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Comment Re:fascinating look (Score 4, Informative) 212

It's been something like three years since Schmidt said that, and people are still quoting it out of context (facepalm). The comment was in reference to activities performed using Google's services, and was qualified with "the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it's important, for example that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities."

People need to realize that spreading knee-jerk misconceptions like this is damaging to Internet activism. You aren't helping the privacy cause by building up straw men instead of attacking the actual problematic stuff. The members of congress who support this legislation and the corporations backing them must be loving that so many people are ignoring them to instead focus on telling everyone how bad Schmidt and Google are.

Comment Re:Immigration (Score 1) 484

But the protectionist job dilution argument ("dey took r jerbs") ignores the fact that the most talented employees bring more value to the US economy than the effect of this dilution. As long as the bar on talent is set sufficiently high, these immigrants will increase the size of the pie by more than the small piece they're carving out of it. By not letting them into the US we're effectively boosting the Indian, Chinese, etc. economies at the expense of the US economy.

The key, again, is to set the bar high enough. Obviously you don't want to make it easy for immigrants to come in and work as truck drivers or in retail. But in jobs where their value is extremely high, such as at companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, etc., where salaries are extremely high and it's therefore clear there aren't enough American workers, it should be an easy argument that these employees bring a lot of value and the cost to the US is not all that high.

Comment Re:Indigenous vs. Immigrants? (Score 4, Insightful) 484

You don't think the $200,000+ total compensation packages that companies like Facebook routinely offer (including to H-1B holders, BTW) are "high paying" enough or "secure" enough?

While it's true that the H-1B system is heavily abused, and that most of the visas probably shouldn't be granted, Facebook is not simply lobbying for more H-1Bs. They're lobbying for more more comprehensive reform that would allow more legitimate high skilled workers into the country, and fewer illegitimate ones. There needs to be a visa for truly high end employees. Facebook probably only hires people in the top 1%, and H-1B lumps them into the same category as people in the 50th percentile.

In the 8 years I've been in Silicon Valley, the prevailing wage for software engineers at top companies has increased by more than 50%. To suggest that there aren't jobs at companies like Facebook and Google and Apple for high-skilled American workers is crazy. How high would our salaries have to rise for you to admit there's a shortage? When we're being paid like professional athletes?

Comment What kind of productivity? (Score 4, Insightful) 455

One big flaw in your argument is that the linked studies seem to focus on individual productivity. What about team productivity? I can definitely see myself producing more code if I worked in a more isolated environment, or whatever other metric you'd like to use, but I think my team's overall effectiveness would suffer. Note that we don't work alone in cubicles or closed offices, but at desks in an open environment as is common these days. It's hard for me to imagine a remote work environment -- even with chat and Google video hangouts constantly running -- that could match the free flow of ideas and information that we get from working right next to one another. The distractions to individual productivity are more than compensated for by being more plugged in to what other people are doing, which lets everyone make better decisions that save time in the long run.

I'm not sure why so many people are reacting as though there's a universally superior approach here. All teams and organizations are different. Having employees present at the office seems to work for Google, and presumably Mayer has good reason to think it will work at Yahoo as well. I'm sure there are also lots of big organizations where the opposite is true.

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