Malcolm Gladwell tells workers to go back to the office, but not for him, because he has an "aversion to Midtown"

Reminds me of someone.



Veritasium just did a really interesting video (containing actual science) on what it actually takes to become an expert at something.


For the remaining fans of Gladwell, I hope this is the tipping point for what’s left of his credibility.


I’m no fan of Gladwell, but this is pretty weak sauce; contrasting vague ruminations about post-pandemic back-to-work with something he said 14 years ago.

Also, a link to the Daily fucking Mail? WTF?

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Personally, I don’t like virtual work. I like short productive meetings, I like to sneak at my boss behind their back, not in my living room. I need healthy work/life separation.

But I hate commuting, so I live 5 min from where I work. NY would eat me alive, so I live in the bay area.

But that’s me, I get wanting to work from home and not die from the rona.

I feel like this guy is sometimes is likeable, but in this talk, the doucheness is super strong. FTA


To me, Seth Godin also has that veneer of profundity that crumbles when his wisdom is examined in the light of the real world. Your mileage may differ.


Well, he does have a Future Shock…of hair.

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Seems like there is a mighty difference between disagreeing with someone’s opinions vs. someone who claims to base their work on data when they are making shit up. A very large difference.


Key points for emphasis:

'As we face the battle that all organizations are facing now in getting people back into the office, it’s really hard to explain this core psychological truth, which is we want you to have a feeling of belonging and to feel necessary. And we want you to join our team.

Not “we want to join your team.” Or even “we want to be on the same team.” The ownership is clear, and it’s one-way.

Just because I enjoy surfacing the subtext, Gladwell appears to be making two sadly classic assumptions:

a) employees should naturally want what their bosses want from them, and

b) bosses wanting different things for themselves is entirely above question.

It’s amazing what otherwise good thinkers can miss. We all have blind spots, here’s one of his.


Some people like going to the office and others don’t. Generally there is a correlation between having a short commute and a bad home-working environment, and wanting to go back to the office.


Not even that. You’re just supposed to have a feeling of belonging and being respected.

We’re not actually going to respect you. I mean if we did, we’d probably respect your view that you’re better off working from where ever you think best.

And you’re only supposed to feel you’re respected and belong because we think you’ll work ever so much harder if you do, even beyond what we’re paying you.

We’ll sack you in a heartbeat if it suits us.


Canada has had a rich history of exporting our best comedians to the US for years.

I’m not sure why y’all took this guy and Doc Lobster and started considering them public intellectuals.


And they took Cruz and elected him! That was a misunderstanding- we were shipping our trash south as part of a landfill lease deal, and he ended up in office somehow? Heck of a miscommunication.


He also is just making shit up. He hasn’t done his research (again).

There are groups that feel like teams who don’t work together in person very often and in fact are rarely in any office. Field-based teams in sales and technical fields are often out on there own with specific territories and clients, but are some of the tightest-knit teams I’ve ever worked with.

The trick seems to be frequent communication, occasionally getting together in person and interdependence (leading to trust). For example, for a field person to take a vacation, someone has to cover their territory. They have to trust each other to do so effectively. That leads to a team mentality.


I wanted to go out for coffee or sit in my pajamas all day so I became a housewife. I had no idea I could just become a “thought leader” and get paid for this shit.



(One of the best times I have ever been in is entirely organized on Discord and the team is all over the world and I really feel belonging with that remote team then I would with my bullshit day job)


It’s a sample of one, but my experience working in Sydney Australia with a team based in Silicon Valley was interesting. This was pre-pandemic.

Online meetings once or twice a week, regular one-on-one catchups with team members. Excellent online collaboration tools, considering the era (2011).

But when I was interviewing for the job, I was also told a non-negotiable point: I would spend six weeks in California with the team. After I got back, I could see the point - we had to work tightly together and trust each other. And maybe most importantly, I really benefitted from getting into a few face-to-face arguments with team members. Much easier, face-to-face, to find a way to mutual understanding and respect. After that, we could argue again remotely, and know that we’d be ok.


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