How did IBM get around the legal requirement for the disclosures? With a move that even critics acknowledge is ingenious.
The company’s pre-2014 layoff documents required employees receiving severance to waive all bias claims based on “race, national origin, ancestry, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age... disability, medical condition, or veteran status.” The new documents deleted “age” from the waiver list. In fact, they specifically said employees were not waiving their right when it came to age and could pursue age discrimination cases against the company.
But, the new documents added, employees had to waive the right to take their age cases to court. Instead, they had to pursue them through private arbitration. What’s more, they had to keep them confidential and pursue them alone. They couldn’t join with other workers to make a case.
Forced arbitration continues to be an awful thing that companies foist on employees to strip them of their rights.
This is exactly the sort of thing unions are supposed to protect people from. If something like this happened in my country there would be a general strike and the country would be at a standstill.
That sounds too good, and too progressive, to be true. Which country do you live in?
To clarify: by something like this I meant legislation that allows behavior like this to be legal. A single company acting badly would lead to a local strike, probably not a general strike (those are for forcing government policy changes).
This, IMO, seems to have coincided with the Citizens United decision. Since that time Corporations have had many favorable outcomes from both parties.
Specifically, President Obama signed an executive order making arbitration clauses in employment cases unenforceable: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudenc...
The next president then reversed this. There are extremely clear distinctions between the parties, and this issue is actually a perfect example.
Just out of curiosity: This is very uncommon in modern democracies, isn't it?
In most European countries (and maybe also in the US?) each newly elected government shows enough respect for the previous government by not reversing laws established just 1-3 years ago. They usually either concentrate on different topics, or restrict themselves to refinements and corrections of existing laws.
And there's some good reason for that: You don't want a country's set of laws switching between two versions every 4-5 years without making any progress.
However, since that taboo has been broken by now, maybe the next US president would have the courage to do the same with everything the current president did?
OTOH, the US having both a weak party system and a separation of power system makes it so that, to return to the upthread question about modern democracies, it does a lot more through executive orders than many modern democracies, which often have a strong-parties parliamentary system or a weaker Presidency, so that the executive has either less ability or less motivation to issue executive orders for matters that might be directly addresses by legislation.
Obama did a lot more through executive orders than his predecessors, in large part due to Congress obstructing all policy much more than its predecessors. IIRC, at a certain point he turned to executive orders to implement policy the best he could.
Also, most other modern democracies use parliamentary systems, in which the executive always has the majority in the legislature. In those cases, executive orders are less needed because the legislature and executive are much more likely to agree.
in this case, it only applied to companies that had contracts with the federal government for more than $1 million. basically, Obama ordered his departments to stop doing business with companies that had certain arbitration clauses. Trump removed this restriction.
i would expect a ton of Trump's executive orders to be overturned if the next president is a Democrat.
it's much harder and less likely to repeal an actual law passed by Congress.
I wouldn't expect most executive orders to stay the same here if the president changes parties. But that's a statement about what I expect, not about how things ought to be.
It was about a group who made a "documentary" about hilary clinton and were banned from releasing it near the election.
> It means that citizens don't lose their free speech rights when they form groups.
That's basically what the court's majority opinion stated. But the dissenting opinion also stated that the ruling provides more opportunities for corruption and for laws to be "bought and sold". So to say that GP's comments are "Not evenly remotely true" is disingenuous.
Dark money can be used for purposes akin to bribery since the speech of the group has been interpreted as political influence. While the money doesn't go directly to the candidate, it is used for their benefit or detriment during elections.
It just so happens that outside political spending has risen dramatically since the SCOTUS Citizens United decision in 2009.
... even when those groups are legally obligated to act in service of a profit-driven corporate agenda. It's not really 'free' speech when you take the labor of your employees and use it to promote policy that directly conflicts with their interests.
You shouldn't be able to sign a contract that waives your right to sue your employer if they discriminate against you.
That's true, if the goal is to settle a specific unique dispute between two parties.
The problem is that arbitration in the US isn't used as strategy to settle such disputes, it's used to keep disputes secret and divide-and-conquer wronged parties to make dispute settlement impractical for them. Basically, it serves to tip the scales further in favor of the largest, savviest players.
In effect, the ability to sign away those rights generally, rather than in response to settling a specific incident of wrongdoing, gives employers terminating a employees an incentive to fuck them over so as to maximize leverage.
