The Bloomberg Businessweek – Day 2
May 18, 2021
By Bloomberg Live
In a first-of-its-kind event experience, we bring the magazine to life. Over the course of five days, the Bloomberg Businessweek will explore the HOW TO’s of technology, culture, creativity, entertainment, global affairs, health care and science.
We continued the event on Tuesday with a focus on Tech and Transformation. There is no aspect of human life that technology has not transformed. During the pandemic, it has expanded access to health care, food, exercise, human connection and has reshaped the way we work. We talked to leaders in tech and transformation for a look at how to use and manage digital transformation successfully.
Click here to view video of today’s event.
- Kevin Mayer, Chairman, DAZN
- Anjali Sud, CEO, Vimeo
- Beena Ammanath, Trustworthy and Ethical Technology Leader, Deloitte
- Kwasi Mitchell, Chief Purpose Office, Deloitte LLP
- Marcelo Claure, Executive Chairman, WeWork; CEO, SoftBank Group International; Chief Operating Officer, SoftBank Group Corp.
- Justin Lin, Producer, Director & Writer
The Bloomberg team included:
- Emily Chang, Anchor and Executive Producer, Bloomberg Television
- Joshua Brustein, Technology Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
- James E. Ellis, Assistant Managing Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
- Sarah Frier, Senior Technology Reporter, Bloomberg
- Max Chafkin, Features Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
- Ed Hammond, Senior Reporter, Bloomberg
- Amy Wallace, Writer
- Joel Weber, Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
- Carol Massar, Anchor, Bloomberg Businessweek TV and Radio
Kevin Mayer, Chairman, DAZN, and Emily Chang, Anchor and Executive Producer, Bloomberg Television, kicked the day off with a conversation about Mayer’s latest venture, an over-the-top sports streaming service. The man behind the launch of Disney+, ESPN+ and a veteran of the streaming wars said he believed that a permanent disruption of the streaming ecosystem, particularly when it comes to sports, was upon us.
“There’s a lot of transition happening right now,” he said. “We’re at a tipping point. I think you’ll see going forward more live sports will be consumed over-the-top outside of pay TV services than within pay TV services in the not-too-distant future.”
He said that the combination of OTT sports streaming, live betting and merchandising presented a huge opportunity. Forecasting a bit and further out, he predicts that the future will be a combination of TikTok-style, smaller “snackables” that people will consume on phone and larger, longer form content that will be viewed primarily on television sets. “Time and attention…are going to be the coin of the realm in the future.”
In conversation with Bloomberg Businessweek Technology Editor Joshua Brustein, Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud said that her rise in the company presaged a larger shift for the company to catering to the needs of business, an area of growth for the company that really took off during the pandemic. “We’ve spent the last few years really building, innovating, reorienting our platform to be able to serve businesses who now, especially since the pandemic, are looking to use video more in how they communicate. And we’ve seen incredible traction, momentum and success, so we’re doubling down.”
Vimeo has filed for an IPO and plans to go public on Nasdaq on Tuesday, but even as the company prepares for the next level of expansion, Sud said that the core ethos for her and her team remains the same.
“Vimeo’s always been scrappy,” Sud said. “Even as we’ve scaled, we’ve acted like a start-up in our culture and our ethos. And I think that’s something that’s really important that as you grow, you get more layers, you get more bureaucracy. We’re going public to speed up, not to slow down.”
Next up was a How I Got That Story conversation between Bloomberg Businessweek Features Editor Max Chafkin and Bloomberg Senior Technology Reporter Sarah Frier about the role of Facebook and social media in accelerating vaccine hesitancy through rampant dissemination of misinformation. Particularly of note for Frier was the way in which Facebook and Instagram, two very different platforms, are both algorithmically predisposed to reinforce users’ fears even at the expense of misinforming them.
“I think that the way that our media ecosystem is evolving, people are following their own personalized form of media, and Facebook and Instagram fuel that,” Frier said. “They feed people down this rabbit hole where they end up getting expertise…from people who are not doctors, from people who are purporting to be doctors. And you see that not just on Instagram where people follow personalities, but also on Facebook where people get involved in groups that fit their perceptions about how the world works, and then they don’t end up…trusting information from real medical professionals or from the government.”
