Hiring Without Resumes, Zuckerberg's Lost Notebook and a Sneak Preview of CES 2021 | Non-Obvious Insights #251

Dear karl,

Just hours after a small and violent group of pro-Trump protestors broke into the Capitol building - they were removed, arrested and the House and Senate resumed their voting. Perhaps the biggest impact of what we saw yesterday is just how big the backlash is already. White House staffers are resigning. Senators are considering removing Trump early. Twitter and Facebook both locked his accounts. Even Trump's closest allies are angry. The sad silver lining is that the protests seem to be inspiring those who had been most reluctant to criticize or distance themselves from the President to finally do so.

The good news is, before the chaos, I did also curate some non-political stories to share this week! :-) So take a break from the "doomscrolling" today and check out some of the most interesting and underappreciated stories of the week below. I hope you enjoy them. 

How Open Hiring Without Resumes May Shape The Future Of Work

A little over a year ago, The Body Shop took a unique approach to hiring approximately 200 seasonal workers. Instead of demanding their resumes, the retailer boiled their interview down to three essential questions: 
  1. Are you legal to work in the U.S.?
  2. Can you stand on your feet for eight hours?
  3. Can you lift up to 50 pounds?
They are just one of many companies that are adopting a practice known as Open Hiring which may shift the landscape of hiring to make it more inclusive and offer chances to talented hard-working people who might otherwise be screened out of opportunities. This article from Harvard Business Review digs into the practice and also shares the story of Open Hiring pioneer Greyston Bakery and what they have learned by doing this for many years. 

Why the Turning Test is an Outdated Way To Measure Artificial Intelligence

It is has been 70 years since Alan Turing first imagined his legendary test built to answer the question of when a machine would be indistinguishable from a human. The assumption his test has always made was that creating machines in our likeness would always be a human scientist's ultimate goal. As this fascinating Fast Company article asks: what if this assumption were no longer true? It turns out, the most useful use cases for AI in our daily lives involve smart technology that does useful things that don't necessary need to be done the way we might do them ourselves. 

A Million Dollar Lesson From the Viral Ratatouille TikTok Musical

I have always loved a good musical ever since high school ... and so I was excited this week to read about an exclusive new performance of a musical version of the animated Pixar classic Ratatouille. I couldn't make it on the evening of the performance so I logged on the day after to grab a ticket to watch. No luck. The musical was hosted and performed as a one time only event, with no chance to watch it later. At first, I was disappointed. But now I think there is a great lesson in there for any of us producing easy-to-miss content online. When people know they can watch something anytime, it's not urgent to watch in the moment. The "Ratatousical" was urgent and I missed it. They raised over $1 million dollars. Next time, I'll buy a ticket sooner. 

Inside Mark Zuckerberg's Lost Notebook

You have to give some kudos to WIRED for the excellent article title on this one ... how could you not be intrigued by Zuck's lost notebook? This long read does offer some interesting, but not surprising, insights into how Mark Zuckerberg sees the world and how his views drive the force that Facebook has become in shaping perceptions around the world. What is interesting is just how unwavering he is in the truth of his beliefs. The portrait you read is not one of a man who is willing or even interested in changing his mind. Why would he when he already knows he's right? That's a scary amount of power and closed-mindedness wrapped into a single world leader. Especially one who is impossible remove from power. 

Inside Amtrak's New Redesigned Penn Station in New York

Before the pandemic, I would take the Acela (speed train) between DC and New York at least twice a month for meetings. I haven't done that for nearly a year, so seeing an article about Amtrak's newly opened Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station made me actually miss jumping on that 2.5 hour train to downtown Manhattan. As the writeup in Adweek notes, this indeed will be a perfect marketing opportunity for Amtrak to tell a different story about the comfort and elegance of traveling by rail. From the photos, it looks like quite the transformation. Something to look forward to the next time I do make it to Manhattan. 

Book Release of the Week:

Book Summary:
Why do so many of us stop learning new skills as adults? Are we afraid to fail? Have we forgotten the sheer pleasure of being a beginner? Or is it simply a fact that you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Inspired by his young daughter's insatiable need to know how to do almost everything, and stymied by his own rut of mid-career competence, Tom Vanderbilt begins a year of learning purely for the sake of learning. He tackles five main skills (and picks up a few more along the way), choosing them for their difficulty to master and their distinct lack of career marketability--chess, singing, surfing, drawing, and juggling.

Buy on Bookshop >>

Join the Non-Obvious Insights Show this week ...

This week on my Non-Obvious Insights Show I'll be interviewing Consumer Technology Association's VP of Research Steve Koenig about what to expect from this year's big virtual CES 2021 show coming next week.  
Want to watch past episodes? Just visit my YouTube channel to see a full archive of all my previous guests. Watch the full playlist on YouTube >>
How are these stories curated?
Every week I spend hours going through hundreds of stories in order to curate this email. Want to discuss how I could bring this thinking to your next event as a virtual speaker? Visit my speaking page >>
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