Casey Newton’s “How Basecamp blew up” is about a small tech CEO struggling to manage the complexities of politics at work. Late April, the CEO, fed up with employees’ conversations and task forces on power and justice, sent a memo announcing that societal and political discussions were no longer allowed at work. Staff, including senior ones, started to quit. The CEO called an all-staff meeting, some racist comments were made, the CEO did not take a strong stand, a third of the employees quit. The ping-pong-tables/on-demand snacks/bean-bags-in-the-office cool atmosphere tech firms portray have given us a sense that tech employees can show up at work with all their needs. But the Basecamp debacle shows that it does not apply to the hard stuff.
Jasjit Singh’s “From band-aid to deep impact” lists the 10 questions social sector organizations should consider to maximize their long-term outcomes. They are about identifying the market failure and needs to target; focusing on value creation more than costs; having a credible impact model with clear accountability and measurement strategy; using existing knowledge while learning along the way; and seeking the right kind of funding and partnerships. It is a useful guide with illustrations and hyperlinks. It triggered three thoughts. One, the outcome-based mania risks diverting funds to what is easy to measure. Indeed, social and development impact bonds in developing countries focus on health, education and employment – nothing on, say, gender-based violence. Two, the search for credible impact models can translate into endless meetings as captured in this Manu’s cartoon on the theory of change. Three, as mentioned here, random control trials tend to exclude emerging country economists from development economics.
Niall McCarthy’s “Electric vehicle market to hit ludicrous mode” shows electric vehicles (EV) growing from 11 million a year to 145 million in 2030. EV is a tiny share of the global market now (1.5 billion) but it is growing fast.
My quote this week is from former Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber back in the press this week: “Employees are the boss. So if you let employees be a voice in the company about what is truly as stake you will have a swing. The more this new generation will be there pushing ESG issues the more need there will be for top management to act. I think as leaders we should like employee action. But in reality the people who have power may not like this!”