Perhaps better is something where anybody signing away the right to sue over discrimination has to do it under the supervision of the state's workplace anti-discrimination regulator? That would remove the information asymmetry that the employer has here.
Please, no. I can already predict the outcome: government bureaucracy slows down the whole process to a standstill, corruption/kickbacks become the norm. Meanwhile, employees still keep getting screwed over.
That's the point. That shouldn't be possible. I should not have to waive my rights to collect severance. That should just be given by default.
We deserve better, people. Richie McJobsCreator isn't going to just give away money for better working conditions at his company to a bunch of whiny nerds and unfashionable geezers. That could have otherwise gone straight into the owners' pockets, to... er... create more jobs!
If we can't get the 22-year old naïfs to join up with the 40+ greyhairs, they're also going to work 18 years and then receive discriminatory firings and have trouble with rehiring only halfway to their retirement age. Did you want to have kids and help pay for their tuition? How will you feel when you get fired for being too old, just as your kids are taking their entrance exams?
Wake up. Consider unions, or figure out how to pressure your politicians. Definitely think twice about working for a company that has no older employees. If you wait until you get your pink slip, and I have already been unemployable due to excessive experience for a decade or more, I won't be much help to you. I'll also feel obligated to say "told you so" every time you drop spare change in my cup.
It feels like somebody drove contract law to a very strange place. Can we sign away rights to fundamental freedoms and become slaves?
In civilized countries, it can't: binding arbitration is unenforceable in Canada, Europe, Japan, etc. This is purely an American problem.
For example, Germany actually asserts a civil right requiring that every employee have access to at least 4 hours of daylight every day. In the US, no such law would be respected or enforced, given the latitude granted corporate misbehavior.
Even if an explicit amendment to that effect were asserted in our Constitution, still our courts would gladly entertain the redefinition of every part of that statute, from "employee" to "daylight" to "4 hours".
This widespread institutional tolerance of legalistic weaseling by haves to overwhelm civil rights of the have-nots is quite uncivilized, there's no better word for it.
In this case, IBM's malefactions toward elders is a perfect illustration of civil abuse. For this and the sundry other ways the company has victimized its staff and customers for decades, IBM richly deserves no less than a death sentence.
I'm very interested, but my google-fu is not good enough apparently.
Most rules are available at https://www.baua.de/DE/Angebote/Rechtstexte-und-Technische-R... and a good summary is at http://publikationen.dguv.de/dguv/pdf/10002/i-7007.pdf
Are you sure you aren't mixing up binding arbitration with something else?
Edit: it sounded like you were talking about arbitration in a more general context than just employment contracts. If you are just talking about employment contracts than you are probably right (except possible for Canada, where there seems to be case law going both ways, so it seems to depend on the particulars of what is in dispute and how the contract is written).
Your employer cant say ah you must use my mate Saul the solicitor that did my last house purchase who I know from the golf club.
"In France, as a general rule, arbitration concerning individual employment contracts is
prohibited. This holds true even in cases where the parties have included an arbitration
agreement and a valid choice of law clause designating that foreign law applies to the
entirety of the employment contract. Such a strict interpretation is seen as a public policy measure intended to protect employees who are considered to be in a necessarily weaker bargaining position compared to their employers. By giving Labor Courts the unique competency to adjudicate such matters, France
can effectively safeguard its workforce.
Similar interests motivate protective regulatory schemes in most European Union (EU)
nations where, as we will discuss, the prevalence of arbitration in labor and employment
disputes remains limited and political weariness towards the practice pervades. "
If an ex-employee wants to break a contract, they can do so. But they must return the severance payment.
There is a risk of Specific Performance, but that seems inapplicable here
that's a very perverse perspective, and is exactly the sentiment a multi-national corporation like IBM would want you to have.
a job is an opportunity for two parties on equal footing to make a favorable exchange: my labor for your cash. it's a classic example of a capitalistic win-win. it's an opportunity for me to ply my trade, to further develop my expertise so that my offerings are more attractive to others and i can make more money. it's an opportunity for you to further your business objectives, widen your offerings, and widen your reach.
slavery is ownership. it's callous and flippant to make such a correlation to work for hire.
Chattel slavery is ownership, but slavery extends beyond just chattel slavery.
I can't get phone or internet access at my home through any of the providers without an arbitration agreement of some kind.
It stops being an optional legal agreement when you have no choice....
> But it doesn't have one AFAIK.
It's not markdown, and the only thing we have is a code block.
I've re-formatted for an even slimmer screen :D
> No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.
