Posts about Business

Small is the new big: HR department

Last month, I wrote that small is the new big. More demonstration of it: eBay is fast becoming one of the largest employers in America. Of course, it hardly employs anyone, but it enables a lot of people to employ themselves and run their own businesses: 724,000 people are using it as their full- or part-time employment, up 68 percent from a year go; another 1.5 million use it to supplement their income. Walmart is America’s largest employer with 1.1 million workers. Sure, the eBay-self-employed don’t have Walmart’s crappy benefits and uniforms (if eBay were really smart, they’d institute group health insurance!) but all those folks are their own bosses. As industry gets bigger and bigger, small becomes more and more of an economic force.

: See Rex Hammock in the comments on eBay’s power seller health insurance and the regulatory issues around it.

Hating your customers

The AP reports that the number of legal music downloads has tripled in the first half of 2005. I’d say that’s good news. I’d say that’s because, thanks to Apple, the industry finally found a way to help people do what they want to do: listen to music wherever they want. I’d say it indicates that if you give people the chance to do the right thing, they will. I’d say it’s a good sign for humankind.

But the music industry doesn’t say that. The music industry treats its customers like thieves and idiots:

The International Federation of Phonographic Industries… credited the increase to a 13 percent rise in the number of broadband lines installed around the world, along with an industry campaign to both prosecute and educate against illegal downloading.