March 11, 2016: Friday news roundup

This dispatch comes to you from the wilds of Philadelphia, PA, where your roundup editor is spending quality time with family and friends. But the news must go on!

What do Americans believe will help them get ahead?
According to a recent poll, “Across racial lines, a significant majority of American adults said in the poll that they believe they could obtain a better and higher-paying job if they acquired more education or training.” This info-packed article goes on to examine the complex reasons why recognizing the need for training and then going and getting it isn’t so simple, especially if you’re already part of a disadvantaged group.

To stay relevant, your company and employees must keep learning
This article certainly agrees that adopting a learning mindset and facilitating continuous learning are the only sure-fire ways for companies to “win in the market.” That previous article also reported that more than half of employees look to their employers to provide that training. Of course, if your company’s training is outdated, built on a clunky LMS, and largely text-based, it’s not going to do the hard work of keeping people engaged and excited about learning.

One of the biggest toy companies on earth owes its turnaround to a child skateboarder
Who doesn’t love Legos??? Believe it or not, the Danish company was in trouble back in 2000 and feared they’d fail in a more technology-driven toy market. This story tells how a singlel customer interaction led to strategy shifts — and a company that now challenges Mattel for industry dominance. Udemy’s big on customer-centricity too, and we love learning from our students about what makes a great experience.

Life hacks of the freelance economy
We know a lot of Udemy students are freelancers and contractors, so this one is for you. This article offers a few tips for offsetting the risks that come when you don’t have a steady paycheck from a full-time employer. To the last tip, “Have a calling card, a piece of content, a TEDx talk,” we’d add: create a Udemy course!

If you majored in the humanities, you really should apply to Harvard Business School
Here’s another salvo in the war between those who think the liberal arts are crucial for developing well-rounded thinkers and those who think everyone should just study STEM subjects so they can get jobs. The director of admissions at HBS warns that accepting applicants only with business, economics, and STEM backgrounds overlooks the variety of perspectives and experiences that lead to creative solutions.