And shitty unescapable emphasis which fucks up as often as it succeeds.
Here is an example using blocks wrapped to 40. How is this on mobile?
>This is a top level quote
second level quote something about the
quick brown fox jumped over the lazy
third level quote the fox was Scottish
and wearing a kilt, and nothing else.
fourth level quote when he jumped over
the poodle she saw his junk and
complined to HR
fifth level the fox got in trouble for
harassement, and the poodle got in
trouble for cultural insensitivity to
sixth level also the company got in
trouble with OSHA for putting the
poodle's workstation in a place where
others had to jump over her to get in
and out of the building
No, it's how a code block is rendered on this site. Abusing that for quotes is not really a good idea. (It's not that great for code, either, but it's tolerable for very small snippets, and the ones it's not good for are probably better hosted elsewhere and linked than embedded in a comment anyway.)
I tell everyone -- don't drink the Kool-Aid. Never believe that a company has any loyalty and always keep an eye on the market. Even if you are paid well now and see that your job isn't gaining you marketable skills -- leave. At the end of the day, as a person in technology, your major resources are your technical skills.
I will leave a company in a heartbeat if I see that the company's technical direction isn't in line with what the market wants. I'm in my 40s and biggest fear is being unemployable -- not being unemployed.
I haven't had to do it yet, but hopefully, I would have the discipline to leave a job where I'm overpaid with respect to the market to take a job that pays a little less that keeps me competitive.
The article from Pro Publica argues otherwise-- with data to back it up. The point is: "culture fit" and "optics" are the new "technical skills". What about all those mentioned in the article who were getting great performance reviews, had the skillz and the lay-off just came out of nowhere due to their age? and them some are re-hired back as contractors at a $20,000 pay cut. No, skills are not your major resources. Your major resource is the leverage you have, and it ain't your skills. But it could be your fellow workers. Unions will have to go global to provide any serious leverage, however. If all the teachers struck with the West Virginia teachers, we'd have well-paid teachers. It might start to become an actual profession again. Kids might start getting an education again. It would be great to see that kind of solidarity happen in tech. Maybe the sysadmins need to lead this charge. Now they have some actual leverage.
On the other hand, if they had skills relevant to the larger market, they wouldn't be dependent on their job for their livelihood but their skillset.
There are plenty of companies looking for developers. I know in my neck of the woods, there are plenty of job openings for the right skill set. It took me less than 10 days to find a job the last time I looked and I didn't hide that I graduated college in the mid 90s.
But I also agressive about learning.
A nice way of putting it.
We junked our VAX 7000s about a decade ago and moved to the Charon emulator. Played with VAX VMS on Simh, but everyone was too scared to put any real data on it.
Combine this with the "new tech leaders" affinity for hiring only young people and it's getting tough out there.
Fortunately, non-technical fortune 500 companies seem still open to us grey hairs in their IT orgs.
 Google, FB, Twitter, Uber, etc.
Can we all agree that nobody should have to dye their hair to get a job? The fact that people on this site act like this is normal is very disturbing.
Grey hairs can start showing up as early as late 20s for some people. I work with a number of women over 35 and I'm having a hard time thinking of one with a single grey hair showing. For a few I'm friends with, I know that dyeing their hair feels like an important part of maintaining their professional appearance.
Even Ginni Rommetty, CEO of IBM, probably dyes her hair. She has blonde hair without a strand of grey showing, which would be pretty extraordinary for someone who is 60.
One of the important once is appearances, demeanor, posture etc. While those of us who know about these things take care not to place too much emphasis on these things, they're still used by most people, mostly subconsciously, in making hiring decisions.
I don't want to sound like a jerk, but to me that kind of statement doesn't even really have a meaning... We can all wish the world was different than it is, but what matters is how to live in the real one.
Its like saying: hey eating a lot is not good for you. Why don't you just decide not to eat so much? And the answer is: there are real biological/evolutionary/genetic reasons which make that decision non-trivial to make.
But when we're at the point when dying your hair is considered necessary to get a job, we should be upset. And I for one (as someone who went gray young) will not give in to this trend.
I'm half wishing I'd grown it out and bleached the last few bits this past winter to start establishing as a part-time Santa. "No, it's white because I'm also a volunteer Santa during the season."
Did this study check for the obvious possibility of women of higher income being more inclined to pay for a breast augmentation?
I'm sure any serious journal will require this before accepting such paper, but the amount of junk science being published in humanities journals forces me to ask.