The combination of fast-moving events where guidance is changing almost daily sometimes, and uncertainty is running rampant, even well-meaning questions can fuel harmful narratives.
“Because the information that goes viral on social media or ends up getting shared on social media is so personal, the people who are sharing it are people you’ve developed relationships with over many months or years, and you trust them in a way that you may not trust other authorities,” Frier said.
Kwasi Mitchell, Chief Purpose Officer, Deloitte LLP, spoke with Beena Ammanath, Trustworthy and Ethical Technology Leader, Deloitte, about the importance of ethics in technology.
“I truly believe that technology enables us to make the world a better place,” Ammanath said. “But it can reach its full impact only when it’s used and applied in an ethical way. And I believe the technologists who are designing, building and scaling it have to be aware not only of the value creation of technology but also of the negative consequences of it and mitigating [those consequences].”
What about the role of trust and how it impacts the advancement of technology? “The first step is awareness. Awareness sets the stage for organizations to consider the ethical implications of its use of technology,” Ammanath said. “Educating employees and adopting ethical technology practice is going to help organizations stay ahead of the curve as emerging technologies come faster than ever before.”
Marcelo Claure, Executive Chairman, WeWork; CEO, SoftBank Group International; and Chief Operating Officer, SoftBank Group Corp., spoke with Bloomberg Senior Reporter Ed Hammond about WeWork, the office-rental company most closely associated with entrepreneurial excess. WeWork has seen demand bounce back in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, inquiries from potential customers exceeding what they were before nationwide lockdowns.
“The demand for WeWork space today is higher than it was prior to the pandemic,” said Claure.
Covid-19 shutdowns gave WeWork a chance to “reinvent” itself, Claure said, prompting the company to slash costs. In a March presentation, WeWork said revenue excluding China for 2021 was estimated at $3.2 billion, on par with 2020 and 2019. Now, as more employers experiment with bringing workers back to the office on flexible schedules and sometimes in far-flung locations, WeWork said it’s ready.
Customers “are basically sending us their employees because they don’t know how many days they’re going to be working,” Claure said. “They don’t know where their business is going to grow.” Because many companies are reluctant to sign long-term leases, WeWork’s flexible terms hold greater appeal, he observed.
In the wide-ranging interview, Claure was asked about what’s next for SoftBank and its founder, Masayoshi Son, and about Claure’s hometown of Miami. He declined to say who the next leader of SoftBank might be, saying that only Son, 63, knows the answer. Claure also talked up Miami’s efforts to build its start-up ecosystem. “It has an incredible feel,” he said, “what Silicon Valley used to have.”
From his low-budget beginnings (his first film Better Luck Tomorrow had a budget of only $250,000) to directing a slate of films in the Fast and Furious franchise, director, writer and producer Justin Lin has developed a signature style by staying true to his vision.
He told writer Amy Wallace that when he was handed the original script for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2005, the tropes and clichés (geisha girls and cars drifting around Buddhist temples) left him cold, but after a meeting with then-head of Universal Pictures Stacey Snider, who agreed to let Lin have two and a half months to develop the script, he found himself with an incredible opportunity to bring new life to a franchise gone stale in the minds of many.
“For Tokyo Drift, to try to course correct, not even representation, but the idea of making sure that people who love cars would respect this film,” he said. “That was the big exercise I found very early on.”
Another big exercise was connecting with the F&F franchise’s biggest star, Vin Diesel. A poolside chat and bonding over Dungeons & Dragons led to a thus far four-film relationship between the director and the star, with an as-yet-untitled Fast & Furious 10 in the works.
“For me it started off very simple in making sure that I respect the fans,” he said. “I feel like if we were always going to repeat ourselves, not even in action but even not really caring about characters, then we shouldn’t be making these movies anymore. And I’m also lucky I’m with a group of people that will not let me forget either.”
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