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Rethinking with Dror Poleg

Rethinking with Dror Poleg

By Dror Poleg

Weekly insights on the future of work, cities, and buildings. Hosted by Dror Poleg, with occasional guests.

Dror Poleg is an author and speaker focused on the future of work and cities. His insights have been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, NBC, Bloomberg, and beyond.

Dror’s work draws on two decades of hands-on experience in private equity and tech. He regularly briefs and advises multibillion-dollar companies such as UBS, Bank of America, HSBC, Recruit Holdings, and CBRE.

Subscribe to Dror's weekly newsletter on DrorPoleg.com
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Don’t Try Anything New.

Rethinking with Dror PolegMay 28, 2023

00:00
10:30
Don’t Try Anything New.
May 28, 202310:30
AI and The Offline Moat
May 22, 202312:20
How scalable is your job?

How scalable is your job?

Whatever job you're in, technology can multiply your productivity, reach, and rewards. Here's a simple formula to help you get started. Published on May 19, 2023, here. Written by Dror Poleg. 


Only 11 days left to register for Dror's Hype-Free AI course. We have a great group of people from around the world. Join us to learn what AI can do for you and explore its impact on your industry. Learn more here.

May 19, 202311:13
Is Your Job Safe?
May 19, 202306:20
The Quiet Luxury of Language

The Quiet Luxury of Language

When everyone can sound smart, elite conversations will become less intelligible to regular people. Published on May 16, 2023, here. Written by Dror Poleg.

If you're interested in AI's impact on your industry and career, check out Dror's upcoming Hype-FREE AI course. We'll have a fun group of people from across the world, 100% online.

May 16, 202311:49
Your Boss Has No Clue
May 09, 202308:46
Unilateral Ignorance and Scalable Style
May 08, 202306:31
Thinking Fast and Slopes: Kahneman, Taleb, and the Future of Business
May 07, 202311:15
Talent, Scarcity, and Culture

Talent, Scarcity, and Culture

Talent, Structure, Culture. Published on May 4, 2023, here. Written by Dror Poleg. Subscribe to Dror's newsletter at DrorPoleg.com for weekly insights on the future of work and cities.

This article delves into the relationship between talent scarcity and corporate culture, structure, and the future of work. Based on Nadia Asparouhova's theory, companies can be classified into three types: Industrial, Modern, and Creative, depending on the distribution of talent within them. Industrial companies have a balanced talent distribution and rely on strict processes, while Modern companies have a Pareto distribution, seeking to hire as many high-ability individuals as possible. Creative companies have a bimodal distribution and depend on "linchpins," uniquely gifted individuals who drive the company's success.

The type of talent a company relies on determines its management style, office culture, and even urban planning. Software and creative industries attract linchpins due to their unlimited problem-solving possibilities and flexibility. The article concludes that talent scarcity and distribution play a significant role in shaping corporate culture, structure, and the future of work.

May 05, 202311:10
You Have to Own
May 04, 202303:43
AI and Remote Work: A Match Made in Heaven

AI and Remote Work: A Match Made in Heaven

Remote work enables AI to take on more jobs. Stronger AI enables more humans to work remotely. Originally published on May 2, 2023, here. Written by Dror Poleg.

As mentioned: Later this month, I will be teaching a Hype-Free AI Course — providing a practical introduction to the tools and trends that are reshaping the world of work. Join us! Click here to learn more and sign up.

May 04, 202305:53
Lauren Razavi on Digital Nomads and Remote Work
Mar 22, 202341:44
Remote Banking Crisis
Mar 22, 202306:45
Alain Bertaud on 15-Minute Cities, Remote Work, Zoning, and More

Alain Bertaud on 15-Minute Cities, Remote Work, Zoning, and More

Technology is forcing our cities to evolve. It is redefining the meaning of location and accessibility, it changes the way we work and move around, and it forces us to reconsider many of our basic assumptions.

How should cities respond? What can be done to increase opportunity and tackle inequality? What is the connection between commuting, remote work, and overall prosperity? What should we make of all the trendy ideas that are currently being proposed? And what’s so good about cities anyway?

This is a recording of a conversation between Dror Poleg and Alain Bertaud. 

Alain Bertaud is one of the most influential voices on the topic of cities, urban labor markets, and urban transportation networks. He is the author of Order Without Design, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and a Senior Fellow at NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. Previously, Bertaud served as the principal urban planner at the World Bank as a resident urban planner across the globe — from Bangkok and Sana’a to Paris and New York. He even worked as a draftsman for Le Corbusier in India.