Not that I think looking neat is super important (my own appearance is just one step above "hobo") but it feels acceptable to me that some jobs require it because it correlates with other personality traits which are important like self-discipline and not being a "precious snowflake" for example.
Just being able to have them around has given our team an ocean of knowledge to draw from. I know I'm a better developer just from asking for help and bouncing stuff off of them. You can't put a price on stuff like this.
OTOH looks like your org actually benefited tremendously from having those experienced engineers, so in a morbid way their being laid off turned out to be good for everyone involved.
A decade ago, IBM had 130,00 staff in the USA and very few in India.
Today, IBM has 130,00 staff in India and it refuses to say how many are left in the USA.
It's not really a question of saving a bit of money (20%, say) on American employees. IBM is just shipping jobs to India at a terrific rate because the cost of employing Indians is, in comparison, very very low.
If most of your workforce is 50+, you probably don't need more highly experienced people and are probably overpaying for some of the more basic tasks some are doing. It's also not great for continuity if you're set to have large segments of your workforce retiring in a small window of time.
On the other hand, if your workforce skews young and inexperienced, bringing in some people with much more experience is probably going to be a valuable resource for them that'll help everyone perform better, and will help you avoid costly mistakes.
Could it be that, being clueless, these high level managers are merely guessing and assuming that young workers are the only ones who can lead to profit growth?
Could it be that these high level managers fully expect these younger workers to lead and manage -- to do their jobs for them?
Of course, IBM is also destroying the skills and experience that customers are paying them to provide, but it's happy to get a short-term gain and ignore the long-term pain. The people in charge will have stashed away their millions and left before most of the ordure hits the rotating device.
Bear in mind that IBM's turnover today is less than it was in 2000, and it's had five or six years of annual decline. As a company, it's failing badly, so perhaps it's unrealistic for it plan for a future that might not happen.
YMMV in practice though.
Maybe it could be established that these employees are encouraged to make small bits of noise in certain ways.
(Translation: I'd like to hear more, even though I'm young myself FWIW)
Everything they do, from their blockchain efforts to Watson, is so embarrassingly driven by oldschool sales/marketing people that they can't be taken seriously by technical decision makers at their customer companies. They no longer have the ability to lead their customers in technical decisions.
They're absolutely embarrassing now. They've lost too many good people and everybody knows what IBM's about now. They can focus on hiring Millenials all they want, but which early-stage workers would really want to go to IBM? They know what it'll be like. Lots of outsourcing, bureaucracy and bad decisions. Not many would choose IBM over another offer.
Screwing over the workforce has consequences.
Of course, the technical people were always the first to jump at the opportunity to take cash and leave. Often, they walked back in to IBM the next Monday as a contractor.
IBM upper management eventually figured out that the managers weren't going to move--even an extra year at a manager salary dwarfed the program payout--and the deadwood wasn't going to move--they knew they had no other options-- and killed the programs.
I don't work for, nor have I applied to work for, IBM so maybe I'm more dense than my question illustrates... but what is IBM about these days as you mention? Please help me get rid of the rock over my head on this topic.
Since they sold off their consumer hardware businesses, it's all about their Global Services consulting and a little bit of big iron (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainframe_computer).
They're about bad decisions. A cautionary tale to tell young CEOs about mistreating the workforce.
Millenials would be 40 in just couple of yrs.
Tracking the authenticity or safety of physical products changing many hands is a perfect application of distributed, tamper-proof databases.
I had never encountered it before. Why is everyone now using it constantly on this site?
We brought him on hoping he would use his experience to grow our cloud business into "the enterprise". What we found was we had hired a guy that scoffed at ideas like UX, frequently bullied his team and the extended team in calls. Would often go off on monologues and was extremely rigid in his top down approach to management. It was a complete culture shock to the team and customers. We understood that some of these things were part of the deal but what we didnt expect was a near zero openness to ideas.
He had classic double speak of stating his door was always open to differing opinions or ideas but a week later he would be telling the company on conference calls that if people didn't like it there was the door. He brought in his entire exec team from IBM and things continued to go down hill from there. Some of his own team would make fun of our sales leaders until one of them called these guys out and discovered they had little to no understanding of how cloud pricing and subscription worked. It was a big moment.
My experience of him and his team makes me wonder if IBM is doing the right thing, if that experience is common across IBM they are going to struggle to compete with firms like my own and even worse attract talent that has no interest in being bullied for decades before a promotion.
