Activision Blizzard employees walk off the job to protest “frat boy” culture of harassment

200 employees at game company Activision Blizzard walked off the job and protested in front of company headquarters to protest a “frat boy” culture of sexual harassment and racism. [Patrick Klepek at Vice.com]

The state of California sued Activision Blizzard this month, alleging a toxic work environment. [Lauren Kaori Gurley at Vice.com]:

In the office, women were subject to so-called “cube crawls” during which men at the company got drunk and “crawl[ed]” through office cubicles and harassed women, the complaint alleges. Men played videos games for extended periods of time during work hours, delegating tasks to women, joked about rape, commented on women’s bodies, and groped them, the complaint continues. High-ranking men at the company engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions.

Also:

In one instance, the lawsuit alleges that a woman at the company killed herself on a business trip with a supervisor she was having a sexual relationship with. The woman had previously faced harassment from men at the company, including a holiday party before her death, when her male colleagues allegedly passed around a photo of her vagina, according to the complaint.

The company’s workforce is about 20 percent women, and its top leadership is exclusively white and male, according to the lawsuit.

And on and on. Sounds like a terrible place.

“The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up every day”

The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up every day

Kishore Nallan writes about how he co-created Typesense, a popular open source website search engine:

When I first started working on Typesense six years ago, I set myself a simple rule:

I shall write some code every day before or after work.

That’s it. No deadlines, no quarterly goals, no milestones.

I did not have a choice really — I was about to get married and was already working full-time in a demanding role. As you can imagine, building a search engine from scratch is not a trivial undertaking, so that was my way of not having to deal with additional stress.

Also:

If you want to find some modest success and independence by launching your own product, and wished to do so without too much risk, I invite you to try this playbook:

Pick an idea in a large market that will always be in demand and work on a product

By choosing an idea that is not a fad and doing so in a large and preferably growing market, you can afford to take a much slower route. As long as you keep plugging away at the problem, at some point, you will have enough of a product to start charging for it.

The “Lucky Lotto” method for building resilient teams

Daniel Lebrero: First thing Monday, a random person on the team is designated as the “Lucky Lotto” winner.

“‘You won the Lotto’ sounds better than ‘You were run over by a bus’.”

The Lucky Lotto winner is, theoretically, completely unavailable to colleagues all week; they work on side-projects. Every time the unavailability rule is broken — because the Lucky Lotto winner proves essential to a project — the Lucky Lotto winner makes notes and brings a colleague along to teach that colleague the essential skill.

Why do we work so damn much

Hunter-gatherers worked 15-hour weeks. Why don’t we?

The Ezra Klein Show:

“James Suzman is an anthropologist who has spent the last 30 years living with and studying the Ju’hoansi people of southern Africa, one of the world’s enduring hunter-gatherer societies. And that project has given him a unique lens on our modern obsession with work.

“As Suzman documents in his new book, ‘Work: A Deep History From the Stone Age to the Age of Robots,’ hunter-gatherer societies like the Ju’hoansi spent only about 15 hours a week meeting their material needs despite being deeply impoverished by modern standards. But as we’ve gotten richer and invented more technology, we’ve developed a machine for generating new needs, new desires, new forms of status competition.

“So this is a conversation about the past, present and future of humanity’s relationship to work and to want. We discuss what economists get wrong about scarcity, the lessons hunter-gatherer societies can teach us about desire, how the advent of farming radically altered people’s conceptions of work and time, whether there’s such a thing as human nature, the dangers of social and economic inequality, the role of advertising in shaping human desires, whether we should have a wealth tax and universal basic income, and much more.

“Historically speaking, we live in an age of extraordinary abundance. We have long since passed the income thresholds when past economists believed our needs would be more than met and we’d be working 15-hour weeks, puzzling over how to spend our free time. And yet, few of us feel able to exult in leisure, and even many of today’s rich toil as if the truest reward for work is more work. Our culture of work would be profoundly puzzling to those who came before us.”

The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that technology and productivity would advance so far over the next century that his grandchildren would be able to work 15-hour weeks to fulfill all their material needs and wants.

Keynes was half-right. We have far surpassed Keynes’s bold technology predictions. And yet we work longer hours than ever before.

Why?

Klein and Suzman say we work so hard because the economy isn’t just a machine for filling needs — it is, equally importantly, a machine for creating desire.

People in Keynes’s time didn’t spend money on iPhones or streaming media subscriptions or health insurance.

To find people working 15-hour weeks, you have to look backwards — tens of thousands of years backward — to hunter-gatherer societies.

The hunter-gatherer secret is that they’re not enhancing productivity. They’re regulating demand. They share wildly and freely. If you have something, somebody else can ask you for some and you are required to give it to them. Accumulating too much was considered bad form. Bad for the community.

Hunter-gatherer societies proved extraordinarily resilient, carrying the human race on foot from a small spot of Africa to every continent, from the hot deserts to the Arctic.

Of course there are almost no hunter-gatherer societies left today, and so you might argue that our civilization is far superior to that model. And yet hunter-gatherer cultures dominated for 300,000 years, while all of civilization has only lasted a bit more than 10,000 years — a very small fraction of that time. And it’s unclear how much longer civilization will last.

Can we achieve the best of both models?

Honest reasons why women don’t want to go back to in-person work — McSweeney’s

Just throwing this out there, because there are a ton of valid feelings and perspectives in the room, but wanted to point out quickly that we have to prevaricate in meetings so we’re not seen as aggressive, but can’t prevaricate too much or we’ll be perceived as weak, and also we can’t spell out our thought process or it’ll be heard as rambling, but we can’t be too terse or we’ll come off as cold, and we need to make sure we’re using considerate language without being condescending, and, um…

As a man, I can relate on the sports and Marvel Cinematic Universe items. I don’t care about sports the least bit, and strain to make smalltalk about it. And while I enjoy Marvel movies and TV shows I don’t enjoy nitpicking about continuity. I started doing that with Star Trek when I was a preteen, continued through Babylon 5 in the 90s and Lost in the 2000s, and somewhere along the way I just got tired of it.

I quite like Meeter–a simple little app that runs in my Mac menu bar and shows a countdown of how much time until my next meeting. It also provides one-click connection to conferencing services. Surprisingly helpful, particularly in the final 30 minutes until a meeting starts.