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Jeff Bezos Puts Up $10B From His Pocket to Fight Climate Change
February 19, 2020
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced a commitment of $10 billion of his personal money to the newly launched Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change. "Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," Bezos wrote. "This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs -- any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world."
In Praise of Clayton Christensen, a Revolutionary Thinker
January 29, 2020
Clayton Christensen died last week, and we should care. He was the Harvard Business School professor who wrote The Innovator's Dilemma and changed the world, certainly the part we inhabit in CRM. Christensen did more than anyone to plant the idea of disruptive innovation in the minds of people in the tech industry. When I stumbled upon his book decades ago, it was eye opening.
The CEO of the Decade
January 20, 2020
Who is most deserving of the title "CEO of the Decade"? Historically the focus in choosing CEO of the decade has been on their financial accomplishments, but that approach has left us in a world lacking diversity and empathy in positions of power -- particularly noticeable in the tech industry -- and one where global climate change may end the human race.
CES 2020: Prepare to Be Amazed
January 6, 2020
Every year I look forward to CES being over. That's not because it isn't interesting -- it is. It's because the place is a nightmare to get around, thanks to some incredibly stupid decisions that turn Las Vegas into a gridlocked mess. Coming right after the holidays, it destroys more family vacations than any other event short of a long driving trip with very young children.
Tech Company Standouts for Giving Veterans Their Due
November 11, 2019
Today is Veterans Day. I got a note last week from Joe Sestak, one of the shrinking field of United States presidential candidates, reminding me that we should observe a moment of silence in recognition of our veterans today. We've asked these people to put their lives on the line for us, and we get a day to offer our thanks. Giving our thanks is the least we can do.
Bob Stutz, CRM Nomad
October 24, 2019
Bob Stutz is a great guy. I have interacted with him occasionally over the years in his various senior postings throughout the CRM industry and always found him to be kind, generous and thoughtful. Last week he announced he was leaving his position as head of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which he's been at for four years, and taking a job as President of SAP's CX effort.
A New Business Model With Help From CRM
October 17, 2019
I have been writing about Salesforce for 20 years. That's incredible for me because aside from marriage, there's nothing in my life I've done so consistently for so long. Perhaps like a marriage, the thing that's been attractive about Salesforce is its constantly changing nature. The company went through a typical adolescence for a startup but it always had a sense that it was changing the world.
Leaked Audio Reveals Zuckerberg Spinning Hard
October 2, 2019
An attendee at a two-hour question-and-answer session during a Facebook company meeting held in July leaked a recording of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments that reveal deep insights into his thinking. Zuckerberg apparently decided the Q&A format would be an effective way to rally Facebook employees against rising criticism from competitors and the U.S. government.
What's Wrong With Apple?
September 16, 2019
Apple held its huge product announcement event last week, and what once had people besides themselves with excitement has become a near pointless program of copied features and missed expectations. It is a shame to watch -- much like it was when Apple fired Steve Jobs. It appears that the firm has forgotten what Steve did to turn Apple into a unique company.
The Path to Interstellar Travel Starts With Looking Up
July 19, 2019
Earthlings have a natural inclination to gaze at the heavenly bodies. Many even dream of reaching for the stars. Mae C. Jemison actually is planning to get humans to other solar systems within the next century. Her goal is not an idle fancy. She has already been to space and back. Now her passion is to unite humanity to focus on traveling beyond our solar system.
Code Cracker Turing to Be on 50-Quid Notes
July 16, 2019
Alan Turing, the British mathematician known for his World War II code-breaking exploits and for a test to distinguish between human and machine intelligence, will be on 50-pound notes in the UK by the end of 2021. The Bank of England, which made the announcement, explained that Turing, who died in 1954, was chosen from a field of 989 eligible characters after a public nomination period.
Anticipating the Merger of Apple and Oracle
July 8, 2019
After reading about the departure of Jony Ive, I'm trying to wrap my head around Apple without a design focus. Now this isn't as hard as you might think, given the last truly successful Apple product came out around a decade ago and was called the "iPad." It is also somewhat ironic that Apple just effectively relaunched the iPod, the product that Steve Jobs rode to Apple's massive success.
Cisco's Take on Making the World a Better Place
June 17, 2019
I attended Cisco Live last week, and one of the things that impressed me was how many amazing things the company has been doing that have nothing to do with products, services or revenue. Most companies have a philanthropic budget and donate, but they don't really seem to care if the money makes a difference. For most, philanthropy is more about uplifting their image than making a difference.
Zuckerberg Tries, Tries Again
April 6, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's most recent effort to change the conversation about Facebook seems like just another attempt at self-justification. In a recent op-ed, he places the onus squarely on the shoulders of government to regulate how social media works. "I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," Zuckerberg wrote.
Zuckerberg's Take on Facebook's History Raises Eyebrows
February 6, 2019
Musing about Facebook's first 15 years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg positioned it as a David confronting a Goliath composed of hierarchical institutions. Facebook gives the masses a voice, he wrote. It brings communities together and provides businesses with low-cost outreach. Progress has been made in addressing the new social and ethical issues raised, including protection of privacy, he said.
