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.



2019 Featured Speakers


2018 Westworld Featured Session – Photo by Samantha Burkardt

2018 Westworld Featured Session – Photo by Samantha Burkardt

About Featured Speakers

 

Across the various themes and trends at SXSW, Featured Speakers present a snapshot of the most transformative ideas shaping our future.

Browse 2019 Featured Speakers below and for more influential speakers at SXSW, also browse the Keynotes page.

Stay tuned for more 2019 SXSW programming announcements throughout the season on SXSW News.

2019 Featured Speakers

 

Stacey Abrams (Cities, Government & Politics) — National political trailblazer Stacey Abrams served eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, and in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, when she won more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. She was the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. At SXSW, she’ll discuss her book Lead from the Outside, an invaluable guide for outsiders, written with an eye toward the challenges that hinder women, people of color, the working class, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make change. The book candidly discusses what Abrams has learned over the course of her impressive career in politics, business, and the nonprofit world: that differences in race, gender, and class provide vital strength, which we can employ to rise to the top and create real and lasting change.
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Activism, Do It for the Culture Featured Session (Social & Global Impact) — Since 2016, “We the People” has taken on a renewed, urgent importance — mass protest and action have led to the rise of “the resistance” and catapulted the American Civil Liberties Union’s mission into the daily national conversation. With millions of new members, exponential growth in donations, and volunteers pouring in all across the country, the ACLU is facing a new challenge: How do you take an established organization about to turn 100 years old — the same organization that championed political freedom in 1920 — and make sure it’s nimble enough for the civil rights and civil liberties fights of today? Hear from Anthony Romero (Executive Director, ACLU) in conversation with Ike Barinholtz (comedian, actor, writer, and director) to learn how we can all use our platforms for social good. (All speakers subject to change.)
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Pamela Adlon (Entertainment Influencers) – Pamela Adlon is an Emmy®-winning, critically-acclaimed actress, writer, producer, and director. Currently, she is the writer, director, executive producer and star of the award-winning FX comedy series Better Things. This semi-autobiographical series won a 2016 Peabody Award and was named one of the “Best Television Shows of 2017” by The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Slate, Vox, IndieWire, and NPR as well as “TV Show of the Year” by TIME. For her role, Adlon received a 2017 and 2018 Emmy Award nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” and a 2018 Golden Globes® nomination for “Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy” as audiences celebrated her raw, insightful voice and unapologetic, elevated commentary on motherhood, feminism, and the complexity of modern life. The series returns to FX for its third highly-anticipated season February 28.
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Amber Baldet (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) – Amber Baldet is co-founder and CEO of Clovyr, a company reshaping how businesses connect to each other and the world’s data. Having previously led JPMorgan’s blockchain efforts and appearing on 2017’s Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list of the most influential young people in business, Baldet “handily bridges the divide between the Wall Street and crypto sets.” Baldet also serves on the Board of the Zcash Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to building Internet payment and privacy infrastructure for the public good.
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A$AP Rocky and Gorden Wagener (Design) – A$AP Rocky is a cultural beacon that continues to move past the status quo and lead the pack by continuing to evolve, innovate, and disrupt the industry. With several accolades under his belt including being the first black male to ever be named the face of Dior, having his sophomore studio album AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP go platinum, a top 5 spot on opening weekend for his starring role in the critically-acclaimed and indie darling film Dope, and becoming a Creative Director for MTV and Viacom Velocity, he continues to prove that he’s not just a rapper that follows the status quo, but a creative force to be reckoned with. Gorden Wagener is the Chief Design Officer for Daimler AG. He joined Mercedes-Benz in 1997, and he was appointed as first Chief Design Officer of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Vans & Daimler Trucks at Daimler AG in 2016.
