I first moved to the Bay area in 1983. I graduated from high school, spent my summer as an exchange student/day laborer in England (long story), then began studies at Berkeley, where I had a Navy scholarship (another long story).
Complex ideas take time — and we no longer have any. Shrinking attention is changing the kinds of stories we can tell. This has already dumbed down our entertainment. We could be next.
Deep thought may be our defining capacity as a species. Like any capacity, it can get stronger with practice or weaker with neglect. The stories we tell and ideas we give our attention to, shape our collective thoughts and minds.
Stories are the connective tissue of society.
Movies used to be central to our zeitgeist. They were the big stories that connected whole Generations. They struggle to claim that kind of cultural prominence now. People have less time. There are too many options at the box office and on other media.
The Godfather is one of the best films ever made. If you want to watch it, you need to set aside 3 hours. Many classics require a similar investment.
Four remarkable and unique voices on the future we all share.
If you’ve never heard of Ignite talks, you’re in for a treat, as they’ve spread to hundreds of cities around the world and range across a heady set of topics. They’ve been called “TED talks on speed,” and feature a unique creative box: each presenter gets 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and impactful experience. At this years Shift Forum, as we did the year before, we partnered with the founder of Ignite, Brady Forrest, who curated four of the best Ignite talks around the theme of “the future of work.” We’ve now published each one, and curated them here as well. Each is worth your time and attention. Special thanks to Ignite founder Brady Forrest for curating these extraordinary talks.
Instead of attempting an introduction, we’re just going to ask you to watch this five minute video. Brandon Santiago’s presentation earned the first standing ovation ever at the annual Shift Forum. (The full overview of Shift Forum’s Ignite series is here).
Brandon Santiago: When I say love, you say love. Love.
The impact of digital and social technologies on business, media, culture and society.
Jen McClure is founder of Consultants Collective and a speaker, board member, and program manager at the Conference Board. In this Ignite session at Shift Forum, McClure urges employers to rethink how they manage their most precious asset — their employees. (The full overview of Shift Forum’s Ignite series is here).
Jen McClure: Hi, I’m Jen McClure. I’m going to be talking about the complex relationship between digital and social technologies and humans at work. This is actually a topic I’ve been thinking about for 14 years when I helped to organize the first Congress on the Future of Work back in 2004.
The gap between skills and opportunity is widening beyond resolution. Susan Mernit at Hack The Hood has a new plan to fix that.
Susan Mernit is co-founder and CEO of Hack the Hood, a Bay-area non-profit organization that works to address the needs of low-income young people of color disconnected from the economic mainstream of tech-informed jobs in the Bay Area and across the region. Mernit spoke at the annual Shift Forum earlier this year, in the Shift Ignite series (full overview is here).
Susan Mernit: Hey, everybody. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m Susan Mernit. I’m the co-founder and CEO of an organization called Hack the Hood. We work with low-income 18 to 25 year olds of color in the Bay Area. We introduce young people to careers in tech, the skills they need, and how to get on a pathway for that training.
Apple dropped a bomb at their global developer conference: It’s stepping in to curb phone addiction. This is a big blow to the ad-driven platforms that have hijacked our phones and our attention.
Right before Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software, demonstrated the latest advancements in emojis, including tongue detection, he announced the release of “a comprehensive set of built in features to help you limit distraction.” This is a big deal, because until now, we have been fending for ourselves — and we’re totally outgunned in the war for attention.
Attention is the oxygen of advertising.
There’s a reason why phones are so addictive: ad money. You paid for your phone, but most of the things you do on it are powered by advertising. Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all make their money from advertising.
Bill Anderson, CEO of Genetech, on the role of the corporation in the competitive, cutthroat business of drug discovery
While much of this year’s Shift Forum focused on the ever-expanding intersection of technology and politics, investigating the shifting role of business in society also requires we talk about established businesses, in particular those who might teach us lessons we can apply to today’s most pressing issues. In the interview below, the New York Times’ Corner Office columnist David Gelles speaks with Bill Anderson, CEO of life sciences giant Genentech.
John Battelle: We’re here. We’re in San Francisco. We’re in the Valley. We’re in the center of technology. Yes, we’ve heard from a lot of people in tech.
Startups with big missions are all the rage, but here’s what it takes to build mission into a 140-year old financial giant.
Lata N. Reddy is Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Impact at Prudential Financial, and Chair and President of The Prudential Foundation. In this concise Shift Forum talk, Reddy outlines how a 140+ year old company has hewed to its original mission by incorporating “corporate social responsibility” directly into its business practices.
Lata Reddy: It’s great to be here. I’m going to talk about how it is that a legacy company makes the shift to this new vision of capitalism that we’ve been talking about. For us at Prudential, the new vision is really rooted in the past and in the belief that everybody should have the opportunity to be financially secure.