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Southwest Airlines Is Canceling 150 Flights a Day Because Of the 737 MAX. Passengers Have Had Enough

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Now that the MAX may be be out of service for a considerable part of the year, the cancelations at Southwest have mounted.

In the middle of it all are passengers.

On social media, they’ve become increasingly vocal and angry about what they see are unreasonable cancellations. 

A sample from Twitter: 

A sample from Facebook: 

If only #southwest treated all customers with respect. Cancelling flights, rebooking with 8 hour layovers and 8hr+ flights and then not offering to refund when we need to book a different flight to be home to see our 4 kids!!! Horrible customer service when trying to figure out our options. We understand having to take planes down because you want to make sure they are safe BUT Southwest should be bending over backwards to make things right. Not ever flying or recommending your airlines again. Keep digging your grave Southwest.

Another from Facebook:

Southwest’s lack of planning should not have cost me a day’s pay, a one day delay in arriving to my destination, a bad seat choice, and increased rental car fees.

Some might think it remarkable that an airline known for customer service is being accused of offering anything but.

Its spokesman Chris Mainz told me: 

This situation is beyond our direct control.  In many ways, it’s like dealing with an ATC/Weather scenario but for weeks on end. The duration is one major factor of what makes this situation highly unusual — especially for our customers. We know it’s been frustrating for our customers, but we have taken several steps to try to minimize the inconvenience and frustration.

He said the airline is offering “massive flexibility.” It’s created a special FAQ to answer passenger concerns. It says it’s canceling flights five days out in order to give passengers as much time as it can to make alternative arrangements.

The airline admits, though, that 150 flights a day are being canceled.

It also concedes passenger anger has increased: 

We’ve seen unusually high volumes on our social channels, but this is expected. While the overall sentiment is negative, we have to remember that we carried over 120 million customers last year. So while it is high and it seems high, it’s a small percentage of our customer base. And we would expect our customers to be disappointed any time their trips are disrupted. 

Disappointment is one thing. Rage is another.

All airlines operate with little margin for error.

When something so sudden hits, airlines are often unprepared operationally and therefore unprepared to offer passengers what they need.

Southwest is relatively lucky because its brand is still robust. 

How long, though, before a truly significant number of passengers turn their backs?

Of course, Southwest isn’t alone in enduring this struggle. American Airlines, with 24 MAX planes, has said it’s canceled 90 flights a day.

Moreover, choices for passengers are few. When four airlines own more than 80 percent of all seats in the U.S., grinning and bearing it is a necessary passenger trait.

But what if the MAX is grounded till the end of the year?

An Open Letter from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook

Time passes quickly and the WiFi is spotty here in Trāyastriṃśaso I apologize for taking so long to check out how you’ve been doing with our company.

Of course, truth be known, Apple was already on that trajectory when I handed you the company, but props anyway.

Beyond that, though, I feel I must ask: Is that ALL you could manage with that money and talent? Seriously?

OK… Let me calm down… Deep breath… Nam Myoho Renge Kyo… Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.. That’s better.

Look, Tim, I don’t want to go all heavy on your case, but here’s what you need to do to make Apple great again:

1. Invest in new technology.

You let our cash on hand get all the way up to $245 billion??? Earning maybe 3% interest? Are you out of your mind?!?!  With those deep pockets, we should be making huge investments and acquisitions in every technology that will comprise the world of the future. You’ve let that upstart Musk make us look like IBM. That’s just plain wrong. 

2. Attack and cripple Google.

Google is our new nemesis, remember? They attacked our core business model with that Android PoC. But, Tim, c’mon… Google is weak. They can’t innovate worth beans and most of their revenue still comes from online ads, which are only valuable because they constantly violate user privacy. You could cut their revenues in half if you added a defaul 100% secure Internet search app to iOS and Mac OS. Spend a few billion and make it faster and better than Google’s ad-laden wide-open nightmare. This isn’t brain surgery.

3. Make the iPad into a PC killer.

WTF? The iPad was supposed to be our big revenge on Microsoft for almost putting us out of business. All it needed was a mouse and could have killed–killed!–laptop sales. Sure, it would have cut into MacBook sales, but that’s the way our industry works. I let the Macintosh kill the Lisa, remember? And the Lisa was my personal pet project. The iPad could have been the next PC… and it still might not be too late.  

