Cold Call distills Harvard Business School's legendary case studies into podcast form. Hosted by Brian Kenny, the podcast airs every two weeks and features Harvard Business School faculty discussing cases they've written and the lessons they impart.
A Lesson from Google: Can AI Bias be Monitored Internally?
Dr. Timnit Gebru was the co-lead of Google’s Ethical AI research team –until she raised concerns about bias in the company’s large language models and was forced out in 2020. Her departure sent shockwaves through the AI and tech community ad raised fundamental questions about how companies safeguard against bias in their own AI. Should in-house ethics research continue to be led by researchers who best understand the technology, or must ethics and bias be monitored by more objective researchers who aren’t employed by companies?
Can Bombas Reach New Customers while Maintaining Its Social Mission?
Bombas was started in 2013 with a dual mission: to deliver quality socks and donate much-needed footwear to people living in shelters. By 2021, it had become one of America's most visible buy-one-give-one companies, with over $250 million in annual revenue and 50 million pairs of socks donated. As Bombas continued expanding, the company struggled to determine what pace of growth would best allow it to reach new customers while maintaining its social mission.
Can the Foodservice Distribution Industry Recover from the Pandemic?
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, US Foods struggled, as restaurant and school closures reduced demand for foodservice distribution. The situation improved after the return of indoor dining and in-person learning, but an industry-wide shortage of truck drivers and warehouse staff hampered the foodservice distributor’s post-pandemic recovery. That left CEO Pietro Satriano to determine the best strategy to attract and retain essential workers, even as he was tasked with expanding the wholesale grocery store chain (CHEF’STORE) that US Foods launched during the pandemic lockdown.
Scaling a Fintech Startup for the Greater Good
Esusu launched in 2018 with a rotational savings product and continued growing their fintech startup in late 2019 with Esusu Rent, a rent reporting tool that enables renters to improve their credit scores. In March 2020, co-founders Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel were working to determine how best to scale Esusu to advance their mission of promoting financial inclusion in the U.S. Harvard Business School assistant professor Emily Williams discusses how the two co-founders decided how to allocate resources and scale their business.
What Does It Take to Close the Opportunity Gap in America’s Labor Market?
In the wake of George Floyd’s killing and widespread protests for social justice in the United States, OneTen was formed by a coalition of 40 large companies to address the disparity in job opportunities for African-Americans without four-year college degrees. Their goal was to provide one million jobs in 10 years. But in order to do that, OneTen had to analyze the underlying problems and formulate recommendations for both system-level problems and those that manifest themselves at an organizational level.
Corruption: New Insights for Fighting an Age-Old Business Problem
Corruption is as old as humanity, with cases documented as far back as the Egyptian dynasties. While the World Bank estimates that international bribery exceeds $1.5 trillion annually, the larger and more subtle effects of corruption on economies and populations is incalculable. Harvard Business School professors Geoff Jones and Tarun Khanna explore how corruption uniquely affects business in emerging markets, and why it should be addressed by the public and private sectors.