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On My Way to Brainstorm Tech: raceAhead

AMD CEO Lisa Su speaking at the 2018 Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen.AMD CEO Lisa Su speaking at the 2018 Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen.
AMD CEO Lisa Su speaking at the 2018 Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen.Michael Faas/Fortune

I’m getting ready to head to the great FortuneBrainstorm Tech  conference in Aspen, Colo. next week, the annual retreat for Fortune 500 leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and the people who fund it all. This year, as always, promises to be a fascinating mix of people. I’ll be prepared to give you a full report on the ground next week.

But you can absolutely come with me, at least in spirit.

As a reminder, all mainstage panels  will be livestreamed– check the schedule here, or follow along on Twitter for all the action.

On Tuesday, July 16, I’ll be leading a lunchtime panel I’m particularly excited about, talking with three extraordinary entrepreneurs about technology, marketing, and returns on all sorts of investments. 

Market Deep or Market Wide promises to be a wide-ranging discussion about the promise of technology to engage consumers at every point in their lives, during every minute of their lives. What’s smart marketing in a never-ending quest for attention? And what are the boundaries?

My conversation partners will be Aimee Johnson, CMO, Zillow Group; Jen Rubio, Co-founder, President, and Chief Brand Officer, Away; and Anda Gansca, Co-founder and CEO, Knotch.

If you’ve got any questions for them, hit me back at and I’ll be sure to work them in.

More non-mermaid news below, Haiku Friday up next, then Aspen. Until then, I'll see you in the online world.

On Point

An ICE deportation raid is scheduled for Sunday
A deportation raid on undocumented migrant families is set to begin this Sunday, according to unnamed homeland security officials, in an operation that had been postponed due to concerns raised by immigration staffers. According to The New York Times, the raid will take place over multiple days and will include “collateral” deportations, which would involve anyone on the scene, whether they’d been targeted specifically or not. While some families may be held in detention facilities, it is expected that some will be detained in hotels until their deportation papers are processed. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are said to be targeting 2,000 people in ten major cities. New York Times

Survey: Company culture and meaningful work more important than salary
Glassdoor conducted a global survey of more than 5,000 adults from the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany to determine how much value workers put on, well, values. Turns out some 70% of adults surveyed said they wouldn’t apply for a job at a company that didn’t’ align with their own values. Fortune’s Natallie Rocha points out that CEOs are already getting the message. “At Fortune’s [most recent] CEO Initiative conference, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that the next generation of employees want to make sure companies are ‘committed to improving the state of the world…and we’re just getting a taste of the future.’” Fortune

Democratic candidates boost Senate staff diversity
A report from Bloomberg News shows that several of the presidential candidates have delivered on promises to increase diversity in their Senate offices. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders lead the pack; Harris has the most racially diverse staff, with 70% of her office now identifying as nonwhite, compared with 66% in 2018 and 61% in 2017. On Warren’s staff, 48% identified as nonwhite, compared with 36% last year and 34% in 2017. On Sanders’ staff, 28% identified as nonwhite which is up from 18% in 2018. Cory Booker’s Senate staff is 61% people of color, though that number declined slightly from last year. Click through for the rest of the diversity report. Bloomberg

On Background

Where are the people of color in philanthropic leadership?
A new report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy surveyed some 25 executives of color to find out why, despite some high profile stand-outs, people of color remain woefully underrepresented in foundations and nonprofits. It was disheartening. “Leaders described feeling isolated, navigating difficult, racially fraught power dynamics with grant makers, and enduring affronts to their dignity — even having people touch their hair. In interview after interview, they talked about the need to prove themselves repeatedly,” they report. That said, expect to be inspired by the determination of the interviewees. “If we want to see a new world, we have to be willing to speak it into existence ¬— and talk about what we don’t want to see in this world,” says Nathaniel Smith, founder of the Partnership for Southern Equity. Then, click through for an opinion piece by Valerie Jarrett and Keecha Harris on how the philanthropic sector can advance racial equity. Chronicle of Philanthropy

Making race science new again
Angela Saini is an award-winning science journalist. In her latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, she tackles the now resurgent interest in “science” around race, specifically that there are biological differences between races. In this interview with NPR’s Code Switch team, she delves into the ugly history of this idea, including eugenics and ethnic genocide, and she identifies the end of the Holocaust as the moment the world community tried to put an end to bad race science. The problem was, not everyone was on board. “Number one was the hardcore scientific racists…who believed that whites were superior, that slavery was justified, that segregation was justified.” That network went underground. But mainstream scientists hung on, too. “They clung on to [these ideas] partly because, of course, racism was still there in society. We still had racism all around the world, discrimination embedded in the structures of institutions.” But while race may not be real, racism is. “Racism impacts people’s bodies. It impacts people’s minds. It affects how they live and how they grow,” she says. Code Switch

On black lives, the police, and mental health
Jodi Savage’s searing memoir of her mentally ill Granny begins with a cringe-inducing memory: The night she woke up with a blonde and crew-cutted police officer standing over her bed. “Ma’am, your grandmother called us. Do you mind if we take a look around?” The clay mask, ratty t-shirt and headscarf were the least of her worries. “My grandmother sees people who aren’t really here,” she explains as the officer begins touching her things. What follows is a beautifully rendered piece that touches on her fear of police and her desperation to keep her increasingly confused Granny – who has begun feeding and clothing phantom children – safe from further harm. Hers is a tale familiar to many, but with the powerful overlay of fear, that the first responders we rely on will actually make things worse for her family, not better. Catapult


“In the U.S., race is defined differently from South Africa, Australia, the U.K., India. We can’t biologize blanket ideas about who people are, because these are socially constructed ideas. I think it’s deeply dangerous, because it falls into the same trap that the people who invented race in the first place wanted us to fall into. The people who hardened these categories wanted us to believe that we are fundamentally different. We are not fundamentally different.”

Angela Saini