Nobody sees it happening, but the architecture of our time
Is becoming the architecture of the next time. And the dazzle
Of light upon the waters is as nothing beside the changes
Wrought therein, just as our waywardness means
Nothing against the steady pull of things over the edge.
Nobody can stop the flow, but nobody can start it either.
Time slips by; our sorrows do not turn into poems,
And what is invisible stays that way. Desire has fled,
Leaving only a trace of perfume in its wake,
And so many people we loved have gone,
And no voice comes from outer space, from the folds
Of dust and carpets of wind to tell us that this
Is the way it was meant to happen, that if only we knew
How long the ruins would last we would never complain.
Perfection is out of the question for people like us,
So why plug away at the same old self when the landscape
Has opened its arms and given us marvelous shrines
To flock towards? The great motels to the west are waiting,
In somebody’s yard a pristine dog is hoping that we’ll drive by,
And on the rubber surface of a lake people bobbing up and down
Will wave. The highway comes right to the door, so let’s
Take off before the world out there burns up. Life should be more
Than the body’s weight working itself from room to room.
A turn through the forest will do us good, so will a spin
Among the farms. Just think of the chickens strutting,
The cows swinging their udders, and flicking their tails at flies.
And one can imagine prisms of summer light breaking against
The silent, haze-filled sleep of the farmer and his wife.
It could have been another story, the one that was meant
Instead of the one that happened. Living like this,
Hoping to revise what has been false or rendered unreadable
Is not what we wanted. Believing that the intended story
Would have been like a day in the west when everything
Is tirelessly present—the mountains casting their long shadow
Over the valley where the wind sings its circular tune
And trees respond with a dry clapping of leaves—was overly
Simple no doubt, and short-sighted. For soon the leaves,
Having gone black, would fall, and the annulling snow
Would pillow the walk, and we, with shovels in hand, would meet,
Bow, and scrape the sidewalk clean. What else would there be
This late in the day for us but desire to make amends
And start again, the sun’s compassion as it disappears.
Fine, I’m excited.
Hilton is about to earn my loyalty again. I had a Hilton Gold for a few years back in the ’90s when I was traveling quite a lot, and had a corporate expense account to lean on. But now, Hilton is catching my attention for another reason than frequent stay rewards: the company is investing huge in a ne mobile tech infrastructure:
Craig Karmin, Hilton Books Upgraded Technology
Guests already can check in and check out with a few punches on a smartphone or tablet-computer screen at all of Hilton’s hotels in the U.S., the company said. By the end of summer, travelers will be able to see the location of and select their own rooms by mobile phone at six brands, from the midscale Hilton Garden Inn to the luxury Waldorf Astoria.
Next year, Hilton says, arriving guests can begin using their smartphones to unlock the doors to their rooms, rather than waiting on any lines clogging the front desk to pick up a key. That feature will be available at most of the company’s hotels world-wide by the end of 2016.
To make this real, Hilton is dropping $550 million in an arms race with other chains, like Starwood, Marriott, and Intercontinental Hotel Group.
I am the quintessential example of the silent or invisible traveler. I’d rather channel all interaction with a hotel via smartphone app — to the extent possible — without waiting in a line at reception.
I really want to be able to choose my room, to make sure it’s quiet and has a desk, and to simply walk to the room and open the door. All without the smiling faces in the cheesy uniforms. No offense.
But the big breakthrough is yet to happen, which is unbundling the hotel. Instead of a monolithically controlled experience, an interesting future hotel would be more like a city, with shops and cafes, coworking and cohabitation working areas, and a diverse range of spaces to hang, eat, talk, and work. This is something like the unbundling of work spaces (see yesterday’s Beyond The Office: Workplace As A Service).
There is a wonderful parallelism in the adoption of cloud-based computing — such as collaborative work technologies — and the growing availability of unbundled workspace offerings. Companies don’t have to sign up for five year leases, buy office furniture, or even arrange for Internet, electricity, or other services. Today, companies are presented with a broad range of workplace-as-a-service offerings.
These offerings scale from an enterprise of one to large consulting firms that want to place a team in a city center near a client site for the duration of a project, and many other variants.
Motivations are also varied. Some companies are trying to save vital capital while remaining agile. Others are intentionally moving the workforce out of the traditional headquarters to get them closer to clients, or to minimize commuting and increase quality of life. The drivers are productivity, creativity, flexibility, and increased customer and employee satisfaction, weighted by the specifics of each company’s goals.
Let’s look at some of the ways that WAAS takes shape, and how businesses of all sizes can take advantage of it.
