Certificates, Nanodegrees, and the Future of Work

This post is part of our Augment Your Resume series. We’re creating content that will help you upgrade the language, certifications, volunteerism, and projects sections of your resume.

How will certificates, nanodegrees, and badges fit in to the #FutureOfWork? 🤔

Thought Point #1: Decentralized Authority
Everything is trending towards decentralization. We’re seeing small-scale, decentralized energy production, cryptocurrencies and blockchain are decentralizing finance, and globally distributed and globally connected workforces are an example of decentralized production.

Similarly, authority is now becoming decentralized. Here’s an example: today, one of the most respected degrees in artificial intelligence is the Udacity Nanodegree and Udacity is an organization that was launched 5 years ago.

As technology continues to disrupt and force people to re-learn skills, new kinds of educational credits are emerging because we need them. They are certificates, nanodegrees, and badges.

Thought Point #2: The Decline of Loyalty at Companies
Research shows that companies are increasingly disloyal to their employees and that employees are increasingly disengaged from the companies they work for. (For example, see Harvard’s http://hbs.me/2xwSUIC)

In his 2017 book “The End of Loyalty,” Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Rick Wartzman shows that, starting in the 1980s, companies that were already healthy started using layoffs to increase shareholder profits, causing a total destruction of trust between shareholders and the C-suite and employees. (See http://whr.tn/2w1m0Si)

Instead, we’re seeing an overwhelming preference for people to earn their wages from freelance, consulting, and small team arrangements rather than working for large organizations (see Eazl’s recent update on freelancing in the US at http://bit.ly/2w2nQ5p).

In arrangements like this, there is usually no internal training staff, so you have to bring your own skills to work.

What’s New? Eazl Certificates
Enter certificates, badges, and nanodegrees. While they probably won’t replace a traditional bachelor’s degree any time soon, they’re going to play a more important role in demonstrating to clients and partners that you are capable of something.

Recently, Eazl published the Facebook Ads Certification Course and the certificate we’ve designed is meant to give you a tool that you can use to close more deals, demonstrate your skills, and increase the attractiveness of your LinkedIn profile and resume because we’re here to be your partner in success. You can see John’s Facebook Ads certificate at http://bit.ly/johncert.

If you’ve completed 100% of our Facebook Ads Certification Course (see http://bit.ly/fbads10) or or Essentials of Feedback and Performance Management (see http://bit.ly/youtubefb5) course, you can request your certificate at http://bit.ly/eazlcertified and we’ll make one just like John’s for you.

Onward… to the future!

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The End of Jobs and Bosses

This post is part of our Augment Your Resume series. We’re creating content that will help you upgrade the language, certifications, volunteerism, and projects sections of your resume. After watching this video, you should be thinking about ways to display and prove your skills as the world of work changes.

No “jobs.” No bosses. I think the future of work is going to be decentralized, “bring your own skills to work,” about shared ownership, and will favor people who can effectively self-manage… themselves.

The “Pop Up Organization”
The future will probably involve fewer bosses. Recently, a group of American freelancers got together to create True Story (a card game and mobile app) and there’s one striking thing about the company. It isn’t a company. There are no bosses, no managers, and no official titles. It was a collaboration between a group of freelancers who met, created, signed revenue sharing agreements, and walked away. See http://nyti.ms/2v613SJ.

This is becoming an important way of working — and not just for bands of freelancers. Jody Miller, the founder of the Business Talent Group (see http://bit.ly/2x97CFq), makes a living assembling teams of freelancers for short-term projects for Fortune 500 companies.

Algorithmic Managers
Increasingly, software algorithms are being used to allocate, optimize, and evaluate human workers and business processes. Sound familiar? That’s what managers used to do. At companies like Uber and Lyft, there are 500 and even sometimes 1000 drivers for every 1 person who does traditional “management” functions.

The new conversation being had by next-generation management scientists isn’t how humans can be better managers, it’s how algorithms can be better human managers. For example, see the paper “Working with Machines” at http://bit.ly/2i9oclV. For more information about the DAO see http://bit.ly/25RWicG.

Also, watch Senator Ben Sasse being interviewed about the future of work at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. I believe he’s correct about much of his view on the future of work (and he’s definitely going to run for President, so he’s worth learning about). Here’s the link with the timecode embedded: http://bit.ly/2uV835l

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Self Discipline is Underrated

📿 How are you challenging yourself to be more disciplined? 📿

Could self-discipline hold the key to a healthier, happier, more successful future?

