The Ghost Workers Behind the Tech Industry, feat. Mary Gray

“We, as consumers, should be holding technology companies that build services and products . . . to the same expectations that we hold scientists, so that [people] are given the opportunity to consent and say no.” – Mary Gray, co-author of Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass

Overview:

In this episode, Mary Gray, Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and co-author of Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass, discusses the work of the often invisible contract employees who bring an essential human element to tech and how the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing their undeniable value to light.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How contract workers are essential in aiding AIs and search engines
  • Examples of a ghost work in everyday technology
  • How the tech industry often devalues contract employees
  • What data labeling is
  • What a ghost worker’s daily schedule looks like
  • How the growing telehealth industry is a prime example of under-appreciated, yet essential contract work
  • The three elements that undermine job happiness
  • How business are benefiting from contract workers
  • The growing challenges of moving towards more contract-driven business
  • Why we should mind the gap rather than close the gap
  • How the pandemic is demonstrating the value of contract and ghost work
  • What are the limits of tech and where does human creativity and spontaneity become irreplaceable

Links and mentions:

Connect with Mary:

How McDonald’s empowered black America (but it’s complicated) with Dr. Marcia Chatelain

“It’s a lot easier to give someone the opportunity to run a business… than to say we’re going to invest in this idea of justice.” – Dr. Marcia Chatelain, Author of Franchise: The Golden Arches In Black America

Overview:

In the season 3 premiere of Innovation for All, Dr. Marcia Chatelain, author of Franchise: The Golden Arches In Black America and professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University, explains the complex history of McDonald’s in black America. She explains how the civil rights movement impacted black business ownership and how franchises, like McDonald’s, can be both an economic win and financially limiting for low-income communities.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How the civil rights movement impacted the growth of McDonald’s in black America
  • How McDonald’s utilized black-centered marketing strategies to fuel advertisements
  • The pros and cons to working in a franchise
  • How the fast food industry was seen as a win for low-income communities initially
  • How black-run McDonald’s franchises pooled resources to benefit the community
  • The differences of how white and black America viewed McDonald’s and its impact on advertising
  • How racist systems use black entrepreneurship as a way to avoid addressing racism
  • COVID-19: Challenges to the food justice movement and what environmental racism is
  • What are the limits of the private sector in COVID-19?
  • Experience and complexities of black franchise owners
  • How to reframe historical storytelling to highlight the community rather than the business

Links and mentions:

Connect with Marcia:

How to battle racism with Janet Stovall

“It is not about individual bigotry. It’s about systemic racism. Racism is not just bigotry, and it’s not just prejudice. It’s prejudice plus power, so we must disrupt the power structures. It’s not the individual . . . it’s the institutions that our country was built on that.” – Janet Stovall

Overview:

In this episode of Innovation for All, Janet Stovall tells us about her history fighting for inclusion since she was a student at Davidson College through present day, where she is the current speech writer for the CEO of UPS. She discusses the complexities of being a woman of color in the workforce and how to address institutionalized racism.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The history of Project 87 at Davidson College
  • How measurable, quantifiable movements are successful
  • What it’s like to be a “stand-in director of diversity”
  • Experiences of being an Executive Speech Writer for UPS’s CEO
  • How Janet left corporate America to start her own business
  • The business case for diversity
  • Challenges of corporate America
  • Pros and cons of being self employed
  • Overcoming discrimination against women of color in the workforce
  • How not all forms of diversity are equal

Links and mentions:

Connect with Janet:

Allen Smart – Investing in Rural America

“Booming immigrant communities in rural America look very different than what you might expect. This sense of rural and what it means needs further discussion elaboration on how it fits into the larger American profile.” – Allen Smart, Founder of PhilanthropywoRx

Allen Smart is a national spokesperson and advocate for improving rural philanthropic practices under his group – PhilanthropywoRx. He is also the Project Director for a national rural philanthropic project based at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Allen regularly consults with regional and national foundations on rural and philanthropic strategies.

In this episode of Innovation for All, Allen discusses the complexities of rural America and how a lack of acknowledgement of its diversity is holding back the work being done there. 

In this episode you will learn:

  • What diversity looks like in rural America
  • How the misunderstanding of rural communities is a barrier to development
  • How philanthropic, government and businesses can improve their work in rural communities 
  • Why there is a sense of frustration within rural America
  • Whether the sudden interest in investing in rural America is being done right
  • How diversity, specifically immigrants and communities of color, is both an old and new issue that must be addressed in rural America 
  • How to invest in the talent and skills of rural entrepreneurs
  • What the future of rural innovation looks like

Links and mentions:

Connect with Allen

Twitter

Placing the Displaced: Running a Refugee Staffing Company with Chris Chancey, CEO of Amplio Recruiting

“The burden of proof was to say that there are refugee entrepreneurs out there who are doing some incredible things and are legitimately investable businesses.” – Chris Chancey, Founder of Amplio Recruiting

Chris Chancey is the founder of Amplio Recruiting, a company that helps companies hire people from the refugee community. How does Chris help refute and calm the fears potential employers? How does he ensure that vulnerable people aren’t being taken advantage of? And what has made his business so successful? Find out with Sheana in this episode of Innovation for All Podcast. 

In this episode you will learn:

  • How Chris started Amplio Recruiting and why?
  • What were some of the challenges in starting the business?
  • How are companies vetted to ensure that the refugees are protected?
  • Which assumptions about the refugee community are misguided?
  • What are the challenges with finding opportunities for women refugees in particular?
  • What is Amplio Ventures?
  • What are some of the success stories?
  • How has this work influenced Chris’ personal views?

Links