Fix Boards, Fix Capitalism

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy argues that boards are utterly broken. Fixing them isn’t as hard as it might seem. And it’s urgently needed.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy during NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy has nearly two decades of executive leadership experience at consumer and internet companies, including Google, Amazon, Yodlee, Polyvore and Joyus. She’s also an accomplished board member — serving on both public and private boards in a range of industries. In the past two years, Cassidy has focused her energy on theBoardlist, a platform that connects accomplished women to board opportunities. But Cassidy didn’t focus her time at Shift Forum on the issue of diversity in boards. Instead, she exhorted the audience to think about the power and the responsibility of boards, and the role a truly high functioning board can have in changing the culture of business. Below is an edited transcript and the video of Cassidy’s inspiring talk.

(For more on the role of boards, see It All Starts with the Board)

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Creating Core Values that Actually Stick

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Company core values. On paper, they are a set of words or phrases that embody who you are as a team. They have been hailed as a “company’s DNA”, “the culture of the organization,” and the “best kept secret of true high performance.”

By definition, core values are the fundamental beliefs of a company.

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Are We So Busy Reaching Our Own Goals That We Miss The Opportunities That Matter Most?

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During the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships in Poland, Jess Thornton from Australia carried the weight of her nation as she attempted to win the 400m final leading up to the Rio Olympic Games.

Yet, in the midst of these Olympic-level stakes, just as the competitors came to the line, she took a moment to respectfully acknowledge Salwa Nasar from Bahrain. Nasar had recently made the heart-wrenching decision to leave her native Nigeria, where poverty robs young women of talent and potential, for the opportunity to break-out and flourish in Bahrain. Her choice was a refusal to leave her potential unrealized and Thorton’s brief moment of praise reverberated around the world.

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Complete Energy Democratization Is Coming. Let’s Get Ready.

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Blockchain may play a key role in the next 10 years of electricity

“With the broadcast system, you have one person in one station deciding what gets put out over the airwaves. When you have a distributed network, like the internet, everybody can be a server. There’s no distinction between the broadcaster and the receiver: every computer does both. You can take your home laptop and run a server off of it in the same way that the biggest computers at Google can. There’s no fundamental difference between the computers they have in their server rooms and what you have on your desk.” — Aaron Swartz, cofounder of Reddit

Decentralization eventually comes to every industry.

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AI Isn’t Magic. It’s Just Math.

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018 — Signal P&G Talks

Jana Eggers on why AI shouldn’t be feared, and must be understood.

Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics, during NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Jana Eggers, CEO of AI startup Nara Logics, wants everyone to understand AI. In her five minute Signal P&G talk at Shift Forum, she explains that in the end, it’s just math and a lot of data — and that data increasingly will be coming from businesses of all stripes, not just the big tech platforms.

Jana Eggers: Wow! What a day it has been. I’m nervous to stand up here in front of you all because of all the greatness that has been shared on the stage. Thank you for taking a few minutes with me.

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“It’s Time for Silicon Valley to Be Paranoid”

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018 — Signal P&G Talks

SVB’s Erik Peña on how China is different — and why it matters.

Erik Peña is a Managing Director in Silicon Valley Bank’s Corporate Relationship Management Team.

If you want to understand the future of business, you best study China. At the Shift Forum this past February, we asked Erik Peña to help us better understand the world’s fastest growing superpower. Below is the full transcript and video from his fascinating survey.

Erik Peña: Good evening. I wouldn’t call myself an expert in China, but I’ll give you a very quick overview on SVB to set the stage of our role in China. Then we’ll dive right into China, as soon as I figure out the clicker. There it is.

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The Power of Community

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018 — P&G Signal Talks

Aaron Walker’s Camelback fund uses community to level the playing field for entrepreneurs of color

Aaron Walker is founder and CEO of Camelback Ventures.

Aaron Walker runs Camelback Ventures, a new kind of fund based on the insight that “genius is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.” Below is the transcript and short video of his Signal P&G talk at Shift Forum this past February.

Aaron Walker: Thank you. Good afternoon. The question that I’ve been asking myself is, what do entrepreneurs of color need to be successful? This is the question I’ve been asking myself for the last five years.

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‘If You’re Not Doing Something About It, You’re Part of the Problem’

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Valley legend Reid Hoffman in conversation with policy legend Janet Napolitano


A highlight of last month’s Shift Forum was a conversation between Valley legend Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and prolific investor, and Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California system and former head of Homeland Security (and former governor of Arizona).

Why pair these two? Well, Hoffman and Napolitano share a passion for policy and the intersection of technology and government, which of course was a major theme of the Forum. In the video and edited transcript below, Hoffman and Napolitano cover sexism in the workplace, immigration, gun control, and the future of work.

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Strategy Is Culture

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How you work determines your destiny

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Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This is often interpreted as culture being more important than strategy. These might not even be his words, which makes it hard to know his thoughts, but having built a company to almost 500 people, it’s obvious to me that culture isn’t more important than strategy, it is strategy.

I am confident he knew this. He worked with the Japanese manufacturing companies in developing their culture of kaizen, which helped them to dominate the automobile manufacturing world, and their practices have gone on to fundamentally change manufacturing as an industry.

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A Lab for The Moonshot of Our Time

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Launching at Shift Forum, JFF Labs partners with innovators to scale economic advancement solutions for the 99 percent

As many of you know, this year’s Shift Forum is the second annual gathering of leaders convening to address big issues we won’t have a second chance to solve. If last year’s event symbolized a collective recognition of the problems we face, this year marks a shared commitment to move the needle in addressing them. Key pillars include business transformation, politics and policy, and the future of work. All of us are concerned with how we will pull off the moonshot of our time — establishing social contracts for the 99 percent. Specifically, how will we sustain families and opportunity for dignified work in the face of automation and rapid change?

To that end, I’m heartened to spotlight a unique effort — the launch of JFFLabs — and I am equally thrilled to say it was created as a result of last year’s Shift Forum.

I caught up recently with Maria Flynn, CEO of JFF, a leading national nonprofit that drives transformational change in the American labor and training markets. Maria was a powerful star at the Department of Labor before spending 10 years leading JFF’s Workforce team. Last year she became CEO at JFF and is casting a vision for a future in which economic mobility, dignified work, and automation are equal partners in the American dream.

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