The sheer time wasted in political infighting makes me think anyone in a Fortune 500 with a SVP or VP title (or higher) basically doesn't produce anything for the company. They are administration and supposed to set strategic goals but are probably too out of touch to know where their company/division needs to go.
There is a long series of blog posts called the Gervais principle. Completely nails the behaviors and evolution of large organizations. Worth a read (again).
Age discrimination is bad. Firing employees because of their age, or maybe more cynically, because if their elevated salaries, is a shit thing to do.
But what about getting rid of the employees who hold the company back? The ones who drag their feet. The ones who are more concerned about protecting their political standing than accomplishing good work. The ones who try to avoid change, sometimes literally defended by "Well that's the way we've always done it."
That breed of employee tends to have been at the company for a long time. Often that means they're older in age, too. Making a clean sweep of folks like that could appear to be age discrimination while actually being due to performance.
That being said, if it is an older person doing this, then it can be difficult to let them go without it appearing to be due to age discrimination.
But I've seen enough layoffs to know that for a lot of companies, it's all about saving money by getting rid of these people, not about their performance, at least every time I've seen it happen.
I've even been told directly in a layoff it was because I was one of the higher paid people in the company (it was a game studio, so I still wasn't being paid all that much). I guess I was old for someone in the game industry, since most people start fresh out of school and burn out of the industry in less than five years.
My manager got laid off as well, who was in his 60s, did excellent at his job, and had tons of amazing experience (I wish I worked on even just one of the cool games he was lead on), but it was definitely because he was one of the highest paid people there (if not the highest), not because of anything else.
I do remember a guy hired when we were in our twenties basically say something like "we're not paid to think/above pay grade," when trying to come up with solutions to problems. I was young enough to be surprised. :D
As the money gets tighter, all these made up titles from some long dead project were huge red flags. Managers and directors with no one really reporting to them.
Added to that, most of them were paid 3x-4x of a newer hire and were mostly burnt out on trying to keep up with new technology.
The reason that people are in positions like you describe is because of the dire consequences of losing employment. Being older doesn't mean that you don't know how to innovate or look for ways to improve the area you work in. People become super cautious because of the mortgage and college debt, car payments, on and on and on. Their "actual job" is to get money for those things.
If losing employment didn't mean complete loss of livelihood, the only people working at a place would be there because they actually wanted to be there. They would be interested in performance because it might be rewarded, not because failing would be punished.
Your opinion seems to lack every bit of possible nuance: say i'm manager A trying to raise awareness about tech B in company. I have every right as employee C to be skeptical because if B is bad and pointless, I'll be punished for following A's decision. Of course A has every right to spread B even if bad, because it will make A seem awesome in the process.
My general point is: resistance to change is a spectrum and is often mixed with office politics and strong opinions on both sides. Trying to blame someone merely for wanting to keep the status quo is absurd.
Managers and bean counters you mean? They always seem to be spared the axe.
He got a pretty good severance package and pension, which he's now been able to draw for 25+ years...
I have a doubt, because "business in America".
How did this even come to be?
They first tried outsourcing to the other side of the world, but found too many timezones grinds productivity to a halt and so plan B, younger and cheaper became an explicit goal.
Not just a tech thing either, focus on appearance is bordering on the extreme nowadays. Watched the "Willy Wonka…" movie from the early 70's with my daughter last night and was struck that most of the newscasters were silver haired and in their 60s, reminding me of Jerry Dunphy. Several of the stars had messy hair that needed combing, not necessarily in character.
Many things were higher quality back when they let experienced folks work, and "allowed ugly people to make music," as it were.
The brilliant thing was getting so many to buy into libertarian propaganda and actively fight against things like unionization or labor laws which would reduce the power imbalance.
However, I feel the older software engineers shouldn't be writing as much as the younger guy but should be utilized for architecture purposes, handling requirements with clients or internal product people, and even mentoring while having some programming tasks. I think that is where they really earn their significant compensation and bring much more value to the company.
Our company reduced it to 1 week per year (claimed it was the 'standard', and it would save them money so they could spend it on being so innovative elsewhere), then reduced 401k matching from them paying once per quarter to you have to be employed on December 31 of that year or they don't have to match for the entire year (crazy, I know), and then after they got those two things in place started axing tens of thousands of people's jobs, and saved tons of money in the process, I'm sure. These policy changes also lead to people voluntarily resigning and thus giving them lower layoff numbers too.
