November 29th, 2014
10:51 PM ET

Are we really living in innovative times?

Fareed speaks with Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal, an early investor in Facebook, and author of Zero to One, about whether we are overestimating the level of innovation. Watch the full interview on a GPS special on innovation in America, this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You've been writing for a while that you actually think we may not be living in as innovative times as everybody thinks we are.

Well, it's a two track story on innovation in the last three or four decades, where we've had enormous innovation in the world of computers, Internet, mobile Internet, the world of bits. We've had much less innovation in the world of atoms and energy and food technology, biotech, medicine, space travel, supersonic airplanes...

Right. Or even just airplanes. I mean if you think about it, it takes about the same amount of time to fly from Point A to Point B on the globe as it did five decades ago.

Yes, or probably even slower with the low tech airport security systems we have in place today. And so technology, the idea of technology, has been narrowed. And in many cases today, the word technology means simply information technology. And I do think it would be good for our world if we broadened this again and saw accelerating technological progress across all these frontiers.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 29th, 2014
01:13 PM ET

'Creativity is a team sport'

Fareed speaks with Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, about why team work is essential to innovation. Watch the full interview on a GPS special on innovation in America, this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

The most important thing part of your book, given your biography of Steve Jobs, is that this isn't really about a single hero or even a couple of heroes.

Right. You know, when I was doing Steve Jobs, I thought he was a great romantic visionary, that lone inventor who, in the garage, does things. And when I asked him, near the end of his life, what product are you most proud of inventing, I thought he'd say the iPod or the iPhone, and he said, no, creating a product is hard, but creating a team, a company, is even harder. The best thing I ever invented was Apple, the team. And we went through it all. He starts with Wozniak as his partner and gets that Macintosh team under the pirate flag banner, all the way through to having Tim Cook, Johnny Ive, the best team in Silicon Valley. So I realized from him that creativity is a team sport, that it's a collaborative effort.

And how do you create a great team of innovators?

You know, the good thing is there's no single here's the five rules. So I think you have to look at it like creating a good baseball team or something – who's our utility player, who's our shortstop, who's our designated hitter, who's our pitcher? But the main thing is two positions. You need a visionary, because without a visionary, everything you do is barren. And you need somebody who can every day execute, because vision without execution is just hallucination. So that's the core of a good team. And then you have to say, OK, and we need a designer, we need an engineer, we need the right people to make it work.

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Topics: GPS Show • Technology
November 29th, 2014
01:06 PM ET

Kalanick: You can bend reality, but you can't break it

Fareed speaks with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick about the link between failure and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. Watch the full interview on a GPS special on innovation in the United States, this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

People always say in Silicon Valley... the great thing about the place is you can fail. So what's the upside of down?

It's so easy to talk about failure when you're not failing. It's so much easier. So a lot of the folks who talk about failure and how it's so easy to do in Silicon Valley, those are people who have succeeded.

But when they hadn't succeeded yet, they were scared out of their minds of failing. And yes, I've certainly failed a couple of times. And it's scary. But I think if the folks who do succeed are the folks not who accept failure, but the folks who do not.

And so though Silicon Valley is a place where you can fail and get back up on your feet, I find that the folks that are most successful in Silicon Valley are the ones who do not accept failure, ever. And they just keep going until it works. But they don't keep going on something that's not going to work. They adjust and they move and try to find where reality and their vision meet. I like to say you can bend reality, but you can't break it.

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Topics: Business • GPS Show
November 29th, 2014
01:03 PM ET

Rottenberg: You don't need a hoodie to be an entrepreneur

Fareed speaks with Linda Rottenberg, co-founder of Endeavor and author of Crazy is a Compliment, about what makes a good entrepreneur. Watch the full interview on a GPS special on innovation in America, this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

For you, an entrepreneur is somebody who is not always a tech genius, somebody who looks like Mark Zuckerberg. Explain.

Yes, I've been saying to people, you don't need a hoodie to be an entrepreneur. So first of all, in this country, it turns out the two fastest growing groups starting businesses are women and baby boomers over 55.

And I've worked with 1,000 entrepreneurs around the world – every industry, every generation, every race and gender – and what I believe is that entrepreneurs are people who view the world differently. They allow themselves to be contrarian. They zig when everyone else zags. And then they do something about it.