4. Give our engineers private offices.

I get it, Tim. You’re not a programmer. You built your career in high tech but it was always in sales and marketing, which are the parts of the business where a lot of talking and socializing make sense. But if you’d ever designed a product, or actually written code, you’d know engineering requires concentration without distractions. Programmers and designers don’t belong in an open plan office. Give them back their private offices before it’s too late.

5. Don’t announce trivial dreck.

A credit card? Seriously? Airbuds with ear-clips? A me-too news service? Is that best you can do? And what was with Oprah And Spielberg at the event? Hey, the year 2007 called and wants its celebrities back. Look, when you gin up the press and the public up for a huge announcement and it’s just meh tweaks to existing products or me-too stuff, it makes us look lame and out of touch. If we don’t have anything world-shaking, don’t have an announcement!

6. Stop pretending we’re cutting edge.

There was a time–I remember it well–when people would line up for hours just to be the first to get our innovative new products. Heck, we even had “evangelists” who promoted our products to our true-believers. But that’s history. Until we come out insanely great new products that inspire that kind of loyalty, dial down the fake enthusiasm. 

7. Make Macs faster, better, cheaper–more quickly.

I’m honestly embarrassed what you’ve done with the Mac. You’ve not released a new design in years. Sure, MacBooks were cool back in the day, but now they’re just average. And where’s our answer to the Surface? Tim, you actually let Microsoft–Microsoft again!–pace us with a mobile product. That’s freakin’ pitiful.

8. Diversify our supply chain out of Asia.

Tim, Tim, Tim…  I love Asia, but you’ve bet our entire company on the belief that there will never be another war (shooting or trade) there. Meanwhile, China has become more aggressive and there’s a madman with nuclear weapons perched a few miles from our main supplier for iPhone parts. Wake up! We need to sourcing our parts in geographical areas where war is less likely.

9. Fix our software, already.

This was the one that surprised me the most. I knew that iTunes, iBooks, Music, and AppStore was a crazyquilt but I figured we could fix that in a future release. But here we are, ten years later, and we’re still asking people to suffer through this counter-intuitive bullsh*t? And what’s with the recent instability with our operating systems? And that wack Facetime security hole? 

10. Make some key management changes.

Delete your account.


Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Each Wrote Exactly 93 Words About Their Divorce. Here's a Truly Stunning Theory About Why They Did It

Jeff and MacKenzie announced the terms of their divorce on Twitter this week in two simultaneous statements. When I wrote about it yesterday, I now think I may have missed something intriguing.

First, the background. It’s fascinating and admirable that the Bezoses worked through their agreement so quickly:

  • MacKenzie keeps 25 percent of their Amazon stock (which works out to something like $35 billion). 
  • Jeff keeps the remaining 75 percent of the Amazon stock, plus the voting power of MacKenzie’s shares, plus their interests in The Washington Post and Blue Origin.

When I wrote yesterday, I pointed out three things that I found unusual — but endearing — in the statements:

  1. They posted the statements almost simultaneously. 
  2. They used the same word, “grateful” twice each, which set the tone of the whole thing in a very positive way.
  3. They each wrote the exact same length: 93 words.

That last detail caught me. Why would they write 93 words each. Could it possibly be a coincidence? Hmmm. 

93 words

I’d only noticed this because I had to retype the statements into a text document. Being a word nerd, I also noticed that MacKenzie Bezos’s statement (embedded at the end of this article) doesn’t include many first person pronouns. 

For example, she writes: “Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff…” instead of “I’m grateful to have finished….”

Actually every sentence is like that. 

I know people sometimes skip first person pronouns, and Twitter is informal, etc. But if she had included all the “I am” clauses, the statements would be uneven. She’d have more than 93 words.

Okay, this was really weird. I didn’t want to be known as a “Bezos Divorce Tweet Truther.” But was there something going on here? Did they agree on 93 words exactly?

And if so, why that number?

September 4, 1993

Then, a reader emailed me with an observation: “the obvious symbolism of the 93 words is they were married in ’93.”

Oh wow. The reader, who didn’t want to be identified, is right at least about the date. The Bezoses were married on September 4, 1993.

I haven’t heard back. I tried [email protected] as well, because why not? But it bounced back.

So I can’t confirm this “93-words-for-1993” theory, obviously. All I can do is put these intriguing facts in front of you, and share what I think of them.

My response is that if it’s true, it’s poignant and beautiful. The writer in me likes to think it’s a communication in a shared voice, going beyond the text itself.

