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raceAhead: Uber CEO’s “Face Punch” Moment

July 17, 2018, 5:09 PM UTC

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi helped kick-off Fortune’s Brain Storm TECH yesterday with some candid talk.

“Sometimes it takes a punch in the face to see things clearly. This was one of the moments for me,” he said. He was referring to the breaking news that Uber is facing a federal investigation over alleged gender discrimination. During an all-hands employee meeting earlier the same day, he told the crowd that his first plan was to complain that the news had once again leaked. But he decided to listen instead.“This was a rough week, but it was incredibly motivating.”

But he did say the steady drip of bad news has been a challenge. Recently, Uber’s HR chief, Liane Hornsey, resigned after claims that she ignored allegations of racial discrimination. Then on Friday, Uber’s chief operating officer, Barney Harford faced public claims that he had made insensitive comments about women and minorities. He’s now getting coaching.

Khosrowshahi acknowledged the issues, but said no comment. “We take very seriously anything having to do with anyone, but especially with our senior officers. We’re not going to run a process through the press, we’re going to run a process the right way.”

Click through for more coverage on Khosrowshahi’s other plans for Uber here.

Be sure to tune in at 11:20 Aspen time for a Diversity and Inclusion presentation from Christa Quarles, CEO, OpenTable, followed immediately by our town hall discussion on “Techlash,” tackling the issues facing the beleaguered tech sector, from data privacy and fake news to brogrammer behavior and inclusion.


Speaker: Tristan Harris, Founder, Center for Humane Technology

Featured participants:
Amy Banse, Managing Director, Comcast Ventures
Natalie Evans Harris, co-founder and COO, Ecosystem Development, BrightHive
Jeff Glueck, CEO, Foursquare
Hemant Taneja, Managing Director, General Catalyst
Moderator: Jo Ling Kent, NBC News


On Point

The trouble with ElonWhere to begin? After his failed attempt to help rescue the 12 boys and their soccer coach stuck in the cave in Thailand, the Tesla founder has found himself on the wrong side of public opinion. By providing a solution that was unlikely to work, argues Zeynep Tufekci, a professor who writes about the impact of tech, Musk was playing to type. “The Silicon Valley model for doing things is a mix of can-do optimism, a faith that expertise in one domain can be transferred seamlessly to another and a preference for rapid, flashy, high-profile action,” she wrote. But when British diver Vernon Unsworth, one of the experts leading the rescue effort, criticized the miniature sub Musk’s team sent to the site, Musk posted a nasty set of tweets, now deleted, calling him a ‘pedo.’  Unsworth is now considering legal action. And, as Tesla's stock price wobbles, shareholders are getting queasy.Fortune

What it’s like to be a child in a U.S. immigration detention center
Reports from recently released children sound grim, particularly in light of the additional trauma of being forcibly removed from their asylum-seeking parents. The children are reporting work-camp like conditions, where they were forced to scrub floors and clean toilets, queue up for meals and were medically sedated if they cried or became agitated. One Brazilian boy, age 10, managed to stay calm because he knew what would happen if he didn’t. He described how another child from Guatamala was injected during class. “They applied injections because he was very agitated,” he said. "He would fall asleep.”
New York Times

Papa Gone: Papa John board severs all ties with John Schnatter, removes him from the premises
Schnatter, who used the n-word in a conversation during a training with a consulting firm, will be removed from all marketing materials associated with the pizza chain, reports Bloomberg. Although Schnatter had already resigned as chairman, a special committee of independent directors ordered the termination of an agreement making him the face of the brand and ordered him to stop doing media interviews. He was also no longer welcome to use an office space at the company’s Louisville, KY headquarters. Shares of Papa John’s have dropped about 4.6 percent this year through July 13. Schnatter has said privately that he regrets stepping down as chairman, and is reported to be “stewing.”

CVS fires two employees for claiming a black customer had forged a coupon
After Camilla Hudson posted a video of a CVS store manager in Chicago calling the police claiming she had presented a fraudulent coupon, the company quickly apologized, then fired the two managers involved. It was a deeply humiliating encounter. “CVS Health does not tolerate any practices that discriminate against any customer and we are committed to maintaining a welcoming and diverse environment in our stores," said a CVS spokesperson. In a fun twist, Morry Matson, the manager in the video, is currently running for Chicago City Council and was a state delegate for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The Root has uncovered some local media reports showing Matson had come under fire for forging five pages of signatures on a 2016 ballot measure to improve a waterfront bike path near his home. The vote had to be yanked. I know, I know.
USA Today

The Woke Leader

Plans for a memorial to the victims of the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston unveiled
The designs are for a “contemplative memorial,” which would incorporate parts of the church parking lot into meditative spaces; nearby will sit a stone memorial garden and a grassy survivor’s garden. A pair of curving, white marble pews, designed to feel like welcoming outstretched arms, will greet visitors. The vision belongs to architect Michael Arad, who also designed the National September 11 Memorial in downtown Manhattan, and is “intended to promote a sense of community, that when you walk into this space, you become a member of this congregation.” The memorial will sit on the spot where Dylann Roof parked his car before walking into a Bible study and opening fire, killing nine people some three years ago.
New York Times

What actually works in remedial education
When a student (or perhaps intern or new hire) needs to brush up on their basics before they’re ready for college, they are typically directed to a remedial course in reading, writing or math. Currently, some 60 percent of community college first-years and 40 percent of public college first-years take these classes. But the results tend to be mixed. But co-requisite remedial training, support that happens concurrently with college-level course work, work far better, argues Alexandra W. Logue, a research professor at City University of New York Graduate CenterThis post cites great data, perfect for folks who are contributing to corporate education initiatives. But Logue also identifies the main barrier to instituting better student effectiveness programs: Faculty resistance.
Inside Higher Ed

The British are officially woke, y’all
First there was Princess Meghan. Then, the protests. Now, a black woman has been crowned Miss Universe Great Britain, the first since the pageant’s inception in 1952.“I believe that this is the direction that the pageant has been going in for the last couple of years because Britain is a diverse nation, we are a multicultural society and it is time that that diversity is seen on a stage,” says Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers. Now, “other young black girls and girls of all ethnicities can see that this is something for everybody not just some of us.”  The win is being hailed, correctly, as a breakthrough in embracing a variety of beauty standards. Kentish-Rogers is dark skinned and is the first dreadlocked woman to appear on the Miss Universe Great Britain stage.In addition to being physically beautiful, Kentish-Rogers is also a competitive athlete.
Huffington Post


As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.
Nelson Mandela