2019 Silicon Valley Predictions – Who Stays and Who Goes?

What’s about to happen with the leaders of Tesla, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google?

The first reader who points out to me that Amazon is not actually located in Silicon Valley will get the booby prize of being totally ignored.  From everyone else, I’ll reply to interesting contrary opinions.

The following predictions combine the pressures on particular companies and the needs of individual leaders in Silicon Valley, using all the insights we have about Vision Masters and Execution Masters.

For a quick review on Vision Masters vs. Execution Masters see for example the recent blog here “Saving Tesla by Observing SpaceX

You’ll be fascinated by what pops up in this prediction.  I’m curious if you agree or disagree.  Either way, follow these companies over the next 12 months and lets see if I’m right or wrong:

  • Jeff Bezos will elevate a woman to become Senior VP of Amazon and head Execution Master, as Amazon encounters increasing political and social headwinds while splitting its headquarters into three city locations. The current senior VP and reigning Execution Master of Amazon (Brian Olsavsky) who is basically a CFO-type, will stay awhile as CFO but will then move on to be replaced by someone focussed on a purely CFO role.
  • Tim Cook, Apple CEO, will retire and be replaced by Jony Ives. Jony is the creative visionary and understudy of Steve Jobs and carries his visionary genes.  Jony is desperately needed at the helm of Apple as it struggles to maintain visionary leadership after a series of less-than-exciting product announcements.  Tim Cook in contrast is like Steve Ballmer retired CEO of Microsoft who was great at keeping the company stable, but not advancing its vision.  Microsoft began to lose respect and leadership until Satya Nadella a true Vision Master took over.  Jony will have the same impact at Apple.  Jony will then elevate a woman to be President under him. I believe this will be none other than Sheryl Sandberg.  If you’re curious how this would happen, see below.
  • Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook will leave the company after a period of conflict with Mark Zuckerberg over who’s responsible for Facebook’s recent political and followership issues.  She’ll either focus on a political career going forward or will take over as president of a larger company where she is needed.  The logical larger company is Apple, the first company to hit a trillion dollars by market cap and now having trouble growing. There’s no way she’ll take a move down from Facebook, but fortunately Apple is a move up not down.  If she does well at Apple for a few years, she’ll be in position to run for U.S. president.
  • Mark Zuckerberg will hire a man to replace her at Facebook, but they’ll quarrel and the new man will quit.  He’ll then hire a woman as COO who’ll insist on being called president.
  • Tesla’s new Chairwoman Robyn Denholm will be elevated to an operating role as overall Tesla president, comparable to Gwynne Shotwell at SpaceX.  Working with Jim Guillen, in charge of the automative division, they will solve production and supply chain issues, avoid issuing new shares for financing, introduce a new mid-price pickup truck and will lead the EV pack throughout 2019.
  • Sergei Brin, currently second in command to Larry Page at Google parent Alphabet and worth $50B personally, will leave Alphabet to lead a startup in alternative energy (probably fusion energy), and will also provide a large influx of debt capital to Tesla Motors to keep it afloat out of his personal relationship with Elon Musk and his respect for the new leadership team under Elon (see above.)
  • Brin will be replaced (as second in command at Alphabet) by Susan Wojcicki, currently CEO of YouTube, who is less interested than Brin in technology innovation but with a greater interest in marketing.  This will be a better combination with Larry Page as CEO.

Takeaways:

  1. From the above you can see that by the end of 2019, the second-in-command at all major tech firms listed will be women.
  2. The glass ceiling will be thus moved up to just below the CEO level and will not budge from there in 2019.
  3. The importance of Execution Master will be clear to all by the end of 2019, especially to Elon Musk and all his look-alike founder Vision Masters

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Robert Steven Kramarz

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