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Elizabeth Banks with Aidy Bryant (Entertainment Influencers) — Elizabeth Banks is a three-time Emmy nominated actress, producer, and director. She recently wrapped directing Charlie’s Angels, which she also wrote, produced, and will appear in as “Bosley.” Her latest series Shrill, which she produced through her company Brownstone Productions, will premiere March 15 on Hulu. Aidy Bryant is the star, writer, and co-executive producer of the upcoming Hulu series Shrill. Bryant is currently in her seventh season of Saturday Night Live. Bryant has received two Emmy award nominations and voiced the character of D.D. Danger in Amazon’s Emmy award winning animated children’s series Danger & Eggs.
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Lance Bass (Music Industry & Culture) – Lance Bass is the quintessential illustration of a highly successful and driven jack-of-all-trades: singer, host, actor, producer, writer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and cosmonaut. Beyond his fame as a member of the phenomenally successful group *NSYNC, where the group sold an impressive 80 million plus records worldwide, Bass has made himself a household name. Producing is his true passion with several films and television shows under his belt including: Boy Band Con, Lance Loves Michael-E! special, Celebrity Home Raiders, Kidnapped for Christ, Mississippi: I Am, The Grand, Lovewrecked and On the Line.
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Jim Bankoff and Soledad O’Brien (Media & Journalism) – Jim Bankoff is the Chairman and CEO of Vox Media, the pioneering media company known for building modern media properties and the platforms that enable them. Vox Media’s editorial networks and businesses include SB Nation, Eater, The Verge, Vox, Curbed, Recode & Code Conferences, Polygon, Vox Creative, Concert, Chorus, Vox Entertainment, and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Soledad O’Brien, an award-winning journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist, is founder and CEO of the Starfish Media Group. She anchors and produces Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien2, reports for HBO’s Real Sports and has authored two books. She has won numerous awards, including three Emmys, the George Peabody award, an Alfred I DuPont prize and the Gracie.
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Taylor Bennett (Music Industry & Culture) — Taylor Bennett is a successful artist, philanthropist, model, entrepreneur, songwriter, and producer. He is currently promoting his newly released video, “Streaming Services”, and album The American Reject. Bennett has performed at Lollapalooza and appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and more.
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A Better Future Through Digital Health Featured Session (Health & MedTech) — The U.S. health care system is big, complex, at times difficult to navigate, and expensive. The good news is that a fix is within our grasp: It’s digital, and consumers are willing to embrace it as long as it meets their needs and provides the level of quality they expect. Delivering this requires a full-on consumer-centric approach. Join David Ko (President and COO, Rally Health, Inc.), Sarah Martin (VP, Product and Consumer Innovation at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina) and Vickie Strickland (Director, Health Strategy & Resources Delta Air Lines) to learn their strategies for advancing the promise of digital health.
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Adam Bierman (Cannabusiness) – Adam Bierman is chief executive officer and co-founder of MedMen Enterprises. Bierman is an outspoken advocate of institutional practices, professional standards, and clear and reasonable regulations that will take the cannabis industry to its next phase. In 2010, Bierman and business partner Andrew Modlin started MedMen. The two visionary entrepreneurs saw not just a tremendous business opportunity in the growing legalization of marijuana, but a chance to re-define society’s relationship with cannabis. MedMen is one of the nation’s largest financial supporters of progressive marijuana legalization efforts at local, state, and federal levels.
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The Big Picture – The Ringer Live Podcast Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) — Ringer Editor-in-Chief Sean Fennessey sits down with Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers, does weekly Oscar recaps with culture editor Amanda Dobbins, and is joined by a rotating cast of Ringer staffers for top five lists and instant reactions to popular films.
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Blockchain Deathmatch: Permission-ed vs -less Session Featured Session (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) — Join Christopher Ferris (CTO Open Technology, IBM), Angela Walch (Professor of Law, St. Mary’s University School Of Law), Jimmy Song (Bitcoin Core Contributor & Venture Partner, Blockchain Capital), and moderator Cesare Fracassi (Professor of Finance, University of Texas at Austin) for a conversation about permissioned (private) blockchains and permissionless (public) blockchains.
