Trials Tempered by Compassion and Humility
Steven Goodman Nancy Kass
Nancy Kass is a professor of bioethics and public health at Johns Hopkins University.
Steven Goodman, an associate dean of clinical research, is the co-director of the MetaResearch Innovation Center at Stanford University, which aims to improve the
reproducibility of scientific research.
UPDATED DECEMBER 1, 2014, 7:21 PM
Designing an ethically acceptable trial to test new Ebola treatments is challenging. It
sounds inhumane to give sick and dying people placebos when testing experimental
treatments, but it is tragic on a different scale to conduct a study that doesn’t tell us clearly
whether, or how well, a new treatment works. When high-dose chemotherapy was
developed for advanced breast cancer, desperate patients were diverted from trials by
treatment advocates whose hope in a cure overrode the lack of scientific evidence of its
efficacy – all in the name of ethics. As a result, thousands of women endured highly toxic,
ineffective therapy until controlled trials were conducted.
Adaptive approaches allow researchers to modify their study, in almost real time, as they
learn more about a drug.
Ethics is not just figuring out which side poses better arguments; often it’s best to find a
third way. Given the breadth and deadly nature of the current Ebola outbreak, and
unknowns about treatments, an "adaptive approach" seems most appropriate. Adaptive
approaches allow researchers to plan a sequence of studies, or modify a single study in
almost real time, as they learn more about a drug. In West Africa, for example, the first 40
Ebola patients in a trial could all get an experimental treatment, and nobody would take a
placebo. If nearly all patients survived, in settings where most others were dying with the
same supportive care, then it is possible that placebo testing could be avoided, and
subsequent trials could randomize to different doses or treatments.
But if the results of the first trial, without placebos, revealed anything less than an almost
certain cure, a design with proper controls would have to be initiated, and explained to
those participating in the trial. Patients must be told that the drug is not a guaranteed lifesaver, so they can see the point of the control group. (And given the multiple beliefs about
Ebola among West Africans, creative approaches to promoting understanding and consent
are important as well.) These placebo-controlled trials could themselves be adaptive in
design, randomizing more patients to whichever therapy appears most effective, until the
verdict is clear. If we are to design trials to minimize suffering and death in a whole
population, we must temper our compassion with humility about what we think we know.
Science Fiction Reflects Our Anxieties
J. P. Telotte
J. P. Telotte is a professor of film and media studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology
and the author, most recently, of "Science Fiction TV."
UPDATED JULY 30, 2014, 12:47 PM
The 1930s saw numerous science fiction films centered around apocalyptic, sometimes
climatic, destruction: “La Fin du Monde” (France, 1931) predicted a comet’s collision with
the Earth; “Deluge” (United States, 1933) was the story of a giant tsunami resulting in a
worldwide flood; “Things to Come” (England, 1936) predicted world war and a
civilization-destroying plague; “S.O.S. Tidal Wave” (United States, 1939) showed the
destruction of America’s East Coast by massive tidal wave.
All these films were not as much forward-looking predictions of real apocalypse as they
were metaphorical responses to the widespread economic and political crises of the day.
Floods and plagues became stand-ins for contemporary upheaval, in this case a way to
address the anxieties that attended the Great Depression and post-World War I shock.
Science fiction does not detail the realities of specific problems so that we might avoid
them, but rather represent our most pressing cultural fears.
This is what our genre films tend to do best — not detail the realities of specific problems
so that we might avoid them, but rather represent our most pressing cultural anxieties. If a
solution is presented by a science fiction film, it is seldom workable, immediately possible,
or even logical in real-world application.
And as elements of narrative entertainment, that really isn’t their function. While science
fiction films and novels often, and quite naturally, raise awareness of — or stimulate
discussion about — scientific and technological issues including climate change, they
seldom function as primers for the solutions we need for these very knotty problems. More
often, they make us feel better about our ability to survive them.
As some of the more recent apocalyptic climate films filter into college curriculums —
works like “Waterworld” (1995), “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) or the more recent
“Snowpiercer” (2014) — they are not typically included in the conventional study of film
or science fiction.
More commonly, they are being appropriated by scientists or climatologists as lures —
attractive, non-textbook ways of introducing students to issues that can be terribly resistant
to narrativization. These professors are prodding students to see the films as more than just
exciting stories in order to start hopefully profitable discussions of what sort of responses
might or might not be appropriate for addressing global warming.
And such an outcome, a start of discussion rather than a solution to the problem, is probably
the best we can expect.
