Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Steve Watts, Liz McMillan, Philippe Abdoulaye, Tim Hinds, Flint Brenton

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,, 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
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. 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 Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...