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Derek Thompson

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Monetizing Social Media Users Is Getting Easier; Adding New Ones Is Getting Harder

February 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The old critique of social media companies like Facebook and Twitter (and Snapchat and WhatsApp) went like this: Adding users is easy, but where's the money? The new concern about social media companies is the opposite: Fine, you're making money, but where are the users? The big flip began with ...

The Case Against Performance Reviews

January 29, 2014 If you hate performance reviews—and the "if" in that clause is ceremonial; youdo hate them—don't blame your boss. Blame the Wei Dynasty. Historians aren't sure who officially invented the annual ritual of grading our colleagues' performances (technically, a post-hunt slap on the back from a Neanderthal would qualify), but one ...

What Jobs Will the Robots Take?

January 23, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It is an invisible force that goes by many names. Computerization. Automation. Artificial intelligence. Technology. Innovation. And, everyone's favorite,ROBOTS. Whatever name you prefer, some form of it has been stoking progress and killing jobs—from seamstresses to paralegals—for centuries. But this time is different: Nearly half of American jobs today could ...

The On-the-Job Benefits of Being Beautiful

January 13, 2014 "Love of beauty is taste," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, a co-founder of this magazine. His perspective would fit snugly in a modern corporate boardroom. A raft of new research suggests not only that good-looking CEOs are paid more handsomely, but also that they're actually better for their companies in surprising ...

Analysis: The Government Is Horrible at Predictions (So Is Everybody Else)

December 23, 2013 "Obamacare's rollout will be great." "Anthony Weiner will win." "Life will be found on Mars." These were among the worst predictions of 2013, Blake Hounshell decreed in Politico Magazine. Predictions are hard, especially about the future, goes the saying. But predictions are also easy and, more importantly, they are free—both ...

The 9 Ways That Twitter Could Fail, According to Twitter

October 4, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Twitter has filed for an IPO. This document, called an S-1, is like a cover letter for a young firm trying to impress big institutional investors to buy the stock on Day One (and hold onto it). But in addition to the chest-pumping, every company is obligated to enumerate the ...

A Record-High Number of Young People Are Still Living With Their Parents: Why?

September 3, 2013 Another month, another record number of young people living at home long after their teenage years are over. This time, it's the Wall Street Journal reporting that, despite the improved economy pulling unemployment down for the last three years, the share of young adults living with their parents is still ...

What Makes Employees Work Harder: Punishment or Pampering?

August 28, 2013 You're a boss. You have a bunch of employees you consider under-motivated, unproductive, and, well, sorta lazy. You wonder: How do I make them talk less? Focus more? Try harder? Think more creatively? Just be better? You turn to social science and economic research and find that much of the ...

Men Think They’re Better Off Working Alone, Even When It’s Not The Case

August 22, 2013 One of the puzzles of the persistent gender wage gap is why women are highly overrepresented in certain fields, like the nonprofit sector, and hugely underrepresented in other fields, like financial institutions and executive positions in major companies. One reasonable question to ask about the gap is: How much should ...

The Economic Cost of Hangovers

July 5, 2013 The Fourth of July is beer's annual breakout party, with weekly sales often surpassing $1 billion around Independence Day. So when the Fifth of July falls on a weekday like this year, employers are advised to, well, manage their expectations. Excessive drinking costs the economy more than $220 billion -- ...