Featured Speakers

Looking for mind-expanding presentations by industry leaders? SXSW Conference Featured Speakers bring together some of the biggest and brightest names of our time.


Featured Speakers

2017 SXSW Featured Speaker, Melanie Lynskey – Photo by Errich Petersen

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About Featured Speakers

 

SXSW Conference speakers come from all over the globe. When you attend the many workshops, conversations, and panels at the event, expect to hear from technology industry experts, filmmakers, artists, music supervisors, actors, publicists, legends, journalists, and much, much more.

Across the various themes and trends at SXSW, Featured Speakers present a snapshot of the most transformative ideas shaping our future. Browse 2018 Featured Speakers below and stay tuned to SXSW News for 2018 programming announcements throughout the season.

For more big-name speakers at SXSW, also browse the Keynotes page.

2018 Featured Speaker Lineup

 

Featured Speaker sessions bring together some of the biggest and brightest names of our time for mind-expanding presentations. These high-profile sessions present the key leaders and top trends impacting the SXSW community. Learn more about our 2018 lineup of confirmed speakers below.

Luvvie Ajayi (Social Impact) – Luvvie Ajayi, the New York Times best-selling author of I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual, is a speaker and digital strategist who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology and activism. A fourteen-year blogging veteran, she is the voice behind Awesomely Luvvie, a widely-respected humor blog that covers everything pop culture – from TV, movies, and technology to travel, race, and life’s random adventures.

Dave Asprey (Health & Wellness) – Dave Asprey is the founder and CEO of Bulletproof 360, a high-performance coffee and food company, and creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee. He is a two-time New York Times bestselling author, host of the Webby award-winning podcast Bulletproof Radio, and has been featured on the Today Show, Fox News, Nightline, CNN, and dozens more.

Steve Ballmer (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Steve Ballmer is co-founder of Ballmer Group and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Ballmer retired as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft in 2014 after leading the company for nearly 14 years. He remains a significant investor. Through philanthropy and civic activism, Ballmer Group strengthens promising and proven approaches that increase economic mobility for children and families in the United States. Ballmer also leads USAFacts, a project seeking to improve transparency in government.

W. Kamau Bell (Social Impact) – W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian based in The People’s Republic of Berkeley, Calif. Bell is the host of the Emmy Award-winning CNN Original Series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. The series also received an Emmy and a Television Critics Association Award nomination in its first season. The third season of United Shades will premiere in 2018 on CNN.

Stefan Blom with Josh Constine (Sync, Stream & License) – Stefan Blom is Chief Content Officer at Spotify. In his role as CCO he has responsibility for the company’s content and distribution operations, including all licensing, programming, studios & original content, industry & creators relationships and products globally. Prior to his role at Spotify, Mr. Blom held senior positions at EMI Music, most recently as CEO and Chairman of the group’s Nordic operations, and prior to that as EVP Commercial Development in a global capacity. Josh Constine is the Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch where he specializes in deep analysis of social products.

Sandy Carter (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Sandy Carter is an Amazon Web Services VP focused on Enterprise Workloads and helping companies with innovation. A leading pioneer in the digital business revolution, Sandy was a driving force of Innovation at IBM for the last decade. She is an extreme innovator and bestselling author with her 5th book Extreme Innovation, built on her research with Carnegie Mellon.

Jocelyn Conn, Akash Goyal, Ramin Hedayati, Hasan Minhaj, and Matt Negrin (Featured Session | News & Journalism) – Jocelyn Conn is the Senior Coordinating Producer for The Daily Show. Akash Goyal is the Vice President of Multiplatform Content Strategy at Comedy Central. Ramin Hedayati is the Supervising Producer and oversees Digital Expansion at The Daily Show. Hasan Minhaj is a Daily Show Correspondent, and a comedian, actor and writer in New York. Matt Negrin works on The Daily Show‘s Digital Expansion team and social media channels.

Ana Marie Cox and Bree Newsome (Social Impact) – Ana Marie Cox is a political columnist and culture critic. She conducts the “Talk” interviews featured in The New York Times Magazine. She also hosts With Friends Like These, a podcast from Crooked Media. Bree Newsome is a community organizer and activist who removed the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House. Newsome rallies the spirit with her impassioned message about racial equality and illustrates how, with courage, zeal and the support of others, ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference.

Mark Cuban (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Mark Cuban is an American businessman, investor, author, television personality, and philanthropist. Cuban is the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, chairman and CEO of AXS tv, one of ABC’s “Sharks” on the hit show Shark Tank, and an investor in an ever-growing portfolio of businesses.

