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.
The author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup wants to reinvent how stock markets work. Everyone thinks he’s nuts. But we currently fund US innovation with Russian mafia money and autocratic sovereign wealth funds, so….
Equity markets are literally the beating heart of capitalism, and Eric Ries wants to reinvent them. Is he crazy, or on to something big? Read on (or watch the video) for one of the most stimulating and insight-laden sessions of this year’s Shift Forum.
John Battelle: All right. I’m really pleased that Eric Ries is coming and speaking with me. He has an idea for markets that is very important for all of us to consider. He’s well known, of course, for his book, “The Lean Startup,” and his follow-up to that book.
Look, we all see the same notifications, and figure, eh, we’ll get to that. But these pieces are really worth your time.
It was a good week for new stuff at NewCo Shift. We’ve got a surfeit of thoughtful commentary on AI, Valley culture, tech regulation, the non profit and NGO world, and much more.
NewCo Shift also sources and edits extraordinary stories into Medium’s membership area, which is on a “metered paywall” similar to the New York Times. Anyone can read them, until they hit their limit. We’re including them in our roundup so you know about this great work.
Let us know what you’re interested in us covering or pitch your own stories at email@example.com. And thanks for reading. It means a lot to us.
A $700 juicer. A delivery app that lets you pay $10 to get your $8 burrito faster. An app to valet your car.
These are the kinds of innovation that Silicon Valley has recently poured billions into building. Our industry that once was lauded for bright, young talent taking on the world’s biggest problems now seems to be forgetting about the people that need solutions most. Over $160bn in venture capital are going into startups each year — and yet most of the new innovation is driven by the latest hype cycle, not the real problems we face.
Not many know, but NewCo Shift sources and edits extraordinary stories into Medium’s membership area, which is on a “metered paywall” similar to the New York Times. Anyone can read them, until they hit their limit, which is currently three per month. We’re including them in our roundup so you know about this great work — and we may be biased, but we think Medium membership is well worth it!
Whether or not you’re a member of Medium, thank you for reading and sharing our stories. Remember to follow us on Medium and social media to receive real time notifications from all our stories as they’re published. And let us know what you’re interested in us covering or pitch your own stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So…Why? Why is Amazon holding a bake off for its “next HQ”? Very few people have asked themselves that question. Shift’s Editor-in-Chief, John Battelle, has a theory about why Amazon issued such a vision-free RFP.
Don’t paint every company in the Valley with Uber’s tarred brush.
Now that the other shoe has dropped, and Uber’s CEO has been (somewhat) restrained, it’s time for the schadenfreude. Given Uber’s remarkable string of screwups and controversies, it’s cominginthick, in particular from the East coast. And while I believe Uber deserves the scrutiny — there are certainly critical lessons to be learned — the hot takes from many media outlets are starting to get lazy.
Here’s why. Uber does not reflect the entirety of the Valley, particularly when it comes to how companies are run. As I wrote in The Myth of the Valley Douchebag, there are far more companies here run by decent, earnest, well meaning people than there are Ubers. But of course, the Ubers get most of the attention, because they confirm an easy bias that all of tech is off the rails, and deserves to be taken down a notch.
I’ve visited many a region that’s interested in creating its own “Silicon Beach/Mountain/Cliff/Island/Plane/Desert,” and that is truly wonderful. Along the way, I’m often asked what makes Silicon Valley successful.
The elusive recipe need not be hidden in a vault or passed down from Nana to her next of kin. Here’s a tried-and-true recipe that was handed down generation to generation in Silicon Valley for 60-plus years. Yes, it’s a family secret, but I’ll share it with you now.
A culture that embraces failure. Only 5% of startups win, but they win big. Yet embracing the other 95% is required for persistent innovation.
Ample education in technology & entrepreneurship. Successful tech regions have multiple colleges and a culture of continual learning.
Plentiful Venture Capital — not just Gov money. Free-market VCs are needed to bolster the community, as govs can create friction for startups.
Successful entrepreneurs re-invest — not retire. Once a CEO cashes out, he or she mentors others and invests funds back into the ecosystem.
Density of population to foster serendipity. Most innovation happens in urban areas, fostering a frequent intersection of people and ideas.
Attractive quality of life. Talented workers can work anywhere, so attract them with diverse culture, temperate weather, and quality lifestyle.
NewCo is blowing out all the stops for our fifth annual Bay Area Festival! Not only are we running the event concurrent with our first executive forum, we have added a day of “masterclasses” where attendees can learn directly from the brightest business leaders in Silicon Valley. We also have three full days of sessions where attendees will get to go inside the most innovative companies in the Valley to learn how they are changing the world. For the first time ever, our event is showcasing companies from all over the Bay Area. Without further ado, here are my recommendations for sessions to check out:
Monday, February 6 — Masterclasses at the St. Regis in San Francisco
In many respects, Silicon Valley sits atop the world. Its growth and influence has made it the globe’s top location for innovation, STEM jobs, IT patents, venture capital funding, and Internet and software growth, and Unicorn startups galore.