Djibouti Disputi

April 15, 2019

Corporate execs are freelancing, and companies know when your baby’s dancing, but first…
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Djibouti disputi: A London court orders Djibouti to pay port operator DP World $533m

A court in London awarded the Dubai global ports operator, DP World, $385m for the government of Djibouti’s plan to block it from doing business at the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) in the horn of Africa.

This isn’t your drunk uncle’s seaport… the Port of Doraleh is an important gateway to the Gulf of Aden, and a key route for global shipping operations (It’s the most profitable extension of the Port of Djibouti)– and DP World built it.

For reneging on the deal, Djibouti will also pay an additional $148m in unpaid royalties and legal costs, bringing the total fine to $533m.

Lost on legal island

The Court of International Arbitration ruled that Djibouti breached the rights of DP World to manage the DCT when, last year, it ended a 30-year agreement after just 12 years.

The 2006 deal gave DP World the clearance to exclusively design, build, and manage the DCT (which officially became operable in 2009).

But following various disputes over the agreement, Djibouti launched an arbitration case in 2012, accusing DP World of offering bribes to secure the deal. The port operator denied the allegations.

Then, the tipping point

Last year, a month after Djibouti canceled its contract with DP World, the government of Djibouti took ownership of all shares held by Port de Djibouti, accusing DP World of employing the terminal for its own interest and causing harm to the country’s growth.

The fight comes as Djibouti (and its Chinese backers) aims to become the largest trading port in Africa.

Total port domination
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Free agent execs are reorganizing the employment landscape

As workers increasingly tout freelancing as a key to a successful work-life balance, many corporate lifers are ditching the grind of an 80-hour workweek, and clearing their schedules for more meaningful assignments through project-based contract work, AKA “gig” work.

Harvard Business Review calls them supertemps, and they make freelancing look like the new American dream. But is it?

These goals ain’t loyal

Most supertemps are corporate dropouts lookin’ for flexibility through temporary work — sans the headaches of corporate infighting, and meetings to talk about future meetings.

Studies show that employees have become less loyal and trustworthy to companies as employers have shown less loyalty and trustworthiness to their workers. 

As more and more companies view talent as expendable, the corporate social contract guaranteeing job security (plus bennys) is a thing of the past — inspiring more to take their financial future into their own hands. 

Easy for a freelance executive to say…

These Free-EOs don’t exactly cost pennies. As a matter of fact the pay is usually comparable to that of a salaried position, if not more (the number of freelancers who make more than $100k a year grew to around 3.3m in 2018 — up 70% from 2011). 

The reality is, it’s easy to “freelance” when you have a nest egg. But, for entry to mid-level work, the freelance life is shrouded in financial uncertainty, making it harder for up-and-comers to plan for the future.

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle

THIS JUST IN: Contract gigs are great if you’re a career executive — but try telling that to the freelancer currently sitting in the fetal position in the back seat of their car as they wait for the Uber app to ping.
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» Taking the free out of freelance

Pregnancy data: the hot new product that’s flying off the shelves

Welcome to the new work-life balance, where your boss can see into your uterus. Health-monitoring app Ovia is one of several that sells crazy-personal employee details to employers, The Washington Post reports

What could possibly go wrong?

Like many women’s health/pregnancy apps, Ovia prompts users for updates (from pre-conception through birth) on things like mood, bodily functions, sex drive/timing, and nitty-gritty labor deets. 

But this self-proclaimed reproductive journey “companion” has a dark side: Companies can purchase a “de-identified” version to include in employee benefits packages. In return, they — and the insurance company — receive anonymous user data. 

And while your boss can’t access things like cervical fluid descriptions (an actual data point), they do see aggregated health risks, top question searches, plus articles read, finances, and return-to-work plans.

Behold: the ‘new frontier of vaginal digitalization’

Ovia, which profits from in-app targeted ads, pitches this as a win-win: Employees improve conception chances and potentially uncover latent risks, which in turn reduces company health-care costs.

Health and privacy experts are concerned that companies could scale back benefits based on projected costs, or discriminate against women even considering pregnancy.

Ovia’s 10m-strong user base is a testament to the fact that the femtech market — and the tracking and commercialization of virtually every aspect of our lives — is here to stay.

» Reclaiming the term “baby monitor.”

Another one bites the dust: Google’s chief diversity officer departs with gusto

Danielle Brown is leaving Google after serving not-quite 2 years as VP of employee engagement and CDO. 

Brown will be joining Gusto as chief people officer. Her announcement, in which she describes Gusto as “a company that is all about people,” does not mention Google. 

Do we smell intrigue?

Possibly. Google’s diversity department has been somewhat of a revolving door recently. The last out was Nancy Lee, who attempted to address Google’s weak diversity numbers for several years before leaving in 2016.

When she left, she claimed she was retiring, but soon after joined Lime. “Awkward move, Nancy. We literally know everything.” – Google, probably. 

The tech giant, which has long faced criticism for its lack of diversity, was thrown into the spotlight shortly after Brown’s arrival when a since-fired Google engineer posted an anti-diversity manifesto.

A quick stroll down diversity-and-inclusion-mishap lane

The memo became somewhat of a tipping point for the inclusion sh*tstorm that’s been raging ever since, with complaints and discrimination lawsuits flying on all sides over gender pay gap claims and workplace rights.

There was also a boycott over military contracts and a 20k-employee walkout over the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims against high-level googly-eyed execs. 

News of Brown’s departure comes shortly after the release of Google’s 2018 diversity reports, which garnered a collective “meh.” The CDO role will be filled by Melonie Parker, who has served as head of diversity for 9 months.

» Godspeed, Melonie
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With its Gantt-y goodness, helps workers find their “flow state”

In Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s seminal work Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, he explores the concept of “flow” in work. 

He describes the “flow state” as a state of consciousness in which people are fully immersed in the work at hand. Not surprisingly, workers who experienced regular intervals of flow reported feeling more fulfilled, engaged, and, ultimately, much happier.

So what does this have to do with a project management platform like keeps you on track so you’re free to flow

We’ll put it this way: If you spend more time worrying about managing deadlines than actually immersing yourself in the work you love… you need

With, your projects are visualized, so you can quickly see who’s working on what, who needs help, and whether or not you’re falling behind. 

It relieves your team of the tedious task of organizing, so you can focus on the work in front of you. And when you’re free to flow, it’s like Mihaly says — happiness follows. 

Give a whirl for 14 days absolutely free.  

Get flowing → monday morning review

Jon Snow rode a dragon, so you tell me how my Sunday was…

Did you guys watch Thrones? Sick. Me too. Here are my 5 takeaways (none of which will spoil and/or ruin anything and #sorryifitdoes).

Initial takeaway: Too much walking.

Take away #2: Dinklage being Dinklage (classic).

Take away #3: Has GOT always been The West Wing meets Narnia and why am I just now realizing that?

Take away #4:  Yo, Bran, take it easy — you’re scaring everybody.

Take away #5: I can’t believe I’ve watched a TV show for 8 friggin’ years.

Moral: Ritual is essential, friends. And sometimes that means offering up 80 hours of your undivided attention to a TV show about dragons, red weddings, and ice zombies — no regrets.

Wes Schlag, Chief of media consumption

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