Identity and Security Shift with Okta CEO; + Education Secretary, Avalara CEO, Metaverse & More

Todd McKinnon of Okta, Miguel Cardona of the U.S. Department of Education, Scott McFarlane of Avalara

A big part of what intrigues me about Okta is that it’s taken a fear-driven sale (security software) and turned it into a strategic sale (identity management). When you offer identity and permissions in a way that can be embedded in different applications and boost productivity, suddenly you’re selling leather jackets, not bulletproof vests. I got a chance to talk strategy and leadership with Okta CEO Todd McKinnon this week, and really appreciated both his explanation of where the technology is heading, and his unpacking of his leadership journey.

At the beginning of the week, I also spent time at the national conference of the National Summer Learning Association, where I’m on the board. While I was there, I spoke with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona about why the Biden Administration is seeking a near $30-billion increase for education funds in the budget, and how the department should best employ technology for the benefit of the nation’s students.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger on Hard Work and a Turnaround: CNBC Working Lunch

Attempting a turnaround is hard work. In the latest Working Lunch on CNBC's Power Lunch, meet Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, and get a sense of his plan. The segment is curated from my Fortt Knox interviews:

Leading Through Booms and Stagnant Times: Okta CEO Todd McKinnon

He went from leading engineering at Salesforce to starting his own company in the thick of the financial crisis. Okta CEO Todd McKinnon told me he’s learned to balance confidence in his strategy with an openness to change when he gets new data:

Education, Tech & the Economy: Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona at the NSLA Conference

I spoke with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona at the National Summer Learning Association's national conference in Washington, D.C. We discussed public/private partnership, tech's role in closing achievement gaps, and the budget increase Cardona is seeking for education:

Cyber Week has Turned into Cyber Month: Avalara CEO Scott McFarlane

Avalara started off solving local, state and international sales taxes for merchants, and is now expanding into automating compliance. Fortt Knox alum and Avalara CEO Scott McFarlane joined me on CNBC this week to talk progress:

Here’s our Fortt Knox 1:1 from back in July:

The Metaverse: Future of Tech or Hype? On the Other Hand

Is the metaverse the future of technology, or overhyped narrative? I argued both sides in the latest edition of 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 adults.