The Coming Tech Backlash
Ross Mayfield

Ross Mayfield thanks for your thoughts and empathy. Unfortunately this will surprise many people when it’s all too obvious. Tech is the tool/die maker of today’s mass automation. Even though job losses aren’t tech’s fault, people will demand heads on pikes.

Here’s what I’d do if I were running a tech company. I’d focus on having meaningful, serious discussion with employees and contract team members because they will also be blamed individually, so they have some skin in the game. Even though this historical shift isn’t tech’s “fault,” that doesn’t prevent firms and team members from having empathy for the collateral damage to which their products contribute. This is probably on their minds anyway, so most people will find it healing.

For some firms, this will be a stretch if their cultures are focused on uber-profit and exit. You could extend this into community service days because there are already millions of white collar workers who struggle to find jobs. That could include designing incremental gig roles for some affected people to teach them how to adapt. Within 20 years, it’s just that spreadsheet jockeys and analysts will join network techs, IT managers, and mid-level marketers.

I’d use this approach because all the people that are involved with your various ventures will be more credible because they’ll have experienced the shift with empathy, and they’ll have helped real people adapt. Sure, augmentation is great when it makes business sense, but in many cases, that won’t hold. And ANY firm can show its team members to have empathy, that it’s not their “fault” and how they can help affected people, some of whom will be in their families.

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