By Alan Murray and David Meyer
June 14, 2018

Good morning.

Fortune and Wallpaper hosted a fascinating dinner last night at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with designer-entrepreneur Yves Behar, who talked about some of the products he’s working on. One was a baby bed called Snoo that uses AI to gently rock a baby back to sleep when it awakens, saving shut-eye for new parents. Another was a social robot that encourages activity and fights loneliness among the elderly.

Behar’s broader point was that “the next frontier is integrating technology as just an everyday tool” that serves human needs, rather than an end in itself. “The technologies that are changing us these days don’t come from big engineering labs, they don’t come from technologists,” he said. “The cool stuff is coming from humanists. Technology is just a tool.”

The dinner was part of the run up to Fortune, Wallpaper and Time’s second annual Brainstorm Design, which explores the growing role of design in shaping today’s business, and is being held in Singapore next March. (Details here.)

Separately, on the plane to San Francisco yesterday I finished John Carreyrou’s excellent book, Bad Blood, which tells the inside story of Elizabeth Holmes and her Theranos hype machine. (Behar, coincidentally, had a bit role in that drama.) The book should be read by every business leader, not just as the story of a sociopathic young entrepreneur determined to achieve greatness at any cost, but as a cautionary tale for all leaders impatient to embrace change. The most chilling takeaway of the book is the number of smart people who bought her aspirational story, in spite of ample warning signs that it was a fraud—a group that included top leadership of Walgreens and Safeway, former Secretary of State George Shultz, current Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and, sorry to say, Fortune.

Bad Blood will become to this disrupt-or-die decade what Too Big to Fail and Smartest Guys In the Room were to the last decade, The New New Thing was to the 1990s, and Barbarians at the Gate and Den of Thieves were to the 1980s. A must read.

News below.

Alan Murray


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