The Power of Data Podcast
Episode 41: The Power Of The World Wide Web
Guest: Adrian Lovett, President and CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation
Interviewer: Sam Tidswell-Norrish, International CMO, Dun & Bradstreet
Hi there, welcome back. You're joined by me, Sam Tidswell-Norrish today and I am delighted to be joined by someone I know, actually very well. Adrian Lovett, the President and CEO of the World Wide Web foundation. Welcome, Adrian.
Thanks, Sam. How you doing?
Very good. Thank you, for you. And I used to not even have to ask that question. Because we would see each other every day. We are residing for a long time. And I haven't seen you for four months at least.
It's been very, very strange. We miss the lovely home that you've given us, but we feel connected still.
That is true. And not to set you up for a fail, but you actually used to be a radio DJ.
You've dug that one out, Sam, thanks for that.
I did. Yeah. Now all of our listeners are sitting on the edge of their seat.
They used to sit on the edge of their seat, but mainly if they were in a traffic jam on M27 coming out of Southampton. I could help them out there and maybe less.
So your career spanned over two decades in the third sector on international development and advocacy, which has focused predominantly on delivering policy change on big issues, but you worked on some of the most exciting, but also critical campaigns around the world made poverty history, Jubilee, 2000, and so on. And now you are at the helm of the World Wide Web Foundation, possibly the most important time. Yeah, I would see your role at the foundation much the same. perhaps as one of the CEOs of a large bank through the financial crisis steering an essential entity to safety. Tell us a little bit about your career. And some of the things you've experienced?
You know, it's interesting, that reference to steering through these times because I was I was thinking about this conversation and how, you know, one of my observations for the work I've done over the last couple of decades, has been how you have to try and get that balance, don't you between recognizing the weather conditions as they are and seeking to change them? And it's not smart for anyone just to assume you can change the weather all the time, because you can't cause so it's absolutely right, that we learn how to sort of tack with the prevailing winds and in the kind of work that I've done that involves, you know, going to where decision makers are and making the case as you mentioned, the Make Poverty History campaign years ago. Now this was in the days when George Bush was president in the United States. And lots of people said, Well, he's never going to go for that. Many people said the British government wouldn't go for that. But actually, they did. And we got a big deal back in 2005, where huge amounts of debt so the poorest countries were cancelled, that big increase in aid to the poorest countries that were better terms of trade for the poorest countries. And it wasn't perfect, and it hasn't all been delivered. But you know, it was a big step forward. That was partly because we went to where, where the power was where the prevailing winds were taking us, we made the argument, we built the relationships and argued for a different cause. But it was also because we recognize that actually all of those, if you like, insider conversations with policymakers, whether in governments or in the corporate sector, they all happen in a climate, and the climate can make some things possible in those inside conversations and can prohibit some things to but if you can move that climate if you can change that climate even a little bit then more things are possible. So that's why you know, the Web Foundation, we talk about having an inside outside strategy because we want to go directly to where we can have the most impact with policymakers, decision makers and make the arguments and get the changes we're looking for. But we also worry about the wider climate of public opinion, public concern about the web. And you know, in this time, more than ever, we're all experiencing just how critical if we have it, the web is to our lives, as you said, you know, there's never been a more important time for the web to come to the fore to serve people. So that's, you know, part of the work that we're doing there is about engaging with people and saying, if this is something that really matters to us, if we care about it, if we use the web, we benefit from the web, then let's also fight for the web. Let's protect it. Let's not take it for granted. Let's ensure that we're doing our part. To change that weather a little bit in the way we see what we would see as a basic fundamental human need, access to information and knowledge and data. In the end to the power to change our lives for the better.
I'm already going to go off piste… in fact, I don't even know if you can go off piste on these things. But it strikes me that the when and everything that the web has helped create, you think about the S&P 500 has five companies that make up 20% of it, all of which are technology companies hindering upon the world wide web. And it underpins truly everything we do. But subsequently, when you go through things like a pandemic, it can be a huge game changer. It's a massive responsibility for us all. But it often gets forgotten. How do you find particularly through times like this? And obviously, this is the first pandemic you've had to navigate through? How do you find governments, businesses and individuals reacting to the world wide web and your cause? Because I imagine a lot of people talk the talk, but don't necessarily walk the walk and ultimately, it's actions that help move this critical movement forward.
