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Here’s who’s coming to Fortune Brainstorm Tech next month

June 17, 2022, 10:37 AM UTC
Updated June 17, 2022, 4:32 PM UTC

Good morning.

Fortune Brainstorm Tech returns to Aspen next month (July 11 to 13) after a two-year hiatus. The jam-packed three days begins with a morning bike ride up Maroon Bells (1,300 vertical feet, seven miles), that I am, sporadically, training for. The daytime program is filled with tech gurus, investors, and CEOs. Among the latter:

  • Raj Subramaniam, the new CEO of FedEx, who has taken over from iconic founder Fred Smith
  • Marc Lore, who started Jet.com, sold it to Walmart for $3.3 billion, and is now CEO of Wonder
  • Stewart Butterfield, founder and CEO of Slack, which he sold to Salesforce for $28 billion
  • Revathi Advaithi, CEO of Flex, who can talk all things supply-chain–related
  • Rene Haas, CEO of Arm, who can talk all things chips-related
  • Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, which was acquired by Facebook for $3 billion; now CEO of Anduril Industries
  • Lisa Dyson, founder and CEO, Air Protein
  • April Koh, cofounder and CEO, Spring Health
  • Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox, and Aaron Levie, CEO of Box (My question: Shouldn’t you two just merge?)
  • Hayden Brown, CEO of Upwork
  • Ryan Williams, CEO of Cadre

And many more. I’ll also be interviewing Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter on the main stage about the new era in tech antitrust. (He may have thoughts on my Box-Dropbox idea.) Attendance is by invitation only, but if you are interested in spending a fascinating and informative week in Aspen in July, shoot me a note or apply here

And since it is Friday, some feedback. Not everyone agreed with my conclusion Monday that crypto technology is going to transform finance and business. Here’s JLG:

“Crypto has been exposed as the grift of the decade. And blockchain technology is too slow and costly to be used in global currency transactions.

“And all those evangelistic promises? ‘Crypto is a hedge against inflation’—‘Crypto is a hedge against economic downturn’—‘Crypto is a store of value, just like gold, only better’

“Lies. Crypto isn’t currency at all. It’s a massively front-loaded derivative security. And we know what happens to derivative paper in a downturn.”

TC offered a more nuanced view, distinguishing between crypto as an investment and crypto as technology:

“Crypto the technology is arguably important (you used transformative which sounds too hype-y to me and I believe that’s part of its problem).

“Crypto the investment is what has gotten the ink, MLB umps wearing FTX patches, Big Papi, Larry David…

“Warren Buffett isn’t much of a leader but he’s a heck of an investor and he says he wouldn’t pay a plug nickel (my words not his) for bitcoin.”

More news below. CEO Daily won’t be publishing Monday due to Juneteenth; back on Tuesday.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

TRIPS waiver

The World Trade Organization has coughed up its first trade pact in seven years, featuring a long-awaited waiver of intellectual property rights surrounding COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries. However, few are happy with that result—Big Pharma is fuming, and vaccine-equity advocates say the agreement is a “fudge.” Fortune

Musky companies

Fun times at Tesla, where investor Solomon Chau has sued management for allowing a “toxic workplace culture” and thus breaching its fiduciary duty—and at SpaceX, where management just fired employees who criticized Elon Musk’s erratic public behavior in an open letter. (Bonus read: some guy is suing Musk, Tesla, and SpaceX on the basis that they “defrauded” him by claiming “Dogecoin is a legitimate investment when it has no value at all.”) Fortune

EU Ukraine

The European Commission granted Ukraine EU-candidate status today, after the concept was yesterday backed by Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Italy’s Mario Draghi, and France’s Emmanuel Macron, all of whom visited Kyiv together. Of course, the process will still take many years, but it’s an important signal nonetheless, to both Ukraine and Putin’s Russia. Al Jazeera

COVID wave

COVID hospitalizations are rising in Europe, largely thanks to the BA.5 Omicron subvariant. It really isn’t helping that countries have scaled back their testing infrastructure. British virologist Lawrence Young: “The biggest concern is we’ve let our guard down quite considerably.” Financial Times

AROUND THE WATERCOOLER

GDPR reform

A top EU privacy regulator has called for a reform of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the 2018 online privacy law that talks tough but has in effect not been very strongly enforced. Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the European data protection supervisor: “I think there are parts of the GDPR that definitely have to be adjusted to the future reality.” Politico

Remote work

A growing number of companies have created new roles for “heads of remote work experience,” with many occupants coming from a product management background, rather than HR. Fortune

Hiring freezes

Fortune’s Geoff Colvin looks at the current wave of hiring freezes in the tech industry, and argues companies should be cautious about how they react to an imminent recession: “Most companies can find better alternatives to a so-called hard freeze, such as imposing freezes only on certain parts of the business…Ideally, a company wouldn’t resort to freezes at all, blunt instruments that they are, even in tough times.” Fortune

$20K Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has sailed awfully close to the $20,000 mark in recent days. Crossing that barrier would probably trigger big liquidations—and it could still happen. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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