It leaves me thinking about what was, what might have been, and what their relationship will be going forward.

Suspend your disbelief

Suspend your disbelief for just a second. Accept that it’s probably just a coincidence but then allow yourself to imagine what it means if it wasn’t.

Imagine if during the chaos of what could have been one of the most contentious and costliest divorces in history, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos quickly reached an agreement — not just on the big things, but on the little things, down to the length of their joint statement.

Suspend that disbelief just a bit longer, and ask yourself if it’s possible they chose 93 words for this special, sentimental reason.

Put that with their repeated symmetrical use of the word, “grateful,” and of the repeated phrases in each statement: “friends and co-parents,” and “co-parents an friends.”

Add to it how they both agreed with the language in MacKenzie’s post, where she says she’s “[h]appy to be giving Jeff all of my interests in The Washington Post and Blue Origin and 75% of our Amazon stock.”

Emphasis added there, since this phrasing is instead of Jeff saying he’s giving something to MacKenie, or them both saying they were splitting the assets. It’s MacKenzie giving what she owns to Jeff. That’s powerful.

I’m impressed. I’m a filled with a bit of awe. And, I find myself offering them both condolences and congratulations on the whole situation. 

Cranfield gets Rubrik backup plus Nutanix in drive to the cloud

Cranfield University has replaced its Veeam and Data Domain backup infrastructure for one comprising Rubrik backup appliances and Microsoft Azure cloud storage.

In doing so, it has cut its on-site hardware footprint from 24U to 4U, slashed equipment and licensing costs, and reduced data restore times from hours or days to minutes.

The move also gives Cranfield peace of mind in disaster recovery by gaining the ability to run all operations from any location using virtual servers running in Azure, should the entire site become unavailable.

The refresh comes alongside one in which the university replaced its existing Pure Storage flash storage arrays with 12 nodes of Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure hardware.

The entire project is a drive towards simplifying Cranfield’s on-site physical infrastructure in a move that encompasses cloud as a site for storage (and compute in case of outages).

Cranfield is a leading research establishment in science, industry and technology, with 1,600 staff and 4,000 postgraduate students.

Its IT stack is based around Microsoft and Linux servers with Microsoft and Oracle-based applications. It is effectively 100% virtualised on VMware, with 400-600 virtual machines running at any one time.

Its existing backup infrastructure was based on Veeam backup software and Data Domain hardware, with replication to a third party-hosted Data Domain box.

That setup had reached end of life and was showing the signs, said head of IT infrastructure Edward Poll.

“Data Domain did what it was supposed to do, but it was time to refresh things and we wanted to reduce costs, management time and complexity, and increase performance,” he said.

“The major issue with Data Domain had become restores. It ingests well, but recovering was more problematic. It would be fine for one restore, but if we’d had to restore multiple – 50, 100 or 150 – servers, we would have struggled.”

Cranfield’s IT department had already started a journey towards cloud by using StorSimple appliances – with about 80TB on site and 0.5PB in the Azure cloud – and had discovered how cost-effective it can be.

“Azure was a good fit and we started by thinking we could use Veeam and Data Domain instances in the cloud, but it was suggested to us, ‘why not get rid of a layer of software?’, and we looked at using Rubrik appliances,” said Poll.

Rubrik is part of an emerging category of backup appliances that come as nodes that build into clusters in a similar way to hyper-converged infrastructure.

Rubrik’s software appliance can come on approved server hardware from Cisco, HPE or Dell with flash and spinning disk inside. Capacities for a minimum four-node cluster are in the 64TB-160TB range, depending on the hardware.

Customers can set policies to specify how long data should be retained as a backup and which can be accessed for production use from Rubrik hardware. Rubrik backup data is seen as an NFS file share before being sent to an in-house physical archive or the cloud.

Cranfield has deployed eight Rubrik R348S nodes with a total of about 80TB of storage on site, with flash and SAS spinning disk tiers of storage inside. Data is ingested, then copied off to the Azure cloud.

The key benefits for Poll’s team are the substantially better restore times, plus the ability to potentially restore virtual machines in the cloud, allowing staff to work from any location in the event of a disaster.

Rubrik’s CloudOn enables rapid recovery to allow for business continuity in the event of a disaster, said Poll. “If our on-prem site is down, we can quickly convert our archived VMs into cloud instances, and launch those apps on-demand in Azure,” he added.

