Tag Archives: Skills

Updates from Chicago Booth

Want to pay less tax? Improve your firm’s internal reporting
By Marty Daks – When companies engage in the great American pastime known as tax avoidance, many parse the Internal Revenue Code for loopholes to reduce their effective tax rate. But research suggests they should also scrutinize the quality of their internal reporting.

Internal information quality (IIQ), a term coined by Chicago Booth’s John Gallemore and University of North Carolina’s Eva Labro, encompasses computer reporting systems and any other resources that a company devotes to ensuring the quality and ease of access of information within a firm. The elements that constitute IIQ have been largely overlooked in tax-avoidance literature—perhaps because they are usually not observable, and are difficult for academics to measure.

Gallemore and Labro argue companies should pay more attention to these issues, which they define in terms of the accessibility, usefulness, reliability, accuracy, quantity, and signal-to-noise ratio of the data and knowledge within an organization. Their findings suggest that firms with high IIQ tend to enjoy lower effective tax rates and, all else being equal, a smaller tax bite.

Gallemore and Labro employed four publicly available variables, using data from 1994 to 2010, to rate firms’ IIQ: the speed at which management released an earnings announcement after its fiscal year closed, the accuracy of management’s earnings forecasts, the absence of material weaknesses in internal controls, and the lack of restatements due to errors.

The researchers used these measures to identify companies that released earnings more rapidly and forecasted them more accurately, and had fewer Section 404 citations and restatements due to errors. They assigned these firms higher IIQ ratings.

High-IIQ firms, they find, tend to exhibit some positive traits, including centralized and standardized business transaction processing, more-efficient reporting practices, and the ability to share data across business units and geographical locations. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Spaceport America Cup Student Competition Soars to 30,000 Feet, Now with Siemens Software Partnering
Siemens commitment to workforce development
By Chris Penny – Siemens Digital Industries Software’s academic partnering staff recently attended the Spaceport America Cup (SA Cup) for the first time as a sponsor. We are very excited to be working with these teams to provide software and training grants to help team excel in the design and manufacturing of their rockets. Leigh Anderson from the global academic team and Chris Penny from the US academic team met with virtually every team of 120 teams from 14 countries, and Chris gave two workshops on Siemens software featuring demonstrations in STAR-CCM+ for aerodynamic analysis.

We selected this competition to sponsor due to the sophistication of the student challenge, the opportunity to engage with and support these students, and the high level of industry support (many of which use Siemens software).

A great example of how this competition prepares students for the workforce could be seen when James Ferrese (University of Washington) who led the development of an advanced plasma actuator payload obtained on-the-spot job offers from Raytheon and Northrup Grumman after their design presentation. more>

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Updates from Adobe

A Catalogue of Imaginary Beings
By Serena Fox – Imagine a world of monumental mythical beings dressed in surreal costumes: people made of mountains, city streets, rough-sawn logs, or plumes of steam; people who wear houses, bird wings, crystalline geodes, or even the moon.

That was the vision of collage artist Johanna Goodman in 2015 when she embarked on A Catalogue of Imaginary Beings, a personal project inspired by magical realism, surrealism, and symbolism that explores the role of the individual in fashion, history, and the artistic imagination. Four years later, the project has grown into a series of moret than 350 playful and strangely iconic images, and has led to a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, commissions from National Geographic and the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority, and ad campaigns ranging from skateboards to West Elm home furnishings.

“I keep thinking it’s run its course, but it hasn’t,” says Goodman. “I have not run out of ideas, and I keep getting more interest from the outside world.”

A diverse artist, Goodman works in paint, ink, and digital collage, and she brings more than 20 years’ experience in editorial illustration and portraiture to the project. A lifelong freelancer based in Nyack, New York, she creates illustrations for newspapers and magazines, book covers, hotel chains, and product advertising. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Time, Rolling Stone, Le Monde, the Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Imaginary Beings are her current passion.

The basic concept is straightforward: a single figure—defined by head, arms, and feet—dressed in unusual objects and placed in a surreal setting. But the resulting images are both humorous and oddly archetypal and statuesque, like pop-culture totems.

Goodman takes photographs of everyday objects and landscapes, cuts them into pieces, and arranges them to “clothe” her characters in bizarre and beautiful outfits. She plays with cumbersome proportions, favors out-of-context facial expressions, and adds innocuous items like iPhones or coffee cups as if they were talismans. more>

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Updates from Ciena

5 reasons why it’s time to evolutionize your network, now.
We’ve reached a tipping point. Carrying on with legacy network infrastructure is no longer a long-term option.
By Chris Newall – While the benefits of modernizing networks are clear – reduce network footprint, energy and support costs; scale to support new apps, services and use cases; and enhance end-customer experience – there are also significant change management and service continuity challenges to get over. In an attempt to avoid disruption, or in an attempt to extend ROI on their existing assets, many service providers simply limp on with their legacy infrastructure.