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Jason Blum with John Pierson (Entertainment Influencers) — In 1993, John Pierson — a big shot who helped launch a number of first time American independent filmmakers including Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith, Rose Troche and Guin Turner — met Jason Blum, a kid fresh out of college, when they worked on a forgotten feature called My Life’s In Turnaround together. 25 years later, Jason and his company Blumhouse Productions have conquered the universe. Blum is a two-time Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer. His multi-media company is known for pioneering a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality micro-budget films. How the hell did he get from there to here and how do these two view that evolution?
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Brené Brown (Social & Global Impact) – Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of the #1 New York Times best-sellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. Brené Brown will be the SXSW 2019 Opening Speaker.
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Kimberly Bryant (Entrepreneurship & Startups) – Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. Prior to starting Black Girls CODE, Bryant enjoyed a successful 20+ year professional career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as an Engineering Manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 50 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer. Since 2011, Bryant has helped Black Girls CODE grow from a local grassroots initiative serving only the Bay Area, to an international organization with fourteen chapters across the U.S. and in Johannesburg, South Africa. Black Girls CODE has currently reached over 15,000 students and continues to grow and thrive.
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Building Trust in Distrustful Times Featured Session (Social & Global Impact) — According to the Edelman Trust Barometer trust in media, business, and government are at an all-time low. We have never believed less, agreed less, or trusted less. Yet, building trust, and developing the community that surrounds it, remains imperative for any art project, online influencer, startup or brand. So what are the new ways to build trust and community online in an era of mistrust? Hear from those who have done it and are doing it. What works? What doesn’t? And how do we figure out who to really believe and rally behind? Join PostSecret founder Frank Warren and New York Times bestselling author Neil Pasricha as they answer these questions.
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Pete Buttigieg (Cities, Government & Politics) — Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the chief executive of the City of South Bend. He took office in 2012 at the age of twenty-nine, and is responsible for the city workforce of over 1,000 employees and an annual budget over $380 million. Buttigieg has been profiled by the New York Times and was called “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of” by the Washington Post. A Rhodes Scholar, Buttigieg studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford and has a degree in American History and Literature from Harvard College. An officer in U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009-17, Buttigieg took a leave of absence to serve in Afghanistan during a seven-month deployment in 2014, earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work. Buttigieg will be in coversation with host of Crooked Media’s With Friends Like These, Ana Marie Cox during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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David Byrne (Social & Global Impact) — Known as the force behind Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly-regarded record label Luaka Bop, David Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author, and solo artist; he has published and exhibited visual art for more than a decade. Recent works include American Utopia, a solo album and world tour, and Joan of Arc: Into the Fire, a theatrical exploration of the historical heroine which premiered at The Public Theater in New York.
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Cannabis and Wellness: The Body and Beyond Featured Session (Cannabusiness) – This session will explore the potential of cannabis to contribute to not only physical, but also emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. From Ricky Williams’ (Former Heisman trophy winner and NFL running back) experience, the most profound effect that cannabis has had on his life has been spiritual — helping him find his purpose. Williams joins Jess Dugan (The Oil Plant, Inc.), Dr. Michele Ross (CEO of Infused Health) and John Salley (Former NBA player) for a conversation about how the medicinal benefits of marijuana have now catapulted cannabis in the mainstream, but all holistic forms of medicine recognize that in order to maintain physical health, we must also attend to the health of our psyches.
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Sandy Carter and Kathy Klotz-Guest (Tech Industry & Enterprise) — Sandy Carter is VP at Amazon Web Services (AWS), focused on helping companies to innovate using technology. Carter is the Chairman of the Board of Girls in Tech and was honored twice with the AIT United Nations Member of the Year award for helping developing countries with technology. Kathy Klotz-Guest is the CEO and Founder of Keeping it Human.
