Oracle invited me to their Global Leadership Summit today. While the setting in Palm Springs was spectacular, the star of the show was Bill Clinton.
While others were posing for photos with him and getting his book autographed, I complimented the President for his breadth of tech coverage last time I had heard him speak. He smiled politely as if to say wait till you see what I plan to cover today.
No kidding. I wish Oracle had video taped the talk and the Q&A with him hosted by Mark Hurd and could share it
His topic was about leadership and he had plenty of examples
- Invoking the book Citizens of London about grudging US support for entering WWII to defend the UK, he described General Eisenhower’s skills at navigating the politics of the two countries.
- Rick Pitino as the best basketball coach in the last 5 minutes of a game - “his temperature goes down when the pressure goes up”
- Nelson Mandela’s extremely unpopular (within his supporters) to invite to his cabinet members of previous apartheid regimes
- Ken Iverson, who revolutionized the US steel industry with Nucor. Conservative, and anti-union, he was generous with worker bonuses and other employee benefits.
But what was staggering was how we weaved example after example from around the world and their technology context. The organization below is mine and I only included some of the more striking examples he used:
Information Technology and Communications
- Obama 2012 Campaign – he marveled at how his own keen political instincts were wrong at several occasions and he double guessed the polling technology the campaign used as it asked him to make whistle stops in close states like Ohio and Florida
- How Chattanooga, TN has blossomed with much faster broadband.
- How micro-credit has helped Bangladesh
- Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica and her request to help bring an electric car company to her country, which uses 92% clean energy, and has grown forest coverage from 42% to 51% of its terrain (through higher water rates on its urban citizens without much pushback). Told about potential oil near her country’s shores, she is supposed to have said “I have no interest in finding out”, not wanting to threaten the significant eco-tourism her country enjoys.
- How the Caribbean, without much fossil fuels, has some of the highest power rates in the world (he said a kwh of electricity in Haiti is almost 3X that in his home state, New York) and why given its plentiful sun, wind, and biomass should be a cleantech magnet.
Health and biotech
- San Diego’s genomic startups
- Singapore expects to see a 50 to 1 payback on its biotech investments
- Advances in healthtech where the 125 year rat or human is well within reach
- He cited the highest concentration of centenarians in Okinawa, Sardinia and in Caucasia (he himself looks extremely lean with a vegan diet he has been on for a while)
- Repeated concerns about US healthcare costs : “We cannot spot our competition a trillion dollar a year advantage”
He could have gone another few hours, and from the audience’s reaction, nobody would have minded that. Great start to the Summit.