Business

Why Starbucks Should Be Talking About Race

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Starbucks is in the crosshairs. How dare it ask its employees, customers, and America to discuss the role of race and racism in American society? The company recently began a project it calls "Race Together," in partnership with USA Today, aiming to begin a lengthy process of discussion and reflection on the inequities and distortions in American society, and even in the minds of all of us. What right does it have to do that? Hypocrisy! cry the critics. The pushback has been brutal, especially on Twitter, where extended and respectful discussion is almost impossible. Starbucks is being wrongly vilified. Why is it so hard for all these cavilers to accept the possibility that the company realizes its employment numbers are unequal and inappropriate, by any impartial moral standard?   More

Business

Chinese Net Giants Head Towards U.S.

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Just a day after I wrote that online gaming giant Tencent may be planning a major new drive into the U.S., we’re hearing that its top rival NetEase is also moving into the neighborhood with plans for a new California R&D center. NetEase’s move comes after search leader Baidu and Tencent both set up U.S. offices last year, though only Baidu actually announced a major new product development center. All of these moves represent the Chinese companies’ efforts to tap into the Silicon Valley ethos, which has far more of the skills they will need in their quest to enter global markets outside of China.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Business

Highlights from Techonomy Bio 2014

This video captures highlights from last year’s inaugural Techonomy Bio conference. Join us on March 25 at the Computer History Museum for Techonomy Bio 2015, where we’ll again bring together cross-sector leaders from biotech, IT, science, healthcare, pharma, agriculture, academia, finance, and the synthetic bio community for an open and dynamic dialogue on the fast moving ideas, solutions […]   More

Business Internet of Things

How to Ride the Smart Home Wave

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There’s a sizeable "smart home" wave building. The smart home and building technology market was $4.8 billion in 2012 and a report by Allied Market Research predicts it will grow to $35.3 billion by 2020. Not surprisingly, many startups, retailers, and established tech companies hope to ride the wave. Surfing is hard to do. Not everyone will get the timing right. But some strategies will make it a lot less likely that companies will wipe out.   More

Business Techonomy Events

Jaron Lanier on Why Wealth Concentration Among the Few Is Unsustainable

Technologist and author Jaron Lanier wants to reframe the debate about income inequality, starting with semantics. He takes exception to the notion that income equality would ever be a good thing. “To really make incomes equal, there would have to be some sort of force that would pound people down and say, We will all be equal!” said Lanier during a talk at Techonomy 2014 in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Rather, Lanier sees inequality as an inherent dimension of a market economy, noting that “any world of freedom is going to create variation of outcomes.” The problem, however, lies in how these outcomes are spread across society.   More

Business Keen On Startup Culture

KeenON: SAP’s Bill McDermott Seeks Startup Mentality in the Corner Office

As the CEO of the business software giant SAP, Bill McDermott is self-evidently a winner. But it wasn’t also that way. Born into a humble Long Island family, McDermott is a self-made man whose journey from corner store to corner office is chronicled in his new book "Winners Dream." So is that journey from underdog to top dog still possible in today’s world? Yes, McDermott says.   More

Business

Google’s Six Values for Business Leadership in an Age of Reimagination

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The most important characteristic of successful business leaders today is the ability to embrace, inspire, and manage change. At Google, we’ve had 15 years of experience with these changes first hand. In my role as the president of our Americas sales team, I also have the good fortune of working hand-in-hand with leaders across industries who are actively reimagining how their businesses will work in the future. I’ve found six core values that I think set apart the leaders who are thriving in these turbulent and exciting times.   More

Business

How the Belly Card Makes a Meal Out of Other Loyalty Programs

Belly's Chicago office

The rewards consumers can reap with a Belly loyalty card program are quirky to say the least. One of the best prizes in the Belly network? An ice cream date with Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s. Since you'd have to earn those 1,000 points by eating ice cream, that’s a lot of brain freeze. An evolution of the traditional loyalty punch card, consumers use Belly cards to collect customized rewards at businesses where Belly iPads are installed   More

Business

The End of “End-to-End” in Tech?

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Some say the recent moves by eBay, HP, and Symantec to split their businesses are driven by how Wall Street assigns value to companies. But I believe these companies are instead simply becoming more in tune with the evolving needs of their customers, be they enterprises or consumers. These tech giants are likely to be among the first of many in business to move toward a more specialized existence.   More

Business Media & Marketing

GE’s Comstock: The Imperative Is Speed

Photograph by Andrew Eccles

General Electric Senior Vice President Beth Comstock stopped by Techonomy's office recently to talk about corporate innovation. Besides overseeing all GE's sales and marketing activities, she's responsible for growth and market innovation. She rose through corporate communications to become GE's CMO, then ran sales and digital for NBC Universal before her current job. When we asked about her light bulb experiences, we didn't know that shortly after our meeting CEO Jeff Immelt would give her an additional job leading GE's $3 billion lighting business. We started by asking how someone with a marketing background got so interested in innovation.   More