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Julián Castro (Cities, Government & Politics) — Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro will be in coversation with HuffPost editor in chief Lydia Polgreen during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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Priscilla Chan (Social & Global Impact) – Priscilla Chan is co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a philanthropic organization she started with her husband, Mark Zuckerberg. CZI is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges – from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. As a pediatrician and former teacher, Chan’s work with patients and students in communities across the Bay Area has informed her desire to make learning more personalized, find new paths to manage and cure disease, and expand opportunity for more people. She is also the founder of The Primary School, which integrates health and education and serves children and families in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood in Menlo Park, California.
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with Briahna Gray (Cities, Government & Politics) — Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx to two working-class parents. She attended Boston University, where she earned degrees in Economics and International Relations. While there, she worked for the late Sen. Kennedy handling foreign affairs and immigration casework for constituent families. Briahna Gray is a columnist and senior politics editor at The Intercept. She is also an opinion columnist with a focus on progressive political messaging, as well as issues relating to identity and culture.
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Pat Corcoran (Music Industry & Culture) — Pat Corcoran is the manager for Chance the Rapper and founder of Haight Brand. Manager by profession and friend by nature, Corcoran has made his name by employing his personality professionally. Caring, driven, and fiercely intelligent, Corcoran has decisively slammed his flag into the entertainment industry with connections spanning across every major space and brand. He continues to set himself apart in every industry he revolutionizes with his authentic, caring, and passionate approach.
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Creativity in the Age of Innovation Featured Session (Brands & Marketing) — In times of rapid change, creatively led organizations should be shaping the future. It takes imagination and empathy to see the human potential of new technology. It takes curiosity and obsessive craft to develop a grammar for new media formats. Unfortunately, most companies treat creatives like petulant children, and most creatives surrender leadership to “businessmen.” The future is too important to leave to operations and finance. It’s time for creatives to step forward and organizations to prioritize creative vision. This session features Nick Law, Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Groupe and President Publicis Communications.
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Creator Credits: Providing the Missing Links Featured Session (Music Industry & Culture)Björn Ulvaeus is a Swedish songwriter, producer, a member of the Swedish musical group ABBA, and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!. He co-produced the film Mamma Mia! with fellow ABBA member and close friend Benny Andersson. Niclas Molinder is the CEO of Auddly, the global hub for authoritative pre-registration music metadata sourced from creators. Molinder founded Auddly in 2014 with Max Martin, Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA and manager Ash Pournouri. Auddly is rapidly setting the standard for how music creators, their collaborators, and their representatives are identified along with accrediting their contributions in compositions and recordings.
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Dennis Crowley (Tech Industry & Enterprise) — Dennis Crowley is the co-founder of Foursquare, overseeing the strategic vision and product roadmap that has grown the Foursquare community to more than 50 million people around the world. Crowley previously founded Dodgeball, one of the first mobile social services which was acquired by Google in 2005. He is also a winner of the “Fast Money” bonus round on the TV game show Family Feud, and the Founder and Chairman of Kingston Stockade FC, a semi-professional soccer team in the Hudson Valley.
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JC Curleigh (Making & Marketing Music) — James “JC” Curleigh is the president and chief executive officer of Gibson, where he leads a new Gibson senior team of proven executives with broad experience in global brand building, finance, and product development. Curleigh is a guitar enthusiast and has been a proud owner of both Gibson and Epiphone guitars over the years, including his latest addition – a Gibson 1960’s J-45 acoustic guitar.
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Troy Dayton (Cannabusiness) — Dayton co-founded cannabis investment and research firm The Arcview Group in 2010, and serves as CEO. Arcview created the Arcview Investor Network where more than 1200 high net-worth investors have pumped more than $200 million into 190+ cannabis-related ventures and raised more than $3 million for the legalization effort. Arcview also publishes The State of Legal Marijuana Markets, the most-cited market data and analysis report on the industry. Arcview co-founded Cannasure Insurance Services in 2011 and launched Canopy, a business accelerator in 2015. Dayton is an elected board member of the Marijuana Policy Project and is a founding board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association. Fortune Magazine named him as one of the top 7 most powerful people in the cannabis industry.