The Books Mentioned in this Video:
• Siddhartha by Herman Hesse – http://amzn.to/2u3P48y
• Hooked by Nir Eyal – http://bit.ly/2fbUmw2
• Nudge by Richard Thaler – http://amzn.to/2v2txhO

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Fake News is About to Get Bigger and Faker

🎧 Listen to a great podcast on this topic via WNYC’s Radiolab 🎧

What happens when hyper-realistic fake information is easy to create, hard to detect, and can be spread across the world to billions of people within seconds via social media? We’re going to see…

Photoshop for Voices
Adobe’s VOCO software can now take a 20-minute recording of a person’s voice and then enable an editor to type any words they want–even if none of that was said ever during the 20-minute recording–and produce near-flawless audio that could fool anyone… and this tech is only going to get more accurate and harder to spot

Fake Video is Here
Now, any president, prime minister, CEO, or celebrity, can be someone’s lifelike puppet on video. Watch a video produced by a team at Stanford that shows the face of former US President George W. Bush being scarily manipulated in real time.

Questions
The implications of this technological advance are immense. In the near future, fake news–audio, video, etc.–will be incredibly pervasive on the web. What does this mean for news outlets?

Will people need to pay for quality, trusted information?

How will we identify artificially-generated videos and audio?

What’s next for truth and information online?

What business opportunities does this present?

http://futureoffakenews.com/

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Productivity: MIT’s Research on Being More Productive

This weekly Brain Boost is part of our Summer Scale Up series.

🌞 Join Eazl’s Summer Scale Up Newsletter 🌞

What do the best researchers in the world have to say about productivity? Funny you ask… we found out! Here’s what a team of 3 MIT economists learned will help you be productive:

Increase Your Betweenness Centrality
Betweenness Centrality is a fancy way of saying that you benefit from being in the middle of many discussions. For example, knowing a little bit about a lot of projects benefits you. It also benefits you to have one foot in many different social groups rather than knowing everyone from one social group. Learn more about betweenness centrality here.

Learn to Use People Databases
People who can use people databases like LinkedIn are much more productive. For example, learning how to use Boolean search techniques to navigate your LinkedIn network is a high-value skill that we teach in our Career Hacking course.

Learn to Signal
The MIT research also shows that learning to digitally signal other people about your work enables you to be much more productive. For example, sending automated emails, chat notifications, or social network updates about your work are digital signals. Three great automated signaling tools are: –
BufferApp
MailButler
Yet Another Mail Merge

Here’s a discounted link to Eazl’s Advanced Management Training Program: http://bit.ly/eazlss15yt

Here’s the original research from MIT’s team.

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Direct Brain/Computer Integration is (Really) Close

How soon will human brains and computers be one? The technology is advancing fast. Faster than you might think. Interestingly, advanced human/machine integrations seems to have built a lot of momentum by helping people with disabilities overcome their disabilities and even be stronger by augmenting their human capabilities with machine capabilities.

Modified Humans
Rob Spence is blind in one eye and is a filmmaker so naturally, he decided to replace his eyeball with a camera. Now, he’s one of the many humans who are getting modified. Also, a team at Stanford has successfully enabled a paralyzed woman to type by building direct connections with her brain.

What’s Going on at Facebook’s Building 8
Facebook has been leading the charge in the human/machine integration area and the person leading this effort is a former head of the US Department of Defense’s Innovation squad. Her name is Regina Dugan and you can follow her on Facebook. Currently, they’re building systems that enable people to type at 100 wpm by decoding brain activity, decoding it into “virtual speech,” and deploying it as text. They’re also working on a way for humans to *hear through their skin*!

Towards Computer/Human Oneness
Here are some ways to keep up with what’s happening with computer / human integration:

Follow Facebook Building 8’s Regina Dugan
Connect with Dustin Tyler, an engineering professor who is at the front lines of developing physical objects that can feel, on LinkedIn
Follow Rob Spence, the guy with the camera eye who is working actively on this stuff at and check out his work and TED Talks

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There are Big Opportunities in Craft Products

Big brands like Coke, Budweiser, and FritoLay are seriously vulnerable to locally-made craft competitors. I think that there are big opportunities to take market share and then either hold it or sell a craft brand you’ve built on to big firms for large amounts of money. This Brain Boost is all about these big opportunities for smart, locally-focused, craft entrepreneurs.

The Craft Beer Takeover
In 2006, around 8m barrels of craft beer was shipped in the US. A decade later, in 2016, nearly 24m barrels of craft beer was made–nearly triple in just 10 years. Meanwhile–who was losing out? It was Budweiser. During the same period, Budweiser’s US shipments halved. That’s why AB InBev, Budweiser’s Europe-based parent company, has bought 10 American craft brewers in the last 10 years.What we’re seeing in beer makes sense to replicate in many other product categories: a locally-made, craft production takeover.

