The titans of tech pay a call to Trump Tower tomorrow. Visitors will include Tim Cook, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandberg (but not Mark Zuckerberg), Elon Musk, and Satya Nadella, along with leaders of Oracle, Intel, Cisco, and IBM. (Bill Gates had his own private call with the president elect on Tuesday.) Jobs are the top agenda item, The New York Times reports. But presumably other issues — little things like encryption and privacy, immigration, climate change, free trade, free speech, and hate speech — might come up, too.
Or will they? Are tech’s leaders ready to stand up to the president-elect? Or are they going to provide him with one more photo-op? During the campaign, Trump called for a boycott of Apple, promised to tax trade with China, and said the Internet needs to be “in certain areas closed up in some way.” As president, Trump will carry lots of carrots and wield lots of sticks. But tech companies are rich and powerful, too.
Austin voters have spoken — and Uber and Lyft have both left town. Officially it was about fingerprint-based background checks, but in reality it was about bruised egos and bad campaign tactics. Joshua Baer argues we need to get everyone back at the negotiating table for a fresh start.
My good friend and mentor Rick Westervelt taught me that when things go wrong, it’s usually not because of just one mistake or failure — it’s because three or four things all failed at the same time. If just one thing had gone wrong, you might have been able to recover, but when mistakes pile on top of each other it can become impossible to dig yourself out.
I believe that’s what happened with Uber and Lyft and the recent Proposition 1 election in Austin, Texas, a local election that pitted the ride sharing services against the city of Austin. In trying too hard to win over new voters, Uber and Lyft turned many of their strongest supporters against them.
Between the incredible music, a week-long indie film festival, and hundreds of forward-thinking companies and startups, the chill in Austin will be high in the coming week.
SXSW is not a NewCo festival, but it kind of feels like that cousin you get along with at family gatherings (and SXSW the organization is a NewCo!). Dozens of NewCos will participate in SXSW Interactive, focusing on topics you might expect to hear at a NewCo event while having a good time.