“We don’t notice any difference in data ingest, but performance on restores is very much better.”

In cost terms, Cranfield had been spending £50,000 a year on off-site hosting. It now spends about £25,000 a year with Microsoft Azure.

Meanwhile, time spent managing backup is down from about half a day a week to five minutes a day.

In terms of physical space and equipment savings, Poll said the university had turned off 42U of storage and backup devices, of which backup servers and Data Domain comprised 24U.

“Overall, it has given us a simpler, faster and more reliable backup service,” he said. “It is more easily integrated with a department that is moving towards a DevOps model, and when it comes to data recovery, we are down to minutes rather than many hours.”

The storage and backup refresh – with the move towards hyper-converged infrastructure – forms part of a wider plan to rationalise IT by making use of contemporary devices’ formats with a smaller physical footprint, as well as the cloud.

Poll added: “The university masterplan is to knock down the IT department and to no longer have two large datacentres on site. Instead, there will be one datacentre, a ‘resiliency room’ for redundancy of network equipment, and the cloud.”

How Artificial Intelligence Could Humanize Health Care

Using artificial intelligence in health care could actually make medicine more human by giving doctors more time to interact with their patients.

The technology promises to improve health care by making it more effective and speedy by eliminating some of the mundane functions that eat up doctors’ time, said Eric Topol, founder and director of the nonprofit Scripps Research Translational Institute, at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference on Tuesday in San Diego. Machine learning could free doctors from having to type medical information into patient files while also helping give patients better access to their personal data.

“All that effort can then get us to what we’ve been missing for decades now, which is the true care in health care,” Topol said.

Topol’s vision is the topic of his new book, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. To achieve this optimistic future, he said the health care industry must aggressively adopt artificial intelligence.

Beyond humanizing health care, deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence, can also reduce human error and help doctors make better decisions, Topol said.

Radiologists falsely clear patients of disease 32% of the time, Topol said. Meanwhile, gastroenterologists regularly miss small polyps that are just as pre-cancerous as larger ones.

“We have to fess up to how bad things are now,” Topol said. “All these things can be improved by deep learning and machine vision.”

Artificial intelligence also opens the door to new discoveries, crunching massive amounts of data both from patients and medical literature that would have been too onerous for a human to review. This would allow doctors to provide more individualized care for patients such as a diet that is more likely to succeed based on a patient’s body type. It also could lead to improved wearable technology and innovations like virtual medical coaches that give patients health advice.

Combining all of these things, artificial intelligence could improve an industry burdened by doctor burnout, early retirement, and a growing feeling that enrolling in medical school is a bad idea.

“What we need is some hope,” Topol said. “It’s reassuring that we have a path, that if we work on it hard, we might get there.”

For more coverage of Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference, click here. For news delivered daily to your inbox, subscribe to Fortune’s Brainstorm Health Daily newsletter.

Related Cos wins bid in WarnerMedia's office sale at Hudson Yards: source

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Related Companies has won a bid to buy a stake in the second-tallest office building in Manhattan from AT&T’s WarnerMedia in a deal expected to top $2 billion, a source involved in the bidding said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Signage for an AT&T store is seen in New York October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The winning bid for WarnerMedia’s 1.5 million square feet (139,355 meters) of space at 30 Hudson Yards, the hub of the new development on Manhattan’s far west side, was chosen last week, the source said.

AT&T, looking to cut debt after last year’s $85 billion takeover of Time Warner, plans to lease back the space at the tower, which has the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere jutting out from the 100th floor.

AT&T declined to comment. Doug Harmon, the broker at Cushman & Wakefield handling the transaction, declined to comment, as did Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for Related.

The deal would be similar to Time Warner’s sale of its office space in the Time Warner Center in 2014 to Related and two sovereign wealth partners in the deal, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Singapore’s GIC.

That sale allowed Time Warner to acquire its space at Hudson Yards, a $25 billion project developed by Related with Canada’s Oxford Properties that officially opened last month.

Time Warner aimed to consolidate 5,000 employees spread across seven locations into one site. WarnerMedia recently began moving into 30 Hudson Yards, the first tenant to do so.

AT&T is in the midst of a restructuring at WarnerMedia that has seen the heads of HBO, Turner Broadcasting and Warner Brothers leave this year.

