CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

A goodbye after 19 years

October 5, 2020, 1:36 PM UTC

This is the web version of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

After 19 glorious, rewarding, life-changing years, I am leaving Fortune.

I am pleased to tell you I’ll have a lot going on in my post-Fortune life.

For starters, I am becoming editor in chief of World 50, an organization that builds private peer communities for CEOs and other top executives at leading global corporations. I have been moderating conversations for World 50 for more than a decade, and while the name of the outfit might not ring a bell, its members are the brightest lights at the world’s most important companies. World 50 itself is growing quickly, and I have a hunch its profile is going to rise in the months and years to come.

I also have signed on as a contributing writer for Business Insider and its various Insider properties, writing an every-other-week reported column on business as well as several feature stories a year about whatever swing-for-the-fences topics I can scare up. BI is investing aggressively in quality journalism, particularly for its premium subscription offering, and I am energized to be working with its growing team of reporters and editors.

There’s more. I will continue as a regular contributor to the Fox Business Network. I’m also working with a friend on a really exciting documentary film series, a project that’s so much fun we think it won’t be our last. And I think I might have the idea for my next book.

I cannot begin to describe how much I love Fortune and always will. Before one of several color-scheme redesigns, I frequently said I bled Fortune blue. I still do. When I joined Fortune my hair was brown, I was a newlywed, and I had never written a proper magazine feature. I was in awe of the giants who roamed the hallways of our Time-Life Building offices. Now my hair isn’t brown anymore, I celebrated my nineteenth wedding anniversary last week, and I’ve written (and edited) more features than I can count. Whatever I have accomplished here, I stand on the shoulders of all who came before me as well as Fortune’s current crew of hardworking, ambitious, talented, and committed journalists.

Fortune has been the professional gift that kept on giving. I have traveled the world, helped build a conference business, written two books, dived deep into topics far beyond commerce, and interviewed more CEOs and other luminaries than I can remember. I even shook hands with the Pope! I have been part of an organization that long knew exactly what it was about: committing journalism on behalf of its readers.

Speaking of readers, I have truly enjoyed my relationship with you. Many of you are my sources, subjects, friends, confidantes, dinner companions, onstage dueling partners, cherished critics, and more.  I fully intend to keep our relationship going.

My last day at Fortune is Oct. 14, and I plan to run through the tape, including writing a feature for the November issue. I also intend to complete a few projects after my departure, such as the six-episode podcast we launched and Brainstorm Tech on Dec. 1-2. My family and I are remaining in San Francisco. The rest of this is change enough.

By the way: Data Sheet will go on. Stay tuned on who will write it next.

Adam Lashinsky


This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman.


Consistently inconsistent. When President Trump announced he had COVID-19 on Friday, the reaction on social media was mixed to say the least, prompting Twitter to declare it would not allow posts wishing for the president's death. But that prompted an outpouring of protest from the many people who have been the subject of similar death tweets and other abuse that the service failed to take down. On Saturday, the company acknowledged the problem in a lengthy tweet storm reply: "We agree we must do better, and we are working together inside to do so."

The worst course of action. Speaking of the pandemic, hackers are taking aim at the medical establishment. A ransomware attack on eResearchTechnology, which supplies software to run clinical vaccine trials, has forced some researchers to track their patients the old-fashioned way, on paper. AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial and Bristol Myers Squibb's COVID test were both affected, the New York Times reports. In more positive pandemic tech developments, 10 states including New York and New Jersey have released COVID tracing apps for mobile phones based on Apple and Google's APIs, CNBC notes.

Pay me what I'm worth. Japanese IT giant NEC is hunting for acquisitions in Europe. The company announced a deal on Monday to buy Swiss banking and payments software developer Avaloq for $2.2 billion. Elsewhere in the island nation, Honda said it was pulling out of the F1 racing series, where it sponsored the Red Bull team, because it needed to spend more on developing emission-free vehicles. While rivals have been selling such cars for years, Honda is just releasing its first mass-market, all-electric car, the Honda e, this month. Top Gear calls it "beautifully engineered and crammed with tech."

I'd like to see that expense report. Microsoft President Brad Smith traveled to the Acropolis Museum in Athens to announce a $1 billion deal to build cloud data centers in Greece. The company will also offer digital skills training to 100,000 Grecians.


As mentioned, healthcare facilities have become a top target for ransomware crooks during the pandemic. For an article in Wired, San Francisco writer Sonner Kehrt delves into the formation of an ad-hoc team of experts trying to turn back the attacks. She spoke to Nate Warfield, a Microsoft security manager who is participating in the effort dubbed the Cyber Threat Intelligence League.

While the initial idea was to help protect hospitals, by this point the league had experts in everything from advanced persistent threats to malware analysis to dark web tracking. It also had raw manpower—members were spread across nearly every time zone. Rather than just searching for vulnerabilities in health care systems, they’d also analyze malware, hunt down malicious websites, pore through repositories of phishing scams, and comb the dark web for compromised medical facility credentials and virus-related scams. “The deeper we go, the more areas we find where we’re like, Hey, we can help here, we can help there,” Warfield says.


Want a Second Home During COVID? These Zillow Vets Have Invented a Radically Less Expensive Way to Buy One by Lee Clifford

Ransomware Victims Find Themselves Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Robert Hackett

A.I. Gets Down in the Dirt as Precision Agriculture Takes Off by Aaron Pressman

How to Fix Silicon Valley by Maelle Gavet

These Deepfake Videos of Putin and Kim Have Gone Viral by Jeremy Kahn

These Noise-Cancelling Headphones May Be Indispensable for Families Stuck at Home Together by Jonathan Vanian

The Zoom Effect: Why Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Procedures Might Be More Popular Because of the Pandemic by Rachel King

(Some of these stories require a subscription to access. Thank you for supporting our journalism.)


Chinese science fiction author Liu Cixin's instant classic, The Three Body Problem, attracted much praise. TV producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the brains behind HBO's Game of Thrones, snapped up the rights to the book last month for a future Netflix series. But Cixin's political views, particularly defending the Chinese government's mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims, has some U.S. politicians calling for the show to be cancelled. Netflix says it's sticking with the plan.

Aaron Pressman