Jeff Fager and Charlie Rose (News & Journalism) – Jeff Fager is the Executive Producer of 60 Minutes, now entering its 50th season, the most-watched news program in America. Charlie Rose is the co-host of CBS This Morning and contributing correspondent to 60 Minutes. Rose continues to serve as executive editor and host of “Charlie Rose,” which appears nightly on PBS.

Audrey Gelman (Workplace) – Audrey Gelman is co-founder and CEO of The Wing, a company that builds co-working and community spaces for women. Prior to founding The Wing, Gelman worked in politics and public affairs in New York and Washington D.C.

Ira Glass (News & Journalism) – Ira Glass is the host and creator of the radio program and podcast This American Life. The show is heard each week by over 2.2 million listeners on more than 500 public radio stations in the United States, Australia and Canada, with another 2.5 million listening to the podcast. Under Glass’s editorial direction, This American Life has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including five Peabody awards.

Kristina Halvorson (Brands & Marketing) – Kristina Halvorson is the CEO and founder of Brain Traffic, a content strategy consultancy; the founder of Confab Events, a content strategy conference series; and the author of Content Strategy for the Web. Halvorson is an expert in creating content strategies that fuel exceptional customer experience.

Dan Harris (Workplace) – Dan Harris is the co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. Harris wrote a book about his journey into meditation, 10% Happier, which became #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. His success led to his creation of a meditation app and the 10% Happier podcast.

Tristan Harris (Design) – Tristan Harris was previously a Design Ethicist at Google and left to lead Time Well Spent, a non-profit movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to transform the race for attention by revealing how technology steers two billion people’s thoughts and choices, and by demonstrating how new incentives and design practices can transform our technology environment to align with our best interests. Harris has spent a decade researching what influences our minds, drawing on insights from sleight.

Hugh Herr, Aimee Mullins, and Professor Hans Georg Näder (Intelligent Future) – Time Magazine coined Dr. Hugh Herr the ‘Leader of the Bionic Age’ because of his revolutionary work in the emerging field of Biomechatronics – technology that marries human physiology with electromechanics. Athlete and model Aimee Mullins became the first amputee in history to compete in the NCAA and was the first person ever to be outfitted with woven carbon fiber sprinting prostheses. She then went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump and has since built a career in film and television. Hans Georg Näder heads the world’s largest prosthetic and orthotic manufacturers dedicated to help people regain their mobility. A third-generation family-owned business, Ottobock and has worked with the Paralympics since 1988, producing hockey sledges and custom prosthetics for skiers, snowboarders, and sprinters.

Steve Huffman with Christine Lagorio-Chafkin (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Steve Huffman is CEO and co-founder of Reddit, a social news site and the home of conversation online. At 22, Steve co-founded Reddit with college roommate, Alexis Ohanian. Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is the senior writer at Inc. whose work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.

Dean Kamen (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Dean Kamen is the founder of DEKA Research & Development and FIRST® and has contributed to society through his prolific inventions and innovative contributions. Kamen’s newest mission, as Chairman and Executive Director of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), is ushering in a new era of regenerative medicine and creating a manufacturing industry for human tissue and organs that will benefit the health of millions.

Savan Kotecha (Music Industry) – Savan Kotecha is a Golden Globe and Grammy nominated songwriter. Kotecha has been the recipient of 9 BMI Awards, and 15 ASCAP awards. His songs have achieved number-one status all over the world with artists such as The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, One Direction, Usher, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, and many more.

Dr. Fei-Fei Li with Joanne Chen (Intelligent Future) – Dr. Fei-Fei Li is the Chief Scientist of Google Cloud, AI/ML. Li continues to hold her position at Stanford University as an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department, and as the Director of the Stanford AI Lab and the Stanford Vision Lab. Joanne Chen is a partner at Foundation Capital where she works with passionate entrepreneurs who leverage data assets to disrupt business functions.

Yiying Lu (Design) – Yiying Lu was born in Shanghai China, Educated in Sydney Australia & London UK, now based in San Francisco Silicon Valley as a Creative Director. She is an award-winning artist and designer with more than 10 years of experience in the creative realm. Lu was named a “Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation” in the Microsoft Next 100 series.

Joseph Lubin with Laura Shin (Intelligent Future) – Joseph Lubin is co-founder of blockchain platform Ethereum, a decentralized application platform incorporating a virtual machine that executes peer-to-peer contracts paid for via micro-payments of the cryptocurrency ether. Laura Shin is a Forbes senior editor managing crypto and blockchain technology coverage. Shin is also the host of the Unchained: Big Ideas From The Worlds Of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Podcast.

