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Getting excited about Seattle's minimum wage progress? Here, have a reminder of the virtually limitless expanse of economic inequality that remains! A hop across the lake away in Redmond, a group of plutocratic bosses are gathered for Microsoft's annual CEO Summit today.
Pardon me: I meant visionary job creators.
They make billions of times more money than than the fast food workers striking today. Are they discussing how to throw more crumbs our way? Repudiating themselves and their corporate peers for serially cheating on their taxes? Will they come and join the strikes, standing in solidarity with workers?
The answer to the last question is no. As for the first two, we don't know, because Microsoft is being even more tight-lipped about the summit than in past years. But it doesn't sound like it. The company says the discussion topics are:
Winning with Disruption—Disruption requires a tolerance for failure and a willingness to be misunderstood, qualities that many large companies find hard to master. This session will feature leaders whose abilities to spot new patterns and turn them into business opportunities, while beating bureaucratic inertia, are changing the game for incumbents.
Turning Points—Whether the cause is an unexpected exogenous event, a changed competitive playing field, or an internal tipping point, sooner or later most companies face the need to make a dramatic pivot to new ways of doing business. Such times test the mettle of CEOs and their boards. In this session, transformational leaders will explain what precipitated the need for action and discuss how they have met the challenges.
Hey, I wonder if today's strikes or, say, the upset election of a socialist like Kshama Sawant qualify as "unexpected exogenous events?"
Maybe, but more likely, it's not even on their radar. Among the 120 CEOs in attendance are Amazon's Jeff Bezos, General Electric's Jeff Immelt, Warren Buffett, and JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon. (Past participants include Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch.) Together, those four guys alone are worth about $92 billion—nearly half the gross metropolitan product of Seattle.