Tag Archives: Skills

The Truth About the Gig Economy

By Annie Lowrey – The workforce is getting Uberized. The gig economy is taking over the world. Independent contractor jobs are the new normal.

In the post-recession years, this became conventional wisdom, as more and more Americans took jobs—well, “jobs”—with companies like Postmates, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, and Lyft. But the gig economy was then and is now a more marginal phenomenon than it might have seemed.

The gig economy might be new and big and radical and transformative. It might represent a powerful business model for venture investors and tech companies. But Uber and similar companies were not and are not driving tidal changes in the way that Americans make a living.

Wild predictions aside, it was always clear that many gig workers were taking on these kinds of jobs as a temporary stopgap or a way to supplement their income, rather than as a substitute for a full-time position. A comprehensive look at the Uber workforce by Krueger and Jonathan Hall, the company’s internal head of economic research, found that, “Most of Uber’s driver-partners had full- or part-time employment prior to joining Uber, and many continued in those positions after starting to drive with the Uber platform.”

There’s another reason why a false narrative might have hold: Gig work is vastly more prevalent in the big coastal cities where many investors and journalists live, leading to a kind of media myopia about the scale of the phenomenon. And gig work seemed like the future. more>

Updates from Adobe

Minimal Lines, Maximum Impact
By Terri Stone – Monika Kehrer, our design director and a brilliant illustrator herself, is the force that holds everything together in the studio while I (Adam Goldberg) go off and design animals, plants, and weird shit.

We debated putting this stuff out there because of the possible confusion it might cause for potential clients and the creative community. Does it take away from our branding focus? We don’t think so. At the end of the day, creativity and art are part of our branding DNA, so we decided to not to shy away from it.

Although the illustration rarely shows up in our branding work so far, look closely and you can see the geometric, minimalist, mid-century, pattern work and constructivist threads that run through most everything we design. We like to call it “Messy Modernism.” more>

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Updates from Adobe

Nothing Good Comes Easy: Documenting ‘Project Antarctica’
By Scott Kirkwood – When the three twenty-something Germans set out to film a documentary about a journey to Antarctica, one goal was to share a message with young viewers—a message they wish they’d heard earlier in life: When you’re preparing to launch your career, don’t be so obsessed with your grades and so fixated on your resume that you miss out on truly meaningful experiences. But anyone can say that—as visual storytellers, they wanted to show people that no dream is out of reach, even if it’s a pricey month-long excursion to a frozen continent 10,000 miles away.

The result is their new documentary film, Projekt Antarktis (Project Antarctica).

“For us, Antarctica was a great symbol for something that’s almost impossible,” says Müller-Zitzke. “You’ve got the crazy temperatures, the unpredictable weather, and the difficulty of going through the Drake Passage—one of the stormiest seas in the world. It was such a great challenge for us, and a great way for us to motivate our audience to go for their own dreams instead of just staying at home and being afraid.”

The trio spent a year planning logistics, cobbling together cameras and equipment from Sony, and arranging sponsorships (including sponsorships from Adobe Germany and Adobe Stock—in exchange for those sponsorships, they produced photographs that have been made available on Adobe Stock and created German-language tutorials on using Adobe Photoshop CC, Photoshop Lightroom CC, and Premiere Pro CC. more>

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Updates from Adobe

5 & 3/4 QUESTIONS
By Enisaurus – I’m Enisaurus, a professional freelance illustrator from the sunny land of Valencia, Spain.

My works are usually based on geometry. There, between simple shapes and bright colors, is where I feel most comfortable. I’m always pushing myself to try new ways to communicate ideas and thoughts through my illustrations, constantly seeking ways of being a better storyteller and professional.

When I’m not at the climbing gym, I’m usually working on private commissions for clients from around the world, like BMW, Movistar, the Henry Ford Museum, TED, Bespoke Post, and Cabify, to name just a few. And between climbing and private commissions are my beloved side projects—what would I do without them! This is the time that I use for experimentation purposes and just for having fun; they are excellent exercises that help me develop my illustration skills and allow me to to step out of my comfort zone.

It’s the only way to avoid the dreadful feeling of being creatively stuck. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Bringing the Quirk to Corporate Work
By Charles Purdy – Michael Lomon is a motion graphics designer, comic book artist, and illustrator—he’s also clearly a time-management wizard: in addition to holding down a full-time job creating motion graphics for QVC UK, he takes on freelance commissions, develops personal projects, and co-parents two young children.

Currently based in London, Lomon grew up in Manchester, England, where he discovered animation during his studies at art school. Earlier on, he’d come to drawing through a love of comics—he cites Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series as an early influence. “That was quite a big deal for me,” he says. “Growing up, I was passionate about sport, but I wasn’t good in any way. The Sandman, and then the whole world of alternative ’80s comics—Transmetropolitan, Hellblazer…getting into those is what really got me drawing. And I have carried on ever since.”

