April 7, 2017: Friday news roundup

The roundup was on vacation last week, but we’re back and raring to go, with a backlog of news and ideas to get you thinking and talking. Before we dive in, a quick heads-up that you can read about the most recent Udemy for Business People Innovators event over at their blog. They got a huge turnout to discuss unconscious bias and how companies can change up their recruiting and hiring processes to foster greater diversity.

Douglas Coupland: ‘The nine to five is barbaric’
Those of us of a certain age will remember Coupland as the guy who literally came up with the term “Generation X.” His fiction chronicled this generation’s entrance into the working world at a time when technology and personal computers were starting to become entrenched in our lives. Not surprisingly, Coupland has a few thoughts on the gig economy and what the future of work may hold.

Why You Probably Work for a Giant Company, in 20 Charts
This trend reverses what was the norm in the 70s, when most people worked for companies with fewer than 100 employees. Rather than rise up to challenge giant incumbents, today’s smaller startups are more likely to get acquired or fall by the wayside. Check out this data and analysis to understand the positives and negatives of this economic shift.

Sometimes an Emoji Is More Than Just a 🙂
Emojis, it turns out, are more complex communication tools than you might expect, and people use them in all sorts of creative, unexpected ways, according to researchers. The visual shorthand can be interpreted differently by people in different cultures but also by those in the same office, so be careful! Does that “surfer” mean you’re headed to the beach or breaking up with a significant other?

The Digital Nomad Life: Combining Work and Travel
Udemy instructors are certainly among those taking advantage of the online economy to run their businesses from anywhere they choose. Now, a few entrepreneurs are springing up to service this new demographic of digital nomads, such as a program called Unsettled, which offers “30-day co-working experiences around the world for creative people, entrepreneurs and other professionals seeking to combine work, travel and redefining themselves.”

Richard Bolles Dies at 90; Wrote ‘What Color Is Your Parachute?’
Lastly, we note the passing of one of the first career-advice gurus. According to this obituary, Bolles classic book of “unconventional yet pragmatic advice, whimsical narrative style and vintage graphics” has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has never been out of print. With so many career changers among Udemy’s student population, we salute Bolles for bringing into the mainstream the idea that people can and should find their professional fit and not settle for a job that makes them miserable.