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Steve DeAngelo (Cannabusiness) — Steve DeAngelo is a pioneering lifelong cannabis entrepreneur, activist, author, and on-screen personality. He co-founded several iconic cannabis businesses and organizations: Harborside, Steep Hill Laboratory, the Arc View Group, and the National Cannabis Industry Association. DeAngelo’s creative projects include his book The Cannabis Manifesto and a Discovery Channel mini-series Weed Wars. He was a lead organizer and fundraiser for I-59, Washington DC’s medical cannabis initiative, and is famed for his successful litigation against the Department of Justice, which halted DOJ’s last-ditch 2011 campaign to shut down California’s medical cannabis dispensaries.
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Designing for Films at Pixar Animation Studios Featured Session (Making Film & Episodics) – Join Deanna Marsigliese, Character Art Director; Josh Holtsclaw, Graphics Art Director; and Paul Abadilla, Sets Art Director, as they share their artwork and approach to designing for animated films at Pixar Animation Studios. Through their own respective disciplines, they’ll share insight about how to solve creative challenges and highlight some examples of how an idea gets translated from a design sketch, and onto the screen. They will also discuss about how they support and advocate for diversity and inclusion in their films.
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Cindy Eckert (Health & MedTech) — Cindy Eckert is the Founder and CEO of The Pink Ceiling. Eckert’s work today continues to break barriers by mentoring and investing in other women to get to her same outcomes. Over a distinguished 24-year career in healthcare, in only the last 10 she has started and sold two businesses for more than $1.5B. First Slate Pharmaceuticals, which redefined long-acting testosterone treatment for men; then Sprout Pharmaceuticals, home of the first ever FDA-approved drug for low sexual desire in women (dubbed “female Viagra” by the media). After selling the company for $1B in 2015, she successfully fought to get the drug back and launch it on her own terms. The profoundly positive impact those companies have made in people’s lives is what keeps her coming back for more.
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Ethan Hawke and Jason Blum (Entertainment Influencers) — Ethan Hawke is a Tony and four-time Academy Award nominated actor and writer whose diverse career as a novelist, actor, director, and screenwriter spans more than three decades. In 2018 he celebrated critical acclaim for his role in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, as well as the release of the romantic comedy Juliet, Naked. His upcoming acting projects include Adopt a Highway premiering this year at SXSW 2019 and Stockholm. Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse Productions, is a two-time Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer. His multi-media company is known for pioneering a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality micro-budget films. His films include the highly-profitable franchises Insidious, The Purge, Sinister, and Paranormal Activity, as well as Best Picture Academy Award nominees Whiplash and Get Out.
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Experimenting with Experiential: How Giant Spoon Stays One Step Ahead Featured Session (Brands & Marketing)Trevor Guthrie and Marc Simons are co-founders of Giant Spoon, a full service advertising agency. Giant Spoon was honored as Adweek’s “Breakthrough Agency of the Year” in 2018. Guthrie provides the strategic leadership on a number of the agency’s highest profile work, including the creation of HBO’s SXSWestworld experience. Simons co-runs Giant Spoon’s LA office which has been ranked as the “#2 Most Effective Independent Agency in the Country” by the North American Effie Awards. Guthrie and Simons will be joined in conversation with Adweek Brands Editor Kristina Monllos.
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David Feinberg and Clay Johnston (Health & MedTech) – David Feinberg currently heads up Google’s health efforts. Previously, Feinberg was president and CEO of Geisinger, one of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations. While at Geisinger, Feinberg oversaw 13 hospital campuses, a 600,000-member health plan, research centers, and various initiatives aimed at better engaging patients around their health. Clay Johnston is the inaugural dean of Dell Medical School and vice president for medical affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. His vision is to create a new model for academic medicine that accelerates innovation to improve health and reduce inefficiencies in health care.
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Tim Ferriss (Health & MedTech) – Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and one of Fortune’s “40 under 40.” He is an early-stage technology investor/advisor (Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ others) and the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. The Observer and other media have called Ferriss “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, which is the first business/interview podcast to exceed 100 million downloads. Ferriss will join the previously announced conversation with Michael Pollan.
