Like many leaders in Silicon Valley, Box CEO Aaron Levie was a vocal supporter of Secretary Clinton. But after the shocking U.S. election outcome, the industry has been reflecting about what the next president could mean for the community.
We sat down with Levie for an interview at Box headquarters in Redwood City. While it’s difficult to know what the capricious Trump will actually do, Levie talked about what to expect on immigration, privacy and regulation.
It’s necessary to “ensure that we protect the values that we know are incredibly important to our ability to having a thriving economy,” said Levie. At this point, our only option is to “move forward in a productive way, to make sure we do come up with productive solutions.”
Trump has changed his mind several times about the H-1B program, which allows high-skilled workers like engineers to come here on non-immigrant visas. Some in the tech community are worried that it will soon become harder to hire the most capable people.
“We benefit from talent coming from all around the world,” said Levie. They “ultimately help improve our economy and our competitiveness.”
And when it comes to the diverse population that already exists in the U.S., Levie expressed concern that the often racist and sexist rhetoric that we saw during the Trump campaign will bleed into the workforce.
“We want to make sure our employees know that we are creating environments that are going to be safe and inclusive for them,” he said.
Some are also wondering what the new presidency could mean for privacy. If Trump’s Apple boycott is any indication of things to come, then tech companies should expect to get more surveillance requests.
“The long-term safety interests of our country…are going to have to be weighed against short-term safety interests when you think about having access to this data and these devices,” said Levie.
And Trump’s indecision could create a problem for business leaders, who don’t know what will happen with Dodd-Frank and other regulation. “How are we going to be able to work in that environment when you have that uncertainty and unpredictability?”
For more on our conversation with Levie, watch the above video.