Netflix to pay $59M to settle a tax dispute in Italy, where prosecutors claimed cables and servers used by Netflix amounted to a physical presence in the country.

If you are wondering why I put this under the ‘Work’ category – it is because I think there is a court fight waiting to happen as to where work happens.

The thinking behind this case will be funneled into the new case.



Just ignore me.

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The Future of Personalization

Don’t get too excited – it’s a McKinsey paper. 

The future of personalization – and how to get ready for it.

  • Physical spaces will be ‘digitized’
  • Empathy will scale
  • Brands will use ecosystems to personalize journeys end-to-end

… wait – what?

“Empathy will scale.”

You can’t make this stuff up. Talk about buzzword compliance!

Then – when I was looking for a suitable image to use for this post … I came across this doozy from Sitecorp.

Content is empathy at scale.

Good Grief!


Decentralized identity startup Spruce wants to help users control their sign-in data.

Chang sees “sign-in with Ethereum” and Kepler as the two main products Spruce plans to develop using the new funding, he said. “Sign-in with Ethereum,” in particular, is likely to be a catalyst for Spruce’s growth, he added.

Music to my ears …

People First
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If You Don’t Add Value – Why Are You There?

It is telling that someone like Doug Rushkoff can write these words;

Only individuals who create value for the company are awarded new stock proportionate to their contributions.

Douglas Rushkoff

… without questioning the principle.

The corollary is of course that there are people that work inside a company that don’t add value, which for yours truly is of course like a ‘red rag to a bull’ – because as the title of this post suggests, if you are employed by a company and not adding value to that company – then why are you there?

Stakeholder capitalism (apparently) ‘solves’ the problem.

‘Stakeholder capitalism’ is the buzzword du jour for business practices that strive to achieve more than profits and a high stock price. 


If you want to read more – you can:

Putting stakeholder capitalism into practice.

To be fair, the idea of ‘Stakeholder Capitalism’ has been around for several decades, although who actually coined the term is up for debate, with names including Klaus Schwab (Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum), Peter Drucker and Tom Peters.

Still wondering? This is not a bad primer.

So yes – it is not a new idea – it’s just that as the world’s conversation is moving into fairness and equality, as we see a (kind of) resurgence of Unions and as ‘capitalists’ are pushed into the corner of ‘defending their position’ … the term is emerging and arguably being positioned as the logical next step for a ‘sustainable economy’.

I wrote about this over three years ago when I shared a Ted Talk from Nick Hanauer. Today, that video has had over 5 million views. At the point of ‘first discovery’, I had not heard of Nick – but as I pointed out, the principles of what he was talking about are engrained in People First thinking.

Today, you can hear the same language when people talk about DAOs in the world of ‘Web3’ and quite a few other places.

But then many steps before ‘Stakeholder Capitalism’, there was something called ‘The Cooperative Movement’ which got its start in 1844 in Rochdale a small town in Lancashire, England.

So far, I have not read anything that clearly articulates the distinction between Stakeholder Capitalism and Cooperatives and which and why each might be better or worse than the other. Sometimes I wonder if ‘cooperative’ is too ‘radical’ in this world – so we keep inventing new words to describe the same thing.

I have always liked the New Values/Old Values – New Power/Old Power model originally developed by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms nearly ten years ago.

So, picking on a random target company like Uber, which despite hanging its hat on ‘the sharing economy’ is actually 💯 an ‘old thinking’ capitalist company.

Now consider a company called ATX Coop Taxi – a cooperative taxi service based in Austin that has been around for over 5 years. NO – they aren’t as well known – but their service is a ‘cooperative’.

The question is why hasn’t it taken off?

That is for another time.

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The Marketoonist Nails Data Protection

Walled Gardens
GDPR Compliance
Relevant Advertising
Zero Party Data, First-Party Data, Second-Party Data and Third-Party Data
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A Different Take On Ikigai

Spotted here.


People First


Really happy to report that the redesign here at People First is done. More to come, but first spending a little time cleaning up some a lot of the older posts.

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The Coup We Are Not Talking About

Shoshana Zuboff calls this development The Coup We Are Not Talking About. The subhead of that essay makes the choice clear: We can have democracy, or we can have a surveillance society, but we cannot have both. Her book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, gave us a name for what we’re up against. A bestseller, it is now published in twenty-six languages. But our collective oblivity is also massive.

💬 Doc Searls (my emphasis)

Hear her speak

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What Is The Future Of Work?

Let me point out – again – that the answer to the question is useless – because the question is badly framed. I have written about this before here, here and here and a whole host of other places aswell.

The Conclusion

There is no future of work. There is only a future of income.

Fast forward to a LinkedIn graphic that was presented to me last week.

It appeared in Brett King‘s LinkedIn stream. Brett and I are connected on LinkedIn, and have a couple of very good mutual friends in common. Brett, like another ‘futurist’ Gerd Leonhard is doing a great job in ‘getting the word out’, but I worry that the word being got out is not just oversimplified but actually harmful because people are being lulled into a false sense of security.

This Is One Such Example

First, I assume that ‘Aritificial’ is a typo and not some new technological development …

… but the lack of proofreading of a single sentence might be a clue to how substantial the thinking is that underpins the idea.

Important: Please do not take this post as my taking an anti position on Brett. I don’t know him, but do follow and pay attention. He is not wrong on a number of issues. Like these two ..

The Original Post on LinkedIn (sorry – I wanted to embed it here – but LinkedIn is the only site that seems to fail with a WordPress embeds) … go figure.

The crux of my issue is the flip approach to what is happening in the world of business today.

I limited my response to a few lines … hoping that a reader would be able to ‘read between them’, Brett read the lines, but not between them.

Brett duly responded …

Readers of this blog will know that this is something I understand.