Mar 19, 202336:01
A Faster Office
Mar 16, 202307:22
Judy Stephenson on The History of Working from Home

Judy Stephenson on The History of Working from Home

Earlier this week, I hosted Dr. Judy Stephenson for a chat about the history of working from home and mixed-use cities. The transcript and more information is available here

Judy Stephenson is an Associate Professor at University College London, specializing in the history of labor markets and the built environment. In addition, Judy is a research associate at both the Oxford Centre for Economic and Social History and The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, and a Director at the Long Run Institute. Her insights have been featured by The Economist, Financial Times, and beyond.

Judy’s upcoming book, Wages before Machines, explores salaries and bargaining in the pre-industrial world. Follow her on Twitter @JudyZara.

Mar 09, 202331:19
Productivity and Bullshit

Productivity and Bullshit

Technology creates more work. More work creates technology. But the way it does so is increasingly unclear. Originally published on March 3, 2023 here

A few housekeeping notes: 

📚 Last week, I published additional pages from my upcoming book about the future of cities, companies, and careers. Premium subscribers can read them here. Additional pages will be published early next week.

🗄️ The History of Working from Home: Later this week, I'm hosting a live chat with Dr. Judy Stephenson about the history of home-offices and the evolution of cities. Sign up for free here.

🗺️ Urban Planning, Work, and Transportation: Later this month, I'm hosting a live chat with Alain Bertaud about the interaction between technology, labor markets, and urban form. Sign up for free here.

Mar 06, 202312:43
How to Revive Our Cities? — with Tracy Hadden Loh
Feb 15, 202346:18
How to Spread the Fruits of Innovation?
Feb 10, 202333:42
After Office

After Office

I am writing a book, and I need your help. The book explores what happens to cities, companies, and careers when office jobs become scalable and distributed. It will provide actionable insights for anyone interested in the future of work and its impact on how we spend our time, design our cities, and structure our organizations and investments.

The book does not predict offices will disappear, everyone will stay home, or that AI will replace most jobs. Still, it describes a once-in-a-century shift with unique opportunities for investors, managers, and elected officials. How can you make the most of these opportunities?

I'll share more about the book's content in a moment. But first, let me tell you how I'm writing it and how you can help.

How am I writing this book?

I am serializing it: Every week, I will share a new chapter with my premium subscribers. Such subscribers will get advance access to the book's insights — and their feedback will help shape the final draft.

In addition, premium subscribers will get the following:

📔 A copy of the final book. Physical or digital - your pick.

❤️ An acknowledgment of your name and support in the book itself.

🥂 An exclusive invitation to book launch event(s) in New York, London, and two other cities that will be determined by your votes.

I expect to complete the book in about five months. Do I have your support?

Upgrade to Premium

How can you help? Upgrade to a premium subscription to help provide feedback on the weekly chapters and unlock exclusive perks. Share this post with friends and colleagues who might find this project interesting. Share with me any relevant data, case studies, ideas, or potential introductions you think are relevant — from your own company and career or someone else's. What happens next?

I am excited and a little terrified to embark on this journey. Thank you again for your support!

To kick off this process, let me share with you the opening page:

We built the world around the office. Office buildings dominated our skyline and defined the center of cities. Workplaces dictated where we lived, how far we commuted, and how much time we spent with family and friends.

The office shaped life even for those still too young - or already too old - to work. In childhood, school was preparation for office routines. In retirement, pensions were anchored by predictable dividends generated from long-term office leases.

The office is more than a place. It embodies an economic system, a level of technological development, and a moment in time. That moment has passed.

Offices will not disappear. But like farms and factories before them, they will lose their grip over our lifestyle and environment.

After Office explores the financial, social, and cultural implications of a world where offices are no longer the focal point. It provides a winning playbook for cities, companies, and individuals who want to make the most of a once-in-a-century shift.

The book is divided into three main sections, exploring where, how, and why humans work. Each section considers the ideas, technologies, and behaviors that shaped the world as we know it — and the emerging ideas, technologies, and behaviors that are now reshaping it beyond recognition.

Let me know what you think, and don't forget to subscribe.

Best,

Dror

Feb 08, 202304:09
It's the Company, Stupid
Feb 06, 202302:49
Can Offices Become Housing? Dror Poleg in conversation with Steven Paynter

Can Offices Become Housing? Dror Poleg in conversation with Steven Paynter

30% of office buildings can be converted into housing.

