Weekly readings – 31st October 2020

What I wrote last week

Though AWS slowed, Amazon didn’t

My thoughts on Apple after their latest quarter and the last fiscal year

Business

Take-away lessons during the first 6 months of a Shopify employee. I find the read helpful, particularly the importance of understanding decision-makers’ attitude

From McDonald’s to Google: How Kelsey Hightower became one of the most respected people in cloud computing

Expensify CEO emailed his 10 million customers and asked them to vote for Biden. Though there are some who disagreed with him, they appreciated the openness. This is an example of how it should be done

Technology

Google announced Google One, a bundle that includes a VPN service, 2T of storage on Google Gmail & Drive and other benefits. Currently only available to Android devices in the US

Waymo made an unprecedented move to detail their behind-the-scene work on autonomous vehicles, including crashes and near-misses

What I found interesting

A story of a Uighur at a Chinese concentration camp

A study conducted by a Swedish university concluded that the Republican party has moved towards autocracies for the last 20 years

Brazil’s plan to exploit Amazon responsibly is in danger

A very eloquent, balanced and well-written endorsement for Joe Biden from The Economist

Just a hard breaking story from a Covid survivor in Texas

Historic day for America

Joe Biden finally named his running mate for the Presidential campaign: Senator Kamala Harris.

This marks the first time ever that a colored woman is named a Vice President candidate. Personally, I am happy with this choice from Biden. Like many, I wanted to see Clinton win four years ago. It wasn’t because I am a fan of Hilary Clinton. It was because 1) I didn’t think her opponent would be good for America and 2) I wanted to see the first female President in the US history. I strongly believe that women are as good as men in governing a country. Take a look at the leaders of some advanced countries. Prime Minister of New Zealand is Jacinda Ardern, who masterfully has guided her country throughout this pandemic. In Finland, the Prime Minister is a 34-year-old woman named Sanna Marin. Chancellor of the powerful and rich Germany is Angela Merkel, who has been at the helm since 2005 and is considered a leader of the European Union as well. These women, in addition to so many female leaders in the corporate world, offer irrefutable proof of what women can do.

Representation is more important than ever. By choosing Kamala Harris, Biden highlighted his commitment to racial inclusion and representation. Senator Harris is a daughter of an Indian woman and a Jamaican man. Biden rode the wave of Black voters’ support, starting from South Carolina, to the Democratic nomination. With Senator Harris, he is telling young voters (Kamala Harris is 55 years old, more than 20 years younger than her running mate), female voters and minority voters that he is listening to them.

Senator Kamala Harris is an accomplished woman. She was elected as District Attorney in San Francisco in 2003 and then Attorney General of California. She became the first Indian American Senator in the history in 2017 and has been in the position ever since. She rose to prominence through her sharp questioning of Trump’s appointees and officials. Even though she ran an unsuccessful Presidential campaign last year, it shouldn’t take anything away from her achievements. I mean if anyone questions her candidacy for the VP, just look at Mike Pence, what he did as the Governor of Indiana and what he has done as the VP of America. Plus, her short stint in politics should be an advantage because she won’t be labeled as an establishment like Hilary Clinton, who didn’t get a lot of love for her long political career and scandals.

Kamala Harris’ record isn’t exactly spotless. She will have to answer for her record as a prosecutor and the AG of California. Some of her cases highlighted her tough-on-crime stance in the past which, in light of what has transpired in the country in the last couple of months, won’t be warmly received by voters. My thinking is that people’s ideology evolves over time. If one’s thinking doesn’t evolve, one doesn’t grow. If Kamala Harris owns up to her record and does a bit explaining and perhaps some apologizing, it will be better for her and Biden.

From what I have seen lately, the Biden-Harris ticket has a real chance of winning this upcoming election. If they do win and perform in the next four years, it’s likely that Kamala Harris will run for the next election as an “incumbent” with all the advantages of being one. After all, if they win this election and serve out their term in four years, Biden will be 82 years old and likely will not seek reelection. Fingers crossed. But I do hope that in about five years, I can see the first female President of the United States. Think about what that would do for young girls across the country.