Yes, that's right. It is about actions we put out over the last few months, our brilliant team on the policy front, a whole set of things that can be done to ensure more people can get access to the web to ensure that we deal with the problems around misinformation about the pandemic that we see online to look at how data including our own personal data, can be properly protected, but also used to help address the pandemic. And I think you know, as we get into that, what we see is that the thing that I think too often gets overlooked is the simple fact first of all, that nearly half the world doesn't have access to the web at all. Now that really came to life when I was looking at the story. Just a couple of weeks ago of a woman in Colombia in the town of Uribia named Angela Montiel. She's in her 30s. She's got three children; she knits traditional bags and sells them on the streets. That's a job. That's what she normally does. When the pandemic started. She didn't have access to the internet didn't have a TV either. She had to rely on her neighbors for information. That information wasn't clear. And it wasn't initially clear what she and her family had to do in terms of hand washing, distancing, and so on the stuff that we're all now so familiar with. Then the lockdown came in Colombia, three children, then of course, we're out of school, no internet at home, they can't learn. There's nothing that they can do to keep up in the way that some other children in the same school can. She can't continue doing her job selling her bags on the street because they can't be out in the street. And unlike some others in her community who were able to switch their small businesses like hers to selling online, she can't do that she can't work. There's no money coming in and locked down at home with no internet and no TV. There's zero information that she said we don't know if it's still going on. And she's relying on phone calls from friends and family to let them know the state of this extraordinary pandemic. So that's the reality of this crisis without the web that we will come to and I can't imagine if you or I or many of the people listening to this, were in that situation with the impact on our economic wellbeing our health, our mental health, our kids’ education, all of those things that add up to our experience of life being so deeply damaged when we don't have that access to the web.
There's a ton of things I could pick up on from that statement alone. I think I want to talk just for a moment about some of the pieces that you've released in recent months. And some of the content has been amazing. And just flicking through the news section on your website of the recent weeks has been a real joy. And it's helped me understand the gravity of what you guys are doing. There was a piece just recently on the 14th of July, that was entitled, there's a pandemic of online violence against women and girls. And there are some truly shocking statistics in there. I think there was a survey downward 50% of the young women and girls that were surveyed had experienced online abuse, and that in my mind is only getting worse. Okay, the world wide web was meant to be a source for good. It's going to be a safe place to be. It's meant to be a source of innovation, connectivity, a level of playing fields, but when you read things like that, you just can't help but realize that actually, for many people, it's not those things, and it's a place to do bad and we have to be so careful. How do we go about creating and ensuring we have an internet that serves that purpose and is safe for everyone.
Well, let me tell you that in two parts, first of all, there's specific contexts that you raised it in. And I'm really glad you did, because as you said, the web in various ways, Tim Berners-Lee invented it, as we both know, has said this himself, the web is not working for women, as it should. First of all, there's a gender digital divide, men are 21% more likely to be online than women, that rises to more than 50% more likely in the world's least developed countries. But as you say, that's just the start of the problem. We've got to not only tackle the digital barriers to people getting online, women and girls getting online, but also the experience when they are there. And this example that you cited that we have been working on recently, we're really passionate about this and really determined to make a difference on it. Because the problem of online gender-based violence all of the various ways in which women can be harassed can be intimidated can be affected directly by violence because of their online relationships, their online experience. That's a problem that's growing. And it's got to be addressed. And by the way, it's particularly a problem for women of color. The intersectional dimension of this is really important too. But what we found in our work recently is that, as you said, 52% of young women and girls have experienced online abuse. The problems got worse during this pandemic. Women around the world have experienced a rise in online gender-based violence it threatens their ability to access and share information to claim education and health services to maintain employment, income generation opportunities. And you know what Sam this is, you know, people sometimes think of this as sort of a, either a marginal issue which of course is not because it directly affects more than half the world and affects all of us in different ways too. But it's also a significant data rights issue. The online harassment of women for example, we know that far too often women are subject to serious privacy violations like the sharing of non-consensual images, cyber stalking, doxing, surveillance by abusive partners or former partners, that's clearly a safety issue. But at its heart, it's also about data and information and privacy. And that's why we think it's so important for people and organizations interested in the power of data to focus on this issue too. It's really something that's not a not a marginal issue. It's right to the heart of all the things that we think about each day.
