Reframing the Problem
Jeffrey Bowman is the co-founder and CEO of Reframe. Through Reframe, Jeffrey is helping companies around the world to build an environment that understands their employees as well as their customers. This has become an increasingly important issue as the global workforce diversifies and many jobs move from a daily drive to the office to working from home, which these days can be almost anywhere. In fact, as Elon Musk’s satellite wi-fi system Starlink expands, people will be able to work from almost literally anywhere on the planet.
Naturally, as a company’s employees spread out geographically, they also diversify culturally. While the different perspectives and modes of thought that come with that can be a great benefit to a company, there are also some hurdles to be cleared. It is often the case that people from different cultures have a hard time relating to and understanding each other. Put that together with the fact these employees aren’t working in proximity to each other, and might actually be on the other side of an ocean, it can be hard to build unit cohesion. These two problems, companies often not really understanding their own employees and the need to better manage a global workforce are what led to the creation of Reframe.
Why the name Reframe? A lot of people use the word “reimagine” to get people to start thinking of ways to solve a problem. The issue is that it results in just another way of looking at a problem. If you reframe the same problem you actually change the structure of the problem. Think of the way Alexander solved the Gordian Knot. Instead of trying to figure out how to undo it, he reframed it and cut it straight down the middle with his sword. Problem solved.
It isn’t only the globalization of the workforce. It’s the fact that historic minorities are both growing in the general population and also working their way through and up the workforce. With that comes more and different cultures interacting with each other that will gradually change the culture in all of these companies. Reframing how these companies handle this is not just a nice and inclusive thing to do, it’s necessary. It will make for a happier workforce and a workforce that is actually retained, rather than being dissatisfied and moving on to something else.
The other aspect Reframe sought to…reframe was the software experience. Too many businesses use multiple apps to manage their work. Slack, Microsoft, Zoom, Skype, there are just too many different programs all with their own logins. Not only is this inefficient, it’s frustrating and keeps your workforce compartmentalized. Reframe set about creating new apps that would act as a hub, allowing people to have just one login for all of their work related activities.
Jeffrey uses the example of Nike as a brand that seems to be heading in the right direction. Everyone knows Nike spent most of its time using established athletes in the major sports to advertise for it, which of course was meant to inspire others to be that kind of athlete. However, in more recent years, it’s been expanding its brand to include less well known sports as well as women’s sports, encouraging everyone to be the best athlete they can be. Even if they will never jump like Michael Jordan.
Another real world example that Reframe was involved in was a hair product company. Like most, it had hair products for some people and then products for ‘ethnic’ people. Reframe was able to help them realize they should change their marketing to hair texture. So their products were marketed for people with wavy, curly, straight, or kinky hair. Race and ethnicity were left out of it entirely, because in reality, it’s irrelevant. What matters for a hair company is the texture of the hair and little else.
Jeffrey and Reframe have worked with a number of different companies, getting them to reexamine their practices and how they relate to both their employees and their customers. In doing so they aren’t just playing to buzz words, they’re building a world that works better for everyone.
Welcome our newest Data Champion.
Do You Trust Me?
It’s a line we’ve heard over and over in movies and books. We’ve used it, or some variation of it, ourselves. That’s because there are many aspects of life that we simply have to take with a certain degree of trust. We trust that our brakes will work, we trust that our kids aren’t sneaking out of the house at night, that our doctor isn’t a quack. In short, even in the small, mundane aspects of our lives, we rely on others to be honest with us. One could even say that trust is the most valuable thing in society.
But wait! Don’t we always go on about how ‘data is the new gold’? Yes, and that’s true. Data is the most valuable commodity. Trust, however, is not merely a commodity, a resource that can be bought and sold. Trust makes it possible to buy and sell in the first place. In order for data to be a valuable commodity in the first place, we have to be able to trust it.
This is even more apparent in the more macro aspects of life. We trust our parents to tell us the truth about life. We would like to trust our political, business, and religious leaders to tell us the truth. We expect those delivering the news to tell us honestly what is going on in the world. Yet, we can all point to many examples of these very authority figures lying to us, sometimes very obviously.
The constant lying that we have learned to take for granted has generated a true crisis of trust, which itself has led to fresh and strange realignments. Many people go through life now not having any idea of what to believe and who to trust. Others reject one set of lies but reflexively believe whatever someone else tells them, quickly becoming unable to even hear others. This is how we have gotten to a world where a disturbing number of people believe the moon landing was faked and others even argue that the world is flat. It’s easy to dismiss such people as fools, yet, it isn’t entirely their fault. They’ve grown up in an environment where you can never trust the official story, where critical thinking is confused with rejecting what your parents or some other authority figure told you. In a world of lies, they think the only truth is the one thing you aren’t allowed to believe.
Not only is this sad,but it is also utterly unsustainable. Without trust, society simply can’t continue. While we at TARTLE can’t solve all of modern society’s trust issues, we can help in our little corner. We can point out when companies are not acting truthfully with regard to how they acquire their data. We can be an example that doesn’t put profits before people. We can be transparent about how we operate, allowing people to see how their data plays a role in our business and how we make a buck not from people giving us their data but others buying it data.
TARTLE can help by providing truthful data directly from the source, from you the individual. Data that is untainted by any bias, free of the assumptions that are built into any algorithm. By doing this, by helping people to get the source, to get the truth behind the data, maybe we can help rebuild some tiny sense that trust is possible. By being transparent, we can show that it is possible to operate a global company without lying, or being secretive. By setting an example and spreading the word with your help, maybe we can help put just a little trust back into our troubled world.
What’s your data worth?