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Azeem Azhar's Exponential View

Azeem Azhar's Exponential View

How will the future unfold? What is the impact of technology on business & society? As technology reorders the world in which live, who will be the winners and who will be the losers? Join Azeem Azhar, curator of the Exponential View newsletter, in deep conversation with the world's leading thinkers and practitioners exploring these and other important questions. The views expressed on this podcast are those of its hosts, guests, and callers, and not those of Harvard Business Review.


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Upcoming Hiatus: What to Listen to While We’re Away

After producing more than 160 episodes of Exponential View over the last six years, we?re taking a break to reflect on what we?ve learned and how the conversations we?ve hosted with leaders are changing our perspective on the future. While we percolate on the future of our podcast, we have a challenge for you: find all the phenomenal conversations we?ve hosted that you haven?t heard yet ?and take alisten. (And please let us know which episodes helped you understand the world and your future!)
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Can Entrepreneurs and Governments Team Up to Solve Big Problems? (from Cold Call)

This episode is a special introduction to Cold Call, another podcast from Harvard Business Review. Host Brian Kenny explores Shield AI?s work with the U.S. government to develop autonomous combat robots. Harvard Business School professor Mitch Weiss and Brandon Tseng, Shield AI?s CGO and co-founder, join Brian to discuss the challenges start-ups face in working with the public sector, and how investing in new ideas can enable entrepreneurs and governments to join forces to solve big problems.
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The Co-Creator of the iPod and iPhone on Radical Innovation (with Tony Fadell)

How do you talk about a product before anything like it exists? How do you guide the engineers building it and the marketing department who has to sell it? As co-creator of the iPod and iPhone, founder of the learning thermostat Nest, and with over 300 patents to his name, Tony Fadell is a serial entrepreneur who now focuses on investing. He tells Azeem Azhar how he uses opinion-based decision-making in his work, and why thinking like a product manager helps drive radical innovation.
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The Science and Economics of Carbon Recycling (with LanzaTech’s Jennifer Holmgren)

Carbon recycling takes our polluting carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and, with the help of bacteria, turns them into ethanol. This can replace oil as the basis for carbon-based chemicals industries (e.g., fertilizers, plastics, clothing, health and beauty products, etc.), as well as offering sustainable fuel and animal feed. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, joins Azeem Azhar to share her vision of the future where greenhouse gases provide a core contribution to our sustainable life.
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Can Collective Intelligence Beat the Market? (with Numerai’s Richard Craib)

Quantitative hedge funds, which rely on the work of employed mathematicians to develop complex trading strategies, are nothing new. But what if the mathematical work is outsourced to anyone, via a contest where the best predictions are rewarded with cryptocurrency? Richard Craib, founder of Numerai, explains to Azeem Azhar how his $70 million fund uses collective intelligence to perform well, despite the turmoil in the markets.
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Hydrogen’s Role in Decarbonization (with Electric Hydrogen CEO Raffi Garabedian)

Hydrogen has long been hyped as a fuel of the future. It?s abundant and its waste product is water. But it?s only recently that the availability of cheap renewable energy has allowed hydrogen to be produced competitively without the use of fossil fuels. Azeem Azhar speaks with Raffi Garabedian, co-founder and CEO of Electric Hydrogen, to explore the market opportunity and roadmap to wide adoption of ?green hydrogen.?
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Flying Taxis Are Coming (with Volocopter’s Florian Reuter)

From The Jetsons to Back to the Future, flying cars are a staple of popular science fiction. German start-up Volocopter is working to turn that fiction into reality. Volocopter?s CEO Florian Reuter joins Azeem Azhar to explore how this radical new transport could transform our cities. They also break down the steps required to fulfill his vision of creating a door-to-door taxi service to rival Uber, via autonomous electric helicopters.
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How Web3 Is Changing Commerce and Governance (with Not Boring’s Packy McCormick)

Web3?s ability to attach value and incentives to almost every part of human activity has radical implications not only for how businesses engage with their customers, but also for how people can self-organize to drive social change. Web3 investor and analyst Packy McCormick makes the case, in conversation with Azeem Azhar, that an optimistic outlook rooted in market dynamics can enable new sustainable businesses that operate for the public good.
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Gaming’s Web3 Future (with FTX Ventures’ Amy Wu)