We're going to come to data privacy in just a moment, actually, because unsurprisingly, with the keeping of the title of the podcast, it's something we're very keen to talk about. But one of the things I want to talk about is the responsibility of those who use the web. Yeah, I have a seven month old son who, when he's crying, if I hand him a mobile phone, I can watch a video and be in total silence for an hour, the internet, the web, it's become a lifeline for everyone in every sense, whether it's a crying baby, or it's understanding what the latest news is on the pandemic, that's going to affect you and your family. Which means that it's a responsibility for everyone. But not everyone sees it as a responsibility and I‘ve used that word a few times because as you know, I feel very passionately about that. How are you thinking about the future? How are you thinking about engaging the next generation, the people who are going to ultimately dictate the path? And how good or bad how light or dark this thing goes?
Well, I think it absolutely comes down to responsibility in a number of senses, as you say, I mean, we're enormously proud and excited to be working in partnership with Dun and Bradstreet at the web Foundation, to build a real focus on this on the responsibility, particularly of the next generation of younger people who are coming through who are or will be leaders in business, in government, in civil society, in all parts of society, because it's got to be on them. In fact, it's already on them to understand their role and their responsibility as leaders to care for and to nurture and to promote and defend the web as a public good for everyone. And one of the ways that we've done this is to talk about a Contract for the Web, as you know, where we bring together either an understanding of three different groups of people, governments, companies, and all of us as citizens. And in each case, we've now got, you know, not only a set of sort of important top line principles, but a very gritty, detailed set of clauses. 76 clauses all together make up this Contract for the Web. They don't all apply to everyone because they're breaking down by governments and companies and citizens. But in each case, there's a number of things that we're challenging ourselves to hold ourselves to a new standard on, whether it's on ensuring that governments make sure people can access the web and that they are not blocking access to the web in different parts of the world at different times, and so on. Whether it's about companies ensuring that right at the design stage that they're building in the interest of humanity, if you like, and the best interest of users citizens, as they design their products for use online and building on social media and so on. Well, whether it's all of us as citizens, building, the habits and the norms and the courtesies and the respect for others that, you know, we would expect and we hold ourselves to offline, building those habits online too. So it does come down to that sense of, as you say, responsibilities, and we call it a Contract for the Web, because it is intended to be that a contract where, you know, different parties to come together, we recognize there are different interests, but there are some common interests too. And we say, you know, if you do your part, and if they do their part, and I do my bit, then we can actually get a result that we're all keen to see, which is the promotion of that original vision that Tim Berners-Lee set out now 31 years ago, that the web should be a force for good, power for good for everyone, not just for half the world.
Thank you. And I wouldn't normally do a call to action, but there's many individuals out there who support the World Wide Web Foundation. I was delighted to see recently that Craig Newmark was a donor and Craig's a wonderful man and donated a substantial amount to support the fight for the web that we want the title, and I do employ anyone who feels as passionately about as I and Craig Adrian about this stuff to go to the World Wide Web Foundation page and donate. Because I really do think that people take this for granted and some talk a good talk, but it's actions that count. And the work that you guys are doing is just terrific. It really is.
We really appreciate that. That partnership with Craig Newmark is fantastic the partnership we have with Dun and Bradstreet and all you guys have done to build that with us and with others too. And as you say, you know, we don't sit on a big endowment, the inventor of the web, spoiler alert, gave it away and gave it to the world for free. So we're not sitting on some sort of multibillion dollar endowment that will see this organization through, we rely on the partnerships and the support of those organizations and individuals who, who share our passion for ensuring that the web does serve as a public good for everyone. And at a time like this. We need that support more than ever.
