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Data Scientist is the best job in America for the third year in a row

Even people who said they love their job might be actively looking for a new gig this year.  Most (68%) of employed job seekers believe that there are better jobs out there. And they’ve probably right.

And each year, Glassdoor looks at a broad list of openings to highlight the 50 best jobs in America by weighing earning potential, job satisfaction ratings, and the number of job openings. The top jobs across all three categories are:

  1. Data Scientist
  2. DevOps Engineer
  3. Marketing Manager
  4. Occupational Therapist
  5. HR Manager
  6. Electrical Engineer
  7. Strategy Manager
  8. Mobile Developer
  9. Product Manager
  10. Manufacturing Engineer

You can see the full list here.

According to Glassdoor’s chief economist Andrew Chamberlain, data scientist continues to earn the top spot due to the high demand (4,524 open jobs), the high salary ($110,000 median base salary), and high job satisfaction (4.2 out of 5). “Not only are tech companies scrambling to hire data scientists but industries across the board, from healthcare to nonprofits to retail, are also searching for this talent,” Chamberlain said in a statement.

An encouraging trend even in a tight labor market with low unemployment is that many of the other roles can be found in almost every industry. “Jobs directly involved in business decision-making, such as business analysts, strategy managers, and business development managers, are highly sought after.” Overall he added, soft skills such as creativity, judgment, and flexibility “are aspects of work that are extremely difficult to automate.”LD

These 2 survey questions could determine publishers’ Facebook fates

These 2 survey questions could determine publishers’ Facebook fates
[Photo: Flickr user Maurizio Pesce]

When Facebook announced last week that it was going to lean on its users to determine the trustworthiness of websites, it was saying, essentially, algorithms aren’t good enough at this yet, and we need you to help us keep fake news off our site. To some, it also looked like Facebook was putting the question of publisher trustworthiness back into the hands of a system that had spread fake news so widely to begin with—a system ripe for manipulation or partisanship.

In his post about the change—which came a few days after Facebook unveiled significant changes to its news feed intended to prioritize posts from friends and family over publishers and brands—CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that users would be asked if they’re familiar with specific news sources, and if so, if they consider them trustworthy. Yet, somehow, it seemed certain there would be a bit more to it than that.

Nope. As BuzzFeed reports, the survey is literally just these two questions:

  • “Do you recognize the following websites?” (Yes/No)
  • “How much do you trust each of these domains?” (Entirely/A lot/Somewhat/Barely/Not at all).

A Facebook spokesperson tells Fast Company that the survey isn’t a voting system that every user will be able to participate in. Rather, the company is randomly selecting users–with a goal of representing the entire Facebook population–and asking them the questions.

The idea there is that even if some who take the survey are ideologically biased, publishers won’t see their ranking diminished because no single group of users can achieve that. The company says that publisher rankings are only impacted if many different groups agree on the trustworthiness (or lack thereof) of a publication.

Either way, given that we’re living in a world where Facebook has so much power over and visibility into what people read, you might think there would be more data to plug into the system that determines whether or not sites can be trusted. But maybe, after the platform’s various efforts to stem fake news, these two questions will somehow be enough. Only time will tell. And with a new round of elections approaching around the world, time is short.

Concerns by the media industry about Facebook’s influence on its business also remain urgent. In a letter today, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch suggested another change to Facebook’s news feed: The company should start paying “trusted” publishers for the privilege of carrying their content, rather than the other way around. “The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services,” Murdoch wrote.

Can a makeover help this 120-year-old suitcase brand get its groove back?

Can a makeover help this 120-year-old suitcase brand get its groove back?
[Photo: courtesy of Rimowa]

As far as suitcase-makers go, Rimowa is one of the world’s oldest, creating the iconic aluminum luggage with grooves on it. The LVMH-owned brand is about to turn 120 years old, and in conjunction with its anniversary, it’s launching a brand-new visual identity. Led by Rimowa CEO Alexandre Arnault (son of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault), the brand commissioned a Munich-based design studio called Bureau Borsche and London-based branding consultancy Commission Studio to create the new look.

