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Data Sheet—Virgin Orbit, AMD, Twitter Execs Coming to Brainstorm Tech

Fortune's Michal Lev-Ram talks to Baidu Group President and COO Qi Lu, HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek, and NIO USA CEO Padmasree Warrior about the future of autonomous vehicles at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech dinner Jan. 8, 2018 in Las Vegas.Fortune's Michal Lev-Ram talks to Baidu Group President and COO Qi Lu, HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek, and NIO USA CEO Padmasree Warrior about the future of autonomous vehicles at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech dinner Jan. 8, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Fortune's Michal Lev-Ram talks to Baidu Group President and COO Qi Lu, HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek, and NIO USA CEO Padmasree Warrior about the future of autonomous vehicles at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech dinner Jan. 8, 2018 in Las Vegas.Kirsten Korosec

Good morning. Fortune digital editor Andrew Nusca here, filling in for Adam.

There’s a lot to love about Fortune Brainstorm Tech, our annual gathering of industry innovators in Aspen. There’s the camaraderie, for one. (The elevation during the morning bike ride to the Maroon Bells will do that to you.) The fantastic program of fireside chats, panels, demonstrations, and roundtable discussions is another. And, of course, there’s the incredible array of Coloradan craft brews on tap all over town. (TGIF, readers.)

But the best part about the conference—which runs from July 16 to 18 this year—are the conversations that happen all over the verdant campus of the Aspen Institute. I love seeing people from different walks of life come together to discuss an idea, often sparked by something they had heard during a session earlier that day. It’s a lot like a great dinner party. It’s also the kind of creativity cocktail that has produced some of the world’s most enduring products, deals, companies, and cultures. And yes, it’s the “brainstorm” in Fortune Brainstorm Tech.

In March, we shared the names of 13 luminaries who are joining us this year in Aspen, from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to Amazon’s Toni Reid. Today, we’d like to share a few more.

It’s difficult to imagine today’s always-on world without cloud computing, and central to that conversation is VMware. Its chief executive, Pat Gelsinger, is coming to Aspen. We’ll also have Amazon Web Services vice president Sandy Carter, Box chief product officer Jeetu Patel, and Uptake CEO Brad Keywell, all of whom know a thing or two about the term “digital infrastructure.”

Speaking of which: You can’t power today’s technology without a serious amount of processors. We’re delighted to welcome AMD CEO Lisa Su this year.

We love moonshots in the tech industry, and who better to have a conversation about them than two CEOs who actually deal with outer space? Virgin Orbit’s Dan Hart and Maxar Technologies’ Howard Lance will join us in Aspen. We’ll also host the high-flying Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, Commander of the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command, for a spirited conversation about our military.

There’s always a healthy dose of entrepreneurialism at Brainstorm Tech, and several startup savants will share their know-how at Brainstorm Tech. Investor Katie Rae of Engine.XYZ will join us, as will Trae Vassallo of Defy Partners. We’re also pleased to welcome Susan Siegel, GE’s chief innovation officer, as well as Penny Pritzker, founder and chairman of PSP Partners.

Retail is consistently a hot topic at Brainstorm Tech. Macy’s president Hal Lawton and Stitch Fix CTO Cathy Polinsky will appear in Aspen.

And of all the issues brought forth this year about the tech industry, few are more important than the trust that companies seek from their customers. We’re pleased to welcome Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president for Trust and Safety, as well as welcome back OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles, whose ideas lit up last year’s inaugural Town Hall on inequality in Silicon Valley.

There are still more to come. In the meantime, a reminder: Brainstorm Tech is an invitation-only event, and you can request an invitation from me or any of my colleagues involved in it: Adam Lashinsky, Michal Lev-Ram, and Leigh Gallagher. We’ll also stream a great deal of the program on

Have a great weekend.

Andrew Nusca


We can do better. While its current nine member board has two women and one African American, Facebook is moving to add even greater diversity. Adopting a diverse slate approach will set “the expectation that hiring managers will consider candidates from underrepresented backgrounds when interviewing for an open position,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said at the company’s annual meeting on Thursday.

Hundo P. Speaking of Facebook, the company’s namesake social network is becoming less popular with teens. But fear not. Facebook-owned Instagram, along with Google’s YouTube and Snapchat, are increasingly popular with the younger set, according to the latest survey results from the Pew Research Center. Said one anonymous teen surveyed: “My mom had to get a ride to the library to get what I have in my hand all the time. She reminds me of that a lot.”

For my next act. Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss is back. A year after joining Walmart’s Store No 8 incubator, Fleiss on Thursday introduced her latest creation, a shopping service dubbed Jetblack. For $50 per month, subscribers can order items via text message not just from Walmart, but from other retailers including Saks and Bluemercury. The service also includes access to a personal shopper, same or next day delivery, and free gift wrapping.

