When was the last time you saw the likes of Larry Page, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel and Satya Nadella in the same frame?
Donald Trump made it happen. In a round table meeting called by the United States President elect, Trump met up with as many as 15 leaders of top tech companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and others at his headquarters the Trump Towers. Curiously, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO and founder was left out of the invite.
It was a meeting that was as surprising as it was loaded. Silicon Valley has famously shunned Trump during his election campaign, and some leaders have expressed their misgivings about him in public. Jeff Bezos has made a couple of snide remarks about Trump in the past. After Trump’s win though, while most silicon valley leaders shied away from public comment, some sent out open emails to employees assuring them of their best interests ‘despite a Trump presidency’.
Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal who was amongst the very few supporters of the Trump campaign was seated next to Trump. Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook was seated next to Vice President elect Mike Pence on one side and Google CEO Larry Page on the other. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Satya Nadella of Microsoft were the other top leaders. Trump’s children Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner were also in attendance.
While the details and discussions that transpired at the meeting were kept out of the press, Trump’s initial few minutes with the tech giants were captured.
“You’re the best America has”, Trump said to the attendees.
“I want to add that I am here to help you folks do well. And you’re doing well right now and I’m very honored by the bounce. They’re all talking about the bounce. So right now everybody in this room has to like me, at least a little bit,” Trump said, aware of the lack of affinity the group shared with the leader.
We’re going to try to have that bounce continue. Perhaps even more importantly, we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There’s nobody like you in the world. There’s nobody like the people in this room and anything we can do to help this go along, we’re going to be there for you. You’ll call my people, you’ll call me, it doesn’t make any difference. We have no formal chain of command around here,” Trump said as reported by Tech Crunch.
Trump’s statements about cracking down on illegal immigrants especially belonging to a certain religion and race and his promises to ‘throw them out of the country’ had not gone down too well with the Silicon Valley community which is a host to a large number of immigrant workforce. Many companies have even signed a petition against working on or sharing any data with the government that involves racial profiling of the citizens. Trump’s other and more accepted plan of action revolves around retaining and creating more jobs within the United States.
And if the most powerful companies of the world can work with Trump on that shared vision, United States is in good hands.