Brought to you by Felix Gray… a sight for sore eyes.
“It’s complicated:” Google and Facebook are revamping company dating policies
Office romance is inevitable. Co-workers often spend more time with each other than they do their own friends or family, and studies have shown that 41% of workers have dated a colleague.
But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, companies are scrambling to figure out how they can keep their employees safe -- and keep themselves clear of scandalous headlines.
According to the Wall Street Journal, both Facebook and Google are working on their own solutions, in the form of updated dating policies.
Policing the inevitable
Instead of outright prohibiting the act, or creating some hokey “love contract,” the tech giants have decided to put into writing some of the rules when it comes to asking out a co-worker.
The most straightforward of these rules: Employees only get ONE chance. If it’s a “no,” then that’s it, end of discussion. Move along, Casanova.
Not sure about reciprocation, or getting mixed vibes? According to Facebook’s global head of employment law, Heidi Swarts, “ambiguous” answers like “I’m busy” or “I can’t that night” also count as a “no.”
Facebook also explains their employees don’t have to report the date to HR if one is more senior than the other. BUT, if there’s a “clear conflict of interest” and the employees don’t report it, punishments will be doled out.
This seems pretty reasonable
As sexual scandals continue to be exposed across the business landscape, this precaution is building a set of standards to categorize the shades of grey that often come with any form of communication.
Some HR reps have played devil’s advocate, explaining that strict dating policies can often feel “too invasive” to potential employee prospects, and crimp recruitment efforts.
But the rules set in place by Facebook and Google seem to be based more in common sense than some big brother oligarchy -- and they’re probably a good baseline for anyone to follow.
Make it easy: stick to Tinder
A billionaire doctor just bought the LA Times for $500m. Who is he?
Yesterday, media conglomerate Tronc sold the Los Angeles Times (along with its “sibling paper,” The San Diego Union-Tribune) for $500m.
The buyer, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, is the latest in a procession of billionaires who’ve snatched up large media companies in recent years -- but you probably haven’t heard his name.
Soon-Shiong began his career as a transplant surgeon but later branched into biotechnology, where he made the bulk of his $7.8B fortune.
He founded multiple billion-dollar biotech firms focused on diabetes and cancer research -- some of which has been accused of “stretching the truth” on occasion.
For Soon-Shiong, the Times purchase is the culmination of a multi-year effort: he first invested in Tronc (the Times’ holding company) in 2016, after unsuccessfully trying to buy the paper multiple times.
For the Times, it’s the dawn of a new era
The Times, now 136 years old, had been owned by one family until being purchased by Tribune Publishing (later Tronc) in 2000.
Since then, the paper has struggled: it’s been through 3 editors in the past 6 months, its publisher has been accused of sexual harassment, and its newsroom staff has dipped from around 1.2k to 400.
Now, the 44-time Pulitzer-winning institution is banking on the same strategy as the Washington Post (Jeff Bezos), TheBoston Globe (John Henry), and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Glen Taylor): it’s hoping a billionaire will turn the ship around.
Google continues to beef up their plans to take over the travel industry
Last week, Google announced some new features to their Google Flights search engine to help travelers by predicting flight delays before they happen.
Then on Tuesday, Google announced a few more changes to their existing travel tools that further refine their niche and push them toward the top of the online travel planning food chain.
All about that “on-the-go” mobile user experience
Google Flights is now introducing a navigation bar at the top of Google’s interface on mobile phones that allows users to bounce between flights and hotels, even activities for the date and destination they’ve selected.
It also collects upcoming and past travel reservations from the user’s Gmail with new “Explore” and “My Trips” tabs.
These moves solidify the Google extension’s big-picture strategy to get away from the middleman philosophy of other metasearch sites like Kayak or TripAdvisor, which ship you to a third party once they’re done traumatizing you with a million pop-up windows.
All about that data
Over the past few years, Google has quietly fine-tuned its travel biz, applying its machine learning tech, plus a treasure trove of user data, to provide an alternative to notoriously faulty systems like flight delay notifications.
Because there’s nothing worse than getting to the airport early and eating all your plane snacks before takeoff.
Your watch knows you’ll get sick, but it doesn’t know why
San Francisco-based health-tracking company, Cardiogram, has released clinical studies showing its machine-learning model, DeepHeart, can use Apple Watch data to forecast potential health ailments.
Among the watch’s purported powers: the ability to predict abnormal heart rhythms with 97% accuracy, sleep apnea with 90% accuracy, diabetes with 85% accuracy, and hypertension with 82% accuracy.
Diagnosing with data (not medicine)
To put health information generated by wearable devices like Apple Watch or Fitbit into operation, engineers at Cardiogram (mostly ex-Googlers) turned not to medicine, but to big data.
By adapting speech-recognition software to synthesize health data instead of words, Cardiogram stumbled upon a way to accurately predict a disease without knowing anything about its cause.
So, DeepHeart will tell you that you have diabetes -- but not how it knows.
Health insurance and big tech stole each other’s hearts
The FDA makes it illegal for wearables to make true medical diagnoses, but the savings made possible by fitness-tracking and diagnostic “recommendations” still have health insurance companies drooling.
Aetna, John Hancock, and UnitedHealthcare all have programs that reward members for using wearable devices to increase fitness and improve health.
Big tech spent about 10 times as much on health-related deals in 2017 (at least $2.7B) as it did in 2012 ($277m) -- and if the money continues to flow, expect to see companies like Cardiogram pumping it through the veins of a new data-driven healthcare system.
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