As the gaming industry evolves to meet the challenges and opportunities of Web3, could it drive the mass adoption of crypto? Amy Wu leads investment, M&A, and gaming initiatives at cryptocurrency exchange FTX. She speaks with Azeem Azhar about how she evaluates crypto and Web3 as an investor, how she expects the gaming landscape to change in the next two years, and why the community that comes with NFT ownership is more important to her than potential profit.
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Money in the Metaverse (with Citi’s Ronit Ghose)

What is the metaverse, how will we use it, and why might the financial innovations of Web3 and blockchain technology be crucial to its success? Citi?s Ronit Ghose, one of the world?s foremost analysts of technology?s influence on financial innovation, returns to the podcast to discuss how money will function in the metaverse.
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Venture Capital and Deep Decarbonization (with Energy Impact Partners’ Shayle Kann)

Venture capitalists offer their investors outsized financial returns in exchange for taking on considerable risk. But what if that risk includes backing products where the economics of the end market aren?t clear? Moreover, what if the companies being supported have the non-financial goal of tackling climate change? As more money than ever pours into climate tech, Azeem Azhar speaks with Shayle Kann, a partner at Energy Impact Partners, about the challenges of investing in the net zero economy.
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AI and Cancer: Unlocking the Immune System (with Immunai’s Luis Voloch)

Today?s cancer therapies are difficult, expensive, and slow to create. But the combination of new computing and new biological technologies is leading to a better understanding of the human immune system, with the goal of offering a better class of cancer therapies. Azeem Azhar speaks with Immunai co-founder and chief technology officer Luis Voloch about how AI is unlocking the secrets of the immune system and opening new avenues for novel cancer treatments.
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How To Make Nuclear Energy Safe (with Seaborg’s Troels Schönfeldt)

Danish start-up Seaborg Technologies has a blueprint for the future of power that uses a new type of nuclear reactor that is safe, can be manufactured quickly, and deployed on barges to any location worldwide. Seaborg CEO Troels Schönfeldt talks to Azeem Azhar about how the future of power stations could be sailing to your town soon.
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The Meaning of Life in the Metaverse (with David Chalmers)

We could soon be living more of our lives in immersive virtual worlds, but what will that look like and how will it affect us? New York University professor of philosophy and neural science David Chalmers discusses what the metaverse might offer us, the moral quandaries it could pose, and what our rights there might look like.
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The Future of Warfare Is Here (with General Sir Richard Barrons)

As war returns to Europe, General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of the UK?s Joint Forces Command (whose remit included military intelligence, special forces, and cyber), joins Azeem Azhar to explore how technology is changing warfare and why we must take a more active role in stewarding peace. (This episode was originally broadcast on October 23, 2019.)
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How the Russia-Ukraine Conflict Will Change Cyberwar (with Robert Hannigan)

Many experts expected Russia?s war with Ukraine to be accompanied by a large-scale cyberattack, but that hasn?t yet materialized. Azeem Azhar speaks to Robert Hannigan, the former head of GCHQ (the UK?s equivalent to America?s NSA), to find out how the conflict is playing out in cyberspace and what might happen next.
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Vertical Farming and the Future of Food (with ZERO Farms’ Daniele Modesto)

Technology is making traditional agriculture more efficient, but farming still has its problems. It takes a huge amount of land and can be energy- and water-intensive. In addition, produce needs to be transported to customers, often over great distances. Daniele Modesto, CEO of ZERO Farms, explains the role building upward will play in the future of farming and why his technology could be used to produce more than just food.
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Scaling Synthetic Biology (with Ginkgo’s Reshma Shetty)

Science is getting better at re-engineering micro-organisms for all kinds of uses, from better medical treatments to more durable materials. But there are still hurdles to overcome, including scaling. Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks was one of the first billion-dollar companies in the synthetic biology space. The NYSE-listed company uses machine learning and automation to coax biology to work at industrial scale. COO Reshma Shetty talks to Azeem Azhar about the company?s technology, business model, and how big she thinks synthetic biology could become.
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Micromobility Will Change Our Cities (with Horace Dediu)

