‘Our country is in a cyberwar’: Inside the White House summit with Hadi Partovi of Code.org

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Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi. (GeekWire File Photo)

President Joe Biden brought together top executives from the nation’s biggest technology, financial services and energy companies this week to address the growing challenge of cybersecurity, speaking to tech leaders including Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“The federal government can’t meet this challenge alone,” Biden said in his public remarks to open the meeting. “I’ve invited you all here today because you have the power and the capacity and the responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cybersecurity. And so, ultimately, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

So what happened next? And did any real solutions emerge? Our guest on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast was in the closed-door meeting. Seattle-area investor and entrepreneur Hadi Partovi, CEO of computer science education nonprofit Code.org, shares details and key takeaways on this week’s show.

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[Hadi Partovi, lower right in the photo above, with President Joe Biden and other tech and business leaders at the White House cybersecurity summit this week.]

In the third segment, Partovi reflects on his own childhood in Iran, as a 6-year-old during the 1979 revolution, later immigrating to the U.S. with his family, and finding success as a computer scientist and entrepreneur along with his twin brother, Ali, who joined him in founding Code.org. Hadi Partovi now finds himself asking if the children in Afghanistan today will find the same opportunities as they did.

Read his full thread on that topic and see our earlier coverage.

Listen to the full episode above, subscribe to GeekWire in any podcast app, and continue reading for edited highlights from Partovi’s comments.

What it was like inside the event: It was a very unique event. It’s not my first time being at the White House, but it was my first time with this administration. And it was, for sure, the first time with the collective set of people who were there.

President Biden hosted a summit for cybersecurity, inviting the CEOs of the largest technology companies, and CEOs across financial services, energy, insurance,…

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