AT&T’s plans for a sale and leaseback deal surfaced in January and attracted pension funds, a sovereign wealth fund and real estate investment trusts. The losing bidders have been notified, the source said.

AT&T plans this year to shave $20 billion off its net debt of $171.3 billion, as reported at the end of 2018, with debt reduction a top company priority.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; editing by Susan Thomas and Sonya Hepinstall

Could Your Conference Rooms Cause Bad Decisions? 

The average American spends 93% of their life indoors. The media headlines often talk about the depleting outdoor air quality, but neglect to talk about the air inside that we happen to be breathing the majority of our lives. For those who have chosen the “startup path” proper ventilation and constant monitoring of the air quality is often treated as a luxury than a necessity.

Personally, I have advised and worked for early-stage companies that had very humble office beginnings. I’ve walked into poorly ventilated rooms and could instantly determine what my co-workers had for breakfast and who forgot to give an extra swipe of deodorant that morning. Sometimes I would roll out of a marathon strategy session in a small room and feel lightheaded, never knowing if it was the lack of oxygen, the fluorescent lights, or the fiscal policy that made me wheezy. Needless to say, startups aren’t for everyone.

Scientific studies have shown that poor indoor air quality could play a big part in how we feel at work, and it could also have a direct correlation to cognitive function. Studies from Berkeley National Laboratory and Harvard University looked at indoor carbon dioxide (C02) levels and how it affects our cognitive function and decision making.

First, let’s flashback to 5th-grade science class to get a quick recap of carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a greenhouse gas that is natural and safe in small quantities, yet high levels can quickly escalate to be harmful to your health. Because humans produce carbon dioxide (CO2) when we exhale, concentrations of CO2 in occupied indoor spaces are higher than concentrations outdoors. The less ventilation, the more CO2 can hang around and cause problems.

The studies looked at both CO2 in the office and evaluated human participates decision-making skills in environments with different levels of CO2. What they found directly correlates to the zonked feeling you get when you tumble out of a crowded meeting room. First, it had been previously stated that 350-1000 pmm was typical for indoor buildings with good air quality. The study showed that at the 1000 pmm level there was some moderate, yet statistically significant decrements in decision making among the subjects. At 2500 pmm the deficits became more significant. People in these environments who complained about the indoor air quality also reported more acute health symptoms, such as headaches. They often work slightly slower and they were more often absent from work or school.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that in approximately 500 indoor air quality (IAQ) investigations in the last decade, 52 percent of the indoor air quality problems were related to inadequate ventilation. On an even sadder note, the Berkeley National Laboratory study looked at crowded elementary classrooms in California and Texas and documented that the average CO2 concentrations were above 1,000 ppm, a substantial proportion exceeded 2,000 ppm, and in 21% of Texas classrooms peak, CO2 concentration exceeded 3,000 ppm!

Now, back to our excessively long meeting in a closed room. When several people are talking in a closed off room for several hours the CO2 levels rise. Studies say those CO2 levels can exceed 1000 ppm and get as high as 5000 ppm depending on the ventilation and number of people. The longer the meeting, the more CO2 is trapped in the room with you and your coworkers. The levels are highest at the end of the meeting, at the same time when important decisions are being made. 

For companies of all sizes, when you are evaluating office space it is important to keep air quality in mind, especially in the conference rooms. Monitors are now inexpensive and can help your team stay on top of any issues. Additional filtration systems and office plants can also aid in ensuring healthy levels of CO2 in the office.

Over-indexing for a healthy work environment will pay dividends in the future to your employees’ overall health, happiness, proper decision making. Indoor air quality should not be taken for granted as the risks to business are too high.

South Korea's burned out millennials chose YouTube over Samsung

SEOUL (Reuters) – Yoon Chang-hyun’s parents told him to get his sanity checked when he quit his secure job as a researcher at Samsung Electronics Co in 2015 to start his own YouTube channel.

Yoon Chang-hyun works on his Youtube clip in Seongnam, South Korea, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The 65 million won ($57,619) a year salary – triple South Korea’s average entry level wage – plus top-notch healthcare and other benefits offered by the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker was the envy of many college graduates.

But burned out and disillusioned by repeated night shifts, narrowing opportunities for promotion and skyrocketing property prices that have pushed home ownership out of reach, the then 32-year old Yoon gave it all up in favor of an uncertain career as an internet content provider.

