21-year-old Moritz Erhardt collapsed and died this week after reportedly working very long hours at Bank of America's offices in London. Erhardt, a German business studies undergraduate, was on a seven-week internship. He is said to have been so eager to impress his bosses at Bank of America that he worked almost around the clock three days in a row. He is reported to have died after an epileptic fit while taking a shower.
Commentaters are now calling for a change in the finance industry’s working practices. Chris Roebuck, a former banker and now professor of leadership at Cass Business School, says junior employees in London’s financial district are frequently pressured into working up to 100 hours a week.
“This is despite all the evidence we have that clearly shows that should an individual work in excess of 70 to 75 hours, the quality of their decision-making, the quality of their output, falls off dramatically,” says Roebuck.
Bank of America said it was deeply shocked and saddened by the young man’s death and that new staff will be advised on how to cope with the pressures of the job.
Hewlett-Packard reports its quarterly results Wednesday as it tries to adjust to a shifting tech landscape. These days, PCs are passé.
In fact, it’s pretty much a post-PC world for legacy tech companies like H-P, Dell, and IBM. They don’t make much money from hardware anymore. Now, the money is in cloud services, analytics and artificial intelligence.
IBM’s Jeopardy-winning computer, Watson, is an example of what’s lucrative, says tech analyst Rob Enderle.
“The money is in the technology that makes them smart, not in the hardware itself,” he says.
But while IBM bets on artificial intelligence, Dell leads in the server market and Hewlett Packard is investing in cloud services. Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies, a Silicon Valley consulting firm, notes that older tech companies aren’t trying to be king of the entire computer hill anymore, just part of it.
“I don’t think they’re all on the exact same path,” he says, “and I think that’s where we’ll see it for the next 25 years.”
If the companies are still around. Carl Howe, vice president of the Yankee Group, says older tech firms missed out on the mobile market and their new strategies may not save them.
“It’s a little bit like saying, Chrysler and the like were making great cars, but the market has moved to flying cars,” Howe says. “Mobility is a case where your car really does have to fly.”
Or at least fit in your purse.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper has approved Kodak's plan to emerge from court oversight. That paves the way for it to be a much smaller company focused on commercial and packaging printing.
All this week we're looking at accessibility and how technology is helping people with disabilities approach their lives in new ways. Today's installment starts with an anomaly: a Harvard professor who doesn't like to read -- at least not until recently.
Dr. Matt Schneps is an astrophysicist who suffers from dyslexia, and he's published a study this summer with some surprising findings. It turns out that reading on a computer screen -- even a tiny one -- might actually help people like Schneps with speed and focus.