Episode 71

Neumann Comeback, Productivity Scores, Liz Cheney, Student Progress

Ravi and Rikki go over the Twitter reaction to her appearance on Bill Maher before jumping into the show, starting with a hefty VC investment in disgraced WeWork founder Adam Neumann’s ambitious new housing venture. They then move on to the rise of “worker productivity scores” and where to draw the line when it comes to monitoring employees, as well as Liz Cheney’s primary loss and what her next move could be. The hosts finish by discussing two studies on student progress and performance and wrap up with another one of Ravi’s Radical Ideas.


Rikki tries her best to interpret the vague outlines of Neumann’s new company, as Ravi guesses at how it might aim to disrupt the housing market. Then the hosts touch on the extraordinarily disproportionate amount of VC funding going to men rather than women, as well as wrongheaded comparisons between Neumann and Elizabeth Holmes.

Ravi and Rikki discuss the necessity of worker productivity surveillance technology and whether some of those measures cross a line, noting that companies could start losing talent if they’re overzealous in their tracking. 

The hosts examine Liz Cheney’s long-expected loss in Wyoming and argue she lacks viability as a third party presidential candidate despite a principled stand against Trump.

Ravi and Rikki highlight two studies that show improving student performance over the span of five decades as well as more narrow data looking at the level of work teachers assign students in the wake of pandemic learning loss.

Ravi then offers up some education reform in another round of Ravi’s Radical Ideas.

Rikki/Maher Debacle [03:15] 

Rikki NYU Hotline Maher Clip (Twitter, 08/16)
Ann Coulter Retweet (Twitter, 08/17)
Ted Cruz Retweet (Twitter, 08/17)
Bill Maher Tweet (Twitter, 08/17)

Adam Neumann and Flow [19:06]

Andreessen Horowitz announces plans to invest in Adam Neumann’s new residential real estate company (CNBC, 08/15)
Why did one of history’s greatest tech investors just give $350 million to a real estate startup headed by disgraced WeWork founder Adam Neumann? (Fortune, 08/15)
Investing in Flow (Andreessen Horowitz, 08/15)
The Wildly Appealing, Totally Doomed Future of Work (The Atlantic, 09/26/2019)
It’s Time to Build (Andreessen Horowitz, 04/18/2020)
Edward Ongweso Jr. Tweet about Adam Neumann (Twitter, 08/15)
Fintwit Tweet about Adam Neumann and Elizabeth Holmes (Twitter, 08/15)
Sarah Lacy Tweet Thread about Adam Neumann (Twitter, 08/16)
The US VC Female Founders Dashboard (PitchBook, 08/05)
Backing for Adam Neumann’s new firm prompts outrage (BBC, 07/17)
False HIV results, miscarriage, and cancer diagnosis—the Theranos patients Elizabeth Holmes was found not guilty of defrauding (Fortune, 01/04)
The Lost Debate Ep. 70 | Rushdie Attack, FBI Debate, Substack, NIMBYs of Silicon Valley (Lost Debate, 08/16)
Jewel Burks Bio (Jewel Burks Website)
Swati Mylavarapu Bio (Bloomberg)

Worker Productivity Scores [27:55]

The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score (The New York Times, 08/14)
What Managers Get Wrong About Employee Monitoring (Forbes, 08/05)
ExpressVPN survey reveals the extent of surveillance on the remote workforce (12/01/2021)
In-Office Vs. Remote Vs. Hybrid Work Two Years Later: The Impact On Employee Efficiency (Forbes, 05/18)
Q&A: How employee monitoring can sometimes do more harm than good (ComputerWorld, 08/15)
She Said (Jodi Kanter, 09/10/2019)
McDonald’s Crew Member Demographics and Statistics in the US (Zippia, 2022)
The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth (The New York Times, 12/28/2017)
The Regressives Ep. 6 | The Progressive Pull From Public Infrastructure (Lost Debate, 06/27)
Is the WFH Revolution Fizzling? (Lost Debate, 06/03)

Cheney/Primary Results [35:20]

Watch what Cheney told supporters after losing Wyoming GOP primary (YouTube, 08/16)
With Cheney’s Loss, Just 2 House Republicans Who Voted To Impeach Trump Are On The Ballot In November (FiveThirtyEight, 08/16)
A Sixth State Nominates 2020 Vote Denier to Top Elections Post (Bloomberg, 08/17)
So You Want To Start a Third Party? (The Bulwark, 07/29)
GOP slashes ads in key Senate battlegrounds (Politico, 08/15)

Student Data [48:30]

A Half Century of Student Progress Nationwide (Education Next, 08/09)
Some Students Are Routinely Denied Challenging Work. The Pandemic Made That Worse (Education Week, 08/16)
Intelligence (Our World in Data, 2013)
Global Extreme Poverty (Our World in Data, 2019)
Steven Pinker Bio (Steven Pinker Website)
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (Steven Pinker, 02/13/2018)
Programme for International Student Assessment (OECD)