Eighty percent of urban trips are less than two miles long. So why do so many of us make them in big, inefficient, and expensive vehicles? Micromobility analyst Horace Dediu joins Azeem Azhar to discuss why many more of us will soon be getting around cities on electric scooters, bikes, and buggies and how that could change our lives for the better.
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How Venture Capital Made the Modern World (with Sebastian Mallaby)

Seventy-five percent of the total value of US companies that have floated since 1995 has been created by venture-backed firms, including Alphabet, Facebook, and countless others. But how did an obscure investment strategy become the engine of modern innovation and where might it go next? Sebastian Mallaby, author of an excellent new book, The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future, joins Azeem Azhar to discuss the history (and future) of venture capital.
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The Future of Healthcare: Personalization and AI (with ZOE’s Jonathan Wolf)

Nutritional science has long been one-size-fits-all. Advice on a healthier diet has long been generic, failing to consider the huge variance of our bodies. ZOE is trying to change that by combining new research on our microbiomes with AI and machine learning. The healthtech startup offers dietary advice tailored to an individual?s microbiome ? the unique makeup of microorganisms present in our gut ? to change the way we  eat for the better.
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What Studying Consciousness Can Reveal about AI and the Metaverse (with Anil Seth)

The workings of the brain have long puzzled scientists and philosophers, but the last twenty years have been a golden age for consciousness research. Neuroscientist Anil Seth explains his theories on consciousness and why unlocking the secrets of our mind will transform medicine, AI, and virtual reality.
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Supercritical’s Mission to Help Tech Reach Net Zero (with Michelle You)

Companies of all sizes and sectors have committed to net-zero emissions targets, but getting there is not straightforward. Measuring carbon dioxide output is tricky, carbon markets are fragmented, and the quality of offsets varies hugely. Michelle You, co-founder and CEO of Supercritical, is on a mission to help companies better measure, reduce, and remove carbon emissions ? and her first target is the tech sector.
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Crypto and the Future of Money (with Terra’s Do Kwon)

Some people see cryptocurrencies as speculative assets with no real utility at best, a Ponzi scam at worst. For others, they?re the future of money. Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, the company behind the Terra blockchain, discusses his vision for a decentralized financial ecosystem with Azeem Azhar.
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Azeem’s 2022 Trends: Web 3.0, Sci-Fi Tech, and the Metaverse

Azeem Azhar sets out his vision for 2022 and shares the trends that he thinks will change our world this year. Some changes are hurtling down the pike, like the growth of Web 3.0 and the metaverse, while others are rumbling along more slowly: the continued dominance of Big Tech and the tireless march of artificial intelligence.
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Learning from 2021: Azeem’s Takeaways

As 2021 draws to a close and Covid cases spike, it?s easy to think not much has changed. But in between pandemic waves, we?ve made major progress in science and technology. And that progress gives us clues about how the future might play out. Azeem Azhar reflects on the tech trends we?ve seen this year and key shifts in industry and society that are changing cities, the labor market, and the superconductor business.
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From Tech Investor to Author (with a16z’s Andrew Chen)

Andreessen Horowitz general partner Andrew Chen and host Azeem Azhar have something in common: they were both tech company insiders and early-stage investors before becoming authors. They explore why they decided to write their books, how writing intersects with their day jobs, and whether they?d do it all again.
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How Quantum Computing Will Change Everything (with Chad Rigetti)

Quantum computing won?t be an incremental improvement ? it will represent a step-change in the power of the computing technology that underpins our modern economy. Exponentially faster computing won?t just help us solve problems more quickly ? it will allow us to get the answers to questions that have been impossible to answer. Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO of Rigetti Computing, speaks to Azeem Azhar about just how revolutionary quantum computing will be.
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Nuclear Fusion’s Time is (Finally) Coming

