“When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”
The Shift Forum operates under Chatham House Rule, a simple framework developed nearly a century ago by Anglo-American business and political leaders in the tumultuous aftermath of World War I. Chatham House, also known at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is an independent think tank that takes as its mission to “To help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world, through informed debate, independent analysis, new policy ideas, and outreach to audiences.”
It’s time to get serious about the role of business and tech in our society. Join us in San Francisco for the Shift Forum.
The initial lineup for the Shift Forum is now online. It’s always a let down when I see it on the page — the names and session titles never do justice to the people who are coming or the tapestry of conversation that will ultimately flow from the event. So I’m sitting down today to try to weave a bit of color into the stark black and white of the agenda’s format — in the hopes of enticing you to come, yes, but also to frame the conversation for those who are participating.
When we started thinking about the Forum two years ago (next month’s event is our second annual edition), we knew that business in the United States was at a crossroads. Trump had not yet won the Republican nomination, and Big Tech still enjoyed unrivaled admiration around the globe. Still we sensed storm clouds forming — and since then a cynic could argue that the deluge is upon us.
It’s time to push our conversation toward rational discourse.
At the first annual Shift Forum, we established a framework for a new kind of business conversation: The interwoven, tectonic shifts driven by both political and technological uncertainty have left capitalism at a crossroads, and we agreed to elevate our thinking beyond a single industry or subject area, focusing instead on the issues and challenges driving our society overall. The result was a fascinating dialog between innovative startups, established global corporations, non-profit leaders, and senior regulators and policy experts.
Our Take on NewCo’s Bay Area Festival Oakland Experience
The tech boom is sweeping across the Bay Bridge and into the heart of Oakland, but the city hasn’t lost its soul. While NewCo host companies are mostly tech firms — and indeed, Uber is opening a 3,000 person office downtown , and companies like Pandora, VSCO, and Huge have made the city their home — it was a different story in Oakland: host companies were also . They opened up their doors and told their story.
But, as NewCo Bay Area Festival made clear, the city is working hard to maintain the soul and creativity that makes it so unique. Take a look at some of the highlights from the day.
I joined NewCo a little under a year ago to help tell the story of capitalism at a crossroads. The role of business in society is being redefined by innovative, missi0n-driven companies that are measuring their success by more than just profit. We think this is the biggest shift in business and culture since the Industrial Revolution, and we connect and celebrate these purpose-led companies through both our media and our festivals across the world.
Next week, we’re hosting our largest event yet: the Bay Area Festival, from Feb 6th to 9th. I’m really exited to actually experience the story myself for the first time, and visit the companies on the front lines of this shift towards purpose-driven business. There couldn’t be a better moment: businesses are transforming faster than ever before, industries are being reshaped, and we’re all trying to stay ahead of the curve and chart a better course forward. Our festival offers the one-of-a-kind event that lets attendees personalize their experience and visit the companies they’re most inspired by. Here are companies on my list:
Monday, February 6 — Masterclasses at the St. Regis in San Francisco
The first month of 2017 is coming to a close, and we’ve been busy publishing stories that outline the trends are reshaping business, politics, and culture. As always, thank you for reading — we’ve broken well past 50,000 followers (WOW!!) and are coming off our biggest month ever in traffic. It seems you particularly liked Peter Lyden’s positive take on why Trump isn’t the beginning of an era, but rather, the end. Clearly, you’re an optimistic bunch. We are too.
The story is business and market transformation, not disruption for disruption’s sake
If ever there was a Valley cliché overdue for retirement, it’s our cherished narrative around “disruption.” You know the story: Well funded Startup is attacking this or that Huge Market where Big Dumb Incumbent is failing to Innovate. Our hero the Startup, being far more nimble, efficient, and tech savvy, is Destined to Eat the Incumbent’s Lunch.
We tell ourselves this story over and over, because the tale soothes our midnight apprehensions that maybe we’re missing something. Which, after months of Shift Forum prep with leaders of innovative companies large and small, I am convinced we most certainly are.
Want to get in touch with Grammy-nominated artist and producer Ryan Leslie? He’d prefer that you text him. Leslie gives every fan his phone number (it’s 646 887 6978, by the way) and he now has over 40,000 fans in his address book. For Leslie, this is all part of the plan: every text goes into the platform he built, SuperPhone, and it makes it easy for him to connect directly with his fans and sell albums.
Leslie has produced songs for artists like Madonna, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Kanye West. He’s also an serial entrepreneur and technologist with a BA in Governmment from Harvard — which he entered at age 15, with a perfect 1600 on his SAT.
David Friedberg is a serial entrepreneur and investor in Silicon Valley, having started a number of notable companies including The Climate Corporation, a climate-prediction startup, Eatsa, an automated quinoa-based fast food chain with no cashiers, and Metromile, a pay-per-mile auto insurance company.
An ex-Googler with a degree in astrophysics, Friedberg was involved in launching products like AdWords and Gmail. In 2006, he quit Google to co-found The Climate Corporation, which builds weather prediction tools for farmers. He sold the company to Monsanto for $1.1 billion in 2013.
Just over a week ago, on January 1st 2017, Adena Friedman officially became the CEO of Nasdaq after climbing the ranks through the company for over 20 years. Most know Nasdaq as one of the largest stock exchanges in the world, but it’s also a diversified communications and information services company (check out this interview with Vice Chair Bruce Aust for more).
Friedman started as an intern with the company, and rose quickly to a number of different responsibilities, including serving as the head of the data products division, head of corporate strategy, and Chief Financial Officer. In 2011, she took a three year stint as CFO and Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, before returning to Nasdaq as its President and COO in 2014.