Use Hollywood Plots and Characters to Teach STEM
Mayim Bialik is a neuroscientist, Emmy-nominated actress and STEM education brand
ambassador for Texas Instruments.
DECEMBER 10, 2013
Hollywood and science rarely come together as vividly as they have in my life. I not only
have a Ph.D. in neuroscience, but I also play a neurobiologist on the television show “The
Big Bang Theory.”
Zombies can teach mathematical concepts like exponential growth curves, while studying
superheroes can answer physics questions, like what it means to travel faster than the speed
It is a wonderful convergence of academic pursuit and artistic creativity. I grew up cursorily
interested in science but never thought I would actually pursue an advanced degree, since
it didn’t come naturally to me. I was fortunate enough to have a young woman tutor me
during middle school who gave me the confidence to realize that a career in science was a
worthy and attainable pursuit that would transform my life in unimaginably wonderful
We have seen the statistics on how the U.S. is lagging behind much of the world in science,
technology, engineering and math. We also know that the world would be a better place if
there were more skilled and enthusiastic scientists, mathematicians and engineers. After
all, who is going to design the next great social media platform or build the next generation
The confines of a classroom, combined with teaching methods that are not engaging or
inspiring, will not get today’s students excited enough about STEM to want to make a
career in these fields. We need to use content that is relevant to their sensibilities -- stuff
that is cool -- and to let them experience what it’s like to be a scientist using technology
and tools that real-life scientists use.
Programs like STEM Behind Hollywood from Texas Instruments and the National
Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange are already giving educators
new, free tools to immerse students in these critical fields using Hollywood as the
Who doesn’t know something about zombies or superheroes? These cultural archetypes
can do more than just entertain. Zombies, it turns out, can teach real science and
mathematical concepts like exponential growth curves and the intricacies of human
anatomy and anatomical degradation. Superheroes can prompt a variety of questions that
draw on physics, such as: How does one actually travel faster than the speed of light?
Countless entertainment topics are ripe for scientific inquiry, which STEM Behind
Hollywood explores using real-world simulations developed for Texas Instruments
graphing calculators, computer software and iPad apps.
Movies and television are the foundations of modern storytelling and the vernacular of
today’s students, but they can be so much more. Exploring the science behind today’s hot
topics in entertainment can ignite our children’s imaginations and their passion. Maybe
they will one day even inspire a shy middle school girl to embrace her inner nerd and get
a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
Countering Security Breaches Is a National Priority and a Business
Lauren Gelman, the former executive director of the Center for Internet and Society at
Stanford Law School, is the founder of BlurryEdge Strategies, a legal and strategy firm in
San Francisco. She is on Twitter.
UPDATED FEBRUARY 21, 2013, 6:36 PM
As the public well knows after the headlines of the past few weeks, security breaches are a
regular part of American business. Now we must make countering those breaches a
national priority, and a priority for American businesses. An important part of that
commitment is to require companies to disclose when their security is compromised, so
that everyone can learn from the incident.
Because attackers sometimes exploit vulnerabilities in widely used software, it’s important
for victims to share the details of the intrusion.
The public needs to know about network intrusions to judge the right amount of investment
in government funded cyber security research and response. Sharing the technical details
of breaches helps other companies and organizations learn from the incident, and perhaps
even thwart an attack. And because attackers sometimes exploit vulnerabilities in widely
used software that’s known only to the hackers, it’s important for victims to share the
details of the intrusion.
An effective disclosure framework might oblige companies to report the fact of every
substantial security breach at their business to a designated federal agency, and upon
request to share technical details and forensic data from the breach. That agency would
compile information anonymously for the public and other businesses.
Regulation is appropriate because security breaches pose a collective action problem.
There is no incentive for any individual company to report that they were attacked. Despite
the rash of disclosures over the past few weeks, the fact remains that most companies are
more concerned about the impact of disclosure on their image and market value than on
the benefit such information would provide to the security community as a whole. Like
pollution, an insecure infrastructure is bad for everyone. Forcing companies to disclose
breaches reintroduces the public’s collective interest -- whether in not having U.S.
corporate assets electronically stolen, not being a victim of identity theft or not suffering
the externalities of cyber espionage -- as a variable in the equation.
Additionally, it is in the companies’ interest to stop fighting mandatory disclosure
requirements. As the past weeks have demonstrated, there is comfort in the herd. If the
scope of the security problem is as far-reaching as experts believe, individual businesses
who think they are alone in facing security problems are likely to find they are just one
among their peers facing the same problem. Standardized processes and programs will
develop to assist companies who suffer a security breach, similar to those that have
developed in the wake of the passage of California’s breach notification law. Smaller
companies without large in-house security teams will have more incentives to invest in
discovering and disclosing breaches if they are not terrified by the potential downside.
