If you could tell the next U.S. president to focus on one thing, what would it be?
That’s the question I asked GM CEO Mary Barra and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at the end of a wide-ranging conversation at about how technology is transforming business and changing the nature of leadership. (You can read more about the conversation, which took place at Benioff’s Dreamforce conference, here.)
They both gave the same answer: education. New technologies will both destroy jobs and create them, they agreed. The key is to make sure Americans have the skills to fill the new ones.
“There are many problems that need to be solved,” Barra said. “But the one piece of advice I’d give is to partner with business to solve them. And education is at the top of the list.”
Barra said she thinks STEM education, in particular, “is incredibly important. With all this technology disrupting industry, people are going to need strong math and science skills.”
Both Benioff and Barra are working in their local communities to address education problems. Benioff said his goal is to make the San Francisco area number one in the country in education. Barra later said her goal is to do the same in Detroit. We’ll see if that issue gets any attention at the presidential debate Sunday night.
Benioff also made it clear why he wants to buy Twitter, even though his shareholders disagree.
More news below.