Business Techonomy Events

Thiel and Hoffman on How to Promote Innovation in a Fearful Society

From left, Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick, LinkedIn's  Reid Hoffman, and Peter Thiel of Thiel Capital at the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Peter Thiel sees Western civilization as a society that “hates science and technology in all forms.” Reid Hoffman sees an uninformed public and political leadership that is biologically predisposed to fear death, not embrace change. And while Thiel accuses Washington leaders of being stuck in the Dark Ages, Hoffman concedes that “it’s hard to see a path to Congress having an intelligent technology strategy.” In the opening session of Techonomy 2014 on Sunday in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick provoked a frank discussion between the tech-industry-pioneers-turned-venture-capitalists, PayPal founder Thiel and his former Stanford classmate and longtime collaborator, LinkedIn founder Hoffman.   More

Business

A Conversation with Patrick Collison

At the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick speaks with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison about the future of online payments.   More

Business Techonomy Events

A Future Without Industries

Tech and the Internet blur borders between industries. Meanwhile, connectedness is accelerating globalization. We’re redefining what a company does and where it is. What does the new borderless world of business mean for incumbents, and for the next generation corporation? In this session from the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Castlight Health CEO Giovanni Colella, Intuit founder Scott Cook, McKinsey's Eric Kutcher, and Talko CEO Ray Ozzie discuss how tech is transforming the way that we define industries.   More

Business Techonomy Events

Preemptive Innovation

Innovation is happening faster because it’s getting better organized. Incubators of all stripes are sprouting all over the world. Large corporations are spinning in talent and building internal startup labs. Leaders know they can’t just wait around for inspiration to strike, they have to seek it out or grow it themselves. At the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Idealab CEO Bill Gross, Citi Ventures CEO Debby Hopkins, and Coca-Cola SVP Guy Wollaert talk about how companies can stay ahead of the innovation curve in this discussion moderated by McKinsey's Michael Chui.   More

Business Partner Insights

How Discovery Fuels Corporate Growth

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Cultivating a discovery mindset—one that is open to new approaches, encourages curiosity, and promotes a willingness to test and iterate—is the essential basis for all innovation. But embracing discovery is not always natural for an established organization. It can be a big culture shift to really commit to identifying new and bold ideas—and yes, falling has to be accepted as an important part of the journey.   More

Business Mobile

Apple’s Surge in iPhone Sales Matched by Mac

“No company gets attention like Apple. No company,” says Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick—whether it be from the development of new products like the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, or from news of the company’s profits and sales. On Tuesday, the tech colossus reported its fourth-quarter earnings, announcing some formidable figures, including a whopping 21-percent jump in iPhone revenue. It’s no surprise that that increase was due in large part to high demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But what did surprise some is the fact that that surge was matched by a 21-percent increase in revenue from none other than the Mac.   More

Business

Cultures of Innovation

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Big and venerable companies around the world are increasingly confronting a vexing problem: They’re too big and venerable. The ironic truth: To get even bigger, they have to learn to act small. Executives increasingly believe that new ideas and innovations that can generate growth are most likely to emerge in organizations like small start-ups. So the mandate for large companies is to find ways to replicate the culture and practices of smaller companies inside their walls.   More

Business Techonomy Events

Detroit CIO Beth Niblock Interviews Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter and Square

At our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference, Beth Niblock, Detroit's first CIO, interviewed Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square about how tech tools can help small merchants thrive in communities like Detroit.   More

Business Techonomy Events

Jack Dorsey Believes in Profit: For Merchants, Cities, and Square

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Appearing on the Techonomy Detroit stage for the third year, Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey shared with Detroit CIO Beth Niblock his vision for how technology, and in particular the evolution of Square, is helping the commerce ecosystem and could help cities like Detroit. Dorsey and Niblock’s conversation followed a talk by author Andrew Keen in which the techno-polemicist cautioned the audience that tech companies operate strictly in the interest of their own profits, not to help society. Dorsey acknowledged Square’s profit motive, but pointed out that Square’s revenues depend on the success of its customers, so the company is highly invested in helping merchants succeed.   More

Business E-Commerce

New Economics: Sharing Isn’t Free, and Price Gouging Isn’t Mean

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The pros and cons of the so-called "sharing economy" are getting plenty of press these days. Consider the diverse takes this week from Technology Review, the New York Times, and the Kansas City Star. In a Times report about workers who are finding "both freedom and uncertainty" in the contract employment trend, Natasha Singer explains how Navy veteran Jennifer Guidry attempts to help cover her family's food and rent costs with popup gigs.   More