Here are some of my favorite podcasts from this week.
1. Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John and Daymond John have a nice conversation about Bozoma’s origin story, her approach to work, diversity in the corporate world, among other topics.
Takeaway: Believe that you are attracting good outcomes, and act accordingly.
2. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman has a great conversation with Spanx founder Sara Blakely about how she got her big idea for Spanx.
Takeaway: Keep going.
3. My quest to scour the earth for every bit of information I can get my hands on about Axios’ business continues. Axios CEO Jim VandeHei (pictured above) provides a lot of helpful information in this conversation with Digiday
Takeaway: “Don’t ever tether your business to the benevolence of another company.”
What were some of your favorite podcasts from the past week?
This tweet exposed the work Axios has to do to improve the diversity of its news room. It was jarring to see how few people of color the startup had working there at the time. Alexi McCammond, one of their top reporters, wasn’t in the shot, but that’s not much help.
If you click into the tweet, you’ll see folks going in on the lack of diversity at the startup. So, I was glad to see Axios partner with Howard to host one of their excellent Axios360 events. They recently hired a black journalist and I look forward to them making a concerted effort to adding more underrepresented journalists – of which I imagine this event is part of the strategy.
Building a newsroom is one of the things I’m most excited about in building CultureBanx. It’s been fantastic having Kori on board and I’ve got my eye on some other really talented business journalists. If we can execute on the vision for this thing, I’ll be able to recruit one of the most special news rooms out there.
Who are your favorite black business journalists?
Bloomberg: Star Rapper Akon Mulls IPO of Chinese-Funded African Solar Unit
I was surprised to see this news. Akon’s Lighting Africa project has gotten a good bit of media attention over the past several years. Perhaps, as time goes by, more information about the company’s financials will come out. I think a lot of people are curious to see them.
Axios: Robots could hobble developing countries
I’ve mentioned a few times my nervousness about the technological advancements society is making right now. I fear a sort of point-of-no-return where artificial intelligence, in particular, puts a wide gap between the developed and developing world. So, when I see pieces like this, my chest gets tight.
Perhaps alternatives to low-cost manufacturing serving as the path to development will emerge. The work startups like Andela are doing, for example, is quite interesting – developing technical talent and prepping them to work for global companies. The cost of hiring software engineers trained by Andela is much lower than hiring one in Silicon Valley. The problem is that as technology continues to advance, you need fewer and fewer engineers to reach scale with products. Andela just launched in its second country, Uganda, a few weeks ago. So, they are very much a wait and see case study.
How do you think African countries should navigate technological advancements like robots and artificial intelligence?
Quartz: The new growth industry in Africa is Muslim tourism
Several years ago, I traveled to a number of African countries with a group of Muslim entrepreneurs. It was a fascinating experience. The level of attention they paid to whether things were halal, making time for prayer, and other considerations was informative to be part of, and I could see how the tourism industry catering to Muslims could be lucrative.