The point I was trying to make is not about the future of work – we know is being redefined through outsourcing, offshoring, automation, AI, the gig economy, zero hour contracts … and it is clear those jobs aren’t going to come back.

My point is (and always has been) more ‘People Firsty’ … that is as all of this comes to be – how will people make income to live their lives in the future?

Example 1

In the comments in Brett’s thread people referenced the four day week – and everyone is talking about how it is already happening. The assumption seems to be that a staff member will no longer work 5 days and instead work 4 days.

This is quite brilliant and lovely and utopian and – all those things we want to have in and around our lives and existence. Who doesn’t want to work less …

If their salary is not affected.

But let’s just take a couple of seconds to do a pretty shallow dive … if people are working 4 days, not 5, then they are working 20% less. To let them work less and not pay them less is the equivalent of companies giving each of those people a 20% salary increase.

Are companies going to do that?

The answer is in plain sight because we have a stalking horse in the race. Thanks to COVID we have proof points all over the world that people don’t want to ‘go back to the office’ and in turn, some companies have responded with

That’s ok – work wherever you want!

Spectacular – until you read the small print …

This isn’t the only article out there, do a search and you will find hundreds, if not thousands of articles debating the merits of paying your staff based on what locals earn.

Case in point – move 200 miles up the I80 from San Francisco to Reno, salaries are nothing like that of the Bay Area. On top of that since Reno is in Nevada – there is no state tax. In California – well like most places, it varies, but here is one slice …

$115,648 – $590,7469.30%
Source : HR Block

– so moving your life 200 miles reduces your cost of living substantially just based on tax savings. But there’s more …

Beyond the tax break, the Reno cost of living index is just 116.2, compared to San Francisco’s at a whopping 244and that does not include the tax break just described.

So if you can do your job remotely, why wouldn’t you want to move to a cheaper place – and collect the same income. (Putting the comparison of living in Reno versus San Francisco aside.)

It does seem to be a perfect idea – except your employer is not generally going to allow that – because they do – and will – pay you based on where you live – not where you work!

I get the argument, I really do – but that’s my point. If companies aren’t going to pay people for value delivered, but based on where they live, then why are they suddenly going to pay you a higher daily rate because you want to work less?

To me, the 4 day week is an experiment to cut salaries – legally. It won’t happen suddenly – just over time. They might well leave your salary in place, but everyone’s? … and when you leave will they continue to pay your premium rate to the next person?

Example 2

As more and more people leave their cubes to follow their dreams and passions – which is what everyone is telling you to do – right? Follow your dreams – it will all work out.

What dream and passion are you going to follow?

Look around today and you will find little societal support for artists, musicians, writers, poets et al. Imagine if the number of such people suddenly doubled, grew fivefold or even tenfold as we all follow our dreams … are all those people suddenly going to be earning a lot more? (it’s a rhetorical question.)

We are also told that there is so much opportunity in the professions of care-giving, social services, teachers, hospital workers, elderly care. They are right. Lots of opportunities. They are all on the ‘hot professions’ list, but before you get too excited, go talk to the people who work in those areas now. Ask them why Teachers are resigning en masse? Why do nurses get trained and don’t go into health services?

There are countless examples of how society (that’s you and me), value these professions. We don’t.

Back to musicians – we pay Spotify 10 bucks a month to stream an ‘all you can eat’ flow of music to your ears. The artists are generally not well rewarded. But it’s not as if Spotify aren’t making good money. How else do they afford to $100 million to sign up a single podcast – or buy company after company as they seek to lock up the world of podcasting. (BTW – they are doing it because the more you listen to that – the less they have to pay out.)

To conclude, as wonderful as it is for all of us to follow our dreams and passions – so we can all live fulfilled lives – we also need to earn an income. And we are barely doing that today, so how is that going to get better?

I said something better change
I said something better change
I said something better change
I said something better change

The Stranglers

Or maybe we will all move into social services, hospitals, caring for the elderly – since they are all on the ‘hot professions’ list. That said, the last two years have clearly demonstrated that while ‘society’ might value the people in those roles, it is clear that the paymasters do not.

In short, as we replace jobs with automation – and people don’t have a way to replace that income, something is not adding up.

Bottom line – as organizations remove people from their vendor supply chain and automate sales to improve business efficiency, more and more people will be left out of the workforce – and no matter how many Norman Tebbits (Sorry old English reference), how about Kim Kardashian’s words of ‘motivation’.

I have a way of looking at the issue. I call it …

The Business Equation

At the simplest level, the business equation recognizes that every commercial entity has an input – where it creates something using people, money and/or assets to create a product or service that is sold – the output. The ‘black box’ in the middle is the business. Your business. Any business.

To maximize shareholder value, the business seeks to reduce the cost of what it produces or increase the price of what it sells. Yes there all kinds of techniques that are used – but reduce it all down and you are left with

It is a simplification, but the logic holds.

This is an early simplification of the model. The whole enchilada will become a post unto itself.

It is also true that on the left-hand side of the equation the fixed costs of ‘people’ is really high – which is why over the years, companies have sought to cut those costs by ‘getting people off the books’. That’s where outsourcing and offshoring got their start. Automation through Robotics is now turning into AI and then at contractual levels, the gig economy / zero-hour contracts all play into the needs of corporations who keep on pushing the boundaries of ‘just in time’ ‘people’.

And you thought the days of people being cogs in the corporate engine was a thing of the past!

Now imagine every company big and small working to remove people from the equation in this way. Where does it leave people? Every mini Business Equation on the left of that diagram is doing its bit to outsource, offshore, automate …. and where do people fit in that equation?

To quote my friend Geoffrey Moore …

That’s What I Think – What Do You Think?