I've come to believe that entrepreneur is a fancy way of saying you're a doer. And it's not necessarily in tech and it's not necessarily people who have radical innovations. For me, entrepreneurship is about a series of minovations, mini-innovations and executing well.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 17th, 2014
06:06 PM ET

What's behind Chinese nationalism?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and David M. Lampton, the director of China studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, about nationalism in China.

There’s no question there's been a rise in sort of nationalist rhetoric. And as I point out, all these attempts to really subvert the old international order, alternatives to The Asian Development Bank, to the IMF, to the World Bank, to the various security frameworks. Do you think this is Xi or is this a long-term Chinese strategy?

Lampton: What we're seeing is China, not just Xi. We're seeing a China that sees itself in great historic terms. And this isn't so much a new status for China, it's a sort of restoration of national greatness.

And I think we're going to face a China that, on one hand, is cooperative, increasingly cooperative on some economic and global issues, like climate change. But on the other hand, I just was speaking with military people in China last week and they are clearly going to continue to push China's sovereignty, and he's not going to give on that set of issues.

So he's walking a fine line by trying to seem a good global citizen on the one hand, but assuage this nationalistic drive on the other. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show
November 17th, 2014
03:28 PM ET

Facing up to the China challenge

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

As Moscow continues to send its forces into Ukraine, it seems clear that Putin's Russia presents America and the West with a frontal challenge. But in the longer run, it is not Russia's overt military assault but China's patient and steady non-military moves that might prove the greater challenge.

Russia is a great power in decline. Its economy amounts to just 3.4 percent of global GDP. China's is nearly 16 percent and rising, now almost four times the size of Japan's and five times that of Germany's, according to the World Bank.

Presidents Obama and Xi deserve the accolades they are receiving for their historic agreement on climate change, and it seems to suggest that America and China are moving towards a new, productive relationship.

Except that, even while signing these accords, Xi Jinping's government has been taking steps that suggest it is developing a very different approach to its foreign policy – one that seeks to replace the American-built post-1945 international system with its own.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: China • Fareed's Take • GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
07:08 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Assessing U.S.-China ties, and Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahari discuss Iran

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

On GPS this Sunday: President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced some areas where they had found agreement on, from climate change to trade to military cooperation. Is this the big breakthrough in relations between the world's number one and two economic powers?

Fareed offers his take, then speaks to two China watchers. Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and wrote about China’s president for Foreign Affairs recently. David Lampton is the director of China studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Then...Jon Stewart and Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari discuss the Iran, the Arab Spring, and their new movie Rosewater.

Also, college applications are due soon. But should teens just tear them up? Are colleges as we know them simply too expensive and outdated? Is there a better way in higher education? Fareed speaks with Stuart Butler, a Brookings scholar who has written extensively on this topic, and Anant Agarwal, who runs edX and penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post on reimagining higher education.

Finally, Europe landed on a comet this week. India has a probe orbiting Mars. And Russia remains the not-so-trusty taxi to outer space. What's America up to, up there? And whose spending on space is the highest?

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
02:02 PM ET

When big data meets education

Fareed speaks with Anant Agarwal, who runs edX, a so-called massive open online course or MOOC. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So one of the criticisms people make about MOOCS is the very successful, it's vast. You have hundreds of thousands of students or tens of thousands taking a class. But you make the case that actually, the very size of the student body taking the same course makes it possible, ironically, to make the education more personal. Explain.

Absolutely. Yes. So we are gathering the big data of learning. And big data and data mining have improved virtually every field known to mankind. We can now improve education, whether online or in the classroom. So as an example, we could do A/B testing on an educational platform...

Explain what A/B testing is.

So on edX we launched A/B testing, where, as part of a course, a professor can have multiple sequences for students, an A sequence, a B sequence and a C sequence. And the platform automatically distributes the students among these sequences. And the professor can give a test at the end and figure out which of these sequences worked best. So in the future, they can then decide that the B sequence, the B approach of teaching was the best...

So you're beta testing the course as you go along.

It's like software. Today, software is in continual beta. You don't spend a year testing it. You put it out there. You do A/B testing and you continually improve it. So we could keep improving education like we improve Web sites today.

And I imagine that also what can happen is as students take tests, because you have so much information on a single course, if a student does badly in the second quiz, you can immediately direct them to some remedial module and say clearly, we know from hundreds of thousands of students taking the same test that you need to go and relearn these two things or something like that.

