Tuesday, September 26, 2023

One of the most powerful women in tech wants to modernize your book club

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Hello, Broadsheet readers! Padmasree Warrior launches social media platform for book lovers, Julia Letlow shows up for the House seat where her late husband was not sworn in, and a former technical director takes over the book club. The Broadsheet will be off Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US – we’ll see you here on Tuesday. Have a restful weekend.

– Modernization of the book club. Of all the weeks to launch a social platform, this has been a tough one, with critics claiming the likes of Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough – or doing too much – to stem hate speech. This has not been lost on Padmasree Warrior, the former CTO of Motorola and Cisco, which on Thursday unveiled its new startup called Fable, a social media app for book lovers.

“There is a lot of fatigue around noisy social platforms”, she told my colleague Maria Aspan. As you might have guessed, Warrior is determined to cut through the racquet.

Fable, which has raised $ 7.25 million in funding, is a subscription book recommendation engine and private social network. It provides users with access to public domain books, the ability to purchase additional books, and book recommendations from authors and other experts. The social aspect comes from digital book clubs, which paid users can start and non-paid customers can join.

Warrior says his two goals are to help people find the books they want to read and to modernize the book club for the “digital world.”

The paid component of Fable – an annual subscription is $ 69.99 – can “help avoid some of the worst behaviors that get in the way of free social media platforms,” ​​Maria writes. But Warrior does not assume that Fable will be immune to such challenges; it has established community guidelines for hate speech and book clubs will have moderators.

The startup is certainly a new career step for Warrior, who has long been considered one of tech’s most powerful women. In addition to terms at Motorola and Cisco, Warrior was most recently US CEO of a Chinese electric car company. Nio, and she sits on the board of directors of Spotify and Microsoft. In 2015, she was reportedly considered for the post of CEO of Twitter.

Warrior says it’s not the first career move that has raised eyebrows. When she left Cisco for the auto industry, “people thought I was crazy,” she said. “My career has always been non-traditional that way,” she says.

You can read Maria’s full story here.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was organized by Emma Hinchliffe.


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