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Tech regulation will 'fall on startups': CTA Senior VP

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Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley sits down with CTA Senior Vice President of Political and Industry Affairs Tiffany Moore to discuss the transition to a virtual CES for the year, the state of the industry amid Big Tech anti-trust allegations, and what to expect from the companies at CES.

Video Transcript

DAN HOWLEY: We're here with Tiffany Moore, senior vice president of political and industry affairs at CTA. And Tiffany, I want to talk to you first about how CES is operating this year. Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic being ongoing means that people can't crowd into the halls and the hotels of Las Vegas. So how is the CTA handling CES?

TIFFANY MOORE: Well, I think we'd all love to be in Las Vegas right now. I'm missing, you know, being at CES so many consecutive years in Las Vegas. But we made the decision early that-- in the interest of safety, that we needed to make sure that the event would continue, but in a digital format.

So on the CES platform, you'll see an incredible and amazing list of exhibitors, but also conference sessions and thought leadership. So we approached it as, you know, the tech industry and built something extraordinary, partnering with Microsoft. And what you see on the digital platform is nothing short of remarkable.

DAN HOWLEY: I guess, when you have these kinds of companies coming together, I mean, you know, a lot of this has to do with being there and physically, you know, touching the products that you can or being able to see, you know, the sea, I guess, of TVs that are available. How do you think that's translating on the digital landscape?

TIFFANY MOORE: Well, I think our companies are being very creative in how they're engaging their audiences. If you take a look at the platform and some of the exhibitor sites, you know, they use all types of kind of multimedia to engage with their customers. And this is a moment in time. I think we can all say that in-person events are still important.

You know, we often talk about how much time CES saved so many business travelers because they're able to do so much business at CES in Las Vegas. So this is a moment in time, and we wanted to make sure that we put the best show together in a digital format and look forward to being back in Las Vegas.

DAN HOWLEY: So I wanted to change topics real quick. You know, obviously, you deal with political industry affairs. I want to kind of get your thoughts on the ongoing landscape with big tech. And we've talked about increased regulation, things of that kind of sort. Antitrust is an ongoing issue. I guess, as far as CTA's concerned, where does it stand on these kinds of issues of regulation and the kind of place that tech finds itself in the political arena?

TIFFANY MOORE: Well, there's no doubt the last week has definitely been difficult and trying, I think, for all of us, and particularly as it relates kind of to some of our platform companies. But it's an ongoing dialogue and conversation about kind of the role of tech. I think we're very encouraged, at least, with this incoming administration, that we can take a thoughtful approach and a thoughtful look at some of these issues. And there will be areas in which we do not agree, but we are very at least interested and happy to see that there'll be some process and some kind of, you know, steeped in kind of deep, factual policy discussions that we'll have with the new administration, but also in Congress.

When it comes to antitrust and competition, you know, I think our companies want to clearly understand the rules of the road. And particularly, if you're going to set the rules, we abide by them. But kind of change in the midstream is when we have some concerns. So we will engage with Congress in those conversations.

I will say, you know, we represent 2,000 companies within the entire tech ecosystem. And so while there's the focus on the bigger companies, particularly if you look at regulation, it will definitely fall on the startups and small businesses on how they implement these changes. And in some instances, it will prevent them from even being able to start a business. So we're always mindful of that. While the attention is focused maybe on the big companies, how is it going to affect small businesses and startups?

DAN HOWLEY: And just kind of as a final-- I know-- I want to dive into the diversity aspect of big tech. That's obviously been an issue for years in the industry. And you know, you wonder if it's improving, how it's improving, how it can improve. I guess, what's your standing on that, and how is CTA working to improve diversity in the workforce? Because I mean, after all, the more diverse, the better it is.

TIFFANY MOORE: Exactly. You've got it exactly, Dan. And we understand, as the tech industry, we need to continue to innovate, and we can't innovate with the same individuals at the table. And so I think our companies are doing just that. I don't think any industry is perfect. But you know, as I always say about tech, we're willing to show our work. And we may not get the answer right, but we're willing to show our work.

And if you look at some of the deep commitments that our companies have made-- broadly, but particularly in 2020-- I'll be having a conversation with the chief diversity officers of Intel and, you know, making sure that we kind of fully understand, what are the resources that we need-- that companies need-- to build a diverse workforce? And just not kind of getting talent, but how do you retain talent and make sure that folks aren't leaving these companies?

But we've got some incredibly talented chief diversity officers, and we've got companies that are committed. I think you'll even hear, broadly, when we think about broader conversations about racial justice, how these companies are approaching. They will be talking a little bit about how they're engaging not just their employees, which is very important, but also their customers and their consumers.

DAN HOWLEY: All right, Tiffany, thank you so much. Tiffany Moore, senior vice president of political and industry affairs at CTA, thank you so much.

TIFFANY MOORE: Always a pleasure. We'll see you in Vegas next year.