I'm probably not sticking around much longer myself, but I had a few too many life changes (like buying a house) that kept me from leaving earlier.
Source: My dad was laid off from Kodak... Twice (Pre, and post-bankruptcy.)
A month per year worked is the very minimum of “reasonable”. You are being royally shafted.
People should always add up the total interest they're going to pay on a 30-year mortgage, some states require this to be prominently displayed on the loan. The amount is truly staggering.
Given that your average money-market is barely reaching 2%, the old saw of "it's better to save and service the mortgage" is complete BS and pro-bank propaganda. Mortgages are simply another wealth-transfer to the banks, including the mortgage-interest deduction: corporate welfare pure and simple. Read Liar's Poker if you want to really understand why that boondoggle is in place.
And never forget that easy mortgages, which have ludicrously enriched the banks, are the reason why real estate is so inhumanly overvalued now. The mortgage interest deduction was central to securitizing loans and we're all paying the price now.
Also, with main tax advantage I know of (interest deduction) you still pay more money if there is more interest.
i.e. if you have 20k of interest a year, the income tax deduction makes it seem like ~70% of that, depending on your tax bracket, or 14k. But if you're only paying 15k of interest per year, then it's 70% of 15k, or ~10k. 10k is less than 14k.
2. You're concentrating all of your assets into a single object.
Instead of paying off your mortgage, you could put that money into other asset classes that grow faster, and you can distribute it to reduce your risk.
If you were laid off, you would have more money than if you had paid off your mortgage. Then if you wanted to get rid of your mortgage, you could and you would still have more money than if you had paid it off earlier. (Although even in that case, it's still generally better to leave the money invested, and just draw it down to pay the monthly payment.)
If you're really intent on exposing your savings to the real estate market, invest it in a REIT.. at least they can distribute your risk over a larger area and more buildings. And they'll invest it in markets that are growing faster than the average house.
If they stay still or decline by all means, pay it down faster, but otherwise DO NOT pay off your mortgage early. Invest the extra cash in some cheap index fund instead.
If anything, in current markets more property is a better investment, and you can take advantage or gearing.
Coming out of college as a mature student I saw so many of my younger classmates absolutely throwing themselves at the worst offers the local job pool presented.
I kept telling them just don't accept, wait for a better offer, look elsewhere. The problem is, at least in the market I'm in, there seems to be a practice of wage fixing. It's the same bad offer everywhere. I talked to a few recruiters at those companies, asked some pointed questions about compensation that more experienced employees tend to ask, and watched them just shut down. It was less about the "millennial advantage" and more about the benefits of naivety on their bottom line.
I get that having more work/life experience in general qualifies me for a slightly higher starting wage, but I held out and refused any offers from low ball employers and started $10k higher than most of my colleagues who graduated at the same time.
It's horrible that this older demographic is being discriminated against and forced out of their jobs, but this isn't only about age discrimination. The goal isn't to acquire "digitally native" employees (not entirely). The goal is to save money on wages and lower the wage expectations of an entire generation of people.
...unless I'm wrong and everyone who replaced someone who was forced out is doing great and all those boomers were just becoming stagnant dead weight and deserved what they got.
“A slide from a similar presentation prepared last spring for the same leaders called for “re-profiling current talent” to “create room for new talent.” Presentations for 2015 and 2016 for the 50,000-employee software group also included plans for “aggressive performance management” and emphasized the need to “maintain steady attrition to offset hiring.””
How do we prevent this exact same vicious cycle from playing out all over again in 25-30 years when Millennials are the grey-haired ones with an inability to "innovate" or "connect" with the younger generation? If anything, with the rapid pace of technology only accelerating over time, future generations will become irrelevant "old heads" on an even shorter timeline.
Here are some parts of the sick IBM culture:
"You might think that IBM is a technology company or a computer company, but you would be wrong. IBM is a marketing company: They look for opportunities to sell. They might get into grocery stores tomorrow if they thought that there was money to be made there." -- IIRC from a manager of a large IBM branch office. Same guy, IIRC: "You might think that IBM research comes up with powerful new technology. IBM development turns this technology into good, new products. Then IBM marketing sells these products and makes money. That's exactly backwards: Instead, IBM marketing comes up with what new products can be sold at a profit. IBM development builds these products and gets them ready for the market. If development has trouble, they may go to IBM research for solutions. What IBM charges for the products has nothing to do with what IBM's costs are: Instead, IBM sells the products for what the customers are willing to pay."