The new look is pared down: A canvas of black, white, and gray with the word “Rimowa” capitalized in a sans serif typeface. Variations of the original grooved motif will appear on the owner’s manual, hang tags, and paper stocks, becoming an entire visual language. This new look is currently being rolled out and will soon be available in all the suitcase packaging as well as in retail stores.ES

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Analyst: Apple will release a lower-priced large-screen iPhone next year

Analyst: Apple will release a lower-priced large-screen iPhone next year
[Photo: James McKinven /Unsplash]

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a note today saying Apple will release an iPhone with a 6.1-inch display and price tag between $700-$800.

In order to get the price point down, Kuo writes, Apple will build the phone with an LED screen, not OLED. This would mean Apple is offering the brighter OLED screens only in its $1,000+ phones. The new phone will also have an aluminum body (not stainless steel), a single-lens camera (not dual, and presumably no Portrait Mode), and no 3D Touch (which seems odd because this is not new/expensive technology). Kuo says the device will have the new Face ID facial recognition system, which is expensive technology.

What the phone will be called is anybody’s guess–“iPhone LED” is probably not in the cards. Kuo says it’ll be announced next fall, likely along with a new version of the iPhone X and a larger “X” version that’s being called the iPhone X Plus. Ming-Chi Kuo is usually correct on iPhone-related predictions; it’s thought he has sources within Chinese parts suppliers.MS

Meet the NikeID of baby strollers

Meet the NikeID of baby strollers
[Photo: courtesy of Joolz]

High-end stroller brand Joolz just created a new system that allows you to customize your baby’s buggy. The Dutch brand launched Joolz Tailor, a pram that can be customized to create more than 360 combinations by picking particular combinations of colors and materials. You can also adapt it so that it can fit two babies, should you have twins or babies close in age. The customized versions don’t take any longer to ship to the customer than the regular version, so you can rest assured the stroller will arrive before baby does.

And given the high price tag of $1,299, it comes fully loaded with a matching diaper bag, because how dare you carry your child’s diapers in a bag that doesn’t color coordinate with your stroller? Given the luxurious nature of these baby carriages, it’s no surprise that the brand has been a hit with the celebrity set–with people like Serena Williams, Katherine Heigl, and Lauren Conrad spotted pushing their little ones around in these buggies.ES

$30M Google moon landing competition forced to abort mission

$30M Google moon landing competition forced to abort mission
[Photo: NASA /Unsplash]

Last September, my colleague Steven Melendez wrote about the Google sponsored $30 million competition to fly a robot to the moon. The Lunar XPrize zeroed in on five startups to be finalists. It seems none panned out–XPrize announced today that “no team will make a launch attempt to reach the Moon by the March 21st, 2018 deadline.” As a result of missing the deadline, the $30 million prize will not be awarded. 

According to XPrize, the group wasn’t able to come up with a winner because of fundraising difficulties, as well as “technical and regulatory challenges.” It adds that the competition may continue in some form down the line if it can find a new sponsor or if the competition is retooled to not involve an insane amount of money.

Meanwhile, U.S.-New Zealand startup Rocket Lab reached new heights with its successful launch last weekend, while investment in commercial space is at record levels, as Neal Ungerleider notes in his space startup how-to.

You can read the full announcement here.CGW

This fall, Florida could restore voting rights to 1.6 million formerly incarcerated people

This fall, Florida could restore voting rights to 1.6 million formerly incarcerated people
[Photo: Raúl Nájera /Unsplash]

On Tuesday, the petition for a ballot initiative that seeks to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated people–citizens convicted of nonviolent crimes–finally received enough signatures to appear on the ballot. That means that this November, Florida voters will have the chance to approve the Voting Restoration Amendment, which could impact 1.6 million Floridians if passed with 60% of the vote.