Absolutely. The Holy Grail for all of us is personalized learning, the kind of learning where you have a tutor sitting next to you like the, you know, like the old ages and the relics where we had only children of kings and so on, who were able to work with a single guru.

Here, the idea would be like you said, to be able to use big data to analyze how a student is learning. And depending on that, to make available specialized pathways for each student and personalize the learning for each student so that if I didn't know something, I'm shown that piece of knowledge. But if I know it already, then I can move ahead faster. So we are launching a few courses along these lines imminently.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:58 PM ET

Interrogators 'doing a job'?

Fareed speaks with Jon Stewart, who directed the new movie 'Rosewater', about its portrayal of torture. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

The certainty of the truth, what you portray a lot is these guys who, they think they know the truth, but you're always wondering, when watching the movie, are these interrogators really...They seem, at some level, very insecure. It's a very deft way of portraying it. There's a lot of bravado, but they're very insecure.

Stewart: Well, you also have to portray it within – they're human beings. People that are interrogators or torturers, this is a job. It's not something that we might see in sort of a more sensationalized cinematic version of it of, the Bruce Willis over the guy, tell me where the bombs are. This guy’s got to come in every day. He's got to be there by 8:00. It's a bureaucracy. He has to work within that. The Green Movement, to these interrogators, was, in many ways, just a chance to get some overtime. You know, the prisons are so filled with people, I think that the gentleman who was responsible for Maziar's torment, in some ways, probably wouldn't have had an opportunity to deal with someone, you know, a “VIP prisoner” – more educated, more Western – if it had not been for the overwhelming amount of people that they were trying to filter through this prison at the time.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:51 PM ET

'The system right now is incentivized for status quo'

Fareed speaks with Maziar Bahari, author of Then They Came for Me, and Rosewater director Jon Stewart about the looming deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You're not hopeful on an Iranian deal?

Bahari: I don't think so. I don't think that there will be a deal on November 24, because I don't think that there is a real will, either in Iran or the United States, to have a deal on the 24th. And there are also radical interest groups in both countries. In Iran, the Revolutionary Guards are making a lot of money because of the sanctions and because there is no relationship between Iran and the United States. And in this country, as you know, there are many lobbies for making a lot of money by supporting the sanctions and not having...

Stewart: Not a lot of incentives on either side.

And fair to say that whatever deal Obama were to bring, it would be pilloried...

Stewart:...That's my favorite is the new climate deal. So all they talk about in Congress is we're not going to do a climate deal, because if we don't get China on board, it's meaningless. It's utterly meaningless. OK, we've got China on board...No deal...So you realize the system right now is incentivized for status quo, for stagnation. You don't raise money on bipartisanship, on cooperation and good governance. You raise money on demonization. And that's where we sit.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:47 PM ET

Jon Stewart on portrayal of torture in Rosewater

Fareed speaks with Jon Stewart about his new movie 'Rosewater'. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Did you think about how you were going to make this movie work despite the fact that everybody knows how it ended? To me, what was so effective was the torture felt very scary even though I kind of knew that he was going to be all right at the end.

Right. I think that's something that is the difficulty within a story like this...thank goodness we knew the ending.

So it was a question of creating dynamics within that that were hopefully complex enough that could give people some insight into it, but also, again, a more visceral experience, that feeling of being on the edge of your seat and that discomfort, only to have that alleviated in sort of one large cathartic moment. And to break that through and watching not just that he would get out, but how he regained his humanity and how he sustained himself.

There are so many interesting lessons to be gained from how Maziar was able to retain his humanity given the conditions that he was under.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:44 PM ET

Jon Stewart discusses Iran's government

Fareed speaks with Jon Stewart about Iran's government and the new movie 'Rosewater'. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So you guys spent a lot of time thinking about this country, this regime. Jon, what do you think? We're in these negotiations with Iran. What do you think of the Iranian regime?

I can't presume to get ahead of it. I can tell you what I think of it in the context of this story.

I think that they have a certainty of the truth. I think they understand how to retain their power base and that they believe that this type of activity is within their self-interest. But that it is a relatively shortsighted kind of an approach to holding onto power.

And I think this is about carving out space for people in that country to have more expression.

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