Rob Nail commentary on Bloomberg Businessweek article

Saturday, February 17, 2018

This past Thursday, Bloomberg Businessweek published an online article about SU that is also in the Businessweek print edition, which started to arrive in subscriber mailboxes yesterday.

Upon receiving the original online version of the story, I sent a message to the article’s author, indicating the existence of a number of factual and contextual errors. A number of the misleading items were from the earlier years of Singularity University, prior to the reformation of the organization into the Singularity Education Group – a California Benefit Corporation, continuing to operate under the Singularity University name – and have no current relationship to where SU is today and, more importantly, where our organization is going in the future.

There were, however, several points that inaccurately reported on current events at SU for which I and others on our leadership team felt created a mandate for commentary and correction. Accordingly, I sent the following statement to Bloomberg Businessweek yesterday:

Bloomberg Businessweek’s recent article on Singularity University ventured into past accusations, many of which associated with a predecessor organization and involved individuals who have not been a part of today’s Singularity Education Group (SU). While there are a number of points in the story that do not accurately reflect the recent realities of our organization, a few warrant specific correction.

In the sub-headline, it was stated that we lost funding from Google. In fact, while Google leadership reduced funding to GSP in light of our proactive decision to redevelop and relaunch the program, they reiterated their financial support for another SU startup initiative. Of equal importance, Google continues to invest and see further value in our organization. There were no other reasons beyond these for the change, and we understand Google is open to reevaluating its commitment to GSP at its relaunch. The article also suggested that a reduction in force involving 14 former staff members was the result of Google’s decision. In reality, we made the strategic business decision to postpone GSP and relaunch the program to enhance its value proposition months in advance of the Google decision. Supporting staff members no longer had an assignment during the redevelopment period. We felt it appropriate to make this reduction for the benefit of both the affected employees and the organization as a whole. Elsewhere in the article, it was implied that there were individuals who had been treated improperly during or at the conclusion of their relationship with SU. Any form of discrimination or impropriety is not and will not be tolerated at SU, and outside audits have confirmed repeatedly that our employment practices have been consistent and compliant.

With our new Board leadership and resources, SU is looking forward to further accelerating its pace in developing global leaders and solving the world’s most urgent problems.

-Rob Nail, Chief Executive Officer, Singularity Education Group

We’re not allowing this unfortunate article to distract us from last week's exciting news and the impact initiatives always underway at SU:

  • We welcomed a new group of investors to Singularity Education Group
  • Solid progress is being made on redevelopment of the Global Solutions Program, and​
  • As this is written, SU staff, faculty, and our local organizer are making final preparations for the SingularityU Australian Summit at ICC Sydney, further reinforcing our broad mission and global reach.

I’m more than encouraged about the path forward for the global SU community in addressing societal needs, both today and in the future. Our mission and focus on impact - in addition to building a sustainable organization - remain our highest priority. For those who already are involved in our work, thank you for your continued confidence. If you’re not yet involved with us, we invite you to explore other areas of this site to learn how you can join our cause.

-Rob Nail

Associate Founder and CEO

Singularity University