CEO Roundup—Jarrett joins Lyft; Gladstone glorifies risk-taking

Lyft car
Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, has joined the board of Lyft. (Praiselightmedia/CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett joins Lyft board

Valerie Jarrett—who served as senior adviser to President Barack Obama—is joining Lyft's board of directors, the company announced on July 31, becoming the latest of the administration’s former staffers to join up with a ride-hailing competitor. She joins the panel as an independent director, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune, and she will focus on addressing the problems of urban transportation, drawing on her background as former chair of the Chicago Transit Board. In a post on the Lyft blog, Jarrett commented, "I am a frequent Lyft passenger and have been inspired by the strong community [co-founders] John [Zimmer] and Logan [Green] have created that is dedicated to enlightened corporate values." She added, "We share a belief that reliable, affordable transportation positively impacts social mobility and improves the quality of life in densely populated communities. I am thrilled to join the ride." (Chicago Tribune)

Gladwell extols risk-taking

Prolific and successful author Malcolm Gladwell may not be a huge risk-taker himself, but he thinks you should be, according to a July 28 report on CNBC. He says he took a whopping chance when he was just 20 years old—and it paid off big-time. “I’m a Canadian who immigrated to another country, and came to this country not knowing a single person, to do a job that I got fired from within two months." And in retrospect, Gladwell says, he should have gone even farther, challenging himself to leave North America. "I have spent too much of my time in the same and narrow world," says Gladwell. But, he says, the risks that drive people toward success are not physical or social gambles, they are intellectual: "It's about putting yourself in places where you are uncomfortable with what people are thinking." And the bigger the challenge you pose for yourself, the bigger your work ethic must be. "The only way you overcome the obstacles associated with risk-taking is if you put your nose to the grindstone," says Gladwell. "There is no way around hard work. There are never any shortcuts, and anyone who tells you there's a shortcut is blowing smoke." (CNBC)