Nuclear fusion seems to have been ?twenty years away? forever, but recent advances could mean fusion is finally on its way to becoming part of our energy mix. Azeem Azhar speaks to Nick Hawker, co-founder and CEO of First Light Fusion, and explores how their ?projectile fusion? approach might produce abundant, sustainable energy.
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Grading AI: The Hits and Misses

Murray Shanahan, professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London and a senior research scientist at DeepMind, joins Azeem Azhar to discuss AI: where developments have exceeded expectations, where they have fallen short, and what the next steps are towards an artificial general intelligence.
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Technology and Redistribution of Power (with Yanis Varoufakis)

Former Greek Finance Minister, economist, and bestselling author Yanis Varoufakis joins Azeem Azhar to discuss his speculative novel Another Now. The book isn?t pure fiction; it?s an optimistic vision of what our society could yet become -- a world where mass organization, technological progress, and an overhaul of companies and markets have made society more equitable.
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The AI Revolution is Just Beginning (with Nathan Benaich and Ian Hogarth)

Investors Nathan Benaich and Ian Hogarth co-author the influential, annual ?State of AI? report. They join Azeem Azhar to discuss breakout developments in disparate fields, from defense to medical biology. And they offer their take on the flood of new investments into AI and how we can best keep the technology safe for humanity.
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Why Energy Storage Is the Future of the Grid (with Malta CEO Ramya Swaminathan)

Renewable energy is the future of our power systems, but relying on solar, wind, etc. will require a more reliable and resilient grid. Energy storage will be essential, and Malta Inc.?s molten-salt system is one of the most innovative and promising technologies in the field. CEO Ramya Swaminathan joins Azeem Azhar to discuss why energy storage is so crucial to fighting climate change, how it could affect the economics of energy, and why the electric grid of the future will be more technologically diverse and complex than today?s.
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Building a Multibillion-Dollar Company in 18 Months (with Hopin’s Johnny Boufarhat)

Hopin is one of the fastest-growing startups in history. The virtual events company had six employees in February 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. A year and a half later, it employs more than eight hundred and is valued at almost $8 billion. Founder and CEO Johnny Boufarhat joins Azeem Azhar to discuss seizing the opportunity the pandemic presented, learning to lead at one of the fastest-growing startups in history, and why he dreams of a future in which a founder?s location is no impediment to success.
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Decarbonization by the Numbers (with Michele Della Vigna)

Governments and companies have committed to net-zero emissions by 2050, but it?s not clear how they plan to get there ? or how much it will cost. Michele Della Vigna, who runs the Carbonomics research program at Goldman Sachs, has dug into the economics behind a transition to net-zero emissions. On the eve of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), he and Azeem Azhar discuss how capital markets, new technology, and government coordination could combine to accelerate the transition to a greener economy.
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The Future of the Car (with Ford’s Hau Thai-Tang)

Ford has been making cars for 118 years -- nearly all of them with internal combustion engines. It now faces the biggest challenge in its history. Hau Thai-Tang, Ford?s chief product platform and operations officer, joins Azeem Azhar to discuss electrification, mobility, and the future of one of the titans of the industrial age.
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Funding Innovation to Fight Climate Change

Fighting the climate crisis requires investment, innovation, and on-the-ground know-how. Dawn Lippert works at the intersection of all three. She?s the founder and CEO of Elemental Excelerator, a non-profit incubator that helps climate-focused startups deploy and scale their technologies. She joins Azeem Azhar to discuss how innovative climate tech companies can make it to market, and why workers at Silicon Valley?s biggest companies are flocking to fight climate change.
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How Network Effects Rule the World (with James Currier)

Google, Facebook, Apple, and Uber are just some of the enormous companies that derive part of their value from network effects: the more users they have, the more value they provide. Serial entrepreneur and early-stage investor James Currier is one of the world?s foremost experts on networks, and on the companies that use them best. He joins Azeem Azhar to discuss how companies with network effects dominate markets, and why their influence will likely continue to grow.
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Imagining Climate Futures with Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson, the legendary science-fiction novelist, has a private utopian hope: ?to dodge a mass extinction event.? He joins Azeem Azhar to explore his recent novel, The Ministry For the Future, and what it would take for institutions, individuals, and emerging technologies to save millions of lives.
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How to Regulate Facebook (with Nick Clegg)

