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A New Survey Reveals That Most Men in Tech Don’t Think Sexism Is a Big Deal

By Karen Hao // Quartz // October 15, 2017

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Ladies, eye roll with me.

Pew Research Center has confirmed what we know: The majority of men in tech don’t think sexism is a big deal.

Nor do they perceive a higher prevalence of sexism in tech compared to other industries. Of course, they may be right about that.

The research isn’t groundbreaking. The results neatly follow the patterns seen in the perceptions of gender discrimination in society as a whole. In a 2015 survey, Pew found that, consistently, fewer men than women believed sexism was a barrier for women to achieve top leadership positions in business and politics, across generations and party lines. In a 2014 survey, Pew also found that 65% of women said there is at least some discrimination against women in society, while only 48% of men shared that view.

The results don’t change the reality that the perception imbalance lies at the crux of the sexism problem. Men, apparently, still aren’t listening to women, but they overwhelmingly dominate leadership positions and consequently can influence efforts to stamp out or perpetuate gender discrimination.

Tim Cook Says It’s Better to Learn to Code Than Learn English as a Second Language

By Amy X. Wang // Quartz // October 12, 2017

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif. // Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP File Photo

Coding, says Apple CEO Tim Cook, is the best foreign language that a student in any country can learn.

The tech leader—who is touring France this week, including meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron—gave some brief thoughts on education in a video interview with French outlet Konbini. Said Cook:

If I were a French student and I were 10 years old, I think it would be more important to learn coding than English. I’m not telling people not to learn English—but this is a language that you can [use to] express yourself to 7 billion people in the world. I think coding should be required in every public school in the world.

He added that programming encourages students of all disciplines to be inventive and experimental: “It’s not just for the computer scientists. Creativity is in the front seat; technology is in the backseat.”

Apple has some skin in the game here. Cook went on to promote the company’s own programming language—Swift—that it would like developers to use for building apps within its own product ecosystem. But there’s value yet in Cook’s championing of learning to code. A computer-science education...

For a Long, Successful Career, LinkedIn Says Nothing Beats a Liberal Arts Major

By Dan Kopf // Quartz // October 4, 2017

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Did you major in underwater basket weaving? That old joke about some college majors being far too niche to ever prove useful is not quite as ridiculous as it once seemed.

As jobs in the world’s workforce become increasingly specialized, higher education—which, from the start, has always reflected of the demands of the economy—is racing to keep up. One way it’s doing this is by offering increasingly specialized college majors, in addition to degrees in venerable subjects like history and art.

These newer programs are quickly gaining in popularity, according to a recently released report from the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn. Researchers from both entities examined just how much the degrees pursued by recent college graduates differ from those of previous generations. The data, which is based on the stated college degree of hundreds of millions of LinkedIn members across the world, is not perfectly representative of the world’s college-educated population because the US and young people are overrepresented, but it reflects general trends.

It shows a noticeable decline in the traditionally “popular” areas of study that older generations favored. Among the 10 degrees that have recorded the largest decline in interest over the...

Free In-Flight Wi-Fi Means We’re Quickly Losing an Unexpected Haven for Deep Productivity

By Tripti Lahiri // Quartz // October 1, 2017

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Flights, with their stagnant air, cramped seats, turbulence, annoying seat partners and crying children, may not seem like havens of deep productivity—and yet for many people they are.

Even if everyone isn’t at the level of PR guy Peter Shankman, who claimed last year to have written nearly 30,000 words on a single business-class flight, many passengers speak of flying time as a chance to catch up on work or intensive reading, safe in the knowledge they can’t reach anyone and no one expects to reach them.

Which is why the relentless expansion of wi-fi availability in flight is such a shame.

Airlines have been offering high-speed internet access for a fee for a while, of course. In the US, via Gogo, it’s about $19 for a 24-hour pass or $50 a month (daily access is cheaper on some domestic airlines). In January, JetBlue began offering free high-speed inflight wifi. Now Delta Air Lines, the world’s second largest carrier, says that starting Oct. 1, it will allow passengers complimentary use of wifi for iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The free wifi will allow texting but won’t allow image and video transfers. Eventually, though...

The Team-Building Rituals that Companies Love Can Actually Tear Workers Apart

By Nick Hobson // Quartz // September 19, 2017

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If you’ve ever lost a glove somewhere on the streets of New York City, there’s a chance it’s found an unusual second life at the New York headquarters of OXO—the global housewares manufacturer. Enter the company’s open loft-style dining hall, and you’ll see a large white wall featuring hundreds of gloves, neatly organized in rows. Pinned beneath each glove (or pair) is a tag that tells the story of when and where the glove was found, and who did the finding.

As part of a unique company ritual, OXO employees are encouraged to collect the misplaced and forgotten gloves of New Yorkers and add them to the wall. OXO says that focusing on the “meaning of gloves” serves as a symbolic reminder of the company’s most important value principle: The universal design of their products fitting comfortably in the hands of all their customers.

Research suggests that these sorts of quirky company traditions really can help affirm a company’s core values and promote a sense of collective workplace culture. But they can also come with a downside—which means that companies need to be very careful about how they implement their rituals...