New World Order, Netflix Plunge, Bezos Wealth: CEO Daily for July 17, 2018
Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi was first up at Fortune Brainstorm Tech yesterday, and made clear he’s a bit frustrated that everyone is so relentlessly focused on his company’s well-publicized bro culture. (The company is now being investigated for gender discrimination.) Nevertheless, he is clearly tackling the culture challenge, and believes he is making progress.
The culture “can change. But it cannot change in a number of months. Cultures aren’t built overnight and they certainly can’t be changed overnight. Moreover, there are many aspects of our culture I want to keep.”
“The work is continuing. It’s not over. The culture work is never done.”
As for growth, Khosrowshahi clearly has big ambitions. Uber’s goal is to reduce the cost of transportation, and as that happens, he believes, its share of the transportation market can grow dramatically. “We will go from 0.5% to 20-30%. We are just getting started.”
Other day one highlights:
JD.com CEO Richard Liu on the U.S.-China trade war: “I can tell you it is okay.” If tariffs drive the price of American goods too high, “we can find another choice.”
AMD CEO Lisa Su on the future of AI: “We all generate incredible amounts of information. The truth is, we don’t know what to do with all this data.” We have a long way to go….
Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang on meeting Jack Ma: “I’ve always thought of myself as the luckiest person in the world because of the timing of my investment in Alibaba.”
Other news below.
New World Order
U.S. President Donald Trump held an extraordinary press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, in which Trump opted to take Putin's word over that of the U.S.'s own intelligence community and Justice Department regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump also said the U.S. was responsible for poor relations with Russia, and failed to mention Russia's annexation of Crimea—indeed, Putin stepped in there, to claim that Trump had told him he considered the annexation to be illegal. Politico
Netflix's share price dropped 14% in afterhours trading, after the company's subscriber-growth figures fell well short of analyst expectations. The video-streamer got little more than half as many new subs in the U.S. in the second quarter as had been anticipated, and its international subscriber base grew by 4.5 million, versus the estimate of 5.1 million. Fortune
Jeff Bezos is now worth more than $150 billion, making him the richest person in modern history, even in dollar-adjusted terms. By way of comparison, Bezos is now worth around $55 billion more than the world's second-richest person, Bill Gates. Bloomberg.
Amazon workers' strikes have spread in Europe, now taking in Spain, Poland and Germany. The Germans are the most recent, with the Verdi union calling a one-day Tuesday strike in an attempt to win contractual changes that guarantee healthy working conditions. "While the online giant gets rich, it is saving money on the health of its workers," said Verdi's Stefanie Nutzenberger. NBC
Around the Water Cooler
John Schnatter now says it was a mistake for him to step down as chairman of the Papa John's pizza chain, which he founded. Schnatter resigned after it emerged that he used a racial slur during a call with Papa John's marketing agency. "The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so," he said in a letter to the company's directors. Wall Street Journal
Warren Buffett has donated $3.4 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to five charities, with the largest share going to the Gates Foundation. Buffett has been steadily giving away his stock in his company over the last dozen years, and this is the largest contribution to date. Fortune
Walmart and Microsoft
Walmart has signed up to use Microsoft's cloud and AI services, in a deal that some see as an alliance against Amazon—a rival to Walmart in retail and to Microsoft in cloud. It shows Walmart stepping up its online ambitions. And Microsoft, of course, is rumored to be working on retail technology. CNBC
Whirlpool initially responded positively to President Trump's tariffs on imports of washing machines from overseas rivals such as LG and Samsung. CEO Marc Bitzer said at the time that the move was a "positive catalyst for Whirlpool." However, Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs drove up Whirlpool's raw materials costs, hitting profits and ultimately helping to bring down the company's share price by 15%. Wall Street Journal