Andrew Laing, in a recent issue of Work&Place, has a great topography of the shape of the emerging workplace:
Coworking — Coworking has grown very quickly, and is perhaps the leading example of WAAS. These are shared work environments, where individuals, small teams, or small companies have paid memberships, which are paid for in short term time periods: daily or monthly. The coworking operators provide amenities like conference rooms and café areas, which are either part of the baseline membership or paid for a la carte. Larger organizations may take advantage of the collaborative and distributed nature of coworking spaces for individuals or teams.
Open House — Just as in the case of a larger organization placing a small team in a coworking space to mix and mingle with a specific community — perhaps embedding some designers in a coworking space with many designers — a company can choose to do the mirror image: turn some part of the company’s offices into an open house, where those outside designers might be working within the company’s workplace, and cross pollinating the company’s culture in a productive way.
Working Commons — These are generally a municipal initiative, where a city might provide a semi-public working space, with places to work collaborative, mix and mingle, and network. This might build on the more traditional notions of libraries and cafés, and fuse together aspects of both.
Cohabiting — This takes the ideas of open house and working commons, and extends them. In cohabiting, a group of companies — possibly including coworking facilities — creating a large environment shared by the collective of companies and individuals. This has more the feel of a city than an office, since the different organizations might have somewhat distinct approaches about using their regions within the greater cohabitation, but relatively free egress is the norm — aside from secure areas or other special concerns.
We know from the research of Geoffrey West and his collaborators that cities have a superlinear quality: as they double in size, innovation more than doubles. For example, a city of 10 million people will have more than double the number of patents being filed each year than a city of 5 million, for example. Roughly the same superlinear scaling occurs in salaries, and other economic proxies of productivity.
But this emergent value of cities is not just a function of size. Indeed, most companies show the opposite effect of growth: as they add more people, innovation and creativity decrease.
Therefore, companies would be wise to organize themselves in a way that emulates the nature of cities, and less like companies. Of course, cities are more unstructured and less centrally controlled than traditional businesses are willing to take on, at least historically.
But the rise of workplace as a service may provide a safety valve, or a jumping off point for businesses to relax the strictures of the corporate workplace, and to inject a bit more of the wild and wonderful that we see in cities.
As Geoffrey West once observed,
Cities tolerate crazy people. Companies don’t.
So, maybe workplace as a service is really a way to open up and get a few steps closer to the chaotic edge, along with providing a practical way to remain fluid and flexible in office management.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
Diversity in top editorial spots is nearly non-existent.
Introduction by Manjula Martin, Data visualization and research by Vijith Assar, Interactive Graphic: Diversity in Journalism - Scratch Magazine
As it turns out, there isn’t really enough data to make an interactive graphic about diversity among top newsroom editorial positions that doesn’t make you have to squint to see the racial breakdown in the first place—because there isn’t really any racial diversity at all. The results are barely improved when it comes to gender. Any way you click it, of the 183 top editors of mainstream English-language media outlets Assar counted here, one is a black man. Nine are white women (and two of them are Tina Brown). Parity ticks slightly upward after the 1980s. But that’s it.
All in all, this chart covers approximately 1500 combined “man-years” of top editorial positions (and that’s not a gender-neutral pronoun). Of those years, ~1486 were led by men and ~36 were led by women. All were led by white people except for the months since Dean Baquet, who is African American, took over the New York Times in May 2014.
Michael Lewis, Moneyball
The best thing about Auto Scroll [on Amazon Fire Phone] is that you can turn it off - Farhad Manjoo http://t.co/Xt92Yr5mgo— Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) July 24, 2014
Looks like I am the tipping point on another piece at Techmeme, this one by Ben Thompson.
I participated as the official mutant futurist at a panel session a few weeks ago in NYC, at an event by InterContinental Hotel Group launching the new EVEN Hotel brand.
Meagan Drillinger, IHG’s new wellness brand
IHG’s 2014 trends report surveyed more than 7,000 international travelers and showed that 21st-century consumers want reliability, safety and authority of global brands, but with the reflection of their local and regional values. U.S. travelers expect global brands to deliver a high degree of innovative features and services. For example, Even Hotels gives guests the option of a “standing desk.” Fitness-conscious adults do not want to have to sit down when working.
“Sitting is the new smoking,” said Boyd. His number one requirement when staying at a hotel is to have the option of a standing desk. Even has him covered.
I thought the discussion about the silent/invisible traveler was more interesting, but not as quotable, I guess.