By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky
July 19, 2018

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Greeting from sea level (San Francisco), where my resting heart rate is declining, per Fitbit, but the rest of me remains on a Rocky Mountain high following the conclusion of Brainstorm Tech. My colleagues and I experienced three exhilarating days of robust athletic activity, nonstop schmoozing, fascinating speakers, and rich dialogues.

Big tech conferences, including ours, can feel like a bunch of buses rolled into Silicon Valley and transported its residents someplace else. This year was different. Important voices from around the world showed the home of Google, Facebook, and Apple hasn’t cornered the market on innovation.

The largest online travel company by far, for example, is, whose top execute Gillian Tans, explained why it took an internationally-minded Dutch firm to conquer the world. Roundtables on China and Europe showed there are world-beating companies in those regions that are equal to or better than their Silicon Valley brethren.

The change is profound. Lydia Jett, an investor with SoftBank, drove home the point by illustrating where investors are finding big opportunities. “It’s a big world,” she said, using as an example the giant fundraising effort Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial in China recently completed. Anton Levy of General Atlantic said the conventional wisdom has been that dominant Silicon Valley leaders (see above) would be dominant abroad, too. China has upended that thinking, with Uber’s failure against Didi being a prime example. (General Atlantic is an investor in Uber.)

Finally, lest you think tech topics are never fun, I highly encourage you to watch this 10-minute-ish video of research analyst Mark Mahaney’s lessons on investing from a career on Wall Street. It’ll make you laugh—a language understood around the world.

Adam Lashinsky


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