I completely agree. Yeah, it's fair to say government should think about a web tax. Anyone who uses the web for the business should have to sort of thinking about a school have you think about the huge amounts of wealth that firms like the Facebooks and the Googles have created through this. And you know, if it were electricity, the World Wide Web Foundation would be very well endowed. But let's move on. And let's talk about data privacy. And I can't help but think in quite some detail really about the outbreak of COVID-19. There's been such a wealth of information created to understand and develop strategies to tackle it. We've been doing exactly that with data, Dun and Bradstreet for world's governments and some of the world's most high performing companies. And data subsequently plays such a significant role, particularly as those countries and those technology companies look to develop applications to monitor and assess people who have come into contact with the virus. Very understandably, many people have been concerned about that idea of sharing personal data with companies and with the governments. And that's not a new fear, but they do fear that the data will be misused. And you recently wrote a policy brief on data and privacy and you set out the using data and smart, innovative ways to tackle the pandemic doesn't have to mean putting a pause on human rights or lowering your personal bar for privacy. So long as we have the right safeguards in place, and I think safeguards being the critical word there. Can you talk a little bit about what those safeguards would be and how using data by COVID-19 doesn't mean lowering that bar.
You know, the sense of this being a false choice, I think is the heart of all this the idea that you can safeguard privacy, and also use data in an appropriate way to fight a pandemic. You know, we say that you don't have to make that choice that there is a way of coming to accommodating both those necessary interests. I mean, one of the earliest examples of epidemiology using data was in 19th century Britain when there was of course, widespread belief that diseases like cholera, and bubonic plague and so on were caused by polluted air and it was only as a cholera outbreak took hold in central London. I think it was in Soho that it was data that challenged that incorrect theory of transmission by a team that plotted cases and observing that the main number of cases were clustered around a water pump in Soho, identify the pump as the source, remove the pump handle, solve the problem, you know, data saving lives, even way back then in the early part of the last century, or the century before, in fact, so we know the power of data to make a difference to our lives. And we know that we have to protect it to and the privacy of our data. You know, I think the ways that we come at that is to say that, first of all, we have to put the right safeguards in place and the proper oversight. We need strong privacy rules that enable data to be used in a protective way. And actually in the UK, and in the European Union. Of course, we have a strong foundation for that in the GDPR framework. Far from being burdensome blockers to using data good privacy frameworks actually anticipate these kinds of situations emergency situations and provide clear guidance for the safe and the appropriate use of data when it's most needed and COVID-19, of course has underlined the importance for all countries of having those comprehensive privacy rules. But public trust is essential to, to ensure support for using data. If people don't trust governments or companies to treat their data properly, then cooperation with things like symptom reporting, and contact tracing, is going to be too low to be effective, so strong and enforced data protection rules actually help to provide clarity and to build that trust in the public that their data will be used effectively, and appropriately. So you know, we think it's a matter of getting that right balance of recognizing that these are extraordinary times, but even in extraordinary times, or perhaps particularly those times, privacy considerations can be accommodated and must be accommodated, if we're to actually have public trust and support for us using that data to address the problem.
Thank you. So tell me, Adrian, and we're going to get out of the COVID-19 bubble for a moment, hoping that it is a bubble and talk to the future. Where do you see the foundation going? And what are some of the priorities you think that the foundation will look to tackle in the next coming decades in.