12 months ago, most cities and landlords didn't want to hear about this possibility. But over the past 6 months, there has been an explosion of interest.

Office conversions can create hundreds of thousands of new apartments in the heart of cities like New York, San Francisco, London, and Toronto.

Adding new housing stock can make cities more affordable, more equitable, safer — and more fun. Instead of relying on commuters that show up a couple of times a week, cities can enable more people to live near work and within walking distance of schools, shops, parks, theatres, and other urban amenities.

Beyond the benefits for people, it's also good for the planet! Buildings make up a huge proportion of overall carbon emissions. 50% of these emissions are generated during construction. Reusing and repurposing buildings helps drive down emissions dramatically.

And it doesn't end there. By enabling more people to live in cities, we reduce car emissions and energy usage for heating, cooling, and ventilation.

In early 2020 — *before* the pandemic —
Steven Paynter from Gensler started developing an "algorithm" to assess which office buildings can become apartment buildings. Since then, Steven and his team evaluated more than 500 buildings across North America — 50 of which are now being converted.

I chatted with Steven about the challenges and opportunities, and what politicians, investors, and employers can do to make cities more pleasant, affordable, and attractive.


Follow @DrorPoleg on Twitter and subscribe to Dror's newsletter here.

Jan 18, 202330:23
Stop The Music

Stop The Music

The disruption of creative work has been going on for a long time. And yet, we always assume it won't affect us. Written and read by Dror Poleg. Originally published on December 29, 2022 here

🙏🏻 To welcome 2023, I am launching a Premium Subscription for my newsletter. Premium subscribers will receive bonus weekly posts, digests with recommended articles and books, access to comments, and join exclusive Ask-Me-Anything webinars.

Your support enables me to dive deeper into the technologies, strategies, and ideas that will define the coming decades. If you find it valuable, consider a premium subscription. It costs like two cups of coffee, but it lasts longer. Get yours here. 🙏🏻

I wrote more about my writing agenda for 2023 and my favorite quotes and book of 2022 here.

Dec 29, 202205:03
Best of 2022 + What's Next?

Best of 2022 + What's Next?

My quote of the year, book of the year, and writing plans for 2023. Published here on December 27, 2023.

Written and read by Dror Poleg. Subscribe to Dror's newsletter and follow him on Twitter.

Dec 27, 202209:38
Zucked and Musked
Dec 19, 202207:60
Why Inequality is Efficient
Dec 14, 202212:60
The Middle Class Is Dead. Long Live the Long Tail Class.
Dec 13, 202205:41
Cities are Instagram
Dec 12, 202209:33
Housing Is the New Office

Housing Is the New Office

Can an oversupply of offices create an oversupply of housing? (Generally, no. Occasionally, yes.) Published on December 6, 2022 here

Later today, I'm speaking at a free webinar about the future of housing. I'll share some key trends and analysis — and answer any questions you may have. Click here to register. It's free.

Can't make it to the live session? Register, and we'll email you the recording.

Dec 06, 202203:57
Airbnb is WeWork

Airbnb is WeWork

You can change a giant market even if you don't control it.  WeWork changed the way most major offices are leased, operated, and designed. Airbnb will do the same to housing. Published on December 5, 2022 here

On Tuesday, December 6, I'm speaking at a free webinar about the future of housing. I'll share some key trends and analysis — and answer any questions you may have. Click here to register. It's free.

Can't make it to the live session? Register, and we'll email you the recording.

Dec 05, 202209:47
Airbnb's Double Disruption

Airbnb's Double Disruption

Airbnb is a housing company. Always has been. Landlords, property managers, and brokers should start paying attention. Published on November 30, 2022 here

Next week, I'm presenting my latest thoughts on the future of housing, followed by a Q&A moderated by AppFolio's Sean Forster. Click here to register. It's free.



Nov 30, 202205:50
Kanye Capitalism
Nov 23, 202205:38
The Scalable Imagination
Nov 22, 202204:59
Crypto and the Conservation of Centralization

Crypto and the Conservation of Centralization

You can't decentralize the web. At best, you can kill old winners and pick new ones. Here's how. Originally published in November 2021 here. Subscribe to Dror's newsletter on DrorPoleg.com. 