Yoon is among a growing wave of South Korean millennials ditching stable white collar jobs, even as unemployment spikes and millions of others still fight to get into the powerful, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebol.

Some young Koreans are also moving out of city for farming or taking blue collar jobs abroad, shunning their society’s traditional measures of success – well-paid office work, raising a family and buying an apartment.

“I got asked a lot if I had gone crazy,” Yoon said. “But I’d quit again if I go back. My bosses didn’t look happy. They were overworked, lonely…”

Yoon now runs a YouTube channel about pursuing dream jobs and is supporting himself from his savings.

Samsung Electronics declined to comment for this article.

Chaebols such as Samsung and Hyundai powered South Korea’s dramatic rise from the ashes of the 1950-53 war into Asia’s fourth-largest economy in less than a generation. Well-paid, secure jobs provided a gateway to the middle-class for many baby boomers.

But with economic growth stagnating and competition from lower cost producers weighing on wages, even milliennials who graduated from top universities and secured chaebol jobs say they are less inclined to try to fulfill society’s expectations.

Similar issues among younger workers are being seen globally. However, South Korea’s strict hierarchical corporate culture and oversupply of college graduates with homogeneous skills make the problem worse, says Ban Ga-woon, a labor market researcher at state-run Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training.

South Koreans had the shortest job tenure among member countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as of 2012, just 6.6 years compared to the average of 9.4 years and 11.5 years in neighboring Japan.

The same survey also showed barely 55 percent of South Koreans were satisfied with their jobs, the lowest rate in the OECD.

This January, ‘quitting jobs’ appeared on the nation’s top 10 new year resolution list on major social media sites.


Some workers are even going back to school to learn how to do just that.

A small three-classroom campus in southern Seoul, named “School of Quitting Jobs”, has attracted over 7,000 attendees since opening in 2016, founder Jang Su-han told Reuters.

The 34-year-old Jang, who himself quit Samsung Electronics in 2015 to launch the school, said it now offers about 50 courses, including classes on how-to-YouTube, manage an identity crisis, and how to brainstorm a Plan B.

The school’s rules are displayed at its entrance: “Don’t tell your bosses, say nothing even if you run into a colleague, and never get caught until your graduation.”

“There is strong demand for identity-related courses, as so many of us were too busy with cram schools to seriously think about what we want to do when were teenagers,” he said.

To be sure, the lure of a prestigious chaebol job remains strong, especially with the country mired in its worst job slump since 2009 and youth joblessness near a record high.

Samsung Electronics is still the most desired workplace for graduates as of 2019, a survey of 1,040 job seekers by Saramin, a job portal, showed in February.

However, many entering the workforce are much less willing to accept the long hours or mandatory drinking sessions synonymous with the country’s hierarchical, cutthroat corporate life, says Duncan Harrison, country head of London-based recruitment agency Robert Walters Plc.

“The mindset of people entering the workforce is very different from past generations,” Harrison said.


Among elementary school students, YouTube creator is now the fifth-ranked dream job, behind being a sports star, school teacher, doctor or a chef, a 2018 government poll showed.

Some are choosing a simpler life in the country.

Between 2013 and 2017, South Korea saw a 24 percent increase in the number of households who ditched city life for farming – more than 12,000 in total.

And in the face of dwindling opportunities at home, nearly 5,800 people also went abroad for jobs last year using government-subsidized programs, more than tripling from 2013, according to government data.

Others left without support or new jobs lined up.

Slideshow (7 Images)

Plant engineer Cho Seung-duk bought one-way tickets to Australia in December with his wife and two kids.

“I don’t think my son could get jobs like mine in South Korea,” said 37 year-old Cho, who moved from Hyundai Engineering & Construction to another top construction firm in 2015 before he emigrated.

“I will probably clean offices in Brisbane, but that’s ok.”

Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Lincoln Feast

Why Every Entrepreneur Should Treat Their Personal Brand as Their 'Side Hustle'

Despite all our differences, one of the things that links all entrepreneurs together is that we’re all busy. Very busy. Even during our down time, it’s hard not to think about all the things we “should be doing.”

The amount of work you already need to get done at your own business often makes it hard to even think about working on a side hustle. Some may even feel like they’d be cheating on their company by working on one.

Yet, there’s one side hustle every entrepreneur should be actively building: their personal brand. Here’s why, and how to get started.

Why should you invest in a personal brand?

