A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:
A teacher I know shared an example of this year’s update of her state’s mandated test questions. Last year, the test question was: Explain the shape of birds’ beaks in the context of evolution, taking the role of drought into consideration. This year, the question is: Analyze the data related to the shape of birds’ beaks in the context of evolution, taking the role of drought into consideration.
The standard appears to be going backward, by teaching kids that data is the goal, rather than one input.
I thought of this when news broke of the database of Afghan soldiers and police left behind in Kabul, which will now fall into Taliban hands. There was no deletion option. No one wondered what use evil minds could put the data to? Almost a decade ago, I wrote a story for the BBC: “How to Out-Argue A Data Nerd.” It was born completely out of my frustration in knowing the growth hackers of Silicon Valley and the quants of Wall Street. At the time, I could not articulate the problem with their approach, which created whole systems and companies that only took data into account.
It’s not that the data is bad; it’s just that it needs to exist within a full-fledged awareness of reality. Those liberal arts majors really are essential, and underpaid. Now, the quants and growth-hackers have shaped many other spheres of life, from government to education. My story for the BBC wasn’t very good. It took me more years of being in the world to be able to articulate what I knew by intuition back then: Whatever can be translated into data, can be cheapened.
That includes human life.
Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week
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More churches are looking to closely aligned business ventures to add to their coffers. In the evangelical community, that appears to be translating into an approach called redemptive entrepreneurship.
An Afghani Immigrant Had Some Clout in his Adopted State, Arkansas. Was it Enough?
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You may have missed: Americans Want To Open The Door To Afghans, Especially Women Times of E editor Elizabeth MacBride looks at the private initiatives springing up to help Afghans who are in danger.
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As The SBA, Now A $1T Agency, Faces Pressure To Fix Racial inequities, The Question Arises: How Do You Define Race? The flood of pandemic aid highlighted problems in the financing system for small business.
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Meet A Half-Dozen Climate Innovators Bypassing The Power Grid. Skyler Rossi’s widely read look at innovation in the energy sector.
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In response to Three Killer Moves That Backfire on Women, we heard from Marjorie Conner, an attorney in Alexandria, Va.: “Just running through documents from a recent deal in which the other side complained that I played ‘hard ball’ and blew the deal up. In fact, all I did was present a fair and defensible (and authorized) offer on my client’s behalf. The other side rejected it and blew up the relationship. Since, they have blamed my hard ball tactics. Hard ball requires two to play, and they did not play. I am somewhat taken aback, but I am not sitting quietly by and allowing them to perpetuate their story.”
Living the Dream
Best Practices: Feeling inclined to shake up the system? Get a close look at what happened after Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price took a massive pay cut to raise the minimum wage for workers at his company to $70,000 in this Harvard case study.
Buzzworthy: Jaime Jay, the entrepreneur behind Bottleneck Distant Assistants, shares the strategies that helped his business grow to seven figures in his new book, Quit Repeating Yourself. Jay shares specific advice about documenting processes, outsourcing, hiring employees, and the mindset necessary to offloading tasks, which is: “Do it as if it’s the last time you’re going to do it.”
The 4.5 hour workweek : A productivity hack Reduce multitasking to increase productivity. Although multitasking seems like a way to accomplish more, it often increases task completion time, so train yourself to avoid it, even on Zoom calls. Need to plow through a giant pile of work? Sometimes, creating artificial deadlines can help you get more done. Set a timer for a reasonable amount of time to complete the most important task in front of you and finish it before the bell rings. Then take a break and move onto the next one
Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list With locations in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, the French eatery Rise offers delicious classics like the jambon and Gruyere souffle as well as must-tries like marshmallow soup to sample while you’re in town.
Made in the U.S.A. Selling over 10 million copies on Kickstarter, Exploding Kittens ($29.99) is the hot all-occasion party game for anyone who is a fan of kittens, goats, explosions, and laser beams—and one of the top campaigns ever on the crowdfunding site.
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