It was a busy day to kick off this year’s Code Conference. A consistent energy of conversation and connection carried through the day. But that’s what happens when you bring together industry influencers to focus on digital technology, what it is today and how it will influence our future. Interestingly enough, everyone has a perspective about how tech will affect our communities and the world. And with this group, the perspective is anything but status quo.
Today’s general session covered territory from the automobile industry to mosquitos to artificial intelligence and beyond (as in outer space).
- Recode’s Peter Kafka and Kara Swisher interviewed Ford CEO Mark Fields. I’d consider most of the automotive industry as pretty traditional manufacturing world. So it was interesting to get Fields’s perspective on digital. He talked about an increasing focus on using technology to interact with customers. Part of that effort includes new innovation teams in the Silicon Valley, where Fields explains, they can become part of the tech community.
- Swisher and Walt Mossberg joined forces to talk with Susan Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After assuring everyone that she wasn’t going to unleash a herd of mosquitos on the room, she dug into ideas about precision public health. Instead of a focus on 1:1 medicine (the right treatment for the right patient at the right time), the idea is to focus on many:1 healthcare. That translates to the right prevention for the right population in the right geography. She talked about Eliminate Dengue, a project that discovered that giving mosquitos a particular bacteria makes them incapable of transmitting viruses – including Zika.
- Mossberg’s interview with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos covered a lot of territory, starting with artificial intelligence and the Washington Post before launching into space, free speech, and corporate culture. When it comes to tech at Amazon, Bezos had this to say: “We never think of ourselves as tied to any particular technology or skill set. We think of ourselves as being tied to our customers and their needs, and we’ll develop the skill sets we need.”
Cisco Spark and Code Connect
Cisco joined Vox Media as a premier sponsor of this year’s Code Conference. Not only is Cisco a premier sponsor of this year’s conference, but the Vox team is using Cisco Spark to power “Code Connect,” the conference messaging and collaboration platform. Attendees can participate in a set of rooms to get updates, interact with the conference concierge team, receive real-time alerts, and watch for behind-the-scenes videos and content. But most important, Spark helps attendees connect with each other through direct messages in 1:1 rooms.
Behind the scenes, the conference staff and onsite Cisco team are using Spark rooms to manage their own work at the conference. managing their own activities at the conference.
Today was just the beginning of the three-day conference. Wednesday has a full day of meetings and general sessions, including Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins joining the midday agenda.
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