“I wish the first word I ever said was the word ‘quote.’ So right before I die, I could say, ‘unquote.’”
The great Steven Wright meant this for comedy’s sake, but it does make me wonder how we attempt to say anything at all worth saying.
In the media parlance, we sometimes call these people “newsmakers.” They are people of influence and purportedly have some keen insight into how the world works. I don’t even mean this cynically; there are many people out there worth paying attention to, but it is up to us to understand why.
Take, for example, a friend of CFO, Glenn Hopper.
In addition to having exceptional taste in Klein Bottles and 80’s movie trivia, Hopper is also one of the foremost CFO experts in how artificial intelligence is going to transform finance. So, not only do I pay attention to what he has to say on the subject, whether it be on his LinkedIn feed, in a workshop, or an interview, but I also pay attention to who HE says we should pay attention to. So when he points to Jamie Dimon — no slouch, that guy — and his comments about the impact of technology, I’m going to listen. Not simply because it’s Dimon, but because a CFO I greatly trust also trusts in what Dimon has to say, and that what he has to say impacts the way we think.
“What do you read, my lord?”
“Words, words, words.”
While there are several interpretations of this exchange between Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Polonius, one possible interpretation is the titular character is twisting his feigned madness with a cynical seriousness of what he’s saying, even though he’s not saying anything at all. Or maybe he’s just mocking the “tedious old fool.”
All this to say, today is the Strategic CFO Forum in NYC, and our senior reporter-at-large Vincent Ryan is there to collect the words that are spoken. But it isn’t only the words that will matter, it is who is saying them. And when you have a lineup from industry leaders in biopharma (Aradhana Sarin, AstraZeneca), hospitality (Leeny Oberg, Marriott), or technology (Richard Puccio, Amazon Web Services), you’re accessing thought leadership of the highest order from individuals who are going to play a significant role in driving their respective industries forward in 2024.
2023 has been another banner year for finance chiefs who are willing to share their thoughts and expertise, and they are accomplishing it in a way that not only has an impact on their respective organizations but on the industries as well. This is, of course, why CFO makes sure to be present and ready to provide the text, context, and subtext so the knowledge is not just said, but transferred.
It’s a big, complex world out there, so we look to Sarin, Oberg, Puccio, and Hopper to help us with the finance road map. And, as Steven Wright opined:
“The universe is expanding. That should help ease the traffic.”