Workplace Equality & Pro-Vax Small Businesses 💉

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Startups and the Rich Elder-Tech Industry

ElliQ is an AI companion designed for seniors by the Israeli tech company Intuition Robotics. Think of it as an Alexa for older folks: She looks a bit like the mid-century lamp from the Pixar movies, and she can read the news, stream music, and share weather reports. She can also encourage people to take their meds or practice mindful meditation.

Intuition Robotics isn’t the only company trying to tap into the geriatric market

Silvernest is a roommate-matching service designed for people around retirement age going through a huge life change — a divorce or widowing — who don’t want to enter the next chapter alone in an empty house. 

Then there is GrandPad, which aims to deliver a simple tablet preloaded with bingo, solitaire, and sudoku, a jukebox that plays a slew of past hits, an address book, and video call functionality. All of this presented on a touchscreen with supersized text and large, primary-colour buttons. 

The bright colours help users easily identify the buttons. And the supersized text makes for convenient UI since baby boomer skin tends to be really dry, papery, and leathery. Younger guys have moisture in their skin, which makes touchscreens work smoothly.

Assistive tech is a social good and there’s a reason capital firms are trying to get in on the ground floor: They’ve waited for the ageing of the baby boomers, the oldest of whom are now 76. Baby boomers have all the money and a predilection to live out their final decades in style.

In fact, more entrepreneurs now believe that senior tech sector is highly underinvested, considering the spending capacity within this population.

The AARP reported in 2020 that more than 51% of people over the age of 50 purchased some sort of tech product, be it an iPad, a laptop, or a smartphone within the previous year. This sounds counter-intuitive to the concept of elderly tech. However, the same research also found that only 8% of those surveyed knew how to fire up a video call. 

An elder might own a smartphone, but they might not know how to use it effectively. This is particularly relevant given the conditions of 2020 and the massive proliferation of fraud the year brought with it. TechCrunch reported an 18% increase in spam calls during the pandemic, many of which disproportionately targeted the geriatric population.

Europe's Gender Equality Soars

Europe has done a better job figuring out how to bring more women into boardrooms than the U.S. has, according to the latest report by Bloomberg. 

Almost 37% of board seats in Stoxx Europe 600 companies were held by women last month. In the U.S. 30% of directors in S&P 500 companies were women.

Some of Europe’s biggest companies in the region’s benchmark stock index increased their female representation in August, namely Nordea Bank Abp, Evolution AB and Aveva Group Plc

Part of the reason for this could be mounting pressure for equality as consumers and investors pay more attention to the issue. Another reason, according to the European Institute for Gender Equality, is that countries that impose quotas tend to be better at empowering women. And though European Union efforts to pass a region-wide directive have so far stalled, some of the bloc’s biggest countries -- including France, Germany and Italy -- enforce their own quota requirements for boardrooms. 

To be fair though, overall progress still remains low. Women still lag far behind men when it comes to remuneration, with the latest Eurostat report on gender pay showing they made 14.1% less in 2019. In Germany and France, the difference was even bigger than the EU average.

What If The "Stretch Assignment" Is Inherently Bullshit?
Companies use fancy words like “the stretch assignment,” “the growth mindset" to get you to take on more responsibility without paying you any additional money.

Companies Are Going Strictly Pro-Vax

In the latest survey of company stance on Covid vaccination, 75% of small businesses said they would fire workers for failing to comply with their vaccination policies.

The survey by (of 1,000 participants in the U.S. from a variety of industries including finance, IT, education, construction, retail) found that 59% of small businesses would only hire vaccinated workers; while other 23% said they were considering a similar policy. Only 19% said that vaccination status was not a factor in hiring new employees.

Another survey conducted by Eagle Hill showed that even employees -- 49% of them -- would like their companies to mandate vaccinations before office returns. 

Impact of vaccine policies: 

Ordinarily, it is not only ethically permissible but obligatory to require new employees to be vaccinated (with appropriate exceptions for medical conditions, etc.), unless employees work at home or are otherwise isolated. 

However, this raises several problems for the company.

  1. It will inevitably lead to less applicant flow and higher quit rates, depending on personal viewpoints and fears. This especially at a time when labor shortages and resignation rates are already high
  2. The issue gets more complicated when applying the rule unevenly. The decision to exempt remote workers from the mandate may motivate in-person employees to request remote work options.
  3. There is the question of safety. If the work requires the employee to be in-person and/or interact with customers, how can an employer provide a safe environment for other workers?

Shorts ⏳
  • Murders are rising - Last year, the US’s murder rate spiked by almost 30% - the largest increase ever recorded in America. So far in 2021, murders are up nearly 10% in major cities.
  • Venezuelans in poverty - 76.6% of Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty as the once-prosperous OPEC nation's hyper-inflationary economic collapse continued for a seventh straight year.
  • Teens tracking Covid - Frustrated by lack of govt. data, three Australians teens aged 14 and 15 created a Covid tracking website called CovidBaseAU.
  • Euthanising cats  - A Chinese city cited Covid-zero policy to justify euthanizing three Covid-positive cats.
  • Free Therapy - The French government will now cover the cost of therapy sessions for any citizen aged three and older starting 2022. 
  • $100 an hour to see ghosts - Documentary streaming service MagellanTV will pay you $2,400 to watch 24 hours of Paranormal Documentaries. 
  • Shatner in space - 90-year old Star-Trek star William Shatner will hitch a ride on Bezos’ Blue Origin vehicle for a 15-min space ride in October. 

Stash Recommends: Tools to Explore
❄️ Weatherstack: A real-time and historical world weather data API that retrieve instant, accurate weather information for any location worldwide.

🗣 BlurbA headless CMS tool that helps team collaboration by integrating directly into Notion and pre-existing workflows with as little hassle as possible.

💸 ExchangeratesA stock market data API that provides real-time, accurate exchange rate data for hundreds of world currencies, updated every 60 seconds.

🧦 Shadowsocks: An innovative tool that serves as a highly secure socks5 proxy. The tool has been designed for providing protection to your internet activity.

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