Opponents argue that a mandatory disclosure program will give the hackers an advantage
by widely disclosing bugs and other vulnerabilities. However right now it seems clear that
it is the hackers – sharing, selling and purchasing bugs, techniques and access – who are
the ones benefiting from information sharing. Businesses must learn from their example so
the public can benefit from the increased awareness and improved security that will follow.
Pique My Interest, Don’t Belittle My Intelligence
Jazmine Hughes is the contributing editor of The Hairpin. She is on Twitter.
UPDATED NOVEMBER 25, 2014, 1:27 PM
I wear my Millennial badge proudly: Like many of my peers, I get most of my news from
mobile devices, culled from Twitter accounts or RSS feeds, or links swapped from friend
to friend. There are a handful of sites that I visit regularly, but even as an avid consumer, I
don’t find myself getting my news directly from a homepage too often.
There's a lot to wade through. So how am I deciding what's worth a click? I take several
factors into account, including the veracity of the source, the breadth of the conversation
and the promise of puppy photos. But as those variables can fluctuate, I must rely on the
one thing that is certain: the headline.
The majority of backlash against click bait headlines is a response to the forced push of
emotion that click bait content foists onto a consumer.
In an industry riddled with plagiarism, civil insensitivities and “hot takes,” “click bait” is
still the worst insult you can hurl at a publication. Minimalistic, pared down headlines —
the anti-headline headlines — have become more prevalent in reaction to the vague,
bombastic, pandering headlines that the Internet-at-Large has come to despise.
But the majority of backlash against click bait headlines is a response to the forced push of
emotion that click bait content foists onto a consumer. The promise that "you won't believe
what comes next" or "you'll never feel the same" deprives readers of their analytic agency
and imposes an uncontextualized reaction on them. It's aggressive, empty and intellectually
reductive — or, simply, super annoying.
There's nothing wrong with an enticing headline, but pique my interest, don't belittle my
intelligence. Publications want readers to trust them, so they should trust their readers back.
Student Data Collection Is Out of Control
Khaliah Barnes is the director of the student privacy project at the Electronic Privacy
UPDATED DECEMBER 19, 2014, 12:33 PM
The collection of student data is out of control. No longer do schools simply record
attendance and grades. Now every test score and every interaction with a digital learning
tool is recorded. Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity,
prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students’ attitudes, sociability
and even "enthusiasm" are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data
Rampant data collection is not only destroying student privacy, it also threatens students’
Some schools use radio frequency identification tags to track student location throughout
the school day. Other schools use “human monitoring services” that read student email and
then contact local law enforcement if something is amiss. Students and parents will never
see the vast majority of information collected.
The push for big data in education has also contributed to data breaches and has made
student information susceptible to being sold for purposes unrelated to the collection. My
organization sued the Education Department for weakening a forty-year-old student
privacy law and allowing private companies increased access to student data.
Rampant data collection is not only destroying student privacy, it also threatens students’
intellectual freedom. When schools record and analyze students’ every move and recorded
thought, they chill expression and speech, stifling innovation and creativity.
Students should have a right to a privacy framework that limits data collection, gives rights
to them and their families, and places responsibility on schools and companies that gather
data. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and others are working to update student
privacy protections in Congress. Enacting a Student Privacy Bill of Rights is a top priority.
Government Should Invest in Fiber Optics
Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, is the author of "Captive
Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age." She is on
UPDATED JULY 14, 2014, 12:19 PM
Because we treat high-speed Internet access as a luxury rather than basic infrastructure —
akin to electricity and clean water — we're leaving most economically disadvantaged
people in New York behind. Although access is "available" to 97 percent of people living
in the five boroughs, just 37 percent of people in New York State with annual incomes of
$20,000 or less have a high-speed Internet access connection at home, compared with 85
percent of those with incomes over $60,000. Having a wire in your home is too expensive
for people of modest means.
Programs that have worked in Sweden could work here, installing lines and leasing them
to Internet providers.
Earlier this year, I met a young man named Daniel who wants to design virtual
environments. Daniel knows he'll get a job and he's already midway through his training
in virtual reality design. That's because Daniel lives in Stockholm, where 100 percent of
people have a wire in their home. Even in a low-income section of Stockholm called Husby
– where 86 percent of residents are immigrants, unemployment hovers at about 8 percent
and monthly incomes average $2,250 – gigabit fiber access (1,000 Mbps download and
upload, 100 times as fast as standard access in America) costs only $28 per month.
