Presenting: The Shift Forum Ignite Series

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

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.

Susan Mernitt — Hack the Hood

Karla Monterroso — CODE2040

Jen McClure — Consultants Collective

Brandon Santiago

https://upscri.be/9ca96e/

To Change the World, First Change the Way We Manage Our Employees

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018/Ignite Series

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.

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It’s Time to Desegregate the Tech Industry

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018/Ignite Series

Blacks and Latinos will soon be 40% of the US population. Why are they only 5% of the tech workforce?


Karla Monterroso, CEO of CODE2040, is committed to closing the opportunity gap for Blacks and Latinos in the United States. Monterroso spoke at the annual Shift Forum earlier this year, in the Shift Ignite series (full overview is here).

Karla Monterroso: Hello. I was visiting my family in Guatemala this last year. My uncle was able to recall the most salacious details of our very embarrassing American election. I said to him, “Tío, how do you know all of this stuff?” He says to me, “Mija, what happens to you all over there impacts what happens to us over here.”

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A Radical Idea For Fixing the Talent Gap In Tech

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018/Ignite Series

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.

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This Company Raised Wages to $16 an Hour. Two Years Later, What Happened?

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Aetna President Karen Lynch runs 95 percent of the company’s core businesses. Since her firm’s novel move, productivity is up 15 percent. Next up? An industry shifting merger with CVS.

Karen Lynch during NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Given NewCo Shift Forum’s theme of “Business Must Lead,” it was a pleasure to welcome Karen Lynch, President of healthcare industry leader Aetna to the Forum stage earlier this year. Lynch discusses her company’s decision to raise minimum wages for thousands of its employees, an “ecosystem” approach to the healthcare business, and the role companies must now play in social issues beyond their core stakeholders. Read the full transcript below, or watch the interview, conducted by Makers and Takers author Rana Foroohar.

John Battelle: Please join me in welcoming my friend, Rana Foroohar, who has written extraordinary book about the financialization of the economy in conversation with the president of Aetna, Karen Lynch. Welcome to “Shift Forum.”

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The Resurgence of Corporate Venture Capital

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Photo by Jimi Filipovski via Unsplash

Is the current penchant for CVC just the usual part of the cycle?

I spent a fascinating couple of days at James Mawson’s Global Corporate Venture Capital conference in London this week. Venture capital of all hues is booming. I wrote about it in this week’s issue of my newsletter Exponential View. You can read my thoughts below. For more, subscribe to Exponential View, it’s free and you’ll find it useful.

Last year, $163bn was invested into founders globally, compared to a $25–56bn range in the 10-year period to 2013. Corporate venture capital (CVC), whereby large firms invest in interesting startups, is on an upswing. CVC, traditionally a second-tier option for enterpreneurs, now represents about 18% of all venture deals globally and about a third of all dollars invested in venture. CVC of 2017 is bigger than the entire VC industry of 2013.How do you make sense of it?

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How GDPR Kills The Innovation Economy

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Dept. Of Predictable Externalities

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.

The seven key principles of GDPR (image)

(Cross posted from Searchblog)

It’s somehow fitting that today, May 25th, marks my return to writing here on Searchblog, after a long absence driven in large part by the launch of NewCo Shift as a publication on Medium more than two years ago. Since then Medium has deprecated its support for publications (and abandoned its original advertising model), and I’ve soured even more than usual on “platforms,” whether they be well intentioned (as I believe Medium is) or indifferent toward and fundamentally bad for publishing (as I believe Facebook to be).

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A Magic Shield That Lets You Be An Assh*le?

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Now that digital platforms drive physical consequences, what does “free speech” really even mean anymore?

Cindy Cohn Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Carol Christ Chancellor, UC Berkeley, and moderator Nellie Bowles of The New York Times

It’s the first amendment to the US Constitution, but it’s also deeply misunderstood. Free speech seems an inviolate right, but when practiced at public institutions like UC Berkeley, or within private corporations like CloudFlare or Starbucks, the concept of free speech is both tested and proven. Join UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn, and moderator Nellie Bowles of the New York Times for a challenging and timely conversation on the role of speech in our roiling democracy.

Nellie Bowles: Hi. We are here today to talk about free speech and the corporation, a nice, relaxing topic for a Tuesday afternoon. [laughter] I know you two both have a lot of interesting things to talk about. To just jump right in, when we talk about free speech right now, that term and that concept, it feels like it’s changing radically. I don’t really understand if the shift in how the term “free speech” is being used is political or it’s about platforms or if it’s generational. If you could both just give me a sense of what has changed in the last year with this concept?

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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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