Published on July 31, 2017

By John Tuttle, Global Head of Listings at NYSE

I recently attended Fortune’s annual Brainstorm TECH conference, where some of the tech industry’s best and brightest came together in an open dialogue about their biggest challenges and opportunities. From emerging entrepreneurs to blue-chip CEOs, there’s no shortage of innovative approaches for addressing the most pressing issues in business and society. This was the NYSE’s seventh year supporting Brainstorm TECH, and each year we’re more impressed by the outpouring of ideas and the passion the industry has for advancing the world.

Some of the areas of focus included:

  1. The impact of robotics and artificial intelligence. There was a lot of discussion around the impact robots and AI will have on jobs as more companies adopt automated business solutions. Participants felt that a healthy degree of fear was actually a good thing; that fear should be channeled toward the creation of good policy around the application of robotic technology and artificial intelligence. The optimal state is one in which robots are employed to do the jobs that take the most toll on human well-being and AI is used to complement human ingenuity, thereby creating a better working environment for all. According to Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies, 80% of companies believe that effectively using robotics and AI is crucial to the future of business.
  2. Cybersecurity. According to a 2016 study by Gigamon, 97% of all companies have been breached to some degree or another, and it takes an average of 120 days to detect a breach. In addition, the number of attack vectors (e.g., network, data, endpoint etc.) continues to grow, creating more entry points to secure. Companies are laser-focused on establishing the right network of partners and vendors, and speeding up detection and resolution time for a security breach.
  3. Maintaining innovation. Today’s companies are continually advancing beyond their own boundaries and, in many cases, disrupting themselves. The idea of “disrupting from within” rather than facing disruption from newcomers was discussed, and a central theme that emerged was the benefits of innovative leaders at big companies partnering with cutting-edge startups. My colleague Tom Farley recently posted about this idea in his blog Financial Services & The Tech Revolution. There is incredible potential for established companies and young startups to come together to foster entrepreneurship, leverage new technologies, and spur internal disruption.
  4. Diversity. Leaders should encourage diversity across their teams, promote open conversation and set the expectation for inclusive collaboration across the company. For example, one issue discussed was female leadership. Today, roughly 7% of Fortune 1000 companies are led by female CEOs. Tech leaders of both genders point out that this is an issue men and women play an equal role in solving. While this is clearly an area where more work must be done, I’m encouraged by the number of female-led companies we have in the pipeline at the NYSE.
  5. The transition from private to public. For companies looking to access the growth opportunities capital markets provide by conducting an IPO, there’s a renewed focus on what comes after the initial public offering. While there are many steps in the IPO process, including building the public company executive team, building an accurate forecast of future performance, and setting realistic valuation expectations alongside a clear strategic roadmap, it is not an endpoint – it’s just the beginning. Certainly the day of the IPO is an important milestone, and choosing the right exchange partner is key for both the successful execution of their IPO and for the partnership for the life of the listing.

As always, it was an incredible experience to be a part of the dialogue in finding new ways to improve and transform the way we live, work and play. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Brainstorm TECH event, and to seeing the accomplishments made by the great companies who attended.