The web is broken. A handful of companies dominates it: Google (and Baidu) tracks all our queries, Facebook (and Tencent) monitors our social interactions, Twitter (and Weibo) decides what we're allowed to share, Amazon (and Alibaba) dominates retail, etc. Above these corporate giants, governments from Beijing to D.C. encroach on the free flow of information in the name of "social harmony" or "public health."

Crypto and blockchain-based applications aim to steer the web toward its original vision: an open network, based on public-domain protocols, controlled by no one. It promises to enable "decentralized" alternatives to the tech and government giants we all know and love.

This effort can be divided into two main fronts: Decentralized Utility and Decentralized Ownership.

Decentralized Utility aims to provide online services without relying on a centralized system. For example, instead of storing your files on server farms owned by Amazon (AWS) or Microsoft (Azure), you can store them on Arweave, Storj, Filecoin. The latter will keep your files encrypted on a network of computers governed by a protocol that cannot be stopped or altered by any individual entity.

Decentralized Ownership aims to share the ownership and governance of digital platforms with their users and stakeholders. Mirror, for example, enables writers to publish their content online, monetize it, as well as own a piece of the publishing platform itself and vote on how it is operated. Helium and Livepeer operate networks of wireless hotspots and video streaming infrastructure. These networks are maintained and secured by users who own specific tokens that compensate them for their services and enable them to participate in governance.

These crypto projects are still small and experimental. They point towards an alternative way of building, maintaining, and marketing the type of services that giant, centralized corporations currently provide.

But decentralizing one class of internet companies does not guarantee that a new class of centralized giants will not emerge in their stead. In fact, decentralizing power from one pair of hands is almost guaranteed to concentrate that power in another pair of hands.

A powerful theory and the history of the internet itself explain why. Let's start with the theory.

Nov 21, 202211:18
How To Speak Venture
Nov 18, 202205:27
Financial Hits and Misses

Financial Hits and Misses

In a complex world, success only makes sense after it happens. Originally published on November 17, 2022 here. This is a follow-up piece to Reasonable FOMO. It looks at FTX's collapse in contrast to the ultimate success of Airbnb, Uber, and Coinbase and explains why investors can't afford to miss a chance at a big success. 

Subscribe to Dror's newsletter here: https://www.drorpoleg.com/

Nov 17, 202208:09
Reasonable FOMO: Lessons from the collapse of FTX
Nov 15, 202213:03
Remote Work: Is Elon Musk Making a Mistake?

Remote Work: Is Elon Musk Making a Mistake?

Elon Musk is banning remote work. In a letter to employees, Twitter's new owner decreed that "employees must be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week."

As Profesor Nick Bloom rightfully pointed out, under normal conditions, Musk's new policy would likely have a negative impact on morale, productivity, and recruitment.

But these aren't normal times.

Twitter is at war. It is undergoing a rapid pivot on multiple fronts — changing its product, business model, and ownership structure. The company is trying to shed employees, reset its corporate culture, and eliminate anyone who isn't on board with the new direction.

And perhaps most importantly: Twitter has "pent-up productivity." The company has been incredibly unproductive over the past few years — judging by the pace of product improvements and overall revenue per employee.

Twitter might fail anyway, but if it is to succeed — a jolt to the system could be just what the doctor ordered. And even if it isn't, unlocking the company's pent-up productivity (regardless of where people work) might offset the negative cost of forbidding remote work.

At least for a while.

What do you think? Let me know on Twitter. Subscribe to this podcast to receive all future pieces directly to your phone. And subscribe on DrorPoleg.com for my newsletter.  

Nov 10, 202202:02
No Floor, No Ceiling
Nov 09, 202205:30
Remote Work: Facts & Fictions with Nick Bloom
Nov 09, 202236:53
The Race Between Complexity and Control
Nov 01, 202207:47
In Praise of Ponzis
Dec 03, 202108:53
Housing makes you racist. Tech can help.
Jul 31, 202010:13
Disrupted Cities & The Urbanizer's Dilemma
Jul 24, 202011:51
Greg Lindsay on The Future of Cities, Millennial Suburbs, and Multigenerational Homes

Greg Lindsay on The Future of Cities, Millennial Suburbs, and Multigenerational Homes

This week, Dror interviews Greg Lindsay, the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion. On July 14-16, Greg and NewCities are hosting New Housing Solutions LIVE, a free, virtual housing conference. The conference will include special sessions on technology and design, Millennials' “missing middle” housing, the future of the suburbs, & more. Sign up here: https://events.bizzabo.com/new-housing-solutions-live
Jul 12, 202035:43