This is a big deal in Florida, which along with Kentucky, Virginia, and Iowa, is known for its unyielding laws around felon disenfranchisement. In all four states, felons are denied the right to vote for life, unless they seek clemency–a slow process subject to the whims of the presiding governor.

Florida is a swing state, and black communities are disproportionately affected by the state’s disenfranchisement laws (which was, of course, their original intent). If approved, the Voting Restoration Amendment would likely grant voting rights to a slew of would-be Democrats, which could significantly affect how the state votes going forward.PM

For SoFi, Twitter exec Anthony Noto checks all the right CEO boxes

For SoFi, Twitter exec Anthony Noto checks all the right CEO boxes
[Photo: Flickr User TechCrunch]

Online lender Social Finance has been on the hunt for a new CEO since September, when cofounder Mike Cagney abruptly resigned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. Today, SoFi confirmed that its new leader will be Twitter COO Anthony Noto, who starts March 1.

Noto, a former Army Ranger and Goldman Sachs banker, joined Twitter in 2014 after helping take the company public. His resume checks two boxes that were likely top priorities for SoFi’s board: experience managing IPOs and experience dealing with capital markets. In addition, Noto’s Army tenure suggests discipline, a quality that the company lacked under Cagney’s leadership.

Interim CEO Tom Hutton, a member of the board, has maintained SoFi’s lending momentum. In 2016, the company issued $4.2 billion in loans. Last year, it issued $6.9 billion, even while embroiled in scandal. But the company has struggled to deliver on many of Cagney’s more sweeping promises, including his plans for international expansion. In October, it withdrew its bank license application.

As fate would have it, SoFi is finally ready to deliver on one of Cagney’s ideas: a checking account and debit card, dubbed SoFi Money. SoFi’s existing members, now 444,000 strong, will have first dibs on the launch.AH

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Why did Minnie Mouse have to wait 40 years for a star on the Walk of Fame?

Why did Minnie Mouse have to wait 40 years for a star on the Walk of Fame?
[Photo: MrNovel/iStock]

The Time’s Up movement that is sweeping Hollywood has come to the wonderful world of Disney. On Monday, Katy Perry dressed in Minnie Mouse’s iconic spots and presented the most famous female mouse in the world with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It’s about time.

Mickey Mouse got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978–to mark the 50th anniversary of the mouse power couple’s debut in the 1928 film Steamboat Willie. In yet another example of the egregious power imbalance that runs through the movie industry, it took Minnie 40 extra years to get a little recognition of her own.

The star of more than 70 movies, Minnie did what Mickey did while wearing high heels (and if she’s like most working women in the world, getting 2/3 of his pay). Minnie has been a mainstay of Disney’s animated universe, a fixture in the company’s theme parks, an inspiration to fashion designers, and an icon for little girls around the world.

“Minnie has entertained millions of people around the world, touching hearts and bringing joy wherever she goes,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to see her cultural influence and many achievements recognized with her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”

Yet, in another sign of how women’s contributions to Hollywood are overlooked, the company did not even nominate her for a star on the Walk of Fame until recently. According to a spokesperson for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who oversees the Walk of Fame, Minnie was only nominated a few years ago. Only recently was Minnie’s star given final approval for the honor.

We have reached out to Disney for comment.ML

Big Tech lobbying spree: Here’s how much Apple, Amazon, and others gave D.C. in 2017

Big Tech lobbying spree: Here’s how much Apple, Amazon, and others gave D.C. in 2017
[Photo: LewisTsePuiLung/iStock]

The House and Senate lobbying numbers dropped early this morning, and the 2017 totals show an industry ramping up its influencing powers. Together, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple spent more than $50 million. Here are the top lines:

  • Google spent $18 million to influence a range of issues, including autonomous driving legislation and the lobby against new online advertising regulations. The company spent just over $15 million in 2016.
  • Amazon spent $12.8 million–almost four times its 2013 total–to lobby Congress and federal agencies on an array of issues, including delivery drones and online sales tax. (The Supreme Court plans to hear a pivotal case on state online sales tax later this year.)
  • Facebook spent about $11.5 million–a 20% increase over 2016–to influence lawmakers on issues relating to Russian’s use of its platform to meddle in the 2016 election, and to fight the impression that it’s a publisher rather than a neutral internet platform.
  • Apple spent $7 million to educate lawmakers on the importance of strong encryption, and on tax reform and immigration.