IBM Chief Sounds Cautionary Note on Deep Data, AI, Quantum Computing
January 9, 2019
Powerful technologies like deep data, AI and quantum computing should be introduced into society carefully, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty declared in opening remarks at CES. "These tools are so powerful they will solve some of the most enduring problems -- like food safety, waste," she said, "but like all powerful tools, we've got to usher them in safely into society."
2018: The Year of Fighting for Positive Change
December 24, 2018
When I think of corporate responsibility, one company tends to float to the top, and that is Cisco. With massive efforts to train people all over the world in the critical networking skills needed to secure and expand global communications, Cisco has been taking a major chunk out of joblessness. It has invested millions to reduce homelessness near its headquarters, for example.
Is IBM's Watson Still an AI Success Story?
December 6, 2018
IBM's artificial intelligence creation Watson wowed the world with its appearance on the TV game show, Jeopardy! less than a decade ago. It was amazing to see a computer play against human beings and do so well. It showed how IBM was on a rapid growth path. However, in the years since, it has been struggling to maintain that leadership position as the AI growth wave has been building.
Star Explorer Mae Jemison: The Sky Connects Us
November 13, 2018
Mae Jemison recently shared some illuminating recollections of her astronaut experiences, but they were neither the starting point nor the ending point of our conversation. This extraordinary woman's career is too packed with present and future endeavors to dwell very long on her stellar past. She currently leads 100 Year Starship, which aims to make interstellar travel a reality within a century.
Women as CEOs: The Problems and the Promise
September 24, 2018
I've followed several female CEOs over the years. Most failed, largely because they were both unqualified for the job and their boards didn't back them up. In several cases, the board and the CEO seemed to be in conflict, or the board failed to act. That has created the impression that female CEOs are a bad bet. However, I believe the real problem is that boards haven't been doing their jobs.
Oracle's Bad Boy Image
August 21, 2018
No one at Oracle will ever be nominated for sainthood, and that's probably OK with them. Over the years the company has developed a bad boy image that in some cases is richly deserved, while in others it has been embellished by events. Much derives from the brash doings of founder and longtime CEO (now CTO) Larry Ellison, who may be a charter member of the "never explain, never complain" club.
The Weird Mistakes Killing Tesla
August 13, 2018
Tesla is trending to fail spectacularly. It has been burning cash at an unsustainable rate, and it keeps making avoidable mistakes that weaken it. Here's what is weird: You'd think the firm's biggest problem would be that every large car maker was working behind the scenes to kill it. However, the car companies for the most part appear to have worked harder to emulate Tesla than to destroy it.
Oracle Releases Second Half of Autonomous DB
August 10, 2018
A lot of people might have thought Oracle's announcement of the autonomous database at last year's OpenWorld and its subsequent release earlier this year were the whole story, but there's a lot more. This week's webcast featuring Larry Ellison was proof. Ellison must find his CTO role -- since he handed the CEO reins to Safra Catz and Mark Hurd -- to be stimulating and liberating at the same time.
Block to Be Salesforce Co-CEO With Benioff
August 8, 2018
There are many interpretations of Salesforce's elevation of Keith Block to serve as co-CEO with Marc Benioff. Block has been the company's vice chairman and president for several years, and the elevation could be a recognition of the obvious -- he's been doing the job without the title for a while. However, Salesforce and Benioff are well known for getting added mileage from any move they make.
CEO Ousters: Is Elon Musk Next?
July 23, 2018
For pretty much my entire career, CEOs have been almost invulnerable. Even when Apple founder Steve Jobs tried to get then-CEO John Scully fired from Apple, he lost and got fired himself. I've watched CEOs at companies with zero-tolerance employee dating policies have affairs with subordinates and get a pass. Things have changed. Almost every week, another CEO bites the dust for misbehavior.
Cisco, Dell, and the Race to Make a Better World
June 18, 2018
To say we live in troubled times would be an understatement. It often feels like the politicians and executives who surround us are interested only in who can tell the biggest whopper while lining their own pockets and leaving their constituents and customers to pay the bills. I recently read that the real reason Jon Stewart stepped down from The Daily Show was that he was incredibly angry all the time.
Benioff Endorses GDPR for US
May 27, 2018
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described Facebook as the "new cigarettes" in a recent appearance on the TV show CBS This Morning and called for the U.S. to adopt a national privacy law like the GDPR, which just went into effect in Europe. "Maybe this is a time where the government has to step in and regulate not just that product but really our industry," Benioff said, referring to Facebook.
Microsoft Invites Everyone Onto Its Azure Cloud
May 8, 2018
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has sounded a call for computing to empower everyone. "The world is becoming a computer," Nadella said in the opening keynote address at Build 2018, the company's premiere event for developers in Seattle. "Computing is getting embedded in every person, place and thing. That's the opportunity that we have. It's in some sense endless," he added.
Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 18.04: Multicloud Is the New Normal
April 29, 2018
Canonical has released the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS platform for desktop, server, cloud and Internet of Things use. Its debut followed a two-year development phase that led to innovations in cloud solutions for enterprises, as well as smoother integrations with private and public cloud services, and new tools for container and virtual machine operations.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies
April 16, 2018
Facebook has been in seriously hot water for its data monetization model almost from the firm's beginning. The Cambridge Analytica, election meddling and fake news scandals have turned up the heat. Facebook's problems aren't limited to the public and government backlash that spans several countries; the firm faces potentially devastating legal threats too.
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