Stockholm, unlike New York City, decided 20 years ago that it didn't want to be under the
thumb of any existing communications company. It also wanted to avoid competing in the
private market or regulating the existing players. So the city built neutral fiber lines and
leased them out to private operators so they could light the lines with electronic equipment
and serve customers. Result: intense competition, low prices and universal coverage. The
project paid for itself in short order and now brings millions of dollars of revenue annually
into city coffers.
A similar program in New York City would require the city to expand the work of an entity
called Empire City Subways that maintains and operates the conduits for communications
lines in Manhattan and the Bronx. Landlords of apartment buildings and offices would
need to install boxes so that neutral fiber would get all the way into the building. Then
young residents wouldn't have to hang around the local library after closing time in order
to get online.
The problem is that entity is now a subsidiary of Verizon. Verizon has enormous power in
New York City; it is a very large employer and taxpayer; pays millions in video franchise
fees to the city; and runs the national security infrastructure.
But unless the city acts to control its destiny, Verizon and Time Warner Cable will always
call the shots.
Services, like Airbnb, Mean We Need to Adapt to a New Economy
Arun Sundararajan is a professor of information, operations and management sciences at
the Stern School of Business at New York University. He is on Twitter.
MAY 6, 2014
Online services like Airbnb, Lyft, SideCar and Getaround are disrupting old economic
systems rooted in firm-to-consumer interactions and individual ownership, and opening
new ways to stimulate economic and social activity. This is blurring the boundaries
between personal activities and the commercial provision of services. We need to rethink
our local governance and regulatory framework to accommodate this new economy while
ensuring that a few bad actors don’t bring down the entire system.
We need to create a new regulatory framework for online service providers, balancing their
lower risks with appropriately designed safeguards.
We are free to lend our apartments to acquaintances, pick up relatives from the airport, or
loan money to friends starting new businesses. These are considered "personal"
undertakings, unlike running a hotel, driving a taxicab, or being a professional investor,
and have none of the additional oversight, licensing, screening, taxation or training
expected of providers who conduct these activities as a full-time occupation.
This balance seemed reasonable when peer-to-peer exchange remained personal, and even
when it was commercial but on the fringes, mediated by personal networks and sites like
Craigslist. But as new sharing platforms bring these informal exchanges into the
mainstream economy, they create service providers who are “in between” personal and
professional – like Airbnb hosts who rent out their apartments when they travel, or Lyft
drivers who transport people commercially for a few hours a week.
We need to create a regulatory framework for these new providers, balancing their lower
risks with appropriately designed safeguards. Delegating some of the responsibility to the
platforms with suitable government oversight is part of the solution. Since there always
will be businesses (like the landlords trying to run illegal hotels via Airbnb) that misuse
new platforms to bypass regulations or taxes meant for them, guidelines developed
explicitly to formalize the informal providers will ensure that a handful of law-breakers
don’t hold back the millions who are creating legitimate new economic value.
Laws Can Ensure Privacy in the Internet of Things
Aleecia M. McDonald
Aleecia M. McDonald is the director of privacy at the Center for Internet and Society at
Stanford Law School.
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 8, 2013, 7:01 PM
It’s a noisy, nosy world. For example, our cellphones are nonstop tracking devices that
occasionally make calls – and yet we would be lost without their maps. Our shoes can tell
hundreds of our closest Facebook friends about our latest jog. Tiny RFID tags, embedded
in many objects and devices, have unique IDs that they blurt out to any radio signal that
asks. New cars not only phone information back to car makers, but also to other cars.
Vehicular communication improves safety but adds new risks that a database of
everywhere you drive could become available to hackers, police or insurance companies.
We are at the cusp of big changes – good and bad.
We have learned the hard way that we cannot trust companies or governments to show
restraint in collecting our data.
The idea of devices chatting away to one another is both radically cool and rightly
concerning. Most people want what a data-driven future can provide, but we have learned
the hard way that we cannot trust companies or governments to exercise basic decency and
restraint in collecting our data. Lack of trust hampers adoption of potentially useful
technologies, including California’s decision last week to halt plans for RFID in drivers’
How can we have smart devices while preserving our core rights to privacy? First, the key
is to include privacy and security from the very start while designing products and
components. This way we can use technology without technology using us. Second, we
already use firewalls and other approaches to limit who can reach our desktop computers.