Facebook serves 34 percent of the world?s population and decides who to block and what to censor. How should governments regulate this startling power? Nick Clegg, the UK?s former deputy prime minister and now vice president of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook, joins Azeem Azhar to explore how governments might reassert control in the exponential age.
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The Future of Digital Payments

Visa processes more than 500 million transactions every day. How is the world?s largest digital payment platform adapting to new technologies and fresh competition? Charlotte Hogg, executive vice president and CEO of its European operations, joins Azeem Azhar to explore the evolving ecosystem of digital payments.
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How to Practice Responsible AI

From predictive policing to automated credit scoring, algorithms applied on a massive scale, gone unchecked, represent a serious threat to our society. Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, director of Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency and Accountability at Twitter, joins Azeem Azhar to explore how businesses can practice responsible AI to minimize unintended bias and the risk of harm.
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The Coming AI Hackers

AI hackers are coming, and it?s not just our computer networks at risk ? our laws and regulations are also vulnerable. Bruce Schneier, internationally renowned security technologist and fellow at Harvard?s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, joins Azeem Azhar to explore how humans have always exploited loopholes in rule-based systems, and how that will change as AIs become more powerful.
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Banking without Banks: Decentralized Finance is Coming

Could we have a financial industry without banks or brokers? That?s the vision of decentralized finance ? or DeFi ? in which financial products are built from tamper-proof digital smart contracts interacting with blockchains. Sergey Nazarov, co-founder of Chainlink, joins Azeem Azhar to explore the promise of this emerging sector to bring greater transparency, control, and yield for both customers and businesses.
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AI’s Competitive Advantage

AI can offer a new type of competitive advantage, but entrepreneurs need to know what it is and how to unlock it. Ash Fontana, author of The AI First Company and managing director at Zetta Venture Partners ? a firm that exclusively invests in early-stage AI startups, joins Azeem Azhar to explore the risks and rewards of applying AI to business problems.
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Building a Trustworthy Market for Carbon Offsets: Part 2

Using forests to offset a company?s carbon emissions has been dismissed as ?greenwashing.? But Diego Saez Gil argues that a verifiable and transparent global market in carbon credits is a vital tool to mitigate climate change. In part 2 of their discussion, he joins Azeem Azhar to explore how his company, Pachama, uses technology to connect farmers and ecologists with climate-conscious corporations in an effort to evolve the global carbon marketplace.
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Building a Trustworthy Market for Carbon Offsets: Part 1

How do we build a market for carbon offsets that is both trustworthy and effective? Diego Saez Gil, co-founder and CEO of Pachama, believes he has the answer. In part 1 of the conversation, Diego joins Azeem Azhar to explore how AI, satellites, and LiDAR can be leveraged to verify the conservation efforts of farmers, NGOs, and governments and help lay the foundation for sustainable work against climate change.
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The Power of Mental Modeling and the Limits of AI

Kenneth Cukier, senior editor at the Economist, and Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the University of Oxford, argue that because AI systems have no causal model of the world, they lack the human capacity for imagination and decision-making. Azeem Azhar explores their contention that we should not rely on AI to provide solutions to our problems. Rather we should systematically challenge how we frame our problems in order to produce breakthrough insights and innovations ? then use AI to help enact those solutions.
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Startups and the State: Growing French Tech

In less than a decade France has gone from tech backwater to the startup engine of the EU. It recently celebrated its 12th company to achieve a $1 billion valuation and is well on the way to President Macron?s goal of ?25 unicorns by 2025.? Kat Borlongan, director of La French Tech, joins Azeem Azhar to explore how her government taskforce has been working to effectively drive growth in the French startup scene.
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How Data Helps Companies Honor Their Climate Goals

Turning a corporate climate pledge into reality is a complex endeavor. Watershed, a software startup co-founded by Christian Anderson, is committed to using data to cut corporate emissions fast. In conversation with Azeem Azhar, Christian shares the challenges of putting this dream into practice.
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