President-elect Donald Trump sat down with some of the most powerful executives in the world Wednesday, extending an olive branch to Silicon Valley, a group he has largely remained alienated from.
On deck at the meeting, which had no public agenda, was immigration, particularly relating to foreign workers and visas, net neutrality, international trade and privacy, among other issues.
We don't know much, as media was only allowed in for opening portions of the summit. But below, we tracked what information is known. We will continue to update as more post-summit news comes to light.
1. Who was there:
Tech executives from some of the largest companies in the world gathered in room with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Live streams in the lobby of the Trump Tower in New York documented nearly every person using the elevator to attend the summit. The pageantry, hype and flashing cameras was akin to fervor present at an elite boxing match.
The net worth in the room of tech CEOS about to meet w/Trump is more than $136B. And that's not counting Trump. Pretty astounding.— Elizabeth Dwoskin (@lizzadwoskin) December 14, 2016
Summit attendees included:
- Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
- Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
- Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet
- Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet
- Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco
- Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
- Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel
- Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle
- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Today's tech summit included productive discussions about job creation & economic growth. We're on track to make America first again pic.twitter.com/tFU3ObcB0i— Reince Priebus (@Reince) December 14, 2016
Trump's three adult children — Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. — were also present for the meeting, along with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Where everyone sat at Trump's tech meeting today. pic.twitter.com/1WMMRjF1UG— Rolfe Winkler (@RolfeWinkler) December 14, 2016
2. What was said
Though the media was ushered out of the room shortly after opening remarks began, thanks to live feeds like the one from Scott Budman, a reporter with NBC News, we know what was said, at least initially.
Trump opened the summit emphasizing his gratitude for Peter Thiel, a U.S. entrepreneur who has served as the president-elect's bridge to Silicon Valley, calling him a "very special guy."
Addressing attendees, Trump said, "I'm here to help you folks do well. You're doing well right now."
Trump focused in on the "incredible innovation" from the companies represented at the summit. "There's nobody like you in the world, in the world. There's nobody like the people in this room," he said. "Anything we can do to help this go along, we're going to be there for you and you'll call my people, you'll call me. It doesn't make any difference. We have no formal chain of command around here."
Though the agenda was not shared publicly, Trump did emphasize his desire for fair trade. "We're going to make it a lot easier for you trade across borders."
Some attendees had announced what they were hoping to discuss at the summit. Before entering the meeting, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz said she hoped to discuss international trade.
"Better trade deals are tremendously important to us," she said at Trump Tower, according to Bloomberg. "We are net exporters — over 60% of our sales are overseas. So better trade deals are very much in our interest."
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty emphasized the necessity of creating a "new collar" of jobs in the U.S., ones that would focus on tech skills, requiring a new approach to education, training and recruitment. Rometty has been closer to the Trump administration than other tech CEOs, and is a member of the President's Strategic and Policy Forum.
Not a lot of information trickled out after the meeting, but in a statement Wednesday to Yahoo, Bezos said, "I found today's meeting with the president-elect, his transition team and tech leaders to be very productive."
"I shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech — agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing — everywhere," he said.
3. Twitter was not invited
The news that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not invited caused quite a stir, especially because the social media network has served as a platform for Trump to effuse his opinions, policies and ideas.
Just as the execs entered the meeting room, Politico reported Twitter was "bounced" from the meeting over its past refusal to help Trump's campaign create a hashtag emoji for #CrookedHillary.
Even if it is proven true that Dorsey was left out because of a past disagreement, when comparing the market cap of the companies present, Twitter looks like a small fry. The companies represented in the meeting with Trump are equivalent to GDP of some of the world's leading countries.
As CNBC reports, the represented companies have a market value of $3 trillion, which would rank as the fifth-largest country GDP in the world, ahead of the U.K., France and India. Twitter's market cap, however, is about $13.5 billion, which pales in comparison to companies like Apple, worth about $616 billion, and Alphabet, worth $555 billion.
4. More advisors will come of the meeting
The meeting Wednesday was Trump's chance at a do-over with Silicon Valley. The tech community had been at odds with Trump from the beginning. For example, in July, a group of 300 technology sector leaders sent an open letter to Donald Trump saying he would be a "disaster for innovation."
But now Trump is sitting down with powerful tech executives to try and get on the same page. As part of that, more will likely jump aboard as advisors. Just before the meeting began, it was announced the heads of Tesla and Uber have strategic advisory roles with Trump and will "meet with the president frequently," The Washington Post reports.
5. Trump wants the meetings to continue
On a "readout" of the tech summit, Trump suggested the group of leaders convene again in the future, “perhaps as frequently as every quarter.”
The group discussed issues impacting American workers and companies, and explored "innovative solutions that have been blocked by narrow thinking in Washington."
The discussion topics during the summit included:
Creating more jobs for American workers
Making it easier for U.S. companies to do business internationally, including more market access in China
Improving physical and digital infrastructures
Enhancing U.S. cybersecurity
Protecting intellectual property
Updating government software and creating greater accountability in government procurement
Technology in schools and greater vocational training in schools