Good morning from London, where yesterday I helped host the Fortune CEO Series at Salesforce.com’s U.K. Dreamforce event, a trade-show-like conference to interact with the software company’s customers.
Salesforce (CRM) has become well known for blending doing good with doing well. So when it brings together customers to pitch them on why they should buy its wares, it also sells them on its philosophy of combining good works with good business. (Not coincidentally, Salesforce is sponsoring The CEO Initiative, Fortune’s inaugural conference in September that will celebrate and highlight how business can be a force for good.)
Doing good is subjective, of course, and I interacted in London with a fascinating mélange of opinion leaders who in their own way are affecting the relationship between business and a wide variety of “stakeholders.” Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, for example, is starting something called Wikitribune, a crowdsourced site that will pay journalists to write real news. I’m tempted to discount Wikitribune’s potential influence, but then look at how Wikipedia has changed our approach to conducting research. Because of the dedication of its volunteer editors, Wikipedia can correct mistakes and falsehoods quickly. Maybe he’s on to something.
Another surprising person who wants to interact with the business community is Michael Moller, director-general of the United Nations in Geneva. Essentially the chief operating officer of the UN, Moller spoke about the international organization’s efforts to combat income inequality and other social ills. I asked him how business could work with the UN. “Call me,” he said.
As I prepare to head home, I can’t help but note it’s been an inordinately busy news week around the world. Alibaba (BABA), a company I’ve been following closely of late, turned in a boffo sales report. Bloomberg’s John Micklethwait wrote what I think is one of the most cogent arguments for how to evaluate Donald Trump’s presidency. And, of course, the American political and news scene lost a controversial legend, Roger Ailes. His faults were well documented, but I’ll take the occasion of his passing to note that my brief interaction with Ailes, and his wife Beth, was over the founding of a TV show, “TheStreet.com on the Fox News Channel,” in 1999. The team Ailes assembled taught me how to do television and began a happy association that continues for me to this day. For that, I’m grateful.
Have a peaceful weekend.