Happy Friday from Beem!
Here is our Weekly roundup to ensure you guys know what’s been shaking the Tech, Comms and HR world this week. Before we dive in, don’t forget to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story you want to share! Whether it’s about leadership, HR, innovation, company culture or communications or even your own story, we’re keen to learn, so share it with us and we may feature your post in our upcoming issue.
Right, what’s been making waves this week? Check this out and join the discussion below!
From a financial point of view, Amazon doesn’t behave much like a successful 21st-century company. Amazon has not bought back its own stock since 2012. Amazon has never offered its shareholders a dividend. Unlike its peers Google, Apple, and Facebook, Amazon does not hoard cash. It has only recently started to record small, predictable profits. Instead, whenever it has resources, Amazon invests in capacity, which results in growth at a ridiculous clip.
In fact, to think of Amazon as a “market player” is a mischaracterization. The world’s biggest store doesn’t use suggested retail pricing; it sets its own: Amazon’s decimation of small businesses (bookstores in particular) is a similar sort of collectivization, purging small proprietors or driving them onto Amazon platforms.
How is all of this impacting every consumer’s life? And how’s the trend looking for the next 10 years?
In October of last year, Alphabet, Google’s parent company announced it was taking its data-hoovering powers out of purely digital realm and into 3-D space. Sidewalk Labs, its urban innovation venture, officially launched a partnership with the city of Toronto, where it would experiment in improving—nay, optimizing—city streets by observing and measuring how people live.
Now, that work is moving beyond Toronto, to any city that wants to create a frictionless, efficient transportation network. (Who wouldn’t?) Today, Sidewalk Labs is launching its own mini-venture, which builds on its work with cities. “Coord” will do what you’ve been hearing a lot of transportation-adjacent companies say they’ll do lately. It will build the cloud-based platform to integrate the many mobility services that have sprung up around the world’s cities in the past few years—bike-sharing, car-sharing, and ride-hailing—plus more traditional transportation options, like public transit. To me, this sounds really exciting!
Nobody likes to be treated like a second-class citizen but, unknowingly, that’s how we’re sometimes treating our remote workers. Every time we give staff benefits that are only really available for people in the local office, we’re sending a not-so-subtle message that our team members in other locations aren’t as highly valued. Remote employees already have a tendency to feel left out and mistreated, yet more and more of our teams are likely to comprise people working partly or completely remotely. So it’s important that we truly consider all of our workforce when designing staff benefits.
Today’s workforce is very different from the workforce of 10 or even five years ago. The New York Times recently reported that 43% of workers engaged in some remote work in the past year. Plus many companies are hiring people located outside the country – sometimes as contractors, but also as full-time team members. Although teamwork online can be challenging at times, the benefits of having a remote team cannot be denied. It’s time we changed the way we think about staff benefits to incorporate remote workers!!
Over the last few years, Microsoft has launched a number of programs for startups that range from free BizSpark credits for Azure and Microsoft’s developer and productivity tools, to Microsoft Ventures and the Microsoft Accelerator programs around the world. These different programs never quite told a cohesive story about Microsoft’s commitment to startups, though. Now, however, the company is launching Microsoft for Startups, a program that aims to bring technology and marketing expertise to startups and that — maybe most importantly — includes a co-selling program that allows startups to piggyback on Microsoft’s existing sales force.
In addition, Microsoft is tweaking some of its existing programs to better support the startups in its ecosystem. In total, Microsoft is committing $500 million over the course of the next two years to run joint sales engagements and offer to startups access to technology and community spaces. It’s an exciting opportunity!
Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll feature your article in next week’s Roundup!
Also, let us know what type of content you guys want more or less of, we’re all ears!