Danielle Newnham Podcast

Megan Smith, Founder of Shift7, Ex-US CTO to President Obama

Episode Summary

Megan Smith on her career at General Magic, Google and US CTO to Shift7 and how we can make tech more equitable

Episode Notes

Today’s guest is the incredible Megan Smith - award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. It would take me an hour to talk through Megan’s illustrious career but some of what we discuss in this episode includes working on multimedia products at Apple Japan, working on early smartphones at General Magic, 11 years at Google where she held a VP position, leading new business development including acquisitions of Google Earth, Maps, Picasa, she led Google.org, and later co-created Women Techmakers, and Solve for X before serving as the third U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to President Obama from 2014-2017, working on issues from AI, data science and open source, to inclusive economic growth, entrepreneurship, structural inequalities, government tech innovation capacity, STEM/STEAM engagement, workforce development, and criminal justice reform. 

Megan is currently founder and CEO of Shift7, a company working collaboratively on systemic social, environmental and economic problems -- finding opportunities to scout and scale promising solutions and solution makers and engage proven tech-forward, open, shareable practices to drive direct impact, together. 

Finally, Megan holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT where she is now a board member and Megan is also co-founder of the Malala Fund and UN Solutions Summit. She is also a board member of Vital Voices, LA Olympics 2028 and Think of Us, and is Algorithmic Justice League advisor and member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Academy of Engineering.

I told you she was impressive! But before we learn more about Megan’s story – a couple of quick notes. Firstly, we recorded this episode during the pandemic and so there are a few background noises we couldn’t eliminate. Secondly, I wanted to talk to you about sponsorship - if you want to sponsor this podcast, please do reach out and you can have your ad read by me, each week, at this point of the podcast and have your message reach over 120,000 founders and business leaders.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did.


Mentioned in this Interview:
Megan talks about her time at General Magic - worth watching this documentary on the now-famous company

Listen here to my interview with General Magic co-founder Andy Hertzfeld 

Megan mentions Dr Sue Black and her work at Tech Mums

and Sherry Coutu and her work at Founders 4 Schools

Coded Bias documentary

The Hōkūleʻa story can be found here


Danielle on Twitter @daniellenewnham and  Instagram @daniellenewnham

Megan on Twitter  @smithmegan

Shift 7 website / Twitter @shift7 / Instagram @shift7


This episode was hosted by me - Danielle Newnham, a recovering founder, author and writer who has been interviewing tech founders and innovators for ten years - and produced by Jolin Cheng. 

Let us know what you think of this episode and please rate, review and share - it means the world to me and helps others to find it too.