By the time he was 17, he knew he’d be making a life as an artist, and a stop-motion experiment at university got him interested in animation. At first he was just using Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro for editing, but after a friend got a job doing motion graphics, he was motivated to dive deeper. more>

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Everyone wants to “teach a man to fish.” But skills training alone doesn’t help the world’s poor.

By Kelsey Piper – Skills training programs take a lot of forms, but there are generally two kinds: programs aimed at individuals, which try to teach them everything they’ll need to take higher-paying local jobs, and programs aimed at business owners and prospective business owners, which try to teach them skills to run a business more efficiently and expand their operations.

Their objectives are laudable, but there’s just one problem: They largely don’t work.

Participation rates in the programs aren’t very high. People who do participate often drop out, if the program lasts more than a few days, and unsurprisingly, it’s hard to teach important results in that time. For that matter, participants might be right to ignore the program or drop out, as research suggests that the programs don’t reliably increase income.

This isn’t to say every skills training program is ineffective. But even the programs that do show results often don’t stand up to cost-benefit analysis: The results they get are worse than if they just gave people the money that is spent on training them.

That said, recent research has found cost-effective results for programs that take a combined approach: training and mentoring, plus direct grants of assets. Those programs, more than just pure skill-training approaches, look to be worth further study and investment going forward. more>

Updates from Adobe

All the Colors of Beauty
By Brendan Seibel – Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate, her white dress billowing around her hips—it’s an iconic Hollywood image. That immortal scene from The Seven Year Itch has inspired countless tributes and parodies over the years.

Artist Tya Alisa Anthony was researching the history of Black media when she came across an old Jet magazine cover featuring Donna Summer re-creating Monroe’s peek-a-boo pose.

Anthony’s parents had collected the weekly digest when she was a child, but re-examining back issues revealed a disconnect between the magazine’s eye-catching covers and its articles on Black agency and pride.

“These women were not being recognized or respected as Black women,” says Anthony. “They were representing European ideals, highlighted with stories like ‘Are Black Women Getting More Attractive?’ or ‘Stripper to Singer.’

It didn’t settle right with me, attempting to connect to the women on the covers.”

The portrait series Complexion is Anthony’s response. more>

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Updates from Chicago Booth

The secrets of shopping
By Amy Merrick – A woman suffering from a headache walks into a drugstore. She faces a shelf of remedies: mostly bottles of branded aspirin, such as Bayer. Next to those colorful, heavily advertised boxes are store-brand packages of generic aspirin. The woman puts the generic into her basket and goes home.

A quartet of researchers find that she’s not alone, as sophisticated shoppers—such as doctors or pharmacists, the people most likely to know whether the extra few dollars spent on a brand are worth it—opt to buy generic headache drugs more often.

In fact, a doctor or pharmacist is 18 percentage points more likely than the typical shopper to buy a private-label headache remedy. The magnitude of the difference surprised one of the researchers, Matthew Gentzkow, Richard O. Ryan Professor of Economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow at Chicago Booth.

“The effects are really big across a lot of health-care categories,” Gentzkow says. The researchers estimate that if all US consumers were to start shopping like pharmacists, they could save a collective $410 million a year on headache remedies. more>

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Updates from Autodesk

Design Master Electrical
Design Master Software – Design Master Electrical is a complete electrical drafting and calculation software program that works directly inside AutoCAD. It is compatible with AutoCAD 2004 to 2019.

Engineers across the country are using it to complete their designs faster, easier, and with fewer errors.

You “accomplish more work in less time, with greater accuracy,” says Angie Hester of Trindera Engineering in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

“There’s never a disconnect of information between drawings and schedules,” explains Donald Evans of Evans Engineering and Consulting in Post Falls, ID. more>

Negative capability

By Paul Tritschler – The unconscious can perform astonishing feats of memory, but it can also play a remarkable role in creativity: sudden insights, solutions and life-enhancing ideas sometimes surface unbidden when the mind is adrift in unconscious reverie. If such chance awakenings are possible, how can you replicate those conditions to become more the author, and less the reporter, of your own meaningful life story? To find that elusive voice, we’ve got to search in the ‘now’, in the moment of true, lived experience that fleetingly exists between past and future. It is within that space that we must seek the locus of personal transformation and change.

But being in the moment, developing an awareness of ‘now’, means gaining control over our thoughts and the unconscious patterning of memory so that they don’t intrude. If we can’t wrestle control over things, then something has gone awry in the master-servant relationship – there is truth in the old aphorism: ‘The mind is an excellent servant but a terrible master.’

To overcome this complex bind, we must identify how the mind constrains us, and then we must break free. Among the traps of the mind, there is preoccupation with the past (including attachment to intrusive memories) and preoccupation with the future (including continual desire). By definition, these lures are incompatible with being in the moment. We must offload this excess baggage to glimpse what we are and what we might become. more>