Jon Fortt co-anchors TechCheck on CNBC, and has covered technology and innovation for more than 15 years. Fortt Knox brings you rich ideas and powerful people. Guests include Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Accenture CEO of North America Julie Sweet, Olympic champion Michael Phelps, and Broadway veteran Rory O'Malley (Hamilton, The Book of Mormon). Join Jon's conversations with power brokers on how they made it, what they value, and what makes them tick.
147 - New Life for Fortt Knox on LinkedIn and YouTube. See You There!
2:03https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonfortt/detail/recent-activity/https://www.youtube.com/c/forttknoxI should have posted this way earlier, but I've been getting questions. Here's the skinny: Fortt Knox is not dead. It's just been reborn. Instead of living in your favorite podcast app, Fortt Knox now lives on LinkedIn and YouTube. Now you can see video of my interviews, and engage with a broader community of Fortt Knox viewers. I stream my interviews live, and the recordings are there for on-demand viewing. I also serve up curated insights from the interviews -- there's something new from Fortt Knox in my Jon Fortt LinkedIn feed just about every weekday, and pretty often on the Fortt Knox channel on YouTube, too. Beyond that, Fortt Knox is taking on new life -- it's a weekly newsletter distributed through my profile on LinkedIn's platform. So if you don't have time to check in with me every day, you can get a weekly roundup of the latest goings on in tech, leadership and innovation, and find out what's coming next. So get on LinkedIn and subscribe, and that will be delivered right to your inbox. Still, I know a lot of listeners will be bummed that the podcast part has gone away. You might be wondering why. It comes down to this: I want to hear from you. Interact with you. Podcasts are great as a passive medium, but they're a little too passive for where I want to take this. The new format is rich with video, and gives lots of opportunity for you to share the experience with others and interact with me. So that's it! Look, LinkedIn isn't just for job hunting, and it's not just for self promoters and techies. It's a great platform for everyone who wants to get insight into how to do work better. And no, that's not a paid endorsement. Nobody paid me to move this to LinkedIn. It just happens to be the best platform for what I want to do with Fortt Knox. So: Thanks for being on the ride thus far, and I hope to see you on LinkedIn and YouTube.
146 - AWS CEO Andy Jassy on JEDI, the Cloud's Future and More
45:18In the late 1990s, Andy Jassy pitched a wild idea to his boss and mentor, Jeff Bezos: What if Amazon developed another business, delivering computing power and storage . Two decades later, it stands as Amazon’s most profitable division – one that Jassy continues to lead as CEO of Amazon Web Services. I sat down with Jassy in a broadcast exclusive at the company’s annual AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas to talk about Amazon’s lead in the cloud today, the controversy surrounding the Pentagon’s awarding of the highly sought-after JEDI contract to Microsoft (and Amazon’s lawsuit in response), the lessons learned from the company’s failed HQ2 attempt in New York City and more.
145 - Trump and Apple’s CEO Talk Business in Texas
29:30A walk to remember. Apple CEO Tim Cook and President Donald Trump in Texas this week, and it’s a high stakes photo op. They’re at the factory in Austin Texas where Apple’s Mac Pro computer is assembled. Cook no doubt wants to make it hard for the president to put tariffs on Mac Pro components. Cook has said unless they continue to be exempt from tariffs, he’ll have to move manufacturing completely to China. The president wants to push Apple and U.S. CEOs more broadly to manufacture here instead of in China. But I think this whole scene is a bit of a sham. I’ll tell you why. Joining me this week, Ina Fried, chief tech correspondent at Axios. We’ve got more than Trump and Cook, we’ve got Disney Plus hacking, Microsoft teaming up on Slack, and more.
144 - A Fresh Look at Design: Melanie Perkins, co-founder and CEO of Canva
19:03I was on the road this week, doing a little tour of California. Three cities in three days. San Francisco Monday, L.A. Tuesday, San Diego Wednesday. Adobe’s MAX conference was this week in LA, where the creative software giant unveils its latest features. Well, everybody’s got challengers, and one of Adobe’s is a startup called Canva. Canva has emerged to help regular folks add high-end creative flair to their presentations. Even better, it was founded by a young woman in Australia who was looking for a way to make yearbooks in the digital era. It turned into something much bigger than she envisioned. I sat down with Melanie Perkins at the New York Stock Exchange recently to talk about how how her design project turned into a profitable, venture-backed brand that’s earned praise from legendary tech watcher and investor Mary Meeker among others. This week, my one-on-one with the co-founder and CEO of Canva, Melanie Perkins.
