Recode’s annual Code Conference was held last week at the Phoenician Hotel in Phoenix AZ. 700 people attended via invitation. The conference featured on stage interviews with technology, media and financial industry leaders. There were also break out intensive sessions focused on a variety of topics as well as live podcasts.
Conference Summary: There were three major themes this year: the tech industry’s behavior around privacy and content responsibility, potential industry regulation around data ownership and anti-trust issues.
Eric Ries, founder of the Long-Term Stock Exchange, announced that they recently became the 5th licensed stock exchange in the US. The LTSE is aimed at creating a long term focus for founders and leaders through governance that rewards metrics beyond the traditional short term approach. He stated that exchanges have been lowering governance standards in order to drive more trading. He believes this is a major contributor towards driving bad management behavior and wealth inequality. >Full Interview
Adam Mosseri and Andrew Bosworth of Facebook spoke about the move of social networks to a privacy model. They also touched on the privacy vs. safety problem around encryption. In addition, they talked about privacy from governments, terrorism, corporations and other users each being unique in relation to security and marketing. They both argued that splitting up Facebook’s properties would be have negative consequences. They also are not in favor of a subscription model. >Full Interview
The CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki as well as Vijaya Gadde (Lead Counsel) and Kayvon Beykpour (Product Lead) of Twitter all touched on the enormous challenge of content filtering around hate speech and fake news. The scale of content make this a near impossible task — YouTube is seeing 500 hours of video uploaded per minute. Both platforms are turning to AI to help move this in the right direction. >Full Interview1 >Full Interview 2
Andy Jassy the CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS) spoke about the beginning of AWS and how it took 2.5 years to go from concept to service launch. The idea came about when Amazon was experiencing a lag in launching applications because of how long it took to build infrastructure and figured everyone was having this problem. Currently if AWS was spun off it would be the 10th largest company in the world, with $31 billion in revenue and a 40% yearly growth trajectory. Despite that, he mentioned that only 3% of the world’s IT workloads are currently in the cloud. >Full Interview
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman ran a breakout session on Blitzscaling. He stated that the concentration of tech companies in Silicon Valley account for 50% of the NASDAQ. He believes this is because of the ability of startups in the valley to massively scale their companies and capture market share. The availability of capital and operational expertise are huge advantages in the valley that propel companies past others from other areas of the country. Blitzscaling a business requires prioritizing growth over efficiency and leads to burning a lot of cash in the process. Efficiency needs to become the priority down the road after the scale up takes place. >Book
Mary Meeker of Bond gave her annual Internet Trends Report. Highlights included: Asia leads the world in Internet users and still has massive growth potential. The US has no growth potential for new users. The US has 23 of the top 30 companies in the world, China has 3, with 7 of the top 8 tech companies. Mobile usage has surpassed TV usage. The are 70MM podcast users. Freemium services are a major growth area and that is driven by cloud computing. Digital payments are at 50% globally. Data plumbing tools are helping companies understand consumer experience and desires. 88% of people believe the Internet has had a positive effect on their lives. GDP is rising in the US, China and India and flat or falling elsewhere. 5% of all restaurant meals are delivered now. Remote work is at 5% and doubling every 2 years. 61% of all US government spending is on entitlements and going up. >Full Report
David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs spoke about the availability of private capital in substantial quantities is delaying IPOs and impacting management discipline at large tech companies. He pointed out that both Google and Facebook’s stock didn’t perform very well following their IPO in relation to the disappointment with Uber’s performance thus far in the public market. He mentioned that Uber needs to stay focused on driving value to consumers. He also touched on the slow M&A market because of capital availability and how the tech banking sector is too crowded. >Full Interview
Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian mentioned that travel and tourism account for 10% of GDP. He spoke about efficiency through data analytics being a major focus for on time performance and safety. He pointed out that Delta maintenance delays have dropped from 6,000 a year in 2010 to 60 in 2018. At the same time the cost of flying has dropped 40% over the last 20 years. He sees the airport experience changing in the coming years with the major focus of airlines being centered on reducing customer anxiety. >Full Interview
Author of The Four and The Algebra of Happiness, Scott Galloway participated in an on stage podcast. He spoke about the negative impact of Facebook and some other tech giants on society and how he thinks they should be broken up by the government. > Podcast
Some of the companies represented by attendees at Code Conference 2019 included:
Alibaba | Airbnb |Amazon | Apple | Bank of America | Boston Consulting Group | Circle | Cisco | Comcast | DocuSign | eBay | Facebook | FOX | Goldman Sachs | Google | HBO | Hulu | IBM | IMDB | Intuit | Intel | JP Morgan | Kleiner Perkins | Microsoft | Nasdaq | NBC | Oculus | Salesforce | Samsung | Sequoia Capital | Snap | Spotify | Stubhub | Tech Crunch | The New York Times | The Wall Street Journal | Uber | Twitter | Walt Disney