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Film Critics’ Preview Featured Session (Film & TV Industry) – Join Alicia Malone, Amy Nicholson, Jacqueline Coley, and Monica Castillo to discuss insider tips, strategies, and advice you can use to maximize your time at the Film Festival, straight from some of today’s most influential film pundits. Offering up a “sneak preview” of SXSW’s most anticipated screenings, conference sessions, and movie-related happenings, these critics and insiders will also share cinema-etiquette tips to help fans get the most out of their experience and insider news about surprise screenings that are off the radar of the general public.
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Susan Fowler (Tech Industry & Enterprise) — Susan Fowler is the Technology Editor of the New York Times Opinion section as well as a central figure in the #MeToo movement. Named Time magazine’s Person of the Year 2017 as one of the silence breakers, Fowler is the former Uber engineer whose viral blog post ignited an ongoing, worldwide conversation. The Financial Times named her Person of the Year as well — her actions, the paper writes, hold “the potential to improve the way women are treated at work permanently.” That’s Fowler’s public narrative so far. But her personal story — a homeschooled science nerd, a successful woman in STEM against incredible odds — is equally fascinating. She tackles a variety of topics in uplifting talks, including how regular people can effect positive change on a global and personal scale.
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Neil Gaiman (Entertainment Influencers) – Neil Gaiman is the best-selling author and creator of books, graphic novels, short stories, film, and television for all ages, including Neverwhere, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The View from the Cheap Seats and the Sandman comic series. His fiction has received Newbery, Carnegie, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner Awards. American Gods, based on the 2001 novel, is now a critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated TV series, and he has written and is the showrunner for the forthcoming mini-series adaptation of Good Omens, based on the book he co-authored with Terry Pratchett. In 2017, he became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Originally from England, he lives in the United States, where he is a professor at Bard College.
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Ross Golan (Making & Marketing Music) — Ross Golan is a multi-platinum songwriter, artist, and advocate. He studied music at the University of Southern California and has since released songs with artists including Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Lady Antebellum, Michael Bublé, Selena Gomez, Keith Urban, Ariana Grande, Flo Rida, and One Direction, amongst many others. Golan has been the leading voice in passing the Music Modernization Act alongside NSAI, Sona, and NMPA. He’s currently signed to Warner Chappell Music.
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Laura Jane Grace (Music Industry & Culture) – To say musician, author, and activist Laura Jane Grace has had a defiant career would be the understatement of the year. Whether being accused of leaving the DIY punk scene to pursue a major label career over a decade ago, or courageously challenging people’s conceptions of gender identity with a bombshell Rolling Stone article, Grace has remained a daring and influential cultural figure in her over 20+ years of creating dynamic art across various mediums. Sure, she’s bound to worry some fans with her decision to press pause on Against Me! to release a more intimate singer-songwriter leaning solo album under the name Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, but her artistic motivation cast her determination in steel.
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Guitars and More: Creating New Sounds with Tech Featured Session (Making & Marketing Music) – Join Fender Musical Instruments Corporation CEO Andy Mooney, Ableton North America Managing Director Tony McCall; artist Elise Trouw; and award-winning broadcast journalist, musician, author, deejay, and longtime NPR commentator Meredith Ochs for a session that will explore the different ways musicians are adopting new music technology in live/recorded performance, while still embracing traditional musical instruments, like guitar, creating a marriage of classic and progressive technological tools. Live performance is evolving. Technology has ushered in a one-man-band live performance format: one guitar, looper and artist on stage playing to thousands. While the access to musical technology has evolved and become more widespread, the product design behind the guitar keeps getting better, too. The result? A stronger connection between fans and bands than ever before, and great new music.
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Arlan Hamilton (Entrepreneurship & Startups) – Arlan Hamilton is a remarkable entrepreneur who built a venture capital fund from the ground up while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. Started in 2015, Backstage has now invested nearly $5M into 100 startups led by underestimated founders and has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Quartz.
