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Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List Is Rich With Tech—Data Sheet

September 23, 2019, 12:52 PM UTC

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I was astounded, proud, and also frustrated to learn that Fortune’s publication of its annual Most Powerful Women in Business list today is our 22nd: Astounded it has been so long, proud Fortune has been committed to recognizing outstanding women for nearly a generation—and frustrated the list still needs to exist.

As in years past, technology is the most represented industry on the list with 11 executives. That is a testament to the dynamism of the tech business—profits, growth, and innovation beget powerful executives—particularly given tech’s well-documented inhospitability to women. Notable newcomers to the list all touch tech: Shari Redstone of Viacom, Corrie Barry of Best Buy, Flex’s Revathi Advaithi, AMD’s Lisa Su, and Christine Leahy of CDW. The executive to jump the most positions on the list, from No. 32 to No. 9, is Julie Sweet, the newly appointed global CEO of Accenture. There are a few more tech figures on rising stars to watch list, as well.

Besides the list itself, I encourage you to have a look at Michal Lev-Ram’s feature story on Netflix’s creative process, which just happens to involve a number of women. This group of female executives is at the center of the tech-slash-entertainment company’s efforts to keep dominating the industry trend it unleashed. That so many are women isn’t a focal point of the story. And that’s the goal. When it’s true across the board, Fortune can happily stop publishing its list.


If you didn’t catch it in our Friday suggested long reads, I highly recommend this work of masterful investigative and explanatory journalism by the noted writer William Langewiesche about the debacle that is the Boeing 737 Max.  Writing in The New York Times Magazine, he absolves Boeing’s engineers of corruption, though he allows that their mistakes were a combination of honest, stupid, and careless. He also writes of Boeing, whose CEO signed the Business Roundtable’s new “statement of the purpose of a corporation” that commits, without any specifics or accountability, to being warmer and fuzzier kinds of businesses:

“On the corporate level, the company is the worst sort of player — a corrosive agent that spreads money around Washington, pushes exotic weapons on Congress, toys with nuclear annihilation, sells all sorts of lesser instruments of death to oppressive regimes around the world and dangerously distorts American society in the ways that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his prescient 1961 farewell address. But hardly any of that matters in the story of the 737 Max.” 

Adam Lashinsky

On Twitter: @adamlashinsky



And so it goes. Like bad boy CEO Travis Kalanick before him, We Company CEO Adam Neumann may have to take the fall for all of the company's conflicts of interest and weird dealings during his tenure. The board of the startup formerly known as WeWork is meeting on Monday to discuss replacing the chief exec in the hopes of salvaging plans to go public.

Now you tell us. Tens of thousands of apps are getting suspended and a few are getting the boot altogether from Facebook, the social network said Friday, following an investigation of third-party developers access to user data sparked by that whole Cambridge Analytica thing. “We have not confirmed other instances of misuse to date other than those we have already notified the public about, but our investigation is not yet complete,” vp Ime Archibong explained.

Things that make you hmm. The king of skipping commercials in the DVR game, Tivo, is adding its own...commercials? All customer recordings will get "pre-roll" ads lasting 15 seconds or more. But you can skip them with the press of a button. Hmm.

We don't need no stinkin' diplomas. Eva Shang and Christina Haigh met at Harvard but soon dropped out to found a company together called Legalist that uses A.I. to pick lawsuits to fund (a practice known as litigation finance). The A.I. tries to figure out which cases are the best bets to win large awards or settlements. Now they've raised $100 million fund to invest in backing the A.I.'s favorite cases.

Not helpful. Portugal charged the hacker who leaked documents proving extensive corruption in the world of professional soccer with 147 crimes. Rui Pinto, who ran the website Football Leaks, has been imprisoned since March.

Under the covers. You'll be shocked, shocked to learn that the nonprofit group "Free and Fair Markets Initiative" that has been attacking Amazon is actually funded by Amazon rivals including Walmart and Oracle. “FFMI is not obligated to disclose its donors and it does not,” the top political operative at the firm that runs the group told The Wall Street Journal, but the paper still found out.

Funky cold medina. Despite training a quantum computer to do something no computer has apparently ever done before, the geniuses at Google couldn't prevent a premature disclosure of their work (on NASA's web site). In the leaked paper, the quantum machine, called Sycamore, was able to complete a calculation in 200 seconds that would take a current supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. Fortune's Jeremy Kahn explains more on the significance of attaining "quantum supremacy."


You have probably read many times before of the chaos that mapping apps like Waze and Apple Maps have caused by sending too many drivers down local streets that weren't designed to handle large flows of traffic. Jane Macfarlane, director of the Smart Cities Research Center at the University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, repeats many of those stories in an essay for IEEE Spectrum. But then she goes on to offer some partial solutions. Data sharing, for a start:

We must convince the app makers that if they share information with one another and with city governments, the rerouting algorithms could consider a far bigger picture, including information from the physical infrastructure, such as the timing schedule for traffic lights and meters and vehicle counts from static sensors, including cameras and inductive loops. This data sharing would make their apps better while simultaneously giving city traffic planners a helping hand. As a first step, we should form public-private partnerships among the navigation app providers, city traffic engineering organizations, and even transportation companies like Uber and Lyft. Sharing all this information would help us figure out how to best reduce congestion and manage our mobility.


Beyoncé Was Sued Over Her Website Violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. And You Could Be Too By Gwen Moran

Apple Watch Series 5 Review: Always-On Is Always Great By Aaron Pressman

WeWork Is Just the Latest Miss In SoftBank’s Rocky Year By Lucinda Shen

Rent the Runway’s Monthly Subscription Could Be a Game Changer By Rachel King

Tinder’s New ‘Swipe Night’ Turns Dating Into a Choose Your Own Adventure Game By Alyssa Newcomb

Fidelity Affiliate Joins $3.5 Million Investment in Bitcoin Sleuthing Firm Elementus By David Z. Morris

What Happens to the Clothes You Forget to Pick Up From the Dry Cleaner’s? By Anna Ben Yehuda Rahmanan


It's on my watch list, but I haven't yet watched the three-part Netflix series on Bill Gates. Luckily, my Fortune colleague Aric Jenkins has and he's back with a mini-review. While he finds all three episodes worthwhile, Jenkins recommends the middle episode of Decoding Bill Gates as the best "in terms of pure entertainment and insight."

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