Twenty years before J.D. Vance published his best-selling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson wrote an elegy of his own. advertisement advertisement “Few observers of the urban scene in the late 1960s anticipated the extensive breakdown of social institutions and the sharp rise in rates of social dislocation that have since swept the ghettos and spread to other neighborhoods that were once stable,” Wilson declared in his 1996 book, When Work Disappears. Although he made clear that these places were not monolithic, most of what he described were communities made up predominantly of African-Americans. “Jobless black poverty areas,” he called them. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is, of course, about a different demographic: “the millions of working-class white Americans of Scots-Irish descent who have no college degree.”—or, as he puts it in plainer language, “hillbilly people.” … [Read more...] about For Communities Of Color, Startup Funding Efforts Can Hold Promise And Pitfalls
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advertisement advertisement When you think of Afghanistan, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? War? Taliban? Makes sense. How about “The next Bangalore”? Probably not. But there’s a team at the Pentagon working on that. And last week, they brought five Afghan entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley and New York to give them a glimpse of the U.S. tech industry. “We’re showing them what a startup environment feels like,” Paul Brinkley, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, tells Fast Company. Brinkley is in charge of the Pentagon’s Task Force on Business and Stability Operations. The unusual group was created in 2006 as an innovative approach to the military’s counter-insurgency efforts in Iraq. The team was tasked with finding ways to grow Iraq’s economy under the premise that the stronger the economy, the more jobs there would be and the harder it would be for insurgents to recruit members. Two years ago, the Task Force … [Read more...] about Google, IBM, YouTube, And Kabul? Pentagon Hosts Afghan Tech Entrepreneurs In The U.S.
In 2010, Ahmad Reza Zahedi started a website design business called TechSharks. It was the realization of a longtime dream for Zahedi, 30, a modest, soft-spoken man who sports a short ponytail and who, like so many other tech entrepreneurs, fell in love with computing as a teenager. He recalls with undimmed wonder the summer day 16 years ago when an older brother brought home three boxes. Inside one was a keyboard. Another held a 14-inch monitor. The third, a computer case with everything else. The Zahedi family’s first PC “was terrific for me,” he says. advertisement advertisement Better yet was an accompanying gift just for him. “It was a book about learning Pascal,” says Zahedi. “I started learning programming, and I would sit and work on the computer all day long. I never got tired.” He improved his coding skills online, and he played games–lots of them. “I love games too much,” he says bashfully. “I have … [Read more...] about In The Heart Of Afghanistan, Entrepreneurs Innovate For Peace
In March, we launched our annual list of World Changing Ideas, a collection of stories about what we predicted would be some of the most important issues of the year. advertisement advertisement We had some hits and some misses–and many ideas that are still developing but will continue to grow in importance over the coming years. They’re all vitally important areas to watch, and we’ll be continuing to cover them in the months and years to come. Below, we’ve checked in on the progress of 2015’s ideas. Stay tuned in a few months for the 2016 edition. 1: Can Treating Low-Wage Workers Well Become The Hot New Business Strategy? Aetna, Gap, Starbucks—even Walmart—are making moves to pay and treat their employees better. Are we seeing the start of an age of friendlier big business, or is it all just PR? Update: While individual companies might be making small changes to salaries and benefits for their low-wage workers, the general … [Read more...] about Looking Back At The World Changing Ideas Of 2015
WHAT: The first ad for Pixel, Google’s just-announced phone (along with a Silicon Valley intro sketch from the announcement event). WHO: Google, Droga5 WHY WE CARE: Google’s phone (along with the other devices they announced today) is a long time coming. But it also presents a challenge: It may be a big deal for the company to enter the hardware market in this way, but for consumers, we already know what a phone does, and Google’s isn’t a whole lot different from the phones made by Apple, Samsung, etc. So the question of “how are they going to market this thing?” was about as interesting as “what’s it going to do?” And the answer here is two-fold. The Silicon Valley sketch may have more viral legs (who doesn’t love Dinesh and Gilfoyle being mean to each other?), but the ad taps into the one thing that Google can offer that other manufacturers can’t, which is the connection that consumers have to Google’s search … [Read more...] about Google’s “Pixel” Phone Is Here And Its First Ad Is Kind Of Surreal