The coming decades, that's a long time frame Sam, and you know, in the time that we're in of course, it can be difficult to look beyond the next few months even in this period of peak uncertainty that some have described is as. But we do believe that actually, the first job for us to do over the next 10 years or so is to make sure people can connect to the web. And we said earlier on that just over half of the world's population are connected. Now, that's a dramatic advance on where we were 10 years ago, even, but still a long way to go. And we need concerted action by companies and by governments and others, to ensure that the increased access to the web doesn't stop just where the market stops, we need to go beyond that we need to recognize that you know, this is as fundamental a need as something like, you know, water or electricity, then there's a role for both governments and for companies to play in ensuring we meet that need. The second thing I think, is to recognize that of course, you know, being connected is not just a sort of binary rather simple or simplistic off on sort of experience, that 53% of the world that is connected are in a massive range of different situations. There's, you know, you and I, and many people listening to this who are probably connected on a minute by minute basis through the day on multiple devices with reliable connections and download speeds, and so on. There's also at the other end of the spectrum, people who have very, very limited access to the web, they technically count, but they can't get on more than perhaps every couple of weeks for a limited time. They have limited data packages, they may be accessing the web on a very basic phone. And all of that doesn't add up to meaningful connectivity. And we've built this idea of meaningful connectivity as a new standard, that we're working with the UN and governments and others to establish as something that all of us can work towards. So having an understanding that being connected and meaningfully so needs to mean not just actually being online, but having a device that works. Having a data package, that means you get a reliable and meaningful connection, so on. So that's something that we're working on. And I think over the next few years, we'll see that come to the fore as a more useful understanding of what connection really means. And then the final thing, I think, is to go right back to what we were talking about earlier about, you know, trying to change the weather, as well as tacking with the wind, you know, the Web Foundation, with our partners has, I think, a really important job to do to be that voice for the web, and to defend that founding vision that Tim Berners-Lee had all those years ago, that it should be truly for everyone. And that's not going to happen just by you know, even enlightened government leaders, ministers, and so on. And enlightened chief executives of major companies, that's going to happen because millions of people around the world value it and say so, and they can do that in many ways. One way right now people can do that is by signing up to the Contract for the Web as an individual citizen and doing your part there. But I think over the coming years, we'll be wanting to build more and more ways that we can ensure that the web and the internet are really understood as being critical parts of our lives, and yet not to be taken for granted. We don't automatically get those things anymore than we automatically get clean water coming out of our tap every day, in the morning. It's there because there's been investment in it. And it's there because we've all agreed that this is something that everyone should be entitled to as a basic need and a fundamental right. And the same should be true for the web.
Sometimes when I'm talking with you, Adrian, my mind starts to wander on the disparity that could be created that wealth gap, that opportunity gap is created between the 50% that are online, the 50% are offline. And now when I asked about the future, in my mind goes to places where we live in a world of the internet of things where those with internet have suddenly many more opportunities where your fridge talks your car talks, your bank account talks to your grocery store and lo and behold, your food turns up on the doorstep or a world where 10 years down the line or even when my son starts to drive, my son won't start to drive, my son would even believe that there are cars parked out on the street, press a button and the car will turn up and there won't be a driver in it. And he'll get to work and the world will save a billion hours a day on commuting time. And so it's moments like that, where you allow your mind to wander for those that have access for those that are privileged. And then you think about those that don't. And that's the importance of it. Yeah, the world can go so much farther, further, so much faster. If everyone has access to the internet. What are some of the big initiatives that you're aware of, to help put the web in the hands of those that need it most?
Well, there's an awful lot going on in a whole range of channels. At the moment there are governments doing great work in places like Ghana and Rwanda to connect citizens on a much faster rate than perhaps was seemed possible before. There is great work being done by private companies both to expand the coverage of mobile technology so that more people can connect but crucially, also, to ensure that people have the digital skills, they need that basic digital literacy to be able to interact online in a meaningful way. And there are great civil society organizations who are looking out for privacy concerns, who are looking out to ensure that those hardest to reach are reached by efforts to get the world connected. You know, there's work going on across the world. I think also, one of the things that's been really important that's been really apparent in the last few months during this pandemic, is that we've all been reminded that this is not just a kind of, you know, for those living in high connectivity countries like the UK and the US and most of Europe. This is not just about a problem over there, if you like, you know, in another part of the world, in Africa or in South Asia, or Latin America. Actually, this is a challenge right here. You know, in the UK, we all know, don't we stories in the last few months of friends who have children who have not been able to get online when they've been at home and therefore not able to keep up with schoolwork. And in the US, I think it's the fact that one in three homes in New York City don't have broadband, at home in Spain, I think one in five households don't have a computer. So this is not just a sort of a somewhere else problem. It's an everywhere problem, which in a way is exciting, because it means we all really have a direct stake in we understand this more in the last few months than ever before in its success in our shared efforts to overcome that challenge, you know, if we can build a web that really is for everyone, and that really is a public good serving humanity, and that's going to benefit ourselves, our families, our communities, our neighbors and people we will never meet in other parts of the world, but with whom we share a common humanity.
