National / International News

'Security Princess' or 'Engineering Manager'?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 02:00

In the tech world, it’s not uncommon to meet a princess. Mine is named Parisa Tabriz. I know, because it says so on her business card.

“So, 'security princess' is my self-appointed title,” Tabriz says. “My actual job title is I am the engineering manager for the Chrome security team.”

But she figures the title “security princess” is “more fun.”

It’s also much more Silicon Valley. It’s sort of like a tradition here, at least when companies are starting up, to let employees choose their titles — not their real titles — but the ones they put on their business card.

“This is my last business card when I worked at Apple,” says Guy Kawasaki.

It reads “chief evangelist.”

I ask, “Who gave you the title?”

“I took that title,” Kawasaki answers. “I assumed that title.”

Kawasaki says choosing your title — even if it’s just the one on your business card — encourages you to think big about your job. Take Kawasaki’s title: evangelist.

He says when Apple was introducing the Macintosh in the mid-1980s, the masses barely knew about personal computers. And they sure didn’t get why you’d buy one.

So Apple needed more than just sales people; it needed somebody to sell the idea that personal computing would change their lives. They needed an evangelist.

“Evangelism is seeing your product or service as a way to change the world, and you want to bring this good news to people,” says Kawasaki.

He says it might sound delusional, but it is different than sales. You're not worrying about quotas and selling units. So a new job needs a new name.

Kawasaki left Apple in the late '90s, and since then, techies have introduced all sort of titles, says Scott Brosnan, a tech recruiter at Workbridge Associates.

“Ruby on rails rockstar,” he says. "Software ninja, data wrangler, I see a lot of now."

Brosnan isn’t impressed by the titles. But, he says, like wearing jeans and T-shirts to work, when tech companies allow employees to choose their title, they’re saying: We’re not corporate types, we’re creatives! Come work for us!

Keith Rollag, a management professor at Babson College, says there’s a study that shows this practice can make employees happier. The study was conducted by two researchers from Wharton and one from the London Business School.

They went into a health care company and let some of the employees define their titles.

“And what they found was it actually reduced people’s feelings of job exhaustion and it reduced the stress they felt while they’re on the job,” says Rollag.

Rollag says those employees felt empowered to redefine their jobs in ways that felt more meaningful.

ESPN3 grows its offerings with student productions

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 01:30

On Saturday, the Mercer Bears from Macon, Georgia, will play their first Southern Conference football game against Furman. Fans can watch it on the ESPN3 Web stream, even though the Bears football program is only one year old. Mercer decided to take advantage of an ESPN3 initiative that allows schools to join the network.

“We're one of the first in football to pick that up and run with it and self-produce an event for ESPN,” said Mercer Athletic director Jim Cole.

It took an investment of $150,000 to upgrade the university's TV production studio, get some high-grade cameras and pull fiber cable throughout campus. But, Cole says, joining the ESPN network is money well spent — even if it's only their Web stream.

“I'm looking for name ID for Mercer,” Cole said, to showcase Mercer to potential students around the country. “Kids understand what ESPN means, so we view this as a recruiting advantage as well,” he said.

ESPN3 has been the place for niche events like cricket, tennis or volleyball, but it's making headway into college sports, including football. Colleges and universities are eager for exposure on any of the sports media giant's network, and the school production initiative is part of ESPN3's business strategy.

“There is the ability for us to leverage our position in the marketplace to deliver a Mercer college-football game in the same APP as Monday Night Football,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN's senior director of programming and acquisitions.

ESPN3 has different deals with each school, but the production quality has to fit their broadcast standards, Bernstein said.

Mercer University has a professional producer and director on staff, but the rest of its production crew are students who work for free.

Students Emanuela Rendini (left) and Sam Strickland (right) are part of the 20 student production team.

Susanna Capelouto

“Being paid, to me, is not really important,” said sophmore Emanuela Rendini. She is a journalism major and works as a grip during football games. She's in it for the experience, and the ability to leverage the ESPN brand name.

“Having ESPN on your resume when you graduate is really big to me,” she said.

Her volunteer efforts help her school add to the more than 7 ,000 exclusive live productions on ESPN3 this year, which can be seen by 95 million ESPN subscribers, 21 million college students and soldiers who get internet access through their school or military base.

ESPN3 will stream the Mercer vs. Furman game Saturday at 6 p.m. 

Silicon Tally: Taxi for two

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-05 01:30

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by Stephanie Humphrey, who writes about tech for

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VIDEO: App 'combats stress' of autistic users

BBC - Fri, 2014-09-05 00:13
A prototype smartphone app records and responds to the social anxiety experienced by autistic users.

Hopes rise for Ukraine peace deal

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 21:58
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expresses careful optimism that a deal can be agreed with Russia to end fighting in the east of his country.

PM warning over terrorist ransoms

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 21:48
David Cameron tells fellow Nato leaders they should not pay ransoms to kidnappers, as the UK seeks ways to free a Briton held by militants.

Police shoot man dead in London

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 21:33
Police shoot dead a man who was threatening a woman with a knife at a house in north London.

'Zero tolerance' on driving offences

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 21:29
Police in Northern Ireland announce a zero-tolerance crackdown on a range of motoring offences in response to a rise in road deaths in the region.

Federer comeback beats Monfils

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 21:25
Roger Federer fights back from two sets down against Gael Monfils to win a thrilling five-set US Open quarter-final in New York.

'Horror in the suburbs' - front pages

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 21:12
The reported beheading of a grandmother in north London leads some papers, while others suggest the UK is preparing for war against Islamic State militants.

Australia defends asylum-seeker care

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 20:59
Australian minister defends medical care given to an asylum seeker who activists say has been declared brain dead, after he cut his foot.

Toronto Film Festival kicks off

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 20:48
Robert Downey Jr drama The Judge opens the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in Canada, where 300 films will be screened over 11 days.

US vets find 43 socks in sick dog

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 19:59
US veterinary surgeons operating on a sick dog discover the cause of their patient's malaise - 43 and a half socks.

Across The Country, Fast-Food Workers Rally For $15-An-Hour Pay

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:42

Union organizers say workers need a liveable wage and that their campaign to win them is gaining momentum, but the industry says higher wages would increase the cost of fast food.

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The other Forth bridge - 50 years on

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:34
Fifty years of the remarkable Forth Road crossing

Why are scrap dealers portrayed as criminals?

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:30
Why are scrapyards seen as sinister places?

Would taxes go up or down?

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:28
Would taxes go up or down in an independent Scotland?

Imams plead for UK hostage's release

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:26
Imams across Scotland use Friday prayers to reiterate their opposition to extremism and call for all hostages to be released.

TUC attacks Tories' union curb plans

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:24
Conservative plans to restrict trade union powers have been denounced by the head of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Referendum campaigns focus on welfare

BBC - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:22
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will claim later that independence is an "opportunity for all sectors of Scottish society".