1. Promoting your company. 

By building a strong, recognizable personal brand, your company will also receive exposure. Oftentimes, people are more receptive and open to taking advice from a human face than a faceless logo. This is why it’s easier to land speaking gigs, columnist spots, podcast interviews, book deals and more as an individual than it is as a company. Essentially, the bigger your personal brand becomes, the more brand awareness your business will receive in turn.

2. It’ll always be there.

Companies come and go. Whether you plan to sell your startup one day, pass your small business on to a family member, or are forced to close your doors (God forbid), the chances of you eventually parting ways with your current company are high. 

The one thing that’ll never go away as long as you’re alive? You. As long as you’re here, your personal brand is as well. No matter what direction you plan to go, your personal brand can always follow along, making it a worthwhile, long-term investment.

3. The ability to network.

Another benefit to developing a personal brand is how easy it is to network with other movers and shakers in your industry along the way. When you’re creating social media content as an individual or speaking at conferences as an individual, there’s something more authentic and personable about it relative to giving them as a company or business.

Again, people trust people over logos. By adding value to others in your industry from publishing content and creating a personal brand, you’ll naturally rub shoulders with powerful figures in your field as well.

4. The ability to test.

Building a personal brand also gives you a “testing ground” to experiment with different marketing strategies, advertising tactics and more in a much lower-stakes environment than doing so with your company’s marketing budget. By testing these strategies, you can see what works and apply these insights to your company’s marketing efforts, too.

5. Supplemental income.

If everything above wasn’t enough to convince you, then don’t forget that you can also earn some solid cash by building a personal brand. Between paid columnist spots, speaking engagements, book deals, and brand endorsements, your personal brand can give you some extra money to throw around if you play your cards right.

How to Get Started

To start off on the right foot, identify and zero in on a niche somehow affiliated with the company you’re building, either closely or loosely. For instance, if you run a coffee shop that uses only locally grown ingredients, your personal brand could be rooted in how important sustainable, locally-sourced food is. If you run an HR startup, your personal brand could be connected to ethics in the workplace or how crucial diversity is to business success.

Next, publish content on social media and work your way up the “thought leadership” ladder. For starters, once you’ve been consistently posting content online, gather a list of conferences, meetups, and podcasts in your niche and reach out to them in hopes of landing a speaking spot.

You should also be reaching out to blogs and publications in your field in hopes of securing a position as a columnist. From there, you can work your way up to bigger blogs. Then, even bigger ones. Eventually, this work could result in a book deal, a massive social media following, or something even greater.

Lastly, always be networking with others who are on the same path you’re on. Stop looking at these individuals as competitors. Instead, see them as potential partners who can help guide you along the way. 

Entrepreneurs know firsthand just how turbulent the business world is. One way to safeguard your livelihood from the ebbs and flows of the marketplace (and make some connections and money along the way) is to take on the side hustle of building a personal brand – and following the tips in this article is a great place to start. Best of luck.

The Founder of OPI: "Having It All" Is an Unrealistic Dream

I hear so much about women “having it all.” I think this sets an unrealistic burden on today’s females. As a working mom with a hugely successful business and two wonderful children, I feel confident saying you simply cannot do everything. You have to be willing to give some things up to be successful. I’m not superwoman. I can do a lot, but I can’t do it all. The best way to find balance is to set priorities. For me, those priorities were always my kids and my company, OPI. Almost everything else — self care, a social life, sleep — was left on the back burner. Facials and friendships were not nearly as important to me — spending time with my family became my way to relax, and I made deeply cherished friends through my work.

I also think it’s impossible to do alone. Whether you rely on a partner, a family member, a friend — having a support system is so important. Even with my set priorities, I often had to choose between work and family. Knowing my kids were safe and happy with warm and loving family made things easier when I had to prioritize work. On the flip side, when the time came for family vacations, I was able to leave work behind because I had other people in place who shared my work ethic.

A support system is more than just an encouraging word or someone to call in an emergency — a support system allows you to focus on family when you’re with family, and work when you’re at work. To me, this setup is crucial if you want to have any sort of balance.

Beyond this, you’ve got to be organized and effectively practice time management. If you don’t plan your day, your schedule will control you — rather than the other way around. And when you’ve surrounded yourself with people who share your business vision, as I always did, you’ll be able to easily delegate tasks to people who can translate your vision into a reality without you needing to personally handle every step along the way.

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Published on: Mar 29, 2019