In a recent study, people who sweated when the stakes were low did the best when stakes were high.
IN “GATTACA,” THE DYSTOPIAN cult classic set in the “not too distant future,” parents genetically program their children before birth, coding them for desirable strengths and skills. For them, biometric data is destiny: A person’s genetic code, tracked through a massive database, determines their career, which, of course, affects everything.
Nearly 20 years after that movie’s release, we are closer than ever to using biometric data as part of the hiring process, specifically to solve one chronic problem: Employers are bad at predicting who will perform under pressure. Each year tens of thousands of new Wall Street hires undergo boot camps that cost up to $6,000 a person, yet finance has a suicide rate 1.5 times the national average and the second- highest voluntary turnover rate (14.2%, after the hospitality industry). And if an industry as well-funded as finance struggles with vetting applicants, what hope do smaller businesses have?
We are well-accustomed by now to the ways in which women are mistreated and discriminated against on Wall Street.
Over the past decade, nearly every major bank — from Goldman Sachs GS to Morgan Stanley MS, Citigroup C— has settled a sex discrimination suit. News reports have exposed in lurid detail just how badly women are underpaid; the degree to which they face hostility from their male peers; and how they are subjected to a demeaning environment and made to feel inferior.
The latest gender bias suit, filed by Megan Messina, a senior fixed-income banker, is against Bank of America. The suit accuses BofA of vastly underpaying her and other women. In addition, Messina said her boss made her feel unwelcome in his “’bro’s club’,” and subjected her to questions like, “Have your eyes always been that blue?” The suit also accuses the bank of misconduct, and describes alleged instances of front-running trades and withholding information from clients.
In the seminal book “The Four Steps to the Epiphany”, Steve Blank introduces the concept of “customer development” – get out of the building and interview customers. While this is not a new concept – product people with user-centered design training have always done this – this is a huge development in startup-land, where technology used to run amuck.
Challenges with sample size
There is one small problem with customer development. It relies on qualitative research techniques like detailed interviews and observation, which are time consuming and costly. Additionally, these techniques involve deep interactions with a few individuals, and you always run the risk of talking to the wrong people about the wrong problems.
How do you know whether you can trust your results? One way is to increase sample size – but given each interaction can take a couple of hours all-in, trying to get to 100 conversations quickly becomes daunting.
Senate Republicans are voting to repeal the Labor Department’s recent rules that would have expressly allowed states and cities to sponsor a type of individual retirement account, called an automatic IRA. These votes will rescind those rules, because they already have been rejected by House Republicans and the administration supports rescinding them.
While Republicans objected to a patchwork of state-sponsored retirement plans, Congress should promptly pass a federal automatic IRA invested by the private sector. This vehicle, developed by conservatives, is the most feasible way of substantially increasing retirement savings in the U.S.
About a third of all Americans have no retirement savings, and most don’t have enough to retire comfortably. The main reason: More than 60 million American employees have no retirement plan offered to them by an employer.
Such employees are eligible to set up an IRA at a qualified financial institution and receive a tax deduction. But very few get around to filling out an application and making regular contributions.
The House is designed to reflect public opinion, and this can shift quickly — as we have seen throughout the past two centuries, and under Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.
Future historians will trace the unwinding of Trump’s presidency back to a speech at Gettysburg on Oct. 22, in which the candidate made some very specific commitments (watch from the 16-minute mark in this video). Specifically, President-elect Trump faces three serious problems rooted in the way political realities — Republican control of Congress — will force him to govern.
First, Trump will not deliver on what he has promised because he can’t.
His first Gettysburg promise was to “propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress” — and there were great cheers in the crowd when he said this. Last Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said term limits will not happen (“We have term limits now; they’re called elections”). There is no way the president can force the Senate Majority Leader (or the Speaker of the House) to bring legislation to the floor. Check the Constitution on that.