The tech industry has traditionally sought a hands-off policy from federal regulators, but that approach has become increasingly impractical as the internet underpins a growing share of the economy. Still, the tech industry spends far less on lobbying than other industries like pharmaceuticals, insurance, and energy.MS

Vaping isn’t just uncool, new study says it’s also addictive

Vaping isn’t just uncool, new study says it’s also addictive
[Photo: wild vibez /Unsplash]

A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says that vaping e-cigarettes that contain nicotine can be addictive. The report also noted evidence that vaping can be a gateway to smoking actual cigarettes, and that teenagers who use vape pens and other such devices may be at higher risk to take up traditional smoking. (Good thing teenagers no longer think vaping is cool, huh?)

That said, the panel did find that vaping is safer than cigarettes as vapers (people who vape?) aren’t exposed to things like tar and other noxious chemicals and carcinogens in cigarettes.

The panel couldn’t quite bring themselves to say e-cigarettes are safe, though. Per The New York Times, the panel noted that vape pens and e-cigs are too new for there to be long-term scientific studies about their addictive potential or effect on important body parts like the lungs and heart.

It’s a win-win for tobacco companies like Philip Morris, who are building new business models based on replacing traditional cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes and other heated tobacco products. Knowing that e-cigs are addictive, too, means Philip Morris will probably be around for a long, long time, even if they give up cigarettes.ML

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A watchdog group says Gillette’s “Boston made” ad campaign is deceptive

A watchdog group says Gillette’s “Boston made” ad campaign is deceptive
[Photo: courtesy of Gillette]

Truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) has big problems with a recent Gillette national ad campaign. The company, in both commercials and on social media posts, highlighted its Boston headquarters, alluding to the fact that its products are made there. The problem is, Gillette’s products are not predominately made in the United States, according to TINA.org, and that means the company may be deceptively advertising. The activist group says it contacted Gillette about the campaign, and the company reportedly took down many of its social media posts. It did not, however, pull its TV commercials.

Because of this, TINA.org has filed a complaint with the FTC. It turns out the federal agency has very strict standards for when companies can and cannot claim their products are made in this country. Specifically, the statement has to be true; The FTC requires that “a product advertised as Made in USA be ‘all or virtually all’ made in the U.S.” TINA.org notes that Gillette makes it products in numerous other countries, including China, Mexico, Poland, Canada, and Brazil.

Unless Gillette acts quickly, the FTC will now have to decide whether the commercials imply that Gillette is making a “Made in the U.S.” claim. Though the commercials still up don’t say it, the videos focuses on its employees in its Boston headquarters, which TINA.org believes can be read as making an “America made” assertion. The watchdog group says Gillette pledged to change the copy of the commercials, but this has yet to happen.

Fast Company reached out to Gillette to comment. I’ll update this post if I hear back. You can read TINA.org’s post about the complaint here.

Update: A Gillette spokesperson provided Fast Company with this comment:

Gillette has been a Boston based company for over 115 years – not just producing billions of some of our best blades every year, but also giving back and engaging with the local community. We are proud of this very unique history, and that is the central message that is reflected in our campaign which highlights our longstanding heritage and the well over 1,000 employees at our World Shaving Headquarters here in the heart of Boston; there is nothing wrong with our campaign.

CGW

Jordan Peele has already won Oscars Twitter

Jordan Peele has already won Oscars Twitter
[Photo: courtesy of Justin Lubin / Universal Pictures]

Much to the delight of fans (including this fan!) who thought Get Out was the freshest, most innovative, and most timely movie of the year, Jordan Peele’s horror-comedy-social-commetary mashup was nominated for four Academy Awards this morning, including Best Picture—and a Best Director nom for Peele himself. Now, we’re not saying Peele will definitely sweep the ceremony or anything, but if Oscar-related tweets are any gauge, Peele is definitely an early favorite.