Consequences: (A) IBM respects people who do well managing marketing efforts. (B) IBM does not much respect technical people or people not in management. (C) The decision makers in IBM are marketing people who are not very technical. So, these people are slow to see the market and marketing potential of new technology. (D) Long IBM's approach to what to sell was that their main customers, large banks, insurance companies, manufacturing companies, would grab their IBM marketing representatives and scream about problems they had. With enough screaming with clearly enough market potential, finally IBM would develop and sell a solution.
(2) IBM Management
In this way, part of the IBM culture was the primacy of the middle and upper managers. High stability was valued. Innovation was not. The higher managers had staffs to thoroughly study each decision. Then the manager had plenty of cover for the decisions they did make.
IIRC, an early remark of IBM CEO Lou Gerstner was that "IBM is the most arrogant, inwardly directed, process oriented company I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of companies.".
(3) Stuck with Mainframes
So, these attitudes caused IBM to miss out on essentially everything past 3270 terminals connected to CICS (customer information control system -- for building and running interactive applications, e.g., for order entry) on an IBM 370 family mainframe.
So, sure, can see this situation as a case of "The Innovator's Dilemma". I.e., IBM was slow to get into lines of business that would compete, under sell, undercut, beat IBM's mainframe, cash cow business.
(4) IBM Missed out
Long a standard attitude in IBM
was that IBM needed only high
margin businesses and should not
try to compete in low margin businesses. So, with this thinking, IBM passed on the businesses of Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Google, Qualcomm, Apple, etc.
So, IBM missed out on the growth of TCP/IP, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, the Internet, Web browsers, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, etc.
With high irony, IBM long made the crucial, core chips used in the high end routers of Cisco and Juniper. Why? IBM had a microelectronics division, and they saw those chips as a business opportunity. But IBM did not pick up that ball and run with it to compete against Cisco or Juniper in high end routers. Due to J. Cocke and his 801 computer, IBM Research was early in RISC. There was some usage of RISC in some IBM mainframe I/O subsystems and in IBM's AIX workstation lines, but RISC became a big thing (e.g., the current Hennessy, Patterson Turing award that claims that now 99% of processors are RISC) but apparently not for IBM. IBM was ahead in magnetic recording with giant magneto resistance disk heads, but Western Digital, etc. were successful with disks but not IBM. IBM had high end research on architecture, algorithms, and software for high end disk clusters, but, IIRC, EMC made the big bucks there, not IBM. IBM Research was early into "wearable" computers, but Apple got rich with the iPhone, etc., not IBM. At one time, IBM actually ran all of the Internet, but they never saw the opportunity there until too late. IBM had an early Web browser but let others get big leverage in the browser wars. At one time, IBM had the TCP/IP stack in chip hardware, but they failed to make big bucks with that. At one time, maybe still, much of the backbone of the Internet needs an IBM-invented amplifier that amplifies the optical signals on the optical fibers without converting back to digital; that was great leverage over the backbone of the Internet, but IBM didn't take that opportunity. The chip manufacturers are only just now moving to extreme UV for their light sources, but parts of IBM saw the point back in the 1980s or so and built a cyclotron as an X-ray source for a microelectronics lithography light source. Today there are lots of chip companies -- Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, etc. -- and several high end chip foundries but apparently IBM is not a major player there. IBM was early into social computing, with Prodigy, etc., but AOL and later Facebook did well. Prodigy was also with Sears and for on-line selling, but Amazon made the big bucks there. IBM was early into really good work in virtual machines, e.g., the 360/67 of 1967 and its CP/67 virtual machine software. But VMware made the big bucks with virtual machines. IBM was a leader in relational database, with System R and DB/2 and the software on the System/38, etc., but Oracle, SQL Server, etc. are the database success stories now. IBM had object oriented software in firmware in 1970 or so, but apparently IBM never became a leader in object oriented computing. PCs? IBM was essentially the leader, but Microsoft and Intel made the big bucks from PCs, not IBM. Cloud computing? I've heard of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google but much less about IBM. Laser printers? Same song, next verse.
(5) Defeat from Jaws of Victory
It goes on this way: In plain terms, from 1980 to 1990, IBM was essentially the technology leader in essentially everything in computing, but the IBM top managers never saw how to make money with that technology. So, 1990 computer and Internet technology, the open door for likely the biggest step up in technology, economic productivity, and more in all of human history, and IBM was determined to ignore it.
