Unique Material: Druva Hits A Milestone, Zymergen IPOs, Apple Powers Up + More

This was one of those weeks with a little bit of everything. I kicked it off talking to Sessions co-founder Tim Westergren (co-founder and former CEO of Pandora) about his continuing tech-fueled push for a musician middle class. Then I talked to DISH and AWS execs about their plan to use the cloud to shake up 5G. Zymergen co-founder and CEO Josh Hoffman joined me before the stock started trading on his IPO day, then C3.ai co-founder and CEO Tom Siebel came back to Fortt Knox to talk post-IPO realities. Finally, Druva co-founder and CEO Jaspreet Singh talked to me about data in the cloud and a career defined by adaptation. And that's just the stuff I streamed.

More below on why the theme of the week is Unique Material. There's more to it than the variety of topics.

Is Apple's Computing Lineup Jumbled? On the Other Hand

The new iPad Pros have the same M1 chip as Macs. New Macs run iPad apps. Has Apple’s computing lineup gotten too confusing? I argued both sides in the latest edition of On the Other Hand, on CNBC's Squawk Box:


Biology Meets AI: CEO Josh Hoffman on Zymergen's IPO

Zymergen merges biology, machine learning and automation as it develops new materials. One of its first offerings is a flexible display; it's also working on a new type of insect repellent. This company's approach is changing the way I think about manufacturing, and I think you'll agree that the possibilities are staggering. Ever think of fermentation as manufacturing before?


Cloud-Backed 5G: AWS and DISH Team Up

With the launch of TechCheck on CNBC, I'm focused on more tightly integrating digital and linear broadcast. So this week when DISH and AWS announced a partnership, I went deep. DISH EVP Marc Rouanne talked to me here about how the AWS cloud will enable a 5G Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN), first in Las Vegas and then more broadly. And AWS VP David Brown talked to me on CNBC:


Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh on Pivots and Looking for Trouble

Jaspreet Singh is co-founder and CEO of cloud data management company Druva, which just announced $147 million in funding at a valuation over $2 billion. We talked about the cloud market, pandemic adjustments and learning from mistakes. He also had one of the more profound observations about diversity that I've heard in a while:


C3.ai CEO Tom Siebel Talks Government, Competition and AI

Tom Siebel returned to Fortt Knox now that his latest company has gone public, to talk about the challenges and opportunities in today's marketplace and the lessons he's learned:


Tim Westergren on Pandora, Sessions, and Why the Streaming Giants Aren't Enough

Tim Westergren is a streaming music pioneer, having cofounded Pandora back in 1999. He's back on the music tech scene with a new company, Sessions, and a familiar mission: Create an environment where music, and musicians, can financially thrive on their merits. We talked about his latest venture, his entrepreneurial path, and what he's learned along the way:


Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton: Three Points on the Rock

Barbara Humpton is CEO of Siemens USA, an industrial technology giant playing a significant role in the global recovery. But her career has seen turbulence. In a recent Fortt Knox conversation, she shared a philosophy for navigating risky moves:


Changing the Game in Investing: MaC Venture Capital

A few weeks back I got some time with the investors behind MaC, including Charles D. King. He's one of the producers behind Judas and the Black Messiah, which is nominated for six Oscars this weekend, including Best Picture:


Many readers of this newsletter will be familiar by now with my latest project: The Black Experience in America: The Course. I designed it last year after the tragic killing of George Floyd, and I'm building out an online learning experience based on the content.

The students, faculty and alumni of my alma mater, DePauw University, gained access to the course material this year. I'm looking forward to more collaborations that lead us to a deeper understanding of this moment in history, the ideas that got us here and the work to move forward.

If you're interested in exploring the same material, a bundle of three lessons is available for purchase here for $12.