Department of self-serving comments. The CEO of digital currency developer Ripple thinks bitcoin may be headed for extinction. “Bitcoin is kind of the Napster of digital assets,” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said on Thursday at the Code Conference.

No small move. Google’s self-driving project Waymo is expanding its partnership with Fiat Chrysler, placing an order for up to 62,000 self-driving minivans for its driverless ride-hailing service.

Hurry up. The chip architecture behind mobile phone processors made by Apple and Qualcomm is getting a major update. ARM, which produces designs that other companies customize and tweak, said its new A76 design is 35% faster and 40% more energy efficient than its current chips.


A few interesting longer reads I came across that are suitable for your weekend reading pleasure.

The Problem With Buying Cheap Stuff Online (The Atlantic)
The package came in a small black box, covered in tape. It had no return address. Under layers of packaging, there was a box labeled Smart Watch, with no brand name. Inside the box was the watch itself, which looked nothing like the inexpensive Apple Watch I’d hoped it would be. Instead, the large digital face featured icons for Twitter, Facebook, a pedometer, and a photo-taking app called “Camina” rather than “camera.” It was about what you’d expect for a smart watch that cost less than $20.

Inside Cuba’s D.I.Y. Internet Revolution (Wired)
You’ll be sitting in the magnificently beautiful ruin of Havana, surrounded by decaying stonework and pastel-colored Detroit rolling iron, and you’ll be ignoring it all to swipe down on your Facebook feed like a cocaine addict licking his snort mirror—which you are, of course: a depraved cokehead trying to get a hit. And you’ll scroll over the same content you swiped over 15 minutes ago, pretending that it might have refreshed and that it might provide the dopa­mine rush your brain is demanding. Yet it does not refresh. It will not refresh.

How Reese Witherspoon Is Flipping the Script on Hollywood (Fast Company)
When Reese Witherspoon was 17, she had already appeared in four films. Still, she took an unlikely part-time job, as an intern in Disney’s post-production department. “I wanted to learn about editing, visual correction, and sound mixing,” she tells me 25 years later. Not long after, she worked as a production assistant on the 1995 Denzel Washington film Devil in a Blue Dress, helping with casting, among other things. Also: “I parked Denzel’s Porsche!”

Read This Story and Get Happier. The Most Popular Course at Yale Teaches How To Be Happy. We Took It For You. (New York Magazine)
Professor Laurie Santos didn’t set out to create the most popular course in the history of Yale University and the most talked-about college course in America. She just wanted her students to be happy. And they certainly look happy as they file into a church—a literal church, Battell Chapel, that’s been converted to a lecture hall—on the Yale campus on a sunny April afternoon, lugging backpacks and chatting before taking their seats in the pews.


Digital currencies like bitcoin have some anti-fraud features built in by design. It’s virtually impossible to tamper with the public blockchain which records all transactions, for example. But University of North Carolina Professor Nir Kshetri has been thinking about ways crooks could still manipulate cryptocurrency markets. One big problem called “wash trading” occurs when one individual pushes prices up or down by trading with themselves:

Anyone can have as many cryptocurrency accounts as they wish to set up. And many blockchain-based systems keep users’ identities anonymous. The transactions themselves – if they actually happen – are recorded and publicly viewable, but the accounts involved are only identified with bitcoin addresses, which are long alphanumeric codes like “1ExAmpLe0FaBiTco1NADr3sSV5tsGaMF6hd.”

That anonymity can make it very hard to prove that wash trading is happening and challenges law enforcement to identify and catch fraudsters. At a June 2017 congressional hearing a former federal prosecutor told of cryptocurrency investigations revealing an account set up by a person claiming to be “Mickey Mouse” living at “123 Main Street.”


House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy Blasts Google for Linking California GOP to Nazism By Abigail Abrams

Why Roku Is the Internet Video Box Leader, While Google Is Slipping By Aaron Pressman

How Asus Hopes to Make Crypto Mining Easier By Monica Rodriguez

Zynga Buys Fellow Mobile Game Developer Gram Games for $250 Million By Lisa Marie Segarra

Active Shooter Video Game May Still See the Light of Day, Developer Says By Chris Morris

Telegram CEO Says Apple Refuses to Update App After Russian Blockade By Don Reisinger

Tesla Denies Autopilot Is to Blame for Brussels Crash By Jonathan Sperling


Any basketball fans out there? The NBA finals started last night with the same two teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, facing off for the fourth straight year. Game 1 was a topsy-turvy mix of strange plays, strange calls, and a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

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