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Topic: Customers

Embrace tension

IBM’s Ginni Rometty

Hard challenges demand that we embrace tension. Former CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty argues that, right now, business has a responsibility to deploy what her new book calls Good Power — from putting skills first in hiring, as a way to close systemic opportunity gaps, to thoughtfully erecting guardrails around new technology. As an early pioneer in the AI space with IBM’s Watson, Ginni acknowledges the risk that disruptive technology can have on society. She offers her insider perspective on balancing what she calls “the teeter-totter” of marketplace demands with positive long-term impact.

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Finding windows of opportunity

Delta’s Ed Bastian

With deserted airports, vaccine and mask mandates, and pandemic-prompted staff departures behind it, Delta Air Lines is once again soaring, recently sharing $563 million in profits with its employees. CEO Ed Bastian, in his third appearance on Rapid Response, talks about capitalizing on the big decisions made amid Covid darkness — from airport renovations to investing in free Wifi — and the opportunities and challenges of adding 25,000 new employees over the past year. Sharing insights on managing tumultuous shifts, as well as his evolving perspective on topics from wellness to business travel, Ed reveals the secrets to first class leadership, including the importance of a good night’s sleep.

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Betting on the Super Bowl

FanDuel’s Amy Howe

Sports gambling is on track to grow into a $40 billion industry in the U.S., with FanDuel the lead player. CEO Amy Howe explains why the Super Bowl is so important to the company’s aspirations, even as it expands into wider gaming options and broader sports leagues. Leveraging its first-mover advantage, FanDuel is seeking to build an iconic brand around responsible gaming. With so much on the line, this week is as make-or-break for Howe as it is for Mahomes or Hurts.

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Stay versatile

Lululemon Athletica’s Calvin McDonald

While many retail businesses have struggled to cope with a wave of disruptions — from pandemic to supply chains to inflation — Lululemon has continued to scale, even when retail sales elsewhere dipped. CEO Calvin McDonald shares how mid-term strategic planning, control over inventory, and a culture that climbs mountains together has fueled agility and versatility. When it comes to brand-building and community building, Calvin says, it’s critical to lean into listening, so you can amplify what makes your business truly distinctive.

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Flipping your strategy in a volatile market

Zillow’s Susan Daimler

When markets are in turmoil, you can’t rely on business as usual, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. As the housing climate has turned volatile, rest estate marketplace Zillow has been forced to rethink some priorities, while doubling down on others. Zillow president Susan Daimler talks about the importance of a strategy focused on the future, despite layoffs and pullbacks, and how maintaining a clear shared mindset has enabled forward progress in a challenging climate.

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Charging toward a clean energy future

EVgo’s Cathy Zoi

Partnerships can be the secret weapon to rocketing your company to the next level. That’s what Cathy Zoi discovered when she became the CEO of charging station network, EVgo. Whether it be partnering with grocery and department stores, or aligning with the Tesla customer-base, targeting allies and collaborators are a crucial catalyst for how EVgo has grown to become the nation’s largest public EV charging network.

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Podcast: Episode 117: Must Listen

The Wrongness Playbook, part 1

Patreon’s Jack Conte

Building a business means making mistakes. Lots of them. But how you’re wrong isn’t always obvious. Jack Conte has learned this lesson as a working musician — and while scaling Patreon into a company worth $4b. In Part One of a two-part series, you’ll hear how Jack wrote his own Wrongness Playbook, as he learned to answer questions like: If something isn’t working, is it time to trust your instincts? Or is there critical feedback you’ve been ignoring?

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What the crypto crash teaches us all

Chainalysis’s Michael Gronager

Crypto winter isn’t a disaster, it’s an opportunity. That’s how Michael Gronager, CEO of $8 billion crypto data company Chainalysis, describes the crashing prices and bankruptcies that have roiled the cryptocurrency sector. Gronager offers an insider’s perspective on operating in a volatile marketplace, providing lessons on dreaming too big in boom times and on leaning into building and creating when lulls emerge. Chainalysis helps track financial flows on blockchains, including crypto criminals from North Korea and Russia. Despite current risks, Gronager argues, the still-emerging crypto sector is maturing, and he’s as confident as ever about its future.

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How Airbnb.org is housing Ukrainian refugees

Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia

As refugees flee Ukraine, Airbnb.org is offering free, temporary housing for up to 100,000. Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia shares how the company is using business tools for humanitarian benefit — and how Airbnb became a tool to transfer money directly to individual Ukrainians. In crisis, he says, leaders should ask: What would make us proud?

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