David Marcus (Intelligent Future) – David Marcus is the Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook responsible for Messenger, which is used by hundreds of millions of people around the world daily. Marcus joined Facebook in 2014 from PayPal where he spent the previous two years as the company’s President and previously as Vice President of Mobile, leading its mobile products and business.

Bruce Mau (Design) – Bruce Mau is a brilliantly creative optimist whose love of thorny problems led him to create a methodology for whole system transformation. Twenty-five years in the business of design gave Mau the practical, holistic insights for going into the design of business with his Massive Change Network five years ago. In doing so he laid the foundation for the new discipline of enterprise design, successfully applying his design thinking methodology to economic, cultural, governmental, environmental and social change.

Tim O’Reilly (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc. O’Reilly Media delivers online learning, publishes books, runs conferences, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.

Daniel H. Pink (Workplace) – Daniel H. Pink is the author of several books about management, work and behavioral science, including The New York Times bestsellers Drive, To Sell is Human, and A Whole New Mind. His books have won multiple awards and have been translated into 35 languages.

Steven Pinker (Intelligent Future) – Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His upcoming book is entitled Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

Bob Richards (Intelligent Future) – Bob Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a Co-Founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation, and Moon Express, Inc., a space transportation and lunar resources company located at Cape Canaveral, where he currently serves as President and CEO.

Brian Solis (Brands & Marketing) – Brian Solis is Principal Analyst and Futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet and has been called one of the greatest digital analysts of our time by CMOs and CEOs of top brands. Additionally, Solis is an award-winning author of seven best-selling books including X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, What’s the Future of Business (WTF), and The End of Business as Usual.

Roy Spence (Workplace) – Roy Spence is the chairman and co-founder of the advertising agency GSD&M and author of the books The Amazing Faith of Texas and It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven By Purpose. Spence is also Co-Founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute which helps organizations and leaders discover and fulfill their purpose.

Bernard J. Tyson (Health & Wellness) – Bernard J. Tyson is the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals — known as Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Under Tyson’s leadership, Kaiser Permanente continues to focus on providing affordable, accessible, high-quality health care and improving the health of its members and communities.

Keith Urban (Music Culture & Stories) – Keith Urban is a premier songwriter, vocalist, musician and virtuoso guitarist. Over the course of his career, Urban has earned four Grammy Awards, ten Country Music Association Awards, eleven Academy of Country Music Awards, a People’s Choice and an American Music Award. His eighth studio album, RIPCORD, produced four #1 songs, bringing Urban’s total of #1s to twenty-two. Having achieved platinum status in 2016, one of only two country artists to hit that mark, Urban extends his historic streak (9) of platinum or multi-platinum albums.

Ingrid Vanderveldt (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Ingrid Vanderveldt is the Chairman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020). Previously, she was the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (“EIR”) for Dell Inc. where she oversaw entrepreneurial initiatives worldwide helping to build a $250 million business segment and founded the $125M Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell Founders Club, and the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs during her 3-year term.

Alisa Vitti (Health & Wellness) – Vitti is the founder of FLOliving.com, a virtual health center that supports women’s hormonal and reproductive health and the creator of MyFloTracker.com, the first biohacking menstrual app that uses functional medicine and phase-based recommendations to make your period better over time.

Cleo Wade (Social Impact) – Cleo Wade, an outspoken artist, speaker, poet, and the author of a forthcoming book, is an inspiring voice in today’s world for gender and race equality. She creates motivating messages, blending simplicity with positivity, femininity and arresting honesty. Her poems, accessible yet empowering, speak to a greater future for all women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, preaching love, acceptance, justice, and peace.

Amy Webb (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Amy Webb is an author, futurist and Founder of the Future Today Institute, a strategic foresight and futures forecasting company that advises the world’s leading businesses and governments. Forbes named Amy one of the world’s preeminent thinkers on the future impacts of technology.

Elaine Welteroth (News & Journalism) – As editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Welteroth leads Teen Vogue‘s editorial vision, while also expanding the brand’s presence through new consumer experiences and products. Welteroth is largely responsible for the expansion of Teen Vogue‘s coverage to include a wide range of feminist, social-justice, and political topics, alongside fashion, beauty, and entertainment news.

Lawrence Wright (Government) – Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of nine previous books of nonfiction including In the New World, Remembering Satan, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, Thirteen Days in September, and The Terror Years, and one novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. His latest book, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State, will be released in Spring 2018.

All speakers subject to change.

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