Discover more from Fortt Knox: Innovation Curated
Wild Ride: Calendly CEO on the New World of Work, Facebook's VP Civil Rights, Bill.com's Surge +More
Tope Awotona of Calendly, Roy Austin of Meta, René Lacerte of Bill.com
It’s February! Means a couple of things. One, we turn the page on the crazy stock market swings of January. Two, it’s Black History Month.
My approach is “diversity year-round,” as longtime readers/watchers will have noticed. So don’t expect major February changes in my coverage and the newsletter. I will lean forward a bit more in some of the coverage. Expect to continue to meet great founder/CEOs in Working Lunch. And expect me to continue trying to decipher the most important dynamics in tech:
Calendly CEO Tope Awotona on Scaling a Tech Company Remote-First: CNBC Working Lunch
Scheduling service Calendly is a new take on productivity software, and CEO Tope Awotona is using a remote-first strategy to grow the company. I introduced the anchors to him in a Working Lunch, on CNBC's Power Lunch.
For more on Tope and Calendly, watch this Fortt Knox 1:1 from October 2021:
Justice on Social Media? A Conversation with Facebook/Meta VP for Civil Rights Roy Austin
Jayson Council is back with me in 2022 for our March Forth conversation series, this time with Meta (Facebook) VP for Civil Rights Roy Austin. We talk about the enormity of the challenge Austin faces, the team he’s built, and how the Civil Rights team complements the Oversight Board:
Digitizing the Small Business Back Office: Bill.com CEO René Lacerte on Strong Quarterly Results
Bill.com founder and CEO René Lacerte joined me on CNBC’s TechCheck after eye-popping quarterly results, with sales up 190% — yes, that’s nearly 3x — from a year ago. The stock closed on Friday up 36.05%, which is remarkable. You know what’s also remarkable? That was barely enough to erase the stock’s January losses, as investors had been anticipating interest rate increases and fleeing from all kinds of companies that aren’t yet profitable, even those like Bill.com that have strong growth and plenty of cash on hand:
To learn more about René and Bill.com, check out our Fortt Knox 1:1 from November 2020:
The Importance of Access to Capital: Black Founders and Harlem Capital’s Jarrid Tingle
Access to capital is a major issue both for technology startups and every other type of small business getting off the ground.
One of my goals this Black History Month is to show how the issues facing Black America are the same issues facing America more broadly, and that opening up opportunity can mean better outcomes for everyone.
Doing this right during Black History Month means not suddenly discovering Black talent in February after having ignored it the rest of the year. Part of the mission of Fortt Knox is to show the global nature of talent, creativity and drive, so I've been working on it around the clock. This month just provides an opportunity to tie some important themes together.
No one does that better than CNBC TechCheck's Fahiemah Al-Ali and Allison Councill, who draw focus and distill meaning from the hours of footage I generate in my frenetic search for innovation and insight. Here's the piece they put together on access to capital, bringing together the stories and work of Fatima Dicko of Sugar, Deon Nicholas of Forethought, and researcher Inara S. Tareque.
Harlem Capital Managing Partner Jarrid Tingle joined me on CNBC’s TechCheck to talk about how this is affecting market dynamics today:
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy: We’re Different from Apple, Facebook, Meta and Microsoft
A lesson of this earnings season: All mega-cap tech is not the same. Different business models, different philosophies, different market impact. Reminds me of what Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told me in September:
Has Facebook Lost Its Way? On the Other Hand
Facebook parent Meta lost more than a fifth of its value after its first earnings report of 2022, as investors digested slower growth, lower profit, and a drop in worldwide users. So has the company lost its way? Or is this just an emotional market aftershock from January? I argued both sides in the latest On the Other Hand, on CNBC's Squawk Box:
Check out The Black Experience in America: The Course, an online educational resource I researched, designed and built. A free PDF download is available to bring the material to kids, and the online interactive experience is made for young people and adults. You can also take interactive courses at your own pace. And new in time for Black History Month: Update the banner of your social media profile on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to show your appreciation for figures in history, with these free images. Just sign in for access: