Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Jonathan Fries, Elizabeth White, ManageEngine IT Matters, Liz McMillan, Xenia von Wedel

Blog Feed Post

3 Worst “Best” Lists

100 Best Companies to Work For

Numbered lists are hot items on websites and in magazines because they generate clicks. Here’s what Reuters chief executive Andrew Rashbass wrote in an internal staff memo, as reported by Politico’s Dylan Byers:

Getting people to click on stories has become a science. The leading technique is the enticingly-headlined numbered list. Buzzfeed are the masters. At the moment they’re running on their homepage “18 Unexpected Side Effects Of Being An Adult,” “21 Things A Guy Quickly Learns After Moving In With His Girlfriend For The First Time” and “16 Gluten-Free Dishes You Can Eat At Almost Any Restaurant.”

I’ve been following one of the “best” lists since it came out in 1984 – Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz’s“100 Best Companies to Work For In America.” In 1997, FORTUNE magazine took over publishing the “Best Companies to Work For” list annually. I began following it to see what media companies appeared on it so I could blog about their presence (or absence) and rank.

A Glaring Omission

On the original 1984 list, Time, Inc. was the only media company on the list. In the 1993 update of the book, Levering and Moskowitz put only two media companies on the list: Knight-Ridder (newspapers) and Readers Digest, but they both have since faded from the list. America Online was the only media company on the list in 2000, and The New York Times Company made the list (#93) in 2003. 2005 was a banner year for media and media-related companies: Discovery Communication, Emmis Communication, John Wiley & Sons, Valassis (newspaper inserts) and Arbitron made the “Best Companies to Work For” list.

Notice that none of big-six media companies made the 2005 list. In a 2005 blog, I wrote:

I have my suspicions about the validity of the lists because of the way surveys are conducted. FORTUNE claims that about 1,000 companies are contacted and only about a third (356) complete the “exhaustive survey process.” The 57-question survey from Levering and Moskowtiz’s company goes to a minimum of 350 randomly selected employees from each company and two-thirds of the total score for the list comes from these employee responses. The remaining one-third of the score comes from Levering and Moskowitz’s “evaluation of each company’s demographic makeup, pay and benefits programs, and the like. We score companies in four areas: credibility, respect, fairness, and pride/camaraderie.

Therefore, if a company doesn’t want to participate, it doesn’t make the list. I suspect that several media companies that I know are good places to work, such as A.H. Belo, don’t participate. And companies that aren’t such great places to work do participate and “suggest” that employees say nice things in the survey.

The only media company other than Google to be on the list from 2005 to 2013 was Dream Works Animation (#6) in 2013. Google has been on the list for eight years, five as number one, but it wasn’t considered a media company until 2007 or 2008, I think, and has been number one in 2012, 2013 and 2014. One thing this impressive string of wins means is that Google has gone to the trouble of filling out the applications to be on the list. But that, of course, doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t have won if every media and media-related company had bothered to fill out the applications. Google probably would have won.

Best vs. Most Admired?

Compare FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list to its “World’s Most Admired Companies” list. At least this list isn’t based only on those companies that apply, it’s based on the following criteria:

Our survey partners at Hay Group asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their industry on nine criteria, from investment value to social responsibility… To arrive at the top 50 Most Admired Companies overall, Hay Group asked the 3,920 respondents to select the 10 companies they admired most from a list made up of the companies that ranked in the top 25% in last year’s survey, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry.

The only media company on the 50 “Most Admired” list is Disney (if you don’t count Google and Facebook as media companies), and the top ten are:

  1. Apple
  2. Amazon
  3. Google
  4. Berkshire Hathaway
  5. Starbucks
  6. Coca-Cola
  7. Walt Disney
  8. Fed Ex
  9. Southwest Airlines
  10. General Electric

So, the only company on the “Best to Work For” list that is on the top-ten “Most Admired” list is Google. What does that tell you? That the lists don’t mean much?

Well, no. I guess if you can get a job at Google, SAS, Boston Consulting, Edward Jones, or Quicken Loans, Genentech, Salesforce.com, Intuit, Robert Bird or DPR Construction (the top ten on the “Best” list), you’ll probably be happy.

But don’t pass up a job at Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola or McKinsey & Co. because they aren’t on the “Best Companies To Work For” list. They more than likely didn’t apply. Apple and Amazon are notoriously secretive, so of course they wouldn’t apply for the list, and the absence of Apple, Amazon and Facebook from the “Best…” list makes it invalid to say the least, and, thus, leads the list of my worst “best” lists.

More of the Same

FORTUNE’s “Most Admired” companies list’s methodology is fuzzy, which makes it hard to understand why the list is worthwhile, even though the list at first glance seems reasonable. Plus, there’s only one media company on the list – Disney – which also seems reasonable, given the sparse appearance of media companies for decades of the “Best Companies To Work For” list.

However, with Wal-Mart, Target, J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo ahead of Facebook, will anyone under 40 pay any attention to the “Most Admired” list? Therefore, being so Wall Street oriented, out of touch and having fuzzy methodology, FORTUNE’s “Most Admired” list ranks number two on my worst “best” list.

Ranking third on my worst “best” list is a list within a list – the Cable and Satellite Providers list in the “World’s Most Admired Companies” list:

  1. Comcast
  2. Liberty Global
  3. Direct TV
  4. Time Warner Cable

Bloomberg News reported on a Consumer Report article that listed Comcast and Time Warner Cable as two of America’s least favorite cable companies. Comcast’s service ranked 15th out of 17 companies, and Time Warner Cable ranked 16th in a survey of 81,488 users – a good, solid sample.

But one thing for job seekers to note, on any of the worst “best” lists, is the absence of all legacy media companies but two — Disney on the “Most Admired” list and Discovery Communications on the “Best Companies to Work For” list – not including, of course Google (both lists) and Facebook (#45 on the “Most Admired” list).

The Big Takeaways

The point I’m making is that large, legacy media companies typically aren’t necessarily wonderful places to work. They tend not to treat their people very well because the demand for their jobs far exceeds the supply. Therefore, rather than being highly selective in hiring and treating their people really well, legacy media companies tend to make the short-term choice of not paying other than their stars well and not treating their people relatively well.

Mediaphiles beware, and even pay some attention to even the worst of the “best” lists when considering a job or a career, especially in the legacy media. And if you do want a career in the legacy media, don’t have high expectations of being treaded really well. You’ll have to get your satisfaction from the work you do, not necessarily from the company you work for.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...