We could engineer similar technical intermediaries for our new devices. Third, privacy
tools should be as simple to use as products themselves. Finally, it is rare for technology
to entirely solve the challenges technology creates, so we need new privacy laws that are
savvy and wise. There is much work to do, but we can build an awesome future without
trading away our human need for privacy.
Noncompete Agreements Don’t Have to Be All or Nothing
Michael D. Weil
Michael D. Weil is a partner at the law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe. He blogs at
Trade Secrets Watch.
UPDATED JUNE 11, 2014, 12:25 PM
Employers who overuse or misuse noncompete agreements have given them a bad
American companies are losing billions of dollars to foreign and domestic hackers who
steal trade secrets. We should be cautious about further weakening employers’ ability to
protect their intellectual property.
Noncompetes protect the legitimate business interests of employers — usually in the form
of trade secrets, confidential information or client relationships — but their enforcement
must be balanced against the rights of former employees and the public.
Reasonable enforcement depends entirely on context. For example, it might be reasonable
to restrain a well-compensated chief technology officer from immediately taking a similar
position with a direct competitor.
Likewise, it may be reasonable for a company to want to prevent former sales employees
from poaching certain customers, especially in cases where the employees fostered those
relationships at the employer’s expense.
But it can be unfair when overzealous employers attempt to impose overly broad
noncompetes, beyond their legitimate purpose, on employees who pose no actual threat.
To prevent these kinds of situations, and to advance employee mobility, a few states like
California have taken the extreme approach of enacting laws that ban noncompetes. (The
exception is that the buyer of a business may still impose a noncompete on the seller.)
California adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which authorizes courts to keep
employees from working with a competitor for a reasonable period of time in response to
an actual or threatened misappropriation of protected information. The law, which has been
adopted in some form by 48 of the 50 states, also permits monetary recovery.
But that only remedies a problem after it has occurred. As a practical matter, these problems
are often difficult to detect. California’s laws, for example, do not prevent individuals from
accepting employment where, by virtue of their new job duties, they will inevitably
disclose trade secrets.
At a time when Congress is concerned that American companies are losing billions of
dollars in trade secret theft to foreign and domestic hackers, we should be cautious about
weakening employers’ ability to protect their intellectual property. The broad solution is
not an all-or-nothing approach, but thoughtful legislation that creates appropriate
disincentives to employers who might overuse or misuse noncompetes, while allowing for
enforcement to protect employers’ legitimate interests.
Tips Supplement Paltry Paychecks
Ty Batirbek-Wenzel, a Web and graphic designer, is the author of “Behind Bars: The
Straight-Up Tales of a Big City Bartender” and a new novel, “The Orchid Revolution.”
She is on Twitter.
UPDATED JUNE 23, 2013, 7:01 PM
“Tip or Die.”
That was written in black permanent marker on a can that lived next to the cash register at
the bar where I mixed drinks for over a decade.
The cash I earned tending bar, which involved 10-hour shifts on my feet and drunks
vomiting on me, bought groceries, health care and peace of mind.
I've had to defend tipping more than a handful of times. I actually had to deal with an antitipping heckler while on book tour for my bartending memoir. I've had born-again
Christians leave me pamphlets on finding God -- in lieu of a tip -- after drinking themselves
Sure, I made decent money from tips; there was rarely a night that I didn't clear two or
three hundred dollars. “You're making money hand-over-fist!” some would declare, as if I
didn't deserve it. Care to look at my $30 weekly paycheck? Care to subsidize my health
insurance? I didn't get any. Care to work over 10 hours a night on your feet and shuffle
home at 5 in the morning? McDonald's workers had bigger paychecks, and I doubt they
had to deal with people vomiting on them on a fairly regular basis.
Getting rid of tipping would be bad business. Prices at restaurants would rise if the burden
of paying servers were turned over to the house. And then there is the question of
motivation. Think it's hard to find your waitress now? Think your waiter was a little surly?
Wait until their income is no longer linked to their performance at your table.
Of course, if all restaurants offered a living wage -- say, at least $25 per hour with health
care and other benefits -- then this could be a game-changer. Until then, though, those fiveand 10-dollar bills left on tables and bars across the country are paying for rent, doctor
visits and child care. Without tipping in this current environment, I fear that we would be
just a stone's throw away from inflicting the same kind of poverty on servers that is endured
by the employees at Wal-Mart, to give just one example.
