Future of Work- Treaty of San Francisco (3/3): Peter Schwartz, Cassie Divine, Roy Bahat & Catherine Bracy

The third and final hour of our Treaty of San Francisco event focused on the world of tech, and how tech companies can help proactively build a better future of work. First to speak was Peter Schwartz, SVP for Strategic Planning at Salesforce. “Political and economic systems currently aren’t working for the citizens or workers,” Schwartz says. He believes in the economic philosophy also advocated by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: stakeholder capitalism (as opposed to shareholder capitalism). Schwartz rejects the presumption that businesses have to be magnanimous to be good leaders. They just have to be sensible. Schwartz believes it’s possible that California’s four key institutions—government, tech, labor, and education—can collaborate to formulate a new and improved future of work.

We also heard from Intuit’s Self-Employed Business Segment Leader, Cassie Divine, who talked about how companies today no longer create jobs; they create work. Divine emphasized the need to create more uniform standards around independent contractors, who are projected to comprise half of all workers by 2020.

Next up was Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta. The pivotal question to ask, Bahat argues, is do we believe that the present state of work is broken and needs to be fixed? If we do, he says, then we need to convince more people that it’s time to do something about it.

Catherine Bracy, the co-founder and executive director of TechEquity Collaborative, was our final panelist to join the stage. Bracy, whose expertise is in politically organizing tech workers, says that while the tech industry is not the cause of the affordability crisis, they will continue to be viewed as the enemy until they get engaged in solving the problem. The high cost of housing is a leading factor in preventing economic mobility, Bracy points out, and one that we can’t ignore while planning for the future of work.