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This startup thinks there’s a better way to outsource tech work

Protocol Workplace

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  • The rise of remote work could give climate migrants and refugees economic stability.
  • The tech workplace needs more people who can communicate effectively.
  • Owners and CEOs are the most likely workers to fake a sick day.
— Meg Morrone, senior editor (email | twitter)

Remote work can help displaced people

Plenty of Western tech companies hire people from across the world. But often they’re taking advantage of cheap local wages or only offering gig work. Generally, they’re not focused on hiring people living in active war zones or countries barraged by floods.

Enter Sora Union, a new startup that’s hiring exactly those people. Built out of former Evernote CEO Phil Libin’s startup studio All Turtles, Sora Union specifically hires people displaced by climate change or conflict and pays them a global, standardized rate.

  • “If a large number of people can work from anywhere and do very valuable work, why not hire many of those people that are at danger or at risk of being displaced because of climate change, because of war?” Libin said.
  • CEO Nate Dalton and his co-founders weren’t planning on launching for a while, but when Russia invaded Ukraine, they decided to give Sora a spin. They began hiring Ukrainian workers and recently have expanded to other countries.
  • Sophia Wajnert, co-founder and chief people officer at Sora, declined to offer the specific salary, but said Sora pays all employees the same monthly rate, regardless of location or the client contracts that come in.
  • “If you move from Ukraine to Moldova to Poland to Ukraine, why should your compensation change?” Dalton said. “You're doing the same work. It has the same value.”

The type of work Sora Union offers isn’t novel. Neither is the recruiting strategy. The difference is their target hires are in places most companies tend to overlook for full-time, remote jobs.

  • Sora Union offers two services for companies: localization, translating materials for companies looking to enter that country’s market, and design, which speaks for itself.
  • Wajnert said she’s hired 20 people across 11 countries so far: Ukraine, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, China, Austria, Poland and Moldova.
  • Maryna Rakovska, a brand designer in Kyiv, was one of Sora Union’s early hires. “Work is the one thing that makes me forget about the war,” she wrote in an email to Protocol.

Sora Union wants to leverage the power of remote work to combat displacement, even in a small way. Climate change and political conflict are already displacing millions — Sora Union isn’t going to single-handedly solve the problem. But its leaders are hoping their model will spread.

  • Rafael Gomez, a labor economics professor at the University of Toronto, and Prithwiraj Choudhury, a professor at Harvard Business School, said the work-from-anywhere revolution is spreading across the world.
  • “The number of people who are potential candidates for this kind of work, because of their exposure to technologies that allow this kind of remote work, is growing,” Gomez said.

If Sora finds success competing with other design/localization agencies, perhaps others will recognize the wealth of talent across the globe. That’s Dalton’s main goal.

— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (email| twitter)

Never underestimate the power of the communicators in the workplace

When it comes to explaining complex subjects in cybersecurity, Katie Nickels is the go-to for many in the security community. Nickels is not only an expert in the tradecraft of cyberthreat intelligence, but she’s also proficient at “synthesizing complex and ambiguous topics in such a way that somebody can really pick it up and run with it,” said Robert Lee, co-founder and CEO of industrial cybersecurity vendor Dragos.

Having that combination of abilities — expert, communicator and educator — is a rarity in cybersecurity, and “I can’t think of any higher compliment to pay somebody” than that, Lee said.

Still, Nickels wouldn’t want anyone to think that she knows it all at this point or is “untouchable.”

“Over my career, I've just learned and listened to people and connected with people,” she told Protocol. “I continue to be driven by trying to share with others. But like everyone else in this community, I'm still learning.”

Ultimately, getting involved in the information security community, Nickels said, is “about connecting with people. And anyone can do that, regardless of where they are in their career, regardless of the number of Twitter followers they have.”

Read the full story.

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Who’s pulling a Ferris Bueller in your office?

According to a new study by Moneypenny Resources, 50% of Americans say they’ve faked a sick day to get time off from work. Here’s who’s malingering the most:

  • 64% of owners and CEOs said they’d faked sick (that’s the largest group!)
  • 60% of president- and vice president-level employees
  • 50% of middle management
  • 49% of senior management
  • 48% of entry-level and non-management-level staff

Read more about why people are likely to call in sick at work.

Customer experience in the Enterprise

The mandate is clear. Modern businesses need to provide a seamless, tech-enabled, end-to-end customer experience across their organizations: to always be ready, no matter the time or the platform, to promptly address customer needs and provide a human connection. This requires eliminating silos, increasing automation and analytics and ensuring that the front end and the back end are aligned to deliver a positive experience for your customers and your team. But how do you achieve this in today’s digital landscape?

Join us for this Protocol event where we will dive into the tech tools and tricks and real-life strategies that companies are using to build a CX tech ecosystem and prepare for an increasingly customer-first future.


Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Quiet quitting is your boss’s fault. (Harvard Business Review)

David Brooks finally realized that the open-office plan will eventually kill us all. (The New York Times)

Did someone in a meeting make fun of you for being alive when Reagan was president? Here’s everything you need to know about age discrimination at work. (Bloomberg)

Two dozen tech founders living in a mansion. What could go wrong? (Vox)

Cool tool: Use this viral post generator to automatically write a LinkedIn post that’s even cringier than the crying guy.

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