Data Sheet—Leaders From GM, Mattel, and Facebook Steer the Agenda at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit
I write frequently from Fortune conferences. Today I want to point your attention to one I’m not attending: the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit.
Perusing the agenda, I can assure you this is the single best business conference any publication or other event organizer will host this year. And I say that as a lead editor involved in most other Fortune events. With a few outlier exceptions, this is a women-only event. Yet what I love about it is that it’s not a conference about “women’s issues.” This is the brilliance of my colleague Pattie Sellers, who founded the event. She recognized that women in business value the opportunity to interact with each other without men around but that what they want most to discuss is business.
Tech is extremely well represented at the event in Washington, D.C. Marne Levine of Instagram will appear, as will her colleague Carolyn Everson of Facebook. GM’s Mary Barra is certain to address GM’s aggressive investments in self-driving cars. Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis, formerly of Google, will address disruption. A bevy of cybersecurity experts (from Accenture, Cisco, and Palantir) will discuss that important topic. Videos of many sessions will be posted here.
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Beyond tech, this year’s summit, which began Monday afternoon and runs through Wednesday, has more than its fair share of bold-faced names. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, in the thick of NAFTA renegotiations, will speak, as will her boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (I mentioned there are exceptions to the no-men rule.) Others certain to attract headlines include Ivanka Trump (last night), Kellyanne Conway (tomorrow), and a sports icon in the cultural zeitgeist again, Billie Jean King.
If that’s not power, I don’t know what is.
Incidentally, a star speaker at Brainstorm Tech in Aspen this summer was Jamie Miller, head of GE’s locomotive business. A relative GE newcomer, she got a big promotion last week, having been named by new CEO John Flannery to the position of chief financial officer. I feel like more often after we interview a high flyer on our stage they lose their job. It’s nice to see a happier outcome.
Giving up. The slow developing market for virtual reality gear was too slow for Nokia. The telecom equipment giant said it would scrap its Ozo VR camera line and lay off up to 310 people.
Going up, again. Bitcoin prices reached a high of $4,820 on Monday, near the record of late August when the most popular cryptocurrency hit $5,000.
Wait right here. The German delivery giant Deutsche Post DHL Group is putting a computer system called ProAI powered by Nvidia chips in its fleet of StreetScooter electric trucks. ProAI won’t completely replace the driver, instead filling in to park the vehicle or bring it around the side of an apartment building while the driver is making deliveries. Nvidia also unveiled its Drive PX Pegasus computing system that can perform 320 trillion operations per second to run fully autonomous self-driving vehicles.
Vive la France. Apple CEO Tim Cook visited with French President Emmanuel Macron, an ardent critic of tech companies’ tax avoidance schemes. In their first ever meeting, the pair reportedly talked taxes, education, and whether Apple will take up some space in France’s Station F startup incubator.
Up, up and away. SpaceX launched its 14th Falcon 9 rocket of the year on Monday, carrying a cargo of 10 Iridium Next satellites to low-earth orbit, where they will float to their designated places to deliver mobile satellite communications to Earth.
You can’t say that. In a controversial showdown over curbing the spread of fake news, Twitter said it would not permit the campaign of Republican Tennessee senate candidate Marsha Blackburn to promote a video that made the claim that she “stopped the sale of baby body parts.” Twitter said the claim was “deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.”
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Travel times across the planet have been stuck at jet plane speeds for a while now, but Elon Musk the other day proposed using rockets to shrink almost any journey to an hour or less. Samantha Masunaga at the Los Angeles Times dug into the challenges of using rockets to fly around the globe and compared the idea to plans by several supersonic plane startups which are hoping to reduce flight times, as well. Rocket flight times aren’t the only variable in how long a trip will take in total, she noted.
“You may end up saving some number of hours, but you would have to get to the launch site, and then you’d have to launch and then you’d have to arrive at the destination,” said Richard Wirz, a professor at UCLA and director of the university’s Plasma and Space Propulsion Laboratory. “There would have to be hours on either end of you embarking and disembarking on your trip.”
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