Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, April 26, 2021

Further evidence that the 20-something MySpace generation has no shame: Disclosing annual salary among friends is now considered practically de rigueur.

For people old enough to remember phone booths, a blunt reference to salary in a social setting still represents the height of bad manners. But for many young professionals, the don’t-ask-don’t-tell etiquette of previous generations seems like a relic.

For them, salary information is now fair game, at least among friends. Many consider it crucial to prosper in an increasingly transient, winner-take-all workplace — regardless of the envy that full disclosure can raise. Besides, when the Internet already offers a cornucopia of personal information, it almost seems coy to keep personal income private.

As Ilana Arazie, 32, an online video producer for a media company in Manhattan, said, “If we can talk about how many orgasms we have with our mate, why can’t we discuss how much we make?”

Well, if you bring orgasms into, okay then.

Actually, I was joking about that “no shame” quip (mostly). I don’t disagree with this sharing concept, simply because it’s a rightly-recognized acknowledgment of modern-day working life:

Robert H. Frank, an economics professor at Cornell, said that an open flow of information is deemed crucial by young professionals who think of themselves as free agents, not company men.

“People move between jobs a lot more now than they used to,” Dr. Frank said. This mobility alone increases the instances that salary might come up among friends.

Indeed, no one should expect to stick around with a single company for their entire career, simply because the companies themselves don’t even tacitly offer that security anymore. I argued 10 years ago about that fundamental shift in American life; we’re all free agents these days, like it or not. So there’s nothing wrong with collaboratively comparing notes, in order to establish a market value among peers.

Does this mean I freely cough up my gross/net earnings? Well, no. For one thing, at 36, I’m old enough to cling to the oldschool taboo on the subject. For another, now that I’m a full-time consultant, my annual “salary” can vary, especially with the of-late recessionary rumblings. It’s a bit moot, as I don’t detect any requests from friends and colleagues for that information anyway (nor do they offer up theirs). If anything, I’ll more-or-less let my visible standards of living speak for themselves, and let those curious enough guess at the pricetags and do the resultant math.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/26/2008 08:08:34 PM
Category: Business, Society, Sports
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less blow
So today at around 1PM, I flipped the TV channel to ESPN, fully expecting to see the first round of this year’s NFL Draft in full swing. I haven’t been particularly interested in the lead-up, but I wanted to get a token fix of Mel Kiper et al.

But, shocker of shockers — no draft coverage. Because there was no draft, because unlike years past, the league and the networks decided to slightly streamline football’s most overhyped offseason event:

- The draft will start at [3PM Eastern] Saturday, three hours later than had been the case, but only Rounds 1 and 2 will be held that day. The third round has been moved to Sunday.

- Teams will be allowed 10 minutes to make a selection in the first round instead of 15, and the time between second-round picks will be seven minutes instead of 10.

- Sunday’s portion of the draft will start an hour earlier [10AM Eastern] and teams will have five minutes between picks in Rounds 3-7.

The later start time Saturday is beneficial for ESPN and the NFL Network because viewership grows throughout the day. But the reduction in time between picks is going to be interesting.

The quicker pace between selections has greater impact than just television coverage and ad sales, of course. Teams do jockey for trades during that between-selection time, even if it is for slot-swaps to move up in a round. Potentially, that means a reduction in horsetrading, even if it is only for trivial fourth-round positioning.

Still, as much as I ignored the draft for the past couple of years, I do feel a void. It was a reliable background noise if I chose to tune in. Today’s mid-afternoon start didn’t work for me at all; as a result, I’ve peeked in for maybe five total minutes of coverage. I doubt I’ll catch much more tomorrow.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/26/2008 07:25:15 PM
Category: Football, TV
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Stern Pinball, Inc. is a company that’s in about the most concentrated niche industry that’s possible:

But this place, Stern Pinball Inc., is the last of its kind in the world. A range of companies once mass produced pinball machines, especially in the Chicago area, the one-time capital of the business. Now there is only Stern. And even the dinging and flipping here has slowed: Stern, which used to crank out 27,000 pinball machines each year, is down to around 10,000.

That Chicago connection also played a big part in coin-op videogaming history. In fact, Stern Pinball’s predecessor company produced some 1980s-era arcade videogames. And cross-town rival company Williams went a step further, not only delving into videogames but in fact producing some of the more memorable and challenging games from that era, notably Defender, Joust, and (my personal favorite) Robotron: 2084. As much as Silicon Valley gets credit for birthing Atari, Chicago should get some credit for fostering some eminently playable classic videogaming.

As for pinball, I’m not one who’ll miss it’s eventual passing. I never could get into it. I don’t mind the concept of the ball as a free radical, but so much of the game forces you to be an observer — you watch the ball spring forth, bounce around for a minute or more on various bumpers and bells, and then maybe drop down to the flippers area. Then, even if you get a decent hit, you usually have to wait another several seconds for the ball to descend back down to you. Or, more likely, it drops down dead center, where all your hapless flippering can’t prevent the end of the turn. Woo-hee.

One aside: They still call it the “coin-op industry”. Do any arcade machines still even accept coins — last I noticed, they all had dollar bill feeders, and the newest models even have card-swipe slots. I guess soda and snack machines are part of this business, and they still take coins, so maybe they still justify the industry’s name.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/26/2008 05:23:17 PM
Category: History, Pop Culture, Videogames
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