Good morning again from New York, where yesterday Fortune and Time hosted the first CEO Initiative, a one-day event built around a community of business leaders dedicated to the notion that business can be a force for good.
This group of CEOs demonstrated a quality not often associated with the corporate world: idealism. Their ideal is that the tension between profits and purpose is false. Businesses must pursue both if they are to thrive in the marketplace with consumers and employees who demand both.
One of the most passionate defenders of this 21-century notion is Tom Wilson, CEO of Allstate (ALL), a savvy corporate leader (and new head of the old-guard U.S. Chamber of Commerce), who argues that business leaders must find the courage to articulate that profits aren’t all that matters. I moderated a panel on “inclusive prosperity” with Wilson and Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, who has put his money where his mouth is by giving 10% of his private company’s stock to employees.
Leading with purpose-driven organizations is very much current-century notion. Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel (INTC), made the case for why artificial intelligence will enhance the lives of workers rather than eat their jobs. Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, sees technology as an augmentation to current healing tools—but not a replacement for human kindness, an integral part of healthcare.
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Our long day ended with an inspiration plea for bipartisanship and courage from Gov. John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio.
We held our meeting at the bottom tip of Manhattan under bright sunshine and with a stunning view of the Statue of Liberty, her torch shining brightly. In a frightening, uncertain and troubling time, it was all enough to give one faith in capitalism and democracy.
That’s not a bad day.
Banned. China turned the screws even tighter on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service, the last of the company’s products available in the country. After blocking video chats and file exchanges via WhatsApp earlier this summer, China moved to block most text messaging as well, the New York Times reported.
Not banned. Twitter explained why it would not block President Trump from using the service or take down some of his more provocative and bellicose posts. “Among the considerations is ‘newsworthiness’ and whether a tweet is of public interest,” the company said in a blog post. “This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect this.”
Honored. NASA named its newest building after Katherine Johnson, the pioneering African-American research mathematician who was one of the main people featured in the movie Hidden Figures. Johnson calculated trajectories for Alan Shepard’s first space flight in 1961 and verified computer calculations for John Glenn’s orbital flight the following year.
Purloined details. More information came out about two big hacking incidents. Crooks who hit computers at accounting firm Deloitte stole email and confidential plans of some clients, The Guardian newspaper reported. And an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission found that hackers last year were able to read test posts made by legitimate companies to the EDGAR financial filings disclosure database. But some companies were posting their actual their results in the tests, allowing the hackers to trade on the information before it was public.
That was quick. Apple just released its new computer operating system, macOS High Sierra, on Monday when a security researcher disclosed a problem with how the software stores passwords. Former NSA hacker Patrick Wardle demonstrated how an app downloaded from the Internet could steal all of a user’s passwords.
One step forward, one step back. In the world of wearables, Fitbit said its new Ionic smartwatch would go on sale on October 1 for $300. But Verizon pulled its private label $350 Wear24 smartwatch, which runs Google’s Android Wear software, only four months after the device went on sale.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Only three people have run Microsoft in its 42 year history. Current CEO Satya Nadella gets credit for getting the software giant back on track in an era when mobile and cloud computing overtook the PC in importance. Bill Gates, obviously, got it all started with DOS and Windows as the PC rose to prominence.
Writer Seth Stevenson sat down with Microsoft’s book-end CEOs for a rambling conversation about everything from quantum computing to cricket. Both figures shared lessons they’ve learned, including about how to move away from the hardcore, take no prisoners management style made famous by Gates and others like Steve Jobs. As Gates explains:
I’ve come to value empathy more over the course of my career. Early on we were speed nuts, staying all night [at the office, thinking], “Oh, you’re five percent slower as a programmer? You don’t belong here.” It was very hard-core. Steve Jobs, the way he ran the Mac team, he was an extreme example of that where—wow, they got a lot done, but within a year nobody was there. I think as this industry has matured, so has what’s expected of a CEO. Satya has a natural ability to work well with lots of people, to tell people they’re wrong in a nice way and to let feedback come through to him more than I did.
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