OneZero is partnering with Big Technology, a newsletter and podcast by Alex Kantrowitz, to bring readers exclusive access to interviews with notable figures in and around the tech industry.
This week, Kantrowitz sits down with Box CEO Aaron Levie. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
As the pandemic flattens much of the U.S. economy, many technology firms are doing just fine. Business is moving online, and they’re well positioned to benefit. For tech CEOs like Box’s Aaron Levie, the experience can be bewildering. While you’re riding a wave most companies can only dream about, you’re watching the rest of the economy — including many of your customers — struggle to get by.
Levie, in this conversation, says this economy is “not sustainable” and offers a look into his mindset as he tries to make sense of where this is all heading.
Alex Kantrowitz: Let’s start with politics. Your stock price was approximately $9 on March 13, and today it’s nearing $18. [Update: After the recording, it rose above $20.] So, it’s double where it was earlier in the year when the economy was crumbling. This is largely due to the fact that the Trump administration infused more than $2 trillion and essentially saved the stock market. How do you feel about the Trump administration today?
Aaron Levie: This administration has mishandled almost every element of the pandemic, between the health response as well as the economic response, and to your exact point, I think way too much emphasis has been put on how the NASDAQ or the S&P is doing and not as much on how are actual small businesses doing. How are actual employees and workers doing throughout the country?
Unfortunately, I think we’ve got this massive distraction of the stock market’s performance, which as you know is heavily weighted toward a couple sectors—and importantly, within those sectors, a few companies that are really driving up the results of…