Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Roundup

I've fallen way behind on posting a bunch of interesting things I've set aside to share with you, so I'm just going to begin to catch up on those today. I'll add many more in coming days.

Joel Continues His Thought Leadership. My friend Joel Cheesman, a true web dynamo, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal this week. But that's barely cause to notice anymore, given his ever-expanding influence. The one-man vertical-industry news bureau continues to show what a single smart, well-connected and well-informed person can do by intelligently leveraging the web. His blog has become a must-read in the recruitment industry, and at his still relatively tender age (he's a new parent), he's barely begun to scratch the surface of what lies ahead for him.

Petkovic's Permanent Bad Hair Day. Can anyone please explain to me why an adult human being would pose for a photo to be used in conjunction with their profession, while looking like this? Okay, so rock critics are different animals than the editors of the business page. I suppose they want to blend in with people they write about. But this is ridiculous. Please, can somebody get this guy a comb next time he takes a photo? On second thought, you'd better make that a brush.

Expect Male Productivity To Plummet For Awhile. The annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which provides a chance each year for purists to complain about the decline and fall of our culture, has a welcome new twist this year: it's all available for free online. If you're into that kind of thing, do enjoy it.

The Power Couple. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown talks to The Nation, and draws a map for his fellow Dems on how to win in Ohio, which may or may not be as much of a key this year to winning the White House as it was in the recent past. Meanwhile, his wife, Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz, is set to speak to the Union Club next month about the journeys women take. An appearance in this venue has some especially pleasing ironies for a woman who has been such a strong proponent for women generally. It was only a quarter century ago, after all, that this oldest of the old line Cleveland clubs, the very embodiment of the starchy corporate male power structure in Cleveland, finally broke the gender line by permitting women (I believe it was 1983, rather late in the game for these things). And even then it took someone of such imposing credentials--the then-head of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, Karen Horn--that it makes one wonder if the club might still be all-male if not for her. One last funny irony here. While the club did eventually admit women for full membership, since 1882 (according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, which needs some updating on this entry) they had qualified access, including (if you can believe this) separate dining rooms for the sexes. An elderly club veteran once told me a story about Tom Vail, the longtime publisher of the PD, whose family sold the paper to the Newhouses way back in the '60s, but who continued to be publisher through the early '90s. For years, Vail chose to take his lunch in the women's dining room, sitting alone. Whether that was to avoid carping about the paper's coverage from his fellow male executives or not, I've never been able to ascertain. But I do plan on trying to ask him about this one day. With my friend Diana Tittle's considerable literary assistance, he did publish a slim book not long ago, a memoir about his dealings with nine U.S. presidents. Alas, I can find not one trace of the book or of him on the entire Internet. I suppose that's the final irony in this tale.

Superstar Women are More Portable. Finally, should our friend Connie ever decide to pick up stakes and leave the PD for better pastures (which I don't expect), she can take heart in this fascinating write-up in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review. Based on considerable research, it reveals a significant gender difference between male and female top performers when it comes to changing jobs. Women, it turns out, have more portable networks, and thus are far more successful in continuing to shine at a new company. Men, meanwhile, on average tend to depend more on their internal network, and thus are more crippled when they switch jobs. Now, that's interesting.


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