in the just-made-it group.

How happy couples argue: Focus on solvable issues first -- ScienceDaily

When researchers observed couples discussing marital problems, all couples focused on issues with clearer solutions, such as the distribution of household labor and how to spend leisure time. "Rebalancing chores may not be easy, but it lends itself to more concrete solutions than other issues," Rauer said. "One spouse could do more of certain chores to balance the scales." The couples rarely chose to argue about issues that are more difficult to resolve. And Rauer suggests that this strategic decision may be one of the keys to their marital success. "Focusing on the perpetual, more-difficult-to-solve problems may undermine partners' confidence in the relationship," Rauer said. Instead, to the extent it is possible, focusing first on more solvable problems may be an effective way to build up both partners' sense of security in the relationship. "If couples feel that they can work together to resolve their issues, it may give them the confidence to move on to tackling the more difficult issues," Rauer said.

Delay Discounting as a Transdiagnostic Process in Psychiatric Disorders: A Meta-analysis | Psychiatry | JAMA Psychiatry | JAMA Network

In this meta-analysis of 57 effect sizes from 43 studies across 8 diagnostic categories, robust differences in delay discounting were observed between people with psychiatric disorders and controls. Most individuals with disorders (including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder) exhibited steeper discounting compared with controls, whereas those with anorexia nervosa exhibited shallower discounting compared with controls.