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People

Salesforce's futurist: If companies don't adapt to remote work, employees will leave

A new Salesforce study found that 60% of people expect remote work to be the norm, and most are embracing it.

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz, Salesforce's senior vice president of strategic planning, thinks remote work is here to stay.

Photo: Peter Schwartz

It's not a surprise, and it's no longer a new idea, but Salesforce executive and futurist Peter Schwartz thinks we need radical social change to embrace the shifting future of work. He shared his thoughts about how companies and society can prepare for the future following the release of a new survey from Salesforce, which shows that more than half of the global population believe remote work and flexible schedules are the new normal.

  • Salesforce surveyed more than 20,000 global respondents in a range of industries and income levels, and more than 60% said that remote work will become the new norm. Around 40% of Americans said they would switch jobs if it meant they could work remotely.
  • Schwartz, the senior vice president for strategic planning at Salesforce, said that means companies need to cater to a range of expectations to make workers happy and attract talent. "There's a lot of diversity in people's expectations," he said. "Companies are going to have to respond to that diversity."

Remote work obviously doesn't affect everyone equally. The shift to remote work has caused what's been called the "first female recession," a reversal of a decade's worth of progress in the fight for pay and workplace equity. Career advancement opportunities often change for women when they have kids, Schwartz said: They are generally expected to shoulder a larger burden of the child-rearing responsibilities, which can create a disproportionate drag on women's advancement in the workplace.

  • Schwartz's solution? Changing how couples agree to split home and childcare assignments, and even redesigning the home to include spaces like "the classroom room" and "the home television studio."
  • "We were agricultural and semi-agricultural, husband and family and wife all worked together," he said. "Life was centered around the home. That's in many ways where we are heading once again."

Aside from the huge interest in remote work, the survey illustrated the importance of technical skills and job training in addressing the global social and racial inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. Minority communities were hardest hit by the pandemic's economic consequences, and, according to the survey, about 74% of Americans and an even larger portion of the global workforce believe that access to job opportunities is not improving.

For Schwartz, the answer to some of that inequality lies in the fact that 67% of U.S. workers say they don't have in-demand hard skills. By designing job training programs to change that number, businesses — but not really governments, which don't have the resources, he said — can help address the inequalities laid bare by the last six months of crisis.

  • Lots of leaders in tech and business agree with him. Google has planned a massive investment in job skills training at HBCUs, and nearly half of IBM's job openings don't require a traditional four-year college degree.
  • Scott Galloway, notorious for railing against the high cost of private universities, has long urged a massive public investment in trade schools, although he might disagree with Schwartz's assertion that businesses and not public institutions should do the work.
  • "It needs to be pervasive and large-scale," Schwartz said, "but the particulars are not that expensive. The honest truth is it's a hell of a lot cheaper than building a university."

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Protocol | Fintech

Plaid’s COO is riding fintech’s choppy waves

He's a striking presence on the beach. If he navigates Plaid's data challenges, Eric Sager will loom large in the financial world as well.

Plaid COO Eric Sager is an avid surfer.

Photo: Plaid

Eric Sager is an avid surfer. It's a fitting passion for the No. 2 executive at Plaid, a startup that's riding fintech's rough waters — including a rogue wave on the horizon that could cause a wipeout.

As Plaid's chief operating officer, Sager has been helping the startup navigate that choppiness, from an abandoned merger with Visa to a harsh critique by the CEO of a top Wall Street bank.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Sponsored Content

The future of computing at the edge: an interview with Intel’s Tom Lantzsch

An interview with Tom Lantzsch, SVP and GM, Internet of Things Group at Intel

An interview with Tom Lantzsch

Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corporation

Edge computing had been on the rise in the last 18 months – and accelerated amid the need for new applications to solve challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., thinks there are more innovations to come – and wants technology leaders to think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.

In his role at Intel, Lantzsch leads the worldwide group of solutions architects across IoT market segments, including retail, banking, hospitality, education, industrial, transportation, smart cities and healthcare. And he's seen first-hand how artificial intelligence run at the edge can have a big impact on customers' success.

Protocol sat down with Lantzsch to talk about the challenges faced by companies seeking to move from the cloud to the edge; some of the surprising ways that Intel has found to help customers and the next big breakthrough in this space.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing with edge computing and IoT?

A few years ago, there was a notion that the edge was going to be a simplistic model, where we were going to have everything connected up into the cloud and all the compute was going to happen in the cloud. At Intel, we had a bit of a contrarian view. We thought much of the interesting compute was going to happen closer to where data was created. And we believed, at that time, that camera technology was going to be the driving force – that just the sheer amount of content that was created would be overwhelming to ship to the cloud – so we'd have to do compute at the edge. A few years later – that hypothesis is in action and we're seeing edge compute happen in a big way.

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Saul Hudson
Saul Hudson has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, especially in understanding and targeting messages in cutting-edge technologies. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, in helping companies to build passionate audiences and accelerate their growth. Hudson has reported from more than 30 countries, from war zones to boardrooms to presidential palaces. He has led multinational, multi-lingual teams and managed operations for hundreds of journalists. Hudson is a Managing Partner at Angle42, a strategic communications consultancy.
People

Citizen’s plan to keep people safe (and beat COVID-19) with an app

Citizen CEO Andrew Frame talks privacy, safety, coronavirus and the future of the neighborhood watch.

Citizen added COVID-19 tracking to its app over the summer — but its bigger plans got derailed.

Photo: Citizen

Citizen is an app built on the idea that transparency is a good thing. It's the place users — more than 7 million of them, in 28 cities with many more to come soon — can find out when there's a crime, a protest or an incident of any kind nearby. (Just yesterday, it alerted me, along with 17,900 residents of Washington, D.C., that it was about to get very windy. It did indeed get windy.) Users can stream or upload video of what's going on, locals can chat about the latest incidents and everyone's a little safer at the end of the day knowing what's happening in their city.

At least, that's how CEO Andrew Frame sees it. Critics of Citizen say the app is creating hordes of voyeurs, incentivizing people to run into dangerous situations just to grab a video, and encouraging racial profiling and other problematic behaviors all under the guise of whatever "safety" means. They say the app promotes paranoia, alerting users to things that they don't actually need to know about. (That the app was originally called "Vigilante" doesn't help its case.)

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Trello is getting out of to-do lists and into fixing the future of work

It's not just boards and cards, and it's not just a productivity tool anymore.

Trello cards can now be YouTube videos, Figma designs and much more.

Image: Trello

Trello doesn't want to be a productivity tool anymore. At least, not in the way it's been lumped in with so many other tools in the past. Instead of a digital version of the sticky notes on your whiteboard — the Kanban framework it borrowed from software development and helped popularize everywhere — Trello now wants to be the dashboard for your entire digital work life.

What that looks like in practice is Trello rethinking the idea of what a Trello card actually is. Going forward, a Google Doc can be a Trello card. A Figma design can be a Trello card. A YouTube video, a Dropbox file, an Amazon listing — they all can be Trello cards. All exist essentially as miniature apps inside Trello, where they can be moved around, organized and discussed. Michael Pryor, Trello's head of product, said it has 30 integrations already, and it's opening up an API to anyone who wants to build their apps into Trello cards.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

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