Check out Peele’s tweet stream below. And if you don’t get that first reference, go see Get Out right now.

CZ

Rwanda aims to be the most drone-friendly country in the world

Rwanda aims to be the most drone-friendly country in the world
[Photo: Flickr user Francisco Anzola]

Traditionally, countries in Africa have been slow to benefit from technological advances. But the small East African nation of Rwanda may be ahead of everyone when it comes to drone technology. After launching the first large-scale drone delivery program (for transporting emergency medical supplies) in 2016, Rwanda today announced a new regulatory policy to streamline commercial drone innovation and approvals. Called “performance-based regulations” the policies specify the level of safety a drone operator has to reach but leave it up to the operator how to achieve it. With drone technology changing so quickly, the Rwandan Aviation Authority didn’t want to hold back innovation by requiring specific designs or technologies as requirements for regulatory approval.

Rwanda broke the news today in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum meeting. The country developed its new policy in collaboration with the WEF’s new Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. “They came to us and said we want to be the world’s leader on this technology. Help us create the most enabling, well-designed policy,” says Zvika Krieger, who heads technology policy and partnerships at the center. The Rwandan drone policy is the first of what the WEF aims to be a steady stream of pilot projects for template policies that can be adapted over and over for other governments or business sectors. You can learn a lot more about the center in my deep-dive profile.SC

Facebook’s algorithm changes could be great news for Adobe and Salesforce

As digital media publishers freak out about upcoming Facebook news feed changes—which will de-emphasize video and other content promoted by brands and publishers—other companies may have reason to embrace the changes with open arms.

A new report from Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser looks at Adobe’s outlook. It mentions that Facebook’s announced algorithm tweaks “have reinforced the notion that web publishers (and brands) must increasingly control or otherwise improve their direct relationships with consumers.” Thus, companies like Adobe and Salesforce that provide marketing technology services will benefit from this change. “This means increased investment in web experience, mobile app development, email marketing platforms and data management strategies,” writes Wieser.

Indeed, we’re already beginning to see this happen. Social-friendly news publisher NowThis recently re-launched its website after relying solely on social platforms to share its content. Since it can no longer depend on Facebook, the move makes sense—and we’ll probably be seeing more moves like this in the coming months.CGW

Instagram ruled the Women’s Marches on social—and the dudes pitched in, too

Instagram ruled the Women’s Marches on social—and the dudes pitched in, too
[Photo: Roya Ann Miller /Unsplash]

The Women’s Marches that took place in cities across the world on Saturday dominated almost every social media platform, but one platform in particular stood out: Instagram. The photo-heavy social media site accounted for 47% of the hashtag mentions related to the marches—far higher than any other platform, according to new data from analytics firm Digimind. Facebook was next in line with 28% of the mentions, followed by Twitter with 18%.

Digimind analyzed the most popular Women’s March hashtags between January 16 and January 22, a dataset comprising 72,000 posts. #WomensMarch was the top hashtag, followed by #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #PowertothePolls, according to the data. Instagram’s prowess is understandable given its emphasis on visual posts and the fact that sharing pictures of signs from the marches is becoming a ritual in its own right.

The gender breakdown of the mentions was about even, with women sharing 51% of the posts and men 49%. But men edged out in the top hashtag—#WomensMarch—with 51% of posts mentioning that hashtag shared by men. Meanwhile, the vast majority of posts with that hashtag were in favor of the march, with 72% showing a positive sentiment, 9% showing a negative sentiment, and 19% remaining neutral.CZ

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Good news, coal enthusiasts: Donald Trump just made imported solar panels more expensive

Good news, coal enthusiasts: Donald Trump just made imported solar panels more expensive
[Photo: Flickr user Zak Zak]

Donald Trump may have found a unique way to bring back the beleaguered coal industry. His administration just announced it will impose a 30% tariff on most imported solar modules. While the tariff rate declines over the next few years—and phases out after four—the tariff will make it way more expensive to tap into renewable energy in the U.S. and could cost jobs in America’s $29 billion solar industry.