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Tinker Hatfield and Scott Dadich (Design) — Tinker Hatfield is the Vice President of Creative Concepts at Nike where he oversees Nike shoe designs and Nike’s Innovation Kitchen. In addition to working with Michael Jordan each year, Hatfield currently creates specialized Nike athletic products for champion athletes including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece, Renaud Lavillenie, and numerous track and field athletes and entertainers including Justin Timberlake. Scott Dadich is founder and Co-CEO of Godfrey and Dadich Partners, a design and strategy firm that creates narratives — from documentary films and long-form journalism to corporate strategies and campaigns. In 2018, Dadich co-founded Majordomo Media, a new kind of entertainment and media company with renowned chef David Chang. He is also the creator and executive producer of the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design.
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John Hickenlooper (Cities, Government & Politics) — Former Governor John Hickenlooper will be in coversation with Buzzfeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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Senator Mazie Hirono and Guy Kawasaki (Cities, Government & Politics) – Mazie K. Hirono was elected to the Senate in 2012 and sworn in as Hawaii’s first female senator and the country’s first Asian-American woman senator. Hirono serves on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He is also author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books.
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Rachel Hollis (Social & Global Impact) — Rachel Hollis has been called “Tina Fey meets Tony Robbins.” Two million copies and counting, she’s the author of the #1 New York Times and Audible best-seller Girl, Wash Your Face, a mom of four, a highly sought after motivational speaker and Co-founder/CCO of the Hollis Company. Hollis continues to empower women in their journey through her two ranked podcasts, books, RISE personal development conferences and through her upcoming life and business coaching programs.
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George Hotz (Intelligent Future) – George Hotz, also known as geohot, is an American hacker and creative consumer known for unlocking the iPhone, allowing the phone to be used with other wireless carriers. Afterward, he developed many of the early jailbreak tools for iOS, such as limera1n and bootrom exploit. He is an alumnus of the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program and briefly attended both Rochester Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University. In September 2015, Hotz began working on his own AI startup called comma.ai. Hotz has received much attention in mainstream media, including appearances on the Today Show, Fox, CNN, NBC, and more.
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Bjarke Ingels (Design) — Bjarke Ingels is the founder of BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). Ingels defines architecture as the art and science of making sure our cities and buildings fit with the way we want to live our lives. Through careful analysis of various parameters from local culture and climate, ever changing patterns of contemporary life, to the ebbs and flows of the global economy, Ingels believes in the idea of information-driven design as the driving force for his design process. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine in 2016, Bjarke has designed and completed award-winning buildings around the world.
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Jay Inslee (Cities, Government & Politics) — Governor of Washington Jay Inslee will speak during Conversations About America’s Future, a series of talks in collaboration with The Texas Tribune that will bring together some of the nation’s top political leaders whose ideas and vision for the future will shape our country through 2020 and beyond.
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Valerie Jarrett with Melissa Bell (Cities, Government & Politics) — Valerie Jarrett was the longest serving senior adviser to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Jarrett has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including Time’s “100 Most Influential People.” She is currently a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation and Attn; serves on the boards of Ariel Capital Management Holdings, 2U, and Lyft; is President of the Board of When We All Vote; a senior distinguished fellow at the University of Chicago Law School; and author of the upcoming book Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward. Jarrett will be interviewed by Vox Media’s Melissa Bell.
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Wyclef Jean (Music Industry & Culture) — Wyclef Jean has written, performed, and produced — both as a solo superstar and as founder and guiding member of the Fugees — for over two decades. In 1996, the Fugees released their monumental album The Score. As a solo artist, Wyclef has released seven albums that have sold nearly nine million copies worldwide. Wyclef is currently working on a new project, Wyclef Goes Back to School, which is a collaboration with students he met while touring the United States and visiting colleges across the country.