It appears that generally IBM is a massive case of organizational behavior goal subordination: The middle and upper managers want to crush anything new; they are not successful in this effort outside IBM but quite successful inside IBM.
For many years, the IBM division managers would meet at the Armonk HQ, give their financial results, nicely ahead of projections, and project even better results for the next year. But near 1990, somehow the results were commonly less good than the projections. The consensus was that "God had ceased to smile on IBM".
(6) For Individuals
For a worker in the US economy, for a good job, income, and financial security, it is their responsibility to get that done. A very common approach is to start and run a successful business. An electrician who has a truck and an assistant and who stays busy can do better financially than 80% of the US IBM employees. Same for a guy who has several crews mowing grass and plowing snow; same for a guy doing well running several McDonald's, Burger Kings, or Wendy's. Same for a dentist. A K-12 school teacher or a nurse has a more stable career than nearly anyone in IBM.
(7) Firing People
IBM fires lots of people because IBM management doesn't know how to organize work for those people in ways that make money. IBM likes to fire older people so that they can blame the failures on the older people being "behind" in technology. Also the managers don't like the older, technical people as subordinates because the older people know too much and can challenge the manager. In particular, the managers don't like technical people and don't want any technical people who know more about technology than the managers. Since the managers with respect are marketing people with poor technical qualifications, those marketing managers like to fire to older experts in technology. It's dysfunctional organizational behavior goal subordination, arrogant, inwardly directed, process oriented, etc.
(8) Future of IBM
The solution? Sure, Darwin is on the case: Slowly IBM will shrink and disappear. Maybe near the end, Bill Gates will buy all of it and put what is left of it in a museum.
Everything they do, from their blockchain efforts to Watson, is so embarrassingly driven by oldschool sales/marketing people that they can't be taken seriously by technical decision makers at their customer companies.
I really have to retire before 50 because it doesn't look good.
My personal opinion (having worked there 10 years with a lot of extremely talented people) is that the scale and types of customers IBM sells to distorts the engineering incentives. They don’t (because they can’t) build the simple MVP and iterate on it. Instead they have to bolt on “enterprise magic” like security integration, support for three different databases (db2, sqlserver, Oracle) from day one, and generally gold plate it. In addition deep pocket customers have massive pull and can distort product schedules because 90% of the revenue is concentrated in a few massive deals. That means “do what’s right for the user” becomes “id like this icon in cornflower Blue”.
The price of massive success is perverse engineering incentives up and down the stack. It’s hard to appreciate from the outside, it’s just what end state enterprise story looks like when your deals are $20M and up.
WebSphere is also a bloated piece of crap so maybe not the best example..
Which is especially ironic that older workers are targetted.
I'll make a killing as an old fashioned java developer at that age, probably.
My sister went to a shit college in India and was hired at one of the shit firms (I want to say Wipro, could've been Infosys). An entire batch of young, just graduated kids were trained on COBOL/batch processing for about 3 months. All of them were then placed to work with IBM, which in turn does that work offshore for US companies.
My sister left after the training, but she says a vast majority of her friends from the training still work at IBM doing COBOL. Each of that is probably 1/10th or so of an old COBOL dev's job gone.
You can't compare the first to the other two. Amazon and Google don't make business products. Sure, they sell "cloud services", but these aren't business products, these are IT services.
Amazon and Google sell phones that somebody else makes. They write software that somebody else retrofits. They sell advertising. They sell inexpensive consumer goods, like a voice-activated interface to their search engines, or a stick to stream video to your TV. Outside of cloud computing, they maintain almost exclusively consumer-oriented services and applications.
IBM makes mainframes that sit in someone's bank and last decades. They make tools that you buy and install and run your entire business with. They are the one-stop shop for a business that needs technology and can't or won't make it themselves from scratch.
It's like comparing apples to quinoa. It's like comparing IKEA to a building contractor.
You're kinda right but the tech world is changing. My experience
1) First job had an expensive IBM powerpc based AIX box. We now have cheap x86 with free Linux.
2) 10 years ago my project had an expensive DB2 database. Current job has a lot of files and open source noSQL applications. (some Oracle is still around but we hate it)
3) My current job is first to use cloud hosts. No need for mainframes any more.
4) I used to have IBM HDD, but they no longer make anything like that
I'll note Google's New York office has a healthy smattering of ex-IBM Grayglers (Greyglers?).
You may want to reformulate. Neither Amazon or Google are competitors to IBM because they don't target B2B. Besides, IBM has products in many market segments where these companies aren't.