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August 17, 2017

I’m wary when companies use vague or overly broad words to describe major initiatives, especially involving technology. And so it was with wariness but also curiosity that I approached a first-time meeting Wednesday with Jim Hackett, the new CEO of Ford. He’s also the former CEO of Steelcase and, in between those two posts, a Ford board member and head of the venerable automaker’s “smart mobility” unit.

What exactly, I wondered, does Ford mean by mobility, a vague and overly broad term that makes me think of cell phones but might also pertain to movement among the social classes or a rehab patient’s progress? It turns out, says Hackett, that Ford thinks of mobility as a “catch-all” phrase that encompasses all non-traditional businesses. In other words, anything that doesn’t involve popping an internal-combustion engine into a vehicle and selling it, is a potential mobility product.

Mobility is sexy, but it doesn’t account for much of Ford’s revenue. And although Hackett’s predecessor, Mark Fields, got the boot for not having a coherent strategy, Ford already has made a handful of non-traditional moves. It’s a partner in a popular bike sharing program. And it operates Chariot, a “micro-transit” shuttle service in several U.S. cities.

Hackett sees his mission as positioning Ford for the day when most people live in cities and may or may not need their own car. He’s currently drafting a 100-day plan for Ford he plans to unveil in October. In the meantime, he says the company will consider a “smorgasbord” of options that involve moving people around. He hinted, for example, that Ford is looking closely at a “metered parking” business (a la startup SpotHero) and various “curb management” schemes.

Everything is on the table, he says, including ride-hailing, though he professes to be uninterested in owning a piece of Uber or Lyft. Right now Ford supplies those companies’ drivers, notes Hackett. If Ford were to own the service, “they’ll want a discount, and I don’t want to destroy our margins.”

Not destroying margins in the challenged car business is neither a vague nor overly broad goal, provided a detailed strategy follows.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com
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NEWSWORTHY

The 40 Under 40 list is here! Fortune's yearly roundup of the most influential young leaders in business has arrived. You'll recognize familiar names, like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel, and some surprise celebs, like Serena Williams. As usual, tech—the engine of today's economy—is very well represented.

TIME announces FIRSTS. Fortune's sister publication is preparing to debut a big multimedia project called FIRSTS that features candid interviews with 45 groundbreaking women, from Sheryl Sandberg to Oprah to Serena Williams (a 40 Under 40 lister). You can watch the trailer and find out more here.

Tim Cook criticizes Trump. Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an unequivocal letter to employees on the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, Va. "I disagree with the president and others who believe there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights," he wrote. He and other CEOs Tweeted their views as well.

Apple and CloudFlare dump neo-Nazis. CloudFlare, a popular content delivery service that protects websites from distributed denial of service attacks, ditched its longstanding policy of welcoming any and all customers by booting the neo-Nazi stronghold Daily Stormer. Apple also cut off sites selling neo-Nazi paraphernalia from using Apple Pay.

Facebook shutters anonymous chat room. The social network put an end to an internal forum called Facebook Anon, where employees could engage each other without using their real names. According to Facebook HR, the group violated the company's "authentic identity," aka real names only, policy.

Alibaba crushes earnings. The Asian e-commerce behemoth posted profits of $2.1 billion in its most recent quarter, doubling the money it made during the same period a year prior. Meanwhile, the Chinese government issued a warning to Alibaba and other sites for selling illegal, censor-skirting VPNs.

Cisco gets crushed by earnings. The networking giant's total revenue fell for the seventh straight quarter, missing Wall Street estimates. The company's shares slumped 2.5% in after hours trading as a result.

Google tests "light" search app. The search giant is testing a data-friendly version of its search app in Indonesia, where connectivity and mobile data allocations are limited. The pilot is one example of how Google is attempting to cater its products to emerging markets, where it sees the next wave of Internet consumers.

HBO can't catch a break. Suddenly in the sights of hackers, the Time Warner video unit had its Twitter account briefly taken over Wednesday night. The hijackers attempted to make "#HBOHacked" a trending topic.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Why Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins Anticipated a 'Pause', by Jonathan Vanian

ESPN's New Apple TV App Lets Viewers Stream 4 Games Simultaneously, by John Patrick Pullen

IBM CEO: This Is Why Tump's Advisory Forum Disbanded, by Valentina Zarya

Walmart's Massive Tech Investments Drive Another Quarter of Big Sales Gains, by Phil Wahba

Mark Cuban Wants His Broadcast.com Brand Back, by Barb Darrow

PayPal Cuts Off Richard Spencer Group After Charlottesville, by Katie Reilly

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"Many companies are alienating the qualified women who want to work for them, and who they want to hire, during the interview process itself."

—Katherine Zaleski, president and cofounder of PowerToFly.com, writes in an op-ed for the New York Times that if businesses wish to boost diversity in the workplace, then they'll have to rethink their approaches to recruitment. You can read an earlier op-ed Zaleski wrote"I'm sorry to all the mothers I worked with"—for Fortune here.

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ONE MORE THING

"Prune the trolls" is Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom's mantra for dealing with hate speech on his app. In an interview with Wired's editor in chief, Systrom explains his approach to cutting the vitriol and filtering spammers. The chat is lengthy, but worthwhile given the topic's unfortunate relevance right now.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Robert Hackett. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.
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