SPA 362 – Spring 2019
Leadership Development Lab II
Week 7: Media and Social Media – Katharine Graham and Larry Page
(and a few others)
We look at leaders in the publishing industry this week. Katharine Graham inherited the mid-century Washington Post (from her husband, who got it from her father) when it was still clearly subordinate to the New York Times. The founders of Twitter helped us become publishers on our own, while Google allowed us to learn everything ever published and at the same time threaten publishing as we know it.
Conspicuous by his absence here is Mark Zuckerberg – I wondered if your classmates might offer something by him. We may yet see him in a future week.
Katherine Graham, Washington Post
We start by watching Katharine Graham for a couple of minutes, on publishing the Pentagon Papers (video – 4 min), The Connecticut Forum, “A Conversation about Leadership,” 1997
Graham spoke to NPR in 1997 about her early days at the publisher of the Post, including the decision with the New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers. She discusses a range of leadership issues – including pressure from the federal government, lawyers and investors, and from the men who up until now had run then newspaper and newspaper business.
Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, on Twitter and Activism
Stone wrote in the Atlantic in October 2010 about some of the important roles Twitter and other “small changes” can have in revolutionizing society. This was a year after the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran, in which one protester died on Twitter, and just weeks before the beginning of the 2011 Arab Spring, in which many of the early protesters organized and publicized their movements on Twitter
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/10/exclusive-biz-stone-on-twitter-and-activism/64772/ More on Stone’s modest upbringing, simple living, and “naïve idealism” in Vanity Fair
Jack Dorsey, on the origins of Twitter and Square (the phone-to-accept-credit-card-payments adapter)
If the old maxim “necessity is the mother of invention” used to be true, maybe information and communications are the mothers of invention in the social media age. Dorsey has very simple ideas. But, he warns, “It’s really complex to make something simple.” Clips from his 2013 interview on Charlie Rose (video – 7 min)
Recommendations from your classmates:
There are many good offerings from your classmates this week. You might choose the Graham or Larry Page ones, if you like. Or you might enjoy them all.
Katharine Graham on a female President some day (video – 2 min) The Connecticut Forum, “A Conversation about Leadership,” 1997
Leadership Lessons from Katharine Graham – based on her books
Katharine Graham offers advice on leadership – at Harvard Business School, 1998
Leadership Lessons from Katharine Graham – ASU Cronkite School Humphrey Fellow Julia Tyler, 2012
Family Business lessons from Katharine Graham – Family Business magazine, 2001
What The Post gets right (and wrong) about Katharine Graham and the Pentagon Papers, Smithsonian magazine, Dec 2017: “‘Me?’ I exclaimed. ‘That’s impossible. I couldn’t possibly do it.’”
What would Larry Page do? Leadership lessons from Google’s doyen
Fortune magazine, April 18, 2011
Google Co-Founder Larry Page Just Taught an Essential Lesson in Leadership: Here It Is in 3 Words, Inc. magazine, May 1, 2017
Ex-Google exec on the leadership strategy she learned from Larry Page, CNBC, 2017
Sergey Brin and Larry Page: The Origins of Google, TED Talk, video (20 min) 2004
Google’s Larry Page uses an unusual management trick to inspire his employees to think bigger, Business Insider, 2016
There’s A Pretty Big Tension In How Larry Page Is Running Google, Business Insider, 2013
Please put these on Bb > Readings > Week 7. You might consider an essay on any of a large number of questions. Every week: what do our leaders this week have in common with our leaders from previous weeks – or how do they differ? A few considerations might be humility, a start-up mentality, closeness to or distance from front line workers, their origin story, the complexity or simplicity of their goals, their agility in changing times. You might have a different example.
Your classmates offered these additional possible prompts:
The figures we studied this week as well as many others have had to make hard decisions in their time as leaders. How have these decisions and making them affected how they went forward and led in their respective fields?
What are the benefits of having a leader that one respects? How has this age of technological greatness affected leadership and respect?
What was leadership like for a woman at that time, especially with what Graham had to deal with?
As always, you can pose and answer a prompt of your own.
Think, write, think, re-write, have fun