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  • Writer's pictureBen Kettle

Good To Know: Sept 2021 🧑‍💻

Updated: Jan 3, 2022

A monthly round-up of things happening in hiring, D&I, and humanity.

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to Good to Know! If you just signed up, I publish Good to Know on the last Tuesday of every month. Unlike most posts, Good to Know is a round-up of things going on in hiring, D&I, and humanity with some of my comments. Its purpose is to showcase some of the great work that others are doing and learn from them.

We’ll be back to our regular posting schedule next week. And, as always, thank you for reading!



🤓This week we have🤓

  • Would you mind taking the Maternity Leave Survey if you’re a working mom?

  • Corrupt colleagues are more likely to influence their coworkers.

  • Facebook enables job ad discrimination. Again.

  • The concept of “Management” is due for a remote work-enabled reckoning.

  • Prada’s diversity efforts aren’t performative bullshit.

  • Job growth will be anemic for the next ten years (unless you work in home health care).

  • Quality tweets.

  • Declining male enrollment in college. Big deal or Nah?

🤰Hey, are you a mom? Take this survey👇

If you have or know someone who has experienced maternity leave, please fill out this survey or pass it along to them. It only takes 2 minutes, and I’ll keep all responses completely anonymous.

Here’s why:

I had several conversations last summer about maternity leave. These have pushed me to think about all employee benefits, especially maternity leave, through the lens of a product rather than an employee benefit. This survey is my first step in understanding how reframing employee benefits might make for more equitable work culture.


🍎Quantifying the influence of corrupt workers

Spoiler: bad financial advisors increased the probability that their colleagues would behave fraudulently.

We found that financial advisors are 37% more likely to commit misconduct if they encounter a new co-worker with a history of misconduct. This result implies that misconduct has a social multiplier of 1.59 — meaning that, on average, each case of misconduct results in an additional 0.59 cases of misconduct through peer effects.

What’s worse? Ethnicity matters.¹ Sharing ethnicity with a corrupt coworker makes it more likely that one bad apple will influence their ethnically similar colleagues’ behavior.

Accordingly, we use advisor ethnicity and show that peer effects in misconduct are stronger between advisors who share the same ethnicity; the contagion effect is nearly twice as large if an advisor meets a new co-worker with a history of misconduct and who shares the advisor’s ethnicity.

📉Facebook allows discrimination in job ads📉

Facebook settled a job ad discrimination case two years ago. They didn’t learn their lesson.

That’s right. Facebook is accused of allowing discriminatory job advertising² again.

Global Witness [an advocacy group] submitted two job ads for approval, asking Facebook not to show:
  • one to women

  • the other to anyone over the age of 55

And the social-media giant approved both ads for publication, although it did ask the organization to tick a box saying it would not discriminate against these groups.

The user path here is a little tricky, so let’s break it down:

  1. A Facebook Advertiser wants to post a job ad.

  2. This Advertiser is an agist and misogynist, so they tell Facebook not to show the ad to women or anyone over 55.

  3. Facebook asks the Advertiser not to discriminate. Since the Advertiser already discriminated, they’re like, “Of course I won’t discriminate Facebook! I already did that (and thanks for your help)! But no more discrimination for me. No sir.”

  4. Facebook shows the job ad exclusively to men under 55, and everyone at Facebook goes about their day blissfully unaware of irony but keenly aware of their stock options.


What’s the role of a “manager” anyway? ❌👨‍💼

You know how sometimes someone articulates a thought so well that they clarify your thinking about an issue?

Well, writer and Tech PR CEO Ed Zitron has a great piece in The Atlantic³ that did just that for me.

Zitron argues that “management” has become a reward for prior performance rather than a practiced discipline. And while that’s not an entirely original idea, he does make the case that the consequences of this decision matter more in a world of remote work.

The whole piece got me fired up - mainly because a paradigm shift back to management as a practice (rather than a reward) will fundamentally change how we work in western culture. It’s depressing that we’ve lost the script on what management should be, but encouraging that the pendulum could swing back the other way.

I particularly loved this paragraph (but the whole thing is worth your time).

This type of “hall monitor” management, as a practice, is extremely difficult to execute remotely, and thus the coming shift toward permanent all- or part-remote work will lead to a dramatic rethinking of corporate structure. Many office workers—particularly those in industries that rely on the skill or creativity of day-to-day employees—are entering a new world where bureaucracy will be reduced not because executives have magically become empathetic during the pandemic, but because slowing down progress is bad business. In my eyes, that looks like a world in which the power dynamics of the office are inverted. With large swaths of people working from home some or all of the time, managers will be assessed not on their ability to intimidate other people into doing things, but on their ability to provide their workers with the tools they need to measurably succeed at their job.


Prada steps up their diversity efforts 👠

Not to be outdone, Prada is increasing their efforts to find and cultivate underrepresented talent. They tapped Chicago artist and D&I council co-chair, Theaster Gates, to lead Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab - a place where artists of color can get mentorship and exposure to one of the world’s most respected design houses.

This is about creating an “easier way to find the talent that is on the street and not in the schools,” says Gates in an interview.

☠️ Tired of a super competitive talent market? Give it ten years ☠️

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. will experience pretty crappy job growth over the next decade.

A third of the growth will be low-wage positions, with home healthcare making up most of the new jobs.

Some Tweets: job interviews and marriage💒, labor shortages and borders

Dare Obasanjo is a high-quality tweeter if you’re into tech, product, or D&I. He’s worth a follow.

Also, this one is from Trace Mitchell.


🥊Men and college enrollment. It’s the WSJ vs. NYT - Who you got?🥊

First, the WSJ published a piece on declining male enrollment in college. Then the NYT published their piece, saying that maybe it isn’t such a big deal.

Kevin Carey, the guy who wrote the NYT piece, has a pretty informative Twitter thread that is, frankly, all you need to read.

Carey’s more nuanced and less alarmist take makes the most sense to me. He argues that the significant gender imbalance started over 40 years ago and that the drop in enrollment numbers reflects demographics over indifference.

What is alarming? Most of the gender discrepancy occurs at community colleges, and women do work that is traditionally undervalued so they have to work harder. Read Carey’s thread here👇


And Finally📈…

I have the goal to get to 1,000 subscribers by the end of the year. Why? Because I want everyone to hire more thoughtfully, and the bigger the audience, the better.

Three things you can do to help:

  1. If you haven’t subscribed and you find this newsletter helpful, please subscribe.

2. If you find the posts valuable, please share Lying to Ourselves with a friend or colleague.

3. If you think this content is terrible, wrong, or could use a slight improvement, please let me know why and how.

That’s it for me. We’ll be back next week. Thanks again for reading!


1 Robert Cialdini’s Influence strikes again.

2 Thanks to the noted product leader, author, podcaster, and Facebook skeptic Tom Noser for sending this to me.

3 Many thanks to sales master and mentor Frank Grant for passing this one along.

4 Thank you to the incomparable designer, teacher, and mom, Myan Aljets, for sending me this.

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