143 - Microsoft JEDI: The Empire Strikes Back; with Morgan Brennan
25:20It's the biggest single cloud contract … possibly ever. Definitely the most talked about. The Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract. JEDI, going to: Microsoft late last week. The Empire Strikes Back. The JEDI contract is worth up to 10 billion dollars over 10 years, but just as valuable as the money: It's worth bragging rights and street cred. This was supposed to be Amazon's contract to lose. Amazon practically invented enterprise cloud computing 14 years ago with AWS. When the Pentagon put out the requirements for the contract a year and a half ago, some competitors cried foul that it was too tailored to Amazon. Is this a game changer in the cloud wars? With me this week, co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Alley, Morgan Brennan.
142 - Mr. Zuckerberg Goes to Washington: with John Stanton and Farhad Manjoo
26:41Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington this week arguing for Libra, the digital currency his company created and wants to build around. This after he last week made the case in front of an audience at Georgetown University that Facebook’s future, its past, its reason for being are all tied up in free speech. With me this week for another bite out of this Facebook and free speech debate: John Stanton, the cofounder of the Save Journalism Project, and Farhad Manjoo, columnist for the New York Times.
141 - Tech's Free Speech Challenge
26:38Tech just can’t get away from politics. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a bone to pick with Facebook. Mainly its standards for political ads. After Facebook refused to take down a Trump Campaign ad that accused former vice president Joe Biden of wrongdoing connected to his son Hunter’s work in Ukraine, Warren fired back. She posted her own Facebook ad that started with a false claim that Facebook and founder Mark Zuckerberg have endorsed Trump for re-election. A little farther afield, Activision Blizzard is caught out in the storm of controversy around Hong Kong. Chung Ng Wai, a Hearthstone player, was removed from a tournament, denied prize money and banned for a year for saying in a post-game interview, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” ATVI has since softened a little, saying they’ll let him have his 10,000 dollars prize money and ban him for just six months. With me this week to talk free speech and more: from LA, Mike Jackson is CEO and principal at Motus One and founder of 2050 Marketing. Here in New York, Nilay Patel is editor in chief of The Verge.
140 - Savings and Startups: Credit Carma CEO Ken Lin; Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman
42:48It’s hard to save money these days – and I’m not talking about the new phones and earbuds that come out this time of year and tempt you to spend. Interest rates are really low. Which is great if you’re borrowing to buy a house or a car, but not so awesome if you want to save. The interest rate for the typical U.S. savings account is 9 hundredths of a percent. But! All is not lost. For a long time there have been higher rates for savers, even from mainstream banks. Now a young and scrappy group of tech startups are pushing the boundaries further with interest rates at about 2% – that’s 20 times higher than average. It’s the difference between earning 16 bucks a month on 10 thousand dollars in savings, or earning just 75 cents. That’s just the beginning. There are cheaper ways to trade stocks, ways to make money off of credit cards. Today we’re going to help you put a plan together. With me this week, CNBC’s personal finance expert Sharon Epperson. And Kenneth Lin, CEO of Credit Karma, which has just announced it’s launching one of these high-yield savings accounts. Later, Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman.
139 - Microsoft's Dual-Screen Surface: Winner? With Patrick Moorhead
24:42We’ve got a blockbuster hardware announcement this week … from Microsoft. The biggest hardware risk the company has taken since Xbox. Surface Neo, two screens with a hinge in between, coming next year. And there’s more. Surface Pro X, arguably the first ARM-based computer to run full Windows 10. Has Microsoft changed the game here? Or are these cool gadgets that won’t really sell? With me this week, one of my favorite guys to talk hardware, Pat Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategies. Let’s talk Microsoft vs. the rest of the field and then hit some other headlines in consumer electronics.
138 - When to Fire a Founder, with Walter Isaacson and Steven Levy
26:47WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann resigned from the CEO role this week, in the face of skepticism about the coworking startup’s plans to go public. There are questions about the business model – we’ve addressed some of those here on Fortt Knox. There are questions about his eccentric leadership style. And there are questions about the way he’s maintained control of the company while taking lots of money out of it. WeWork is in the headlines this week, but we’ve lived through versions of this story before. Uber’s board of directors pushed co-founder Travis Kalanick out of the CEO role to get the IPO done. The Google founders brought in Eric Schmidt early on as CEO to act as adult supervision. The biggie: Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was effectively forced out of Apple in the ‘80s only to come back a decade later to save the company. We love founders. Their stories and personalities live at the heart of companies. But sometimes they’ve got to go. When? When is firing a founder a mistake? With me this week, tech chronicler Steven Levy of Wired magazine, who has covered big companies, big ideas, big personalities – his most recent book was about Google. Also with me, Walter Isaacson, biographer of great founders and inventors including Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci.