Fourth in our Shift Dialogs Series — Full Transcript and Video
I first posted about Rana Foroohar back in May, when her timely and well-received book Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business came out. That interview was one of our most-read pieces back then, but in the last few months, tens of thousands of new readers have come to NewCo Shift, and Rana was kind enough to come into the Nasdaq studios and shoot a fresh interview with us.
This twenty-minute conversation lays out not only the core argument of Rana’s book, but also ties today’s extraordinary social shifts to a long term trend of financialization in our economy. Along the way she has some choice words for Apple and Uber, and some deep insights on today’s political circus (she notes that Trump voters have not had an increase in real income since the 1970s, for example).
“The obligation, and the self‑interest of every company is to build a robust society.”
Tim O’Reilly has made studying the near future his full-time job, despite the fact he’s also in charge of a major technology publishing business, a venture investment firm, and countless conferences and events, all of which bear his name. All of his endeavors spring from a relentless curiosity around what the “alpha geeks” are doing — he’s something of a technological dowser, always looking for the next spring of fresh thinking. I was honored to be Tim’s partner in the Web 2.0 Summit conference for nearly ten years, and during that time I came to not only appreciate his unique brand of thinking, but also his desire to truly push the tech industry forward.
Given that tech is now driving change across all sectors of the economy, it’s in no way surprising that over the past few years, Tim has turned his attention to a scope larger than technology itself — to government, policy, and the global economy. His Next:Economy Summit explores all these issues and more each Fall. For the third edition of the Shift Dialogs, Tim stopped by the Nasdaq studios and we riffed for nearly an hour. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation — you can watch the video, which is edited down for length, here as well.
You recently told me that technology is in a crisis of trust. Can you unpack that for me?
Our Education System Was Built For The Industrial Era. AltSchool’s Platform Rethinks Learning From the Classroom Up.
For the second installment of the Shift Dialogs, I speak with Max Ventilla, founder and CEO of AltSchool. I’ve known Ventilla since his days as a founder of Aardvark, a unique search platform acquired by Google in 2010. Since that acquisition, Ventilla rose to head of personalization for Google, where he learned the power of individual services at scale.
But as a new parent in the hyper-competitive Bay area, Ventilla and his wife found themselves dismayed by the choices society offered their young children. Private schools offered smaller class sizes and lots of privilege, but the model was pretty much the same as public schools, which are increasingly starved of funding and legally obligated to pursue byzantine and outdated approaches to learning.
New President Brad Smith on a Renewed Mission, a Major Culture Shift, and the Role of a Corporation in Society
This week’s column introduces the Shift Dialogs, NewCo’s new video series featuring in-depth conversations with the leaders driving significant change across business, culture, and society. Our first episode features Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft. We’ve also released the second episode, featuring Max Ventilla, founder and CEO of AltSchool.
Back in 1993, when an early thirty-something lawyer named Brad Smith joined Microsoft, his new employer was a fearsome amalgam of every badass tech company on the planet today. It had the ubiquitous reach of Google, the scary omnipotence of Facebook, the arrogant presumption of Apple, and the heartless calculation of Amazon. Its ruthless business practices were the subject of intense debate — was Microsoft too powerful? What could be done about it?
There was plenty for the new Associate General Counsel to do. His company was a magnet for legal trouble, locking horns with regulators and competitors around the globe. As the dot-com boom swelled in the late 1990s, Microsoft dominated the Internet with its Explorer web browser, and Wall Street crowned it the undisputed king of tech — in 1997, Microsoft’s market capitalization stood at more than seventy times that of its struggling rival Apple Computer.
We’re pleased to bring you the NewCo Shift Dialogs, where we talk to the people on the front lines of the biggest shift in business since the industrial revolution. We’ve just released twelve in-depth interviews that comprise Season 1, with Season 2 well underway. Join us weekly for discussions with guests like Lori Goler, VP of People at Facebook, Seth Sternberg, CEO of Honor and Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland. (And, be the first to get the interviews to your in-box with the NewCo Weekly newsletter.)
NewCo Shift Dialogs, Season 2
Episode 2 (21 mon): After leading the team that saved healthcare.gov, Andy Slavitt took the reins of Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. He’s leaving soon, but his legacy is just getting started. Read the interview.