Our recognition of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as this year’s Businessperson of the Year got me thinking about past recipients. There have been seven, dating back to 2010—eight if you include our designation of Steve Jobs as “CEO of the Decade” the year before.
I was curious to see who was on the list, so I wrote them down on a single piece of paper. In reverse chronological order, the other BPOYs have been Nike’s Mark Parker, Larry Page of what was Google, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, and Reed Hastings of Netflix. I already knew we’d never named a woman, and I hope we will soon. I also suspected we’d be tech-heavy, and we were: All but two of our winners have come from the tech world.
What startled me is that all eight hail from West Coast companies. In fact, the executives we’ve honored come from just three states, California (5), Washington (2), and Oregon (1).
What to make of this? Fortune certainly isn’t biased against the East Coast. We’re the very bastion of New York media and have been for 86 years. Moreover, our list is driven primarily by data, specifically medium-term financial and stock-performance results. It’s no secret that much of the dynamism in the U.S. economy is in the West. But you’d think we could find one fast-growing company CEO to honor in the East.
I also couldn’t help but notice that all our awardees come from blue states that Hillary Clinton carried on Tuesday. At the risk of overgeneralizing, these optimism-fueled parts of the U.S. aren’t the centers of discontent that chose change for change’s sake. Make of that what you will.
Incidentally, today we’ve posted Andrew Nusca’s graceful profile of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. I think after reading it you’ll agree that the CEO’s temperament, a word we heard a bit too often in recent months, is part of the reason he has been successful in making Microsoft great again.
With gratitude today for all who have served our country in uniform, have an optimistic weekend.
BITS AND BYTES
Google responds to more European antitrust charges. The company on Thursday filed its rebuttal to the European Commission’s complaints over how it sells Android, its mobile operating system software. Google is fighting the EU on three fronts: the other two center on the company’s advertising policies and shopping search service. It faces hefty fines, and some experts suggest that negotiating a settlement might be in the company’s interest. (Reuters, New York Times)
Big-screen cinema company IMAX wants non-geeks to understand virtual reality. It’s investing in a $50 million investment fund that also includes electronics hardware company Acer, entertainment firm Creative Artists Agency, advertising agency WPP, and two Chinese media organizations. IMAX is building VR entertainment centers in the U.S., U.K., China, and the Middle East. (Fortune)
Nordstrom takes $200 million write-off on e-commerce investment. Two years ago, the retailer paid $350 million for Trunk Club, a now seven-year-old online service that advises men on premium clothes that they might want to add to their wardrobes. The investment has been a disappointment. (Fortune)
China’s Alibaba logs $1 billion in online sales in just five minutes. The company’s annual Singles’ Day event generated more than $7 billion in transactions within the first two hours—far more than the totals for Cyber Monday or Black Friday last year. (Time)
Fitbit denies takeover talks. The fitness band maker’s statement was apparently triggered by a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by a mysterious, Shanghai-based firm called ABM Capital. Fitbit’s share price has slipped about 33% since the company reported disappointing earnings last week. (Reuters, Wall Street Journal)
Ban looms for Russian-based LinkedIn users. The country is preparing to block the social network over objections related to its data privacy protections—as soon as next Monday. There are roughly five million LinkedIn users in Russia, a relatively small number considering the site has around 467 million members worldwide. Still, the move puts larger social networking companies, including Facebook and Twitter, on notice. (Reuters, New York Times)
Citibank jumps into the mobile payments war. The financial services giant introduced Citi Pay, a digital wallet for Android smartphone users. Chase and Wells Fargo offer similar services, as do Apple and Google. (Fortune)
5 cloud tech lessons you need to know. More and more corporate data and software now runs in the cloud, meaning outside a business’s own data centers. If your company uses Salesforce.com, Dropbox, or Microsoft Office 365, you’re part of the great cloud generation.
Ideally, you won’t notice the tectonic changes underlying this shift. But alas, sometimes you will—in the form of unanticipated outages, formidable new security and privacy requirements, and the impact of automation on employee productivity. Here’s what we’ve learned 10 years into the cloud transition.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Here’s How Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Responded to Donald Trump’s Victory, by Abigail Abrams
How Machine Learning Fueled Nvidia Stock’s 15% Jump, by Aaron Pressman
Mark Zuckerberg Says Fake News on Facebook Affecting the Election Is a ‘Crazy Idea’, by Kia Kokalitcheva
Why Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Is a Fan of Peter Thiel, by Stephen Gandel
Why Facebook May Fall Flat in Africa, by Tom Jackson
Cord Cutters Could Pay More If Donald Trump Rolls Back Net Neutrality, by Aaron Pressman
ONE MORE THING
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Drone World Expo: Commercial apps for unmanned aircraft. (Nov. 15-16; San Jose, Calif.)
AWS re:Invent: Amazon’s cloud conference. (Nov. 28-Dec. 2; Las Vegas)
Elevate NYC: A cloud innovation forum . (Dec. 6; New York)
Consumer Electronics Show: An annual conference and exhibition dedicate to the business of consumer technology. (Jan. 5-8, 2017; Las Vegas)
CIO Leadership Forum (West): Strategy in the age of digital disruption. (Feb. 26-28; Phoenix)
Google Cloud Next: Products and perspectives for developers and customers. (March 7-10, 2017; San Francisco)
CIO Leadership Forum (East): Strategy in the age of digital disruption. (March 19-21; Hollywood, Fla.)