We've spoken a lot about the challenges that are faced but there are so many good things, so many good things, almost an equal amount, I'm sure. Yeah, Dun and Bradstreet, one of the greatest privileges, I've certainly had in my role here in a relatively short period of time, is seeing some of the good data can do through that connectivity. It doesn't matter if you're a small business, and you've got your DUNS number and you're looking to grow and you need to do a credit assessment, and you want to use Dun and Bradstreet products to help borrow that money. Or if you're a large organization like a bank, and you need to use data and analytics and Dun and Bradstreet tools to ensure that you're not lending money or money laundering to the wrong people. That stuff is really powerful. And I love the fact that we work with companies and governments on this essential stuff to derive really actionable insights. By the way, there's so much bigger, so much bigger and there are some incredible stories of innovation of opportunity. What are some of your favorite statistics or stories from the web?
The stories that have come in all the time I heard a story just the other day of hospice focused on younger people in Scotland. I believe that during this pandemic has been able to shift as their physical interest with young people that they care for have been so interrupted, they've been able to shift so much of that interaction to online. And I've found actually, they've been able to support those young people with their mental health and with building their futures, in a way, actually, possibly even more powerfully than they were able to do before from the account that I heard. That's just one example of how the web is making a difference and in ways that perhaps surprise us, you know, it's not just in the fact, the very important fact that of course, the web can help to keep economies afloat. And it certainly has done that in this last period. In many parts of the world. It's not just that it can make a profound difference to each of our individual or family economics. It's also that it can connect us with family with friends, it can help us overcome loneliness, it can help us keep young people engaged and connected with the world around them. And also that it can be a champion for facts for the truth for data that actually describes the reality. Rather than the misinformation that perpetuates the opposite of that.
Your story just then on hospices. An example of I think health care reminded me of one of my favorite financial technology companies. In fact, Greensill is run by a chap Lex Greensill. So at the very start of the outbreak, bought an Australian company about halfway through March that allows you to draw down on your salary as you earn, not in that hugely antiquated every 30 days, they bought this company called Earned. And they launched it in the UK almost immediately. And they allowed NHS workers to use it for free to draw down on their salary to ensure that was that putting their lives on the line on the front line, that they weren't going to have the same financial stresses because they could budget on a daily basis, not on this ridiculous 30 month basis that the world finds itself in. And that's an example one of our partners, one of my favorite companies. But that's an example of data analytics, technology, and ultimately, the web coming together to do some real good I loved hearing about through COVID-19.
That's fantastic. I think it also underlines where the web works at its best is where it's in the hands of people who share a set of common values, and who have an ambition and see the creative potential of the web to align that technology. And it's great, enormous capability and potential to those values to make the world healthier, more prosperous, better in so many different ways, and indeed, more equal and more fair to. And when we hear stories like that, it just makes me enormously positive about especially what the next generation of leaders can do with the web. You know, Tim Berners-Lee always says he invented the web, but everybody else built it. And the way it's going to be built over the next couple of decades, further built by a generation of leaders who are in their, perhaps 20s and 30s now is really exciting. And as part of our partnership, we're looking at how we can perhaps bring the some of those leaders of tomorrow together perhaps later this year. I'm really excited about the possibility of an event that might really celebrate that potential and point towards that sense of the responsibility on everyone's shoulders, but particularly on younger people shoulders to carry forward that vision for the web in the next few years.