Solar panel prices have fallen by more than 70% since 2010, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, making the eco-friendly power option affordable for many homeowners and solar power competitive with coal and natural gas. The tariff is meant to boost the competitiveness of U.S.-made solar panels, however, as Reuters reports, manufacturing accounts for just 14% of jobs in the solar sector. Most U.S. jobs in solar are in installation, and those jobs could disappear as many homeowners may simply choose not to install solar panels at all due to the price increase.

According to CBS, a small section of the U.S. solar industry is excited about the protectionist measure. However, a larger number of solar companies say their costs will rise and jobs in installation and associated parts manufacturing will be lost. Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, predicted the tariffs will lead to the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year.ML

Companies not investing in AI will miss out on revenue boost and new jobs

Companies not investing in AI will miss out on revenue boost and new jobs
[Photo: Pietro Jeng / Unsplash]

Businesses investing in AI now could boost employment by 10% and revenues by 38% over the next five years, according to a new report from Accenture released at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The report, titled Reworking the Revolution, is the result of economic modeling and extensive research of more than 1,200 business leaders and 14,000 workers. The main finding is that if an S&P 500 company puts money and resources behind AI and upskilling its workers at the same level as the top performing fifth of companies, they could boost revenues by an average of $7.5 billion and create 5,000 jobs by 2022.

Yet while 67% of workers surveyed said it will be important to learn new skills and 45% believe it will help them do their jobs better, only 3% of executives are planning to invest in training, and only 29% of companies have redesigned job roles to reflect human-machine collaboration.

[Chart: courtesy of Accenture]
This disconnect may give freelance and contract workers an edge. The recent Upwork/Freelancers Union survey found 65% of independent workers claimed to be staying on top of career prep as jobs and skills evolve and machine learning gets more sophisticated; more than half said they’ve set aside time to brush up just within the past six months.LD

Diversifying leadership teams can increase both innovation and revenue

Diversifying leadership teams can increase both innovation and revenue
[Photo: istock]

If we needed another business case for diversity, here it is.

In a BCG survey of employees at more than 1,700 companies in eight countries, those who said there was above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue was as much as 45% of total revenue versus just 26% at companies without diverse leadership. That’s nearly half of a company’s income generated by products and services launched in the past three years.

This translated to better financial performance overall.  EBIT margins at companies with diverse leadership were nine percentage points higher than those of companies with below-average diversity on their management teams.

The report found that even small changes to diversify the management can have an impact on the bottom line. For instance, hiring women to equal just 2.5% of the leadership team would result in a full percentage point increase in innovation revenue.LD

Apple’s HomePod speaker gets a February 9 release date

Apple’s HomePod speaker gets a February 9 release date
[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

Apple will join the smart speaker fray on February 9 with HomePod, a $349 answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The company will start taking pre-orders on January 29 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and the speaker will arrive in France and Germany this spring.

Similar to other smart speakers, the HomePod will use voice controls–in this case via Siri–to play music, control smart home devices, send messages, and provide information. Although HomePod is much pricier than speakers from Amazon and Google–both of which start at $50 and often sell at a discount–Apple is hoping to stand out on the strength of its sound quality, and on Siri’s deep ties to Apple Music. (To that end, the HomePod won’t let users access third-party music services such as Spotify and Pandora with voice commands.)

HomePod was supposed to launch in December, but Apple decided to delay the product, and is apparently still working on some key features. A software update later this year will add multi-room audio and support for synchronized stereo playback between two HomePod speakers. Apple also hasn’t confirmed rumors of support for multiple user accounts, which Amazon and Google both added to their speakers last year.JN

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