The packet said For Your Eyes Only. Inside was a briefing on the current situation in the world, with the (then) Soviet Union positioning itself to march into Iran and capture its oil fields. My briefing indicated that if the Soviets were allowed to take Iran, western civilization would end. I was the President of the United States, and it was my job to keep that from happening at all costs…even if it meant using nuclear weapons.
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Sometimes ignorance is leverage. A few years back, when I made the switch from one media company to another, it was precisely the lack of transparency about my salary that allowed me to more than double my salary in the process.
Recently, there has been a push by some major digital-based companies towards salary transparency. The current thinking―one that is very much based on the ethos of Internet that the more we know, the better―is that open books will result in an even the playing field.
Cahn took her model from her former employer, Google, where she was head of sales and saw the benefits of the open system there. Google didn’t publish individual salaries, but made ranges for roles public, so that employees had a solid sense of exactly where they stood in the company: “Everyone had their levels and tangible steps how to get there.”
If there is a catchword that sums up 2015, it must be transparency. Whether it is in reference to Hillary Clinton’s emails: “I am trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.” Or the fact that smartphones and social media have given us a direct view of what it’s like to be a black person in this country dealing with law enforcement officials, we are living in an age where formerly locked doors are being thrown open.