Quite right. You mentioned the event in November, we're hosting with the foundation. I couldn't look forward to that anymore, because I think we find ourselves with a generation now who wants to affect positive change and bringing together ambitious young leaders early on in their career, to think about things like this is going to be so powerful, you know, like compounded interest, we're talking about compounded energy. And if we start compounding it early on that collaboration that thought leadership that will happen amongst the young thinking about the future of the web will be I really do believe in measurably powerful and productive. Before we finish up, Adrian, I always like asking this question, but I also particularly like asking you to you, I've had the huge privilege of spending time with Tim and Rosemary. Historically, I've had the incredible privilege of spending quite a lot of time with Tim in China once and you get to spend time with a great mind like that every day. And you spent time with other amazing people who have been some of the most influential on your journey, and who have you drawn the most inspiration from in your career,
I would be nowhere near wherever it is, I've got to in my career without extraordinary examples of inspiration and mentorship and support and leadership from people I've worked for and worked with over the years. I've been very fortunate in that respect. And Tim Berners Lee, you know, since you mentioned him, I couldn't not mention him, as someone who you know, has had this incredible impact on the world, and yet is also deeply personally interested in the small things to, you know, people's wellbeing in our team, you know, how are people doing and so on. Those very human touches are so appreciated and such a great example of leadership in my view, as well. But let me take another example to answer your question. If I go back a few years rather than too many years, actually for my liking now. To the days in the late 90s, when I was working on a campaign called Jubilee 2000, which sought to wipe out most of the debts of some of the poorest countries in the world as an active justice in the year 2000 debts that had been actually serviced and paid many times over and yet was still there. So I was deputy director of that campaign. The director of the campaign was a remarkable woman called Ann Petaphor, who still is a great visionary leader. And here's what I learned from her, you know, she was brave, fearless, uncompromising, and tended to have the effect of kind of leaving debris in her wake. Metaphorically, of course, when she got things done, she would lead from the front and took territory in the most impressive way. But sometimes he in a way that left a few again, metaphorical bodies that needed patching up and my role, I realized at that time was to come in behind her and say, Sorry, sorry, everybody, and pick people up a bit and re-erect the fences that have been crashed down, but of course, we put those fences a few yards further down then they were before and we’d gain some territory. And I think that example of brave leadership, but also that important combination that every great team finds that balance of different styles, different personalities, different strengths. For me, that was also what I learned from that experience that every great leader needs the great team around them. And I've also not only had the chance to learn a lot from people I've worked for, but I've also learned a great deal from people that have worked in my teams, including right now at the Web Foundation, where we have, as you know, very well, just a wonderful bunch of people who were spread quite thinly across the world, 30 others in 12, or 13 different countries, and asked to do more than anyone might reasonably ask because it's such a big mission, and there's so much to do, and so many requests for help and so on. And yet that team keeps coming up and coming back and going again and making a difference every day in what they do. And I mean, obviously proud to be part of that team.
Yeah, I mean, having had the pleasure of spending time with many of your colleagues, it is a truly room. With a bear a heavy cross each day with the challenge ahead, but what positivity and energy they bring to the office. I really can't wait to get back there and see people. Adrian to finish with, whilst we're talking about the team, everyone on the team doing well and safe.
Yeah the team are well and safe. Yes. And of course, if the Web Foundation can't find a good way to work remotely, and use the power of the web, then we're all in trouble. So yeah, is somewhat familiar territory for many of my colleagues, I tell you, what is a bit unusual is not so much getting used to working from home, but it's with other people, so our spouses or our flat mates or whatever. So it's notable and sometimes quite fun to see the other things going on around my colleagues as they're at the kitchen table or, you know, perched on the edge of the sofa, trying to take par in a zoom call or whatever and get some work done, but they're doing well. And as you say, I like everyone looking forward to getting back to whatever the right new normal, the right balance should be for our working lives in the months ahead.
I'm pleased to hear it, and Adrian as always such a pleasure to talk to you and best wishes from Dun and Bradstreet to the World Wide Web foundation. We look forward to seeing you all soon and thank you most importantly for being on the power of data podcast.
Thanks, Sam. Always great to talk with you and we really appreciate the passion of this partnership and looking forward to building that in the months ahead.
Awesome. Take care.