This common strategy of delaying modernization projects and building new overlay networks on old infrastructure has more or less worked until now, but time is running out.

So, what’s changed and why is the network modernization conversation more urgent now?

There are lots of reasons why many are now at a critical point with legacy infrastructure, and why network modernization is now a matter of urgency:

  1. Legacy networks are increasing technology and business risks
  2. Legacy skills are dying out, leaving your operations vulnerable
  3. High network costs are eating into already slender margins
  4. New apps need more capacity than legacy networks can provide
  5. Unpredictable demand peaks are getting bigger and more frequent

Most services providers have been talking about network modernisation with vendors and partners for years. We all know that replacing legacy networks with modern, efficient, scalable infrastructure can help you reduce your network footprint, reduce energy and support costs, and scale on demand to support bandwidth-intensive apps and use cases. more>

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Updates from Chicago Booth

Why the big banks aren’t safe yet
By Haresh Sapra – The next financial crisis will not come from the traditional banking sector. So goes conventional thinking among financial policy makers. The world’s biggest banks are now safer, according to the narrative, thanks to stricter capital requirements and frequent stress tests that have curbed the appetite for extreme risk and tightened up lax regulatory standards.

I wish I were completely reassured. But as an accountant, I know that the headline capital numbers result from a subjective calculation. Banking regulators typically spend too little time digging into how those figures are calculated. I also know that when the US financial system is healthy, as it is now, we should strive to do better at accounting for potential losses, because that might cushion the blow when the inevitable downturn arrives.

To be sure, the big banks have all passed the Federal Reserve’s stress tests with flying colors. And this reflects substantial increases in capital buffers: the 35 banks that underwent 2018’s stress test have added about $800 billion in the highest quality type of capital over the past decade, according to the Fed. The central bank has deemed that the banks would therefore be strong enough to continue lending if the economy were to plunge into another severe downturn.

But I am not the only observer who remains concerned. In a speech to Americans for Financial Reform in May, Georgetown’s Daniel Tarullo, who was a Fed governor from 2009 to 2017, questioned the robustness of the stress tests. Banks know what regulators are looking for, Tarullo observed, enabling them to “find clever ways to reshape their assets,” thereby reducing their capital levels without reducing their risk exposures. And he also cast doubt on a Fed proposal to create a “stress capital buffer” to stop banks from running down their capital cushions by using dividend payments. Such a buffer, Tarullo argued, could actually prompt banks to take on even more risk. more>

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Updates from Ciena

How photonic control plane advancements are benefiting network operators
A photonic control plane is not new to optical networks, but new capabilities are changing how operators can benefit from it.
By Paulina Gomez – To achieve better business outcomes in this new world of over-the-top competition and demanding, connected users, providers are on a journey to realizing the Adaptive Network™. They are evolving their networks to a more programmable infrastructure that can scale and respond on demand to meet unpredictable traffic requirements. At the foundation of this programmable infrastructure is an agile, resilient photonic layer that will allow operators to maximize efficiencies through new levels of agility, increased automation and simplified operations.

As I explained in a recent blog, there is a growing need for a flexible grid, reconfigurable photonic layer foundation in next-gen networks – one that leverages the combination of the latest coherent technology and a CDC-F ROADM infrastructure with increased automation to quickly adapt to dynamic customer demands.

A photonic control plane automates numerous network functions, radically simplifying operational processes and increasing network efficiency through accelerated service turn-up and the ability to remotely reconfigure the network.

Although a photonic control plane is not new to optical networks, its capabilities have been evolving to deliver new levels of intelligence and programmability to the optical network leveraging real-time analytics and SDN control to drive new efficiency opportunities for next-gen networks.

Let’s explore the key benefits gained by operators who deploy a photonic control plane and how it is helping them successfully transform their networks. more>

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Updates from Adobe

A Creative Stretch with Joe Cavazos
By Serena Fox – Sometimes we all need a creative reset. Whether it’s a summer slump, the December doldrums, or just a grueling workload, it’s easy for artists to get into a rut and lose touch with their creative process..

Last winter, art director/designer Joe Cavazos was feeling the creative blues. So he set himself a challenge: Create something fun for 30 minutes a day for one month, record the process, and post the time-lapse on Instagram. The result was far more than he’d expected: He invented a new circular stretch effect in Adobe Photoshop; boosted his Instagram following seven-fold; met new designers and clients online; and—most importantly—reconnected with the playful side of Photoshop that got him into the business in the first place.

