Wednesday News: Reddit v. Ellen Pao, Penguin Random House’s bottom line, Amazon sides with Ted Cruz, and U.S. family size growing
How Reddit shoved former CEO Ellen Pao off the glass cliff – If you’ve been following the imminent self-destruction turmoil at Reddit, you may have seen the myriad news and opinion pieces blaming Ellen Pao for taking the position of CEO and being a “bad” leader, and more. She’s even been blamed for firing Victoria Taylor, when in all likelihood it was actually Charmain of the Board (and Reddit co-founder) Alexis Ohanian. By contrast, this piece by Ben Branstetter discusses Pao in the context of the “glass cliff,” whereby corporations that have experienced difficulty often hire a female CEO who must then make unpopular decisions that make her a scapegoat who inadvertently protects male corporate leaders, and often leading to her replacement by a male CEO. Even Reddit’s former CEO, Yishan Wong, is calling bad faith on both Pao’s hiring and firing, argues that
The story Yishan Wong alleges about Ellen Pao’s place in Reddit’s culture would seem to make her case fit right alongside that of Fiorina, Barra, and Mayer. According to a rather coy Reddit post by Wong—answering the question “What’s the best long con you’ve ever pulled?”—the original founders of Reddit have led a decade-long conspiracy to take back ownership of the site from publisher Conde Nast, which acquired Reddit in 2006. . . .
Once Pao was in place, Wong reports that Ohanian set up “a series of otherwise-improbable leadership crises” to make Pao seem way over her head in handling Reddit’s community, only to recently replace her with co-founder Steve Huffman. Combined with several successful fundraising rounds, Wong further suggests that Pao’s resignation was all part a plan by Reddit’s founders to put themselves back in control of the empire.–Daily Dot
Penguin Random House Canada head courts controversy with $100,000 minimum revenue requirement -Given the recent merger of NAL with Berkley, and the upheaval that will ultimately entail, this news about Penguin Random House Canada’s focus on authors who will make bigger money for the publisher isn’t too much of a surprise. After all, as TeleRead’s Chris Meadows points out, “big publishers have been focusing on bestsellers at the expense of midlist writers for years,” indirectly helping to grow the number of self-published authors:
There seems to be some controversy in Canada over a recent statement by Brad Martin, head of Penguin Random House Canada, in a column discussing the PRH merger. Martin said, “I’m not interested in a book that is going to generate less than $100,000 in revenue unless the editor or publisher has a compelling vision for the book and/or the author.” –TeleRead
Amazon: ‘No evidence’ of bulk sales for Cruz book – Amazon is now joining Harper Collins in calling out the New York Times for its claim that Ted Cruz’s new book shouldn’t be on the bestseller list (let alone at the top of the list for outselling 18 of the 20 listed titles) because of “strategic bulk purchases,” aka an attempt to game the list by having, say, a marketing company buy thousands of books at once, increasing the chance that the book will make it on or to the top of the list. Once again, I find the numbers we’re talking about here – fewer than 12,000 copies of Cruz’s book sold in the first week – even more interesting than the conflict.
On Sunday, an Amazon spokesperson told the On Media blog that the company’s sales data showed no evidence of unusual bulk purchase activity for the Texas senator’s memoir, casting further doubt on the Times’ claim that the book — “A Time for Truth” — had been omitted from its list because sales had been driven by “strategic bulk purchases.”–Politico
Childlessness Falls, Family Size Grows Among Highly Educated Women – I ran across this story while searching for something else on the Pew website, and given the discussions we have about heroines and children in Romance, I thought it was worth sharing. Not only are more highly educated women in the U.S. having children, but they’re building bigger families than they were ten years ago (although they’re still having fewer children now, on average, than they were 40 years ago). It appears that the research refers to women giving birth to children, and not growing their family through adoption or other means. I hope that this means that women are finding it easier to balance education and parenthood, either with their partners or in terms of being able to pursue a degree/job without being penalized for choosing to have children along the way. Although the fact that women are waiting longer to have children is likely a critical factor here, as well.
Today, about one-in-five women ages 40 to 44 with a master’s degree or higher (22%) have no children – down from 30% in 1994, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released Census Bureau data. The decline is particularly dramatic among women with an M.D. or Ph.D. – fully 35% were childless in 1994, while today the share stands at 20%. Not only are highly educated women more likely to have children these days, they are also having bigger families than in the past. Among women with at least a master’s degree, six-in-ten have had two or more children, up from 51% in 1994. The share with two children has risen 4 percentage points, while the share with three or more has risen 6 percentage points.2
This trend has likely been driven by demographic and societal changes. It coincides with women’s growing presence in managerial and leadership positions and suggests that an increasing share of professional women are confronting the inevitable push and pull of work-family balance. Previous Pew Research analysis has found that overall women devote fewer hours to paid work with each additional child they have. On average, a working-age woman with no children spends 27 hours per week in paid work, while a woman with three or more children spends 18 hours working. In addition, working mothers are more than three times as likely as working fathers to say that being a working parent has made it more difficult for them to advance in their career (51% vs. 16%).–Pew Social Trends