Tipping counters the actions of powerful restaurant lobbies that spare no expense in driving
down wages to near poverty levels.
So until salaries are generous, tip or die.
Food Industry Deals Hurt Consumers and the Environment
Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch and the author of
"Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America."
UPDATED JUNE 3, 2013, 3:23 PM
The U.S. government needs to do more to stop consolidation in the food supply, and
transnational business deals — like the proposed purchase of Smithfield by China’s largest
meat company, Shuanghui International — illustrate why mergers and acquisitions need
more regulation and scrutiny, not less.
This deal facilitates the export not just of pork but also America’s industrialized factory
farming system — a disaster for the environment. This approach is already spreading;
Shuanghui International became China’s monolithic meat company by adopting the U.S.
factory farm model pioneered by companies like Smithfield. The merger is likely to
increase the size, intensity and pollution of hog production in China. Furthermore,
Smithfield’s anticipated increased exports to China would effectively convert U.S. factory
farms into export platforms; Smithfield would ship out the pork, and we’d keep the hog
Deals like this serve no one but the executives and bankers who stand to profit; everyone
else is left with the manure.
In addition to the environmental consequences of the deal, it’s bad for consumers.
Transnational deals in the food industry usually add to American imports, and a rising flood
of imported food swamps U.S. import inspectors. In the long term, Shuanghui may offshore
hog operations to China, and the U.S. could be importing pork. In 2011, Shuanghui recalled
thousands of tons of meat after reports that it was laced with the banned veterinary drug
clenbuterol, which is linked to serious human health risks.
Despite these risks, the United States is pursuing new trade deals with Europe and Pacific
Rim partners, which China has expressed interest in joining. These commercial pacts
promote such transnational megamergers as much as they promote exports. And the secret
negotiations behind them are used to weaken food safety and environmental standards.
Deals like this serve no one but the executives and bankers who stand to profit; everyone
else is left with the manure.
Workers Know Whether to Telecommute
Cali Ressler Jody Thompson
Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson are the co-founders of CultureRx and co-authors of a
book about management.
UPDATED FEBRUARY 28, 2013, 2:30 PM
Organizations trying to decide whether and when to allow people to work remotely are
stuck in the last century. In the 1950s, requiring employees to work in the same location
made a lot of sense. But we’ve evolved, as civilizations tend to. Today we have numerous
tools that allow us to work from literally anywhere on the planet. We are moving forward,
and society is aligned in favor of a 24/7 economy that rewards personal responsibility and
freedom. It’s not about who’s in the office vs. who’s gotten a special pass to work outside
Responsibility and freedom. Responsibility for the work, and the freedom to do it in a way
that makes common sense. Managers are playing hall monitor instead of getting crystal
clear with each employee about delivering measurable results. Managed flexibility is
seriously outdated – just paternalistic behavior of granting permission for people to work
outside of the 1952 constraints of time and place.
Get clear on what needs to get done and how it's being measured, and stop managing how
and where people do it.
Organizations can trust their employees to own their work and manage their time without
vintage H.R. policies about office hours or remote working. Managing someone’s time is
a way of saying, “I don’t know how to effectively manage the work, so now I’m going to
try to manage you.”
Treat people like the adults that they are, and they will act like adults. Treat them like
children, and you’ll find yourself with a workplace full of people who are watching the
clock tick waiting for the bell so they can make a mass exodus.
Our advice: Focus on managing the work, not the people. People can manage themselves.
Get clear on what needs to get done and how it's being measured, and stop managing how
and where people do it. If they don't deliver, they're out. No results? No job.
Obama Should Invite an Obamacare Critic to the State of the Union
Grace-Marie Turner is the president of the Galen Institute, a nonprofit research
organization focusing on free-market ideas for health reform. She served on the Medicaid
Commission from 2005 to 2006.
UPDATED MARCH 5, 2014, 1:20 PM
President Obama can be expected to invite Affordable Care Act enthusiasts to sit with the
first lady, especially young people who have newly purchased health insurance in the
exchanges. But this gesture could backfire with the millions of people whose health
insurance has been cancelled because of the law and who cannot afford to replace it with
expensive policies that meet its extensive rules and benefit mandates.
If I were advising the president, I would recommend he try to calm the growing animosity
toward the law by apologizing to those who have lost their coverage and inviting a former
critic, especially someone with a chronic medical condition who now is able to get health
insurance through the exchange. The disruption the law is creating to our health sector and
economy is extensive, but the president could single out a few people representative of
those who may even reluctantly have been helped by the law.