WIT: We all must think about ‘balance of tech’ – Randi Zuckerberg

 

By Peter Hamilton of the Irish Times

“Nobody ever came up with an idea that was going to change the world when they were 24/7 glued to their phone”, Randi Zuckerberg, an entrepreneur and former Facebook employee, has told delegates at a conference.

Speaking at the Pendulum Summit, a conference in Dublin’s convention centre, Ms Zuckerberg said that “we all have to think about the balance of tech”, warning that while it can do incredible things, it doesn’t spur entrepreneurship by itself.

An older sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Randi began her career in digital marketing at advertising agency Ogilvy before joining the social media giant in its infancy.

She told the conference about the company’s ‘hackathon’ events, where “every few months everyone at the company was invited to pull an all nighter…there was one rule, you could not work on something that was related to anything you did on your day job.”

Ms Zuckerberg herself came up with the Facebook Live idea at one of those Hackathons. While the first ever transmission was only watched by two people the idea ultimately became a success after Katy Perry launched a world tour on the platform and “politicians from around the world saw an opportunity to speak directly to their constituents” with Barack Obama becoming an early adopter.

Ms Zuckerberg quit the company after the successes of Facebook Live because of a “complicated relationship with both tech and Silicon Valley”.

“On one hand I loved being part of a company like Facebook that was changing the world, I loved being in Silicon Valley where everywhere you walk people are talking about solving big problems. I hated being the only woman in the room for 10 years,” she said.

“Even today, my best advice for young women going into technology, is to have a mans name like Randi.

“I had a growing complicated relationship between the huge digital divide we see in the world. We live in a world today where some of us have amazing access to technology and advice and business and speakers. All of us in this room we are so lucky and then right in our back yard’s are millions of people who don’t even have WiFi access, and millions of people who are going to be left behind from this new economy and for me, I had trouble sitting with that.

“Some of the very tools we were working on and creating, they were used very differently by the world then how we dreamed they’d be used. For example, I remember waking up during the time of the Arab Spring and feeling so proud, waking up every morning thinking, wow, we’ve given a voice to everyone.

“And then I woke up the day after this last election in the United States and thought, wow, we gave a voice to everyone. It’s complicated,” she added.

Ms Zuckerberg is now the chief executive of Zuckerberg Media, a company she founded, and has just finished writing 30 episodes of a television show based on a children’s book she has written called “Dot”.

Tales from the Orchard: An Open Letter To Tim Cook From A Now Former Apple Genius

 

By Jamie Young of AppAdvice

What is it about your Apple products that you love so much? Is it that they’re pretty? Dependable? Because they last longer? Because they just work? Because you know you can take your precious devices into a nearby store whenever something’s wrong and get advice? One concerned Apple employee wrote an open letter to Tim Cook explaining how he felt the retail store employees were focusing more on selling rather than the customers. Apple is known for the strong customer service values it instills in its retail store employees. The values that Steve Jobs himself instilled in the company — perfection in everything. But has that all gone to the wayside? I’ll let his letter speak for itself:

DEAR MR. TIM COOK: Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Chad Ramey and I’ve served this company for the last four years as a Genius at the Apple Arrowhead retail location in Glendale, Arizona (R247). First of all, I would like to extend my thanks for allowing me the opportunity to work for such a unique company. It was truly one of the most heart-wrenching moments of my life when I had to walk out of that store for the last time; no one likes to abandon their passion, and helping Apple’s customers was not only something that I loved to do, but also something that I gave my entire heart and soul doing. It will be difficult to find another company that can elicit such a strong passion and devotion. With that being said, I find my freedom from Apple to be a double-edged sword. I’ve watched as Apple retail has shifted from something truly spectacular and wonderful to big-box retail that is no better than a Best Buy or a Walmart. You see, there has been a shift in the focus of these stores. What was once a truly enriching place to work has become a place that leeches and drains everything from their employees. Apple retail no longer values its people and when I say people, I am referring to both your customers and your retail employees serving you on the front-lines. After all, they are your most important resource, your soul, or at least that was once true. Due to the overwhelming number of appointments per employee and the continued push to open more and more active queues, most interactions are now completely transactional, rather than transformational. We are lucky if we have time to ask the customer their name, nevertheless truly get to dig deeply into their lives and their issues, and further repair their relationships with both Apple and the Apple brand. As employees, we are forced to worry more about pushing business leads and reaching numbers, rather than truly focus on the customer’s problems. Everything I was led to believe in CORE training four years ago has become nullified; Apple is no longer about enriching lives, it is about enriching pocketbooks. You may see that my former store, R247, remains to be amongst the top performing stores in NPS, and yet the Family Room NPP continues to plummet. The people we have in that store are amongst the most talented and most devoted in the company. They give everything they have to keep the focus on their customers despite the increasing hurdles that the company keeps throwing at them. They are, however, quickly being burnt out. Apple is treating its retail workforce like they are disposable, and in doing so, Apple is throwing away some of its brightest and most amazing talents. I asked our family room manager point blank if Apple wants its retail employees to be career and he said no. The continuing loss of talented and caring people is fueled by the feeling that they are neither important nor truly cared for. The idea of thinking of employees as people instead of numbers was what used to set Apple apart. This is what has made Apple change. I know this letter may never reach your eyes, but I would feel as if I’d abandoned my team if I never even tried to make a change. If you truly care about the future of Apple retail, Mr. Cook, you’ll return to the foundations on which it was originally based. Create an environment where employees feel wanted and needed. Go back to the days when sales and support were geared toward the customers and not the bottom-line. If you don’t, you’ll continue to burn through some of the greatest and most talented resources in your workforce. Apple is supposed to be a leader within the industry. You set the standards. You can make changes and others will follow. Use that position to better the world of retail, not sink to the depths of those around you. Make the change that will affect so many lives. Sincerely, Chad Ramey

Yes, Apple products are more expensive. We pay for quality, design, and — I don’t know about you, but — the customer service experience. At least, the rich customer experience we used to get. Have you noticed any changes in the service you receive at Apple retail stores? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

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