Craft Producers Have a Sustainable Advantage: Authenticity
Stanford MBA professor Glenn Carroll recently ran a massive survey which found that what drives sales in advanced economies like those in Europe, Australia, and the US is authenticity. He said “consumers are buying on the basis of their interpretation of the product and its story.” Craft products will always have a better story than industrial products because people want to feel a connection to the creators of a product.

Many Sectors with Opportunities
There are so many vulnerable product categories that it’s basically a menu for local teams ready to capture market share in their cities. Sodas and sparkling water is the fastest growing category and others include beer, liquor, and cider, snack foods, healthy packaged foods, dishware and ceramics and many more.

Our staff here at Eazl would be interested in helping your team take market share with locally-made products. Reach out to us any time at care@eazl.co–let’s talk!

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Three Ways to Build a More Supportive Family and Friend Network

You might like Eazl’s new course on giving great feedback. Here’s a link that will save you $5.

When you’re trying to launch something new, it’s critical to get some early momentum. Many of us hope that our family and friends will be the first people to support our work and if they don’t it can be hard. Recently, I launched a campaign to raise awareness about how we can use new laws to shift more than 1% (the current percentage) of the United States’ $1.4tn of personal savings to local communities (find out more at www.thebigdeal.us).

The campaign is making steady progress but I’ve been disappointed with the support I’ve received from some of the people in my close personal network. Part of that is my fault and in this Brain Boost, I’ve shared 3 recipes that have helped our family network learn to be more supportive of one another. I thought I’d share them with you.

Strategy #1: Build the habit of celebrating small wins. You can find Harvard’s research behind this here.

Strategy #2: Teach your family and friends how to use social media well. Specifically, using hashtags and profile tagging will make their social media support much more effective.

Strategy #3: Build a culture that supports progress. When you’re doing something that will take a while to build, you need people to help you stay focused by reminding you of your progress. You should do the same for them.

Have you had an experience when your family and friends network didn’t support you?

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Is Marijuana Good for Your Brain?

Is Marijuana Good for Your Brain?
New evidence shows that low doses weed might reverse the symptoms of aging in older brains. Exposure to THC might help older brains learn more easily and prevent memory loss. Andreas Zimmer from the University of Bonn in Germany says that after many repetitions of the experiment, his research team is seeing a “very robust and profound effect” of THC reversing the signs of aging in the older brains of mice.

The Experiment
Zimmer’s team gave young, middle-aged, and elderly mice a dose of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, over the course of a month. After a month, the team tested the mice’s ability to perform tasks like finding their way around mazes and recognizing other mice. There were two primary findings to these experiments:

1. Young mice who weren’t given any THC tended to perform better than middle and older-aged mice who also hadn’t gotten THC

2. Middle-aged and older mice’s performance improved significantly when exposed to consistent small doses of THC over the previous month.

Stronger Case for Weed
The University of Vermont notes that in 2016, legal marijuana sales hit $6.7bn in the United States. By 2020, they expect that the market for legal marijuana in the US will grow to $22bn –larger than the amount of money generated by the National Football League. With increasing evidence that there are wide opportunities for the use of marijuana for natural health, the legal marijuana industry might be one of the breakout industries of this generation.

Further reading:
Chronic Low Doses of THC Restores Cognitive Function in Older Mice
Follow Dr. David Nutt, Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs on Twitter
University of Vermont’s Report on the Legal Marijuana Industry in 2016

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Are We Living in a Simulation?

Elon Musk and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman have now publicly said in recent days that there is a strong possibility that we’re all living in a simulation. Are we? Is this the Matrix?

The Case for It
Though this idea was floated as early as the 17th century, it was popularized again in 2003 by Nick Bostrom, the founder of the Future of Humanity institute at Oxford University in the UK. It basically goes like this:
1. In the future, it is inevitable that human civilization will have enormous computing power
2. This computing power will surely be strong enough to run simulations to understand how their ancestors (us) thought, behaved, and evolved.
3. There is a strong chance that humankind will not self-destruct in the future
4. There is a strong chance that if future humans have the power to run simulations, they will run them.
5. Therefore, there is a strong chance that we are now in one of those simulations.

The Case Against It
People like MIT professor of physics Max Tegmark believes that, while there’s a chance that we’re in a simulation, it’s a slim one. His argument against this idea goes like this:
1. The laws of physics show evidence of ever-increasing complexity
2. Those laws would need to be mastered in order to run a simulation good enough for today’s smartest humans not to find flaws in the simulation.
3. We do not observe such flaws in the laws of nature, therefor it is unlikely that we are in a simulation.

Here are some fun links related to this subject
• Follow the Future of Humanity Institute on Twitter 
MIT Prof. Max Tegmark on Twitter
Y Combinator discussion of this topic
• Nick Bostrom’s 2003 paper on why we are likely to be in a simulation

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