“I started recording my illustration process a long time ago,” says Cavazos. “I don’t have the best memory, so it’s kind of a digital notebook that lets me go back and say, ‘How did I get to here?’ For me, creative warm-ups are a time to do passion project work, to spend 30 minutes to an hour creating something for the fun of it and recording that process. I would do those warm-ups every once in a while, especially when I got into a funk or when I was doing a lot of logo design or branding work, which is careful and exacting and very different than just playing with Photoshop.”

“And then,” he continues, “I decided to challenge myself to do it once a day, for a whole month. That forced me to go through my whole bag of tricks, just to get something done. For me, it’s helpful to have that accountability of posting every day, whether what I do is good or not—it’s part of not being afraid to learn.” Cavazos didn’t land on what he calls the Circular Pixel Stretch effect right away. He started by playing with stretched pixels, seeing what colors he could pull and how he could manipulate the pixels. “Then I thought about using Polar Coordinates—which is an old filter that’s been in Photoshop forever—and I figured out how to marry the two. That looked cool, so I just kept pushing it further and trying out different ways I could use it,” he says.

Because Cavazos recorded and posted his process every day, you can see his progression chronologically if you scroll through his Instagram.
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Updates from Chicago Booth

Three strategy lessons from GE’s decline
By James E. Schrager -It may be too early to write an obituary for General Electric, but only just. In the past few years, the company has gone from iconic American corporate titan and darling of Wall Street to a humbled, awkward, oversized giant. In June 2018, GE was kicked out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the blue-chip club of the United States’ largest public companies. It had been a member since the stock gauge was launched in 1896. Some analysts have GE on bankruptcy watch.

To those who have been paying attention, this has been a long, slow decline. In fact, GE never had much of a chance once Jack Welch retired as chairman and CEO in 2001. That wasn’t because of bad luck or lackluster management. Instead, Welch’s perfectly brilliant growth strategy had simply run its course.

Welch’s great mistake was to fail to plan for the “end of history”—what happens when the golden goose stops laying. The story is worth revisiting not just because it explains the deterioration of GE. It also holds three powerful lessons about corporate strategy:

  1. All growth from any single market or technology will end. Companies that endure are those that plan for this reality.
  2. If you are successful, many will copy your success. Companies that continue to prosper update and adapt their strategies.
  3. Smart corporate strategies are flexible and nimble, enabling action rather than constraining it.

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Updates from Ciena

Dissecting a submarine network trial announcement
With network infrastructure as critical as submarine cables, we’re constantly seeing new cables being announced and new technological milestones being achieved – but what’s real?

Learn the difference between a hero trial, real-world trial, and how you can read between the lines to help separate hype from reality.
By Brian Lavallée – 2019 has and will continue to be a very busy year in the submarine network industry, with several new cables announced, deployed, and already put into the Ready for Service (RFS) state.

Why does the industry need so many new submarine cables?

To maintain pace with our ever-growing affinity and utter addiction to Internet-based content, which continues to drive the 40% CAGR in intercontinental bandwidth demand, according to industry analysts at TeleGeography, along the submerged information superhighways that interconnect continental landmasses.

As submarine networks are rightfully considered critical infrastructure, deploying new and modern cables will improve the overall reliability of the global network that erases distance and borders to close the digital divide.

When new submarine cable performance milestones are achieved in trials, they’re actively promoted through blogs, press releases, tweets, and webinars to celebrate, and why not?

These new submerged wet plant and modem technology advancements are truly astonishing and deserve this fanfare – but the context of these achievements must be fully understood to determine what’s actually deployable for live customer traffic in the real-world. more>

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Low Wages, Sexual Harassment and Unreliable Tips. This Is Life in America’s Booming Service Industry

By Alana Semuels and Malcolm Burnley – The decade-long economic expansion has been a boon to those at the top of the economic ladder.

But it left millions of workers behind, particularly the 4.4 million workers who rely on tips to earn a living, fully two-thirds of them women. Even as wages have crept up–if slowly–in other sectors of the economy, the minimum wage for waitresses and other tipped workers hasn’t budged since 1991.

Indeed, there is an entirely separate federal minimum wage for those who live on tips. It varies by state from as low as $2.13 (the federal tipped minimum wage) in 17 states including Texas, Nebraska and Virginia, up to $9.35 in Hawaii. In 36 states, the tipped minimum wage is under $5 an hour. Legally, employers are supposed to make up the difference when tips don’t get servers to the minimum wage, but some restaurants don’t track this closely and the law is rarely enforced.

Waitresses are emblematic of the type of job expected to grow most in the American economy in the next decade--low-wage service work with no guaranteed hours or income. more>