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Alexis Jones (Future Workplace) — Founder of I AM THAT GIRL and ProtectHer, Alexis Jones is also an author, activist, speaker, and media personality. In a messy, complicated world of hyper political correctness, rampant “isms” and unparalleled divisiveness; Jones will explain all the nuances to help usher us from a place of anger to patience, fear to tolerance and shame to radical grace. Hired to work with Fortune 100 companies, Hollywood, US politics, and the sports world; Jones understands that the best company culture’s are built with an intentional heartbeat; individuals with hyper self awareness, humility through context, brave vulnerability, and empathy through proximity.
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Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman with Dylan Byers (Media & Journalism) – Jeffrey Katzenberg is a co-founder and managing partner of WndrCo, a holding company that invests in, acquires, develops, and operates consumer technology businesses for the long term. He is also the founder and chairman and Meg Whitman is CEO of Quibi, which brings together the best of Silicon Valley and Hollywood to create the first entertainment platform built for easy, on-the-go mobile viewing. Quibi will allow today’s leading studios and creative talent to tell original stories in an entirely new way. Dylan Byers is the senior media reporter for NBC News & MSNBC and the author of Byers Market, a daily newsletter on the business, politics, and culture of media.
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Daniel Kahan and Valerie Szczepanik (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) – Daniel Kahan is an attorney in Morrison & Foerster’s Corporate Department. His practice focuses on venture capital and private equity investments, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and spin-offs, securities offerings, and governance matters. He represents entrepreneurs, investors, and acquirers across a range of sectors, including fintech and blockchain. Valerie Szczepanik is Head of the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). She is also the Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation and an Associate Director for the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. Before that, she served as Assistant Director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit.
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John Kasich (Cities, Government & Politics) — Former Governor John Kasich will be in coversation with Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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Austin Kleon and Debbie Millman (Design) — It’s been a rough few years and nothing seems to be getting any easier. A lot of people wake up every morning and ask themselves, “How do I keep going? How can I stay focused on my vision when the world seems out of control?” New York Times bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work Austin Kleon joins writer, designer, educator, and founder of Design Matters Debbie Millman for a discussion on how to keep working, keep playing, keep searching, keep giving, keep living, and Keep Going.
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Eric Klinenberg (Cities, Government & Politics) — Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. A prolific author and editor of Cultural Production in a Digital Age and the journal Public Culture, his scholarly work has been published in journals including the American Sociological Review; Theory & Society; and Ethnography, and he has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and more.
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Amy Klobuchar (Cities, Government & Politics) — United States Senator Amy Klobuchar will be in coversation with Recode co-founder and editor-at-large Kara Swisher during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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Chris Lee (Music Industry & Culture) — Since joining SM Entertainment’s A&R department in 2005, Chris Lee has played a visionary role in the evolution of Asia’s leading entertainment agency. He made a name for himself by developing SM’s peerless production system, which involves a global network of more than 900 hit songwriters (from legends like Teddy Riley to pop sensations like Bruno Mars). Lee’s efforts introduced the songcamp model to K-pop, setting a new precedent for the Asian music industry as a whole. Lee takes a similarly hands-on approach to nearly every facet of SM’s prodigious output, and fostering top global acts like EXO, Super Junior, Red Velvet, and NCT. As a member of SM Entertainment Group’s board of directors, Lee is actively involved in formulating fresh corporate development strategies and directions.
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The Legacy of Apollo and the Next Giant Leap Featured Session (Intelligent Future) — The Apollo missions are arguably the most significant technological and exploration achievements the world has ever witnessed. Even though the space program was born out of the space race, what came out of Apollo was far more positive. As we come upon the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing on Apollo 11, this session will look to the future of human space exploration. Join Gerry Griffin (Former NASA Flight Director on Apollo missions), Vanessa E. Wyche (Deputy Director of the NASA Johnson Space Center), and Bobak Ferdowsi (Fault Protection Lead for the joint NASA-ISRO mission at NASA JPL) as they discuss the obstacles that had to be overcome in order to reach the moon, the future return to the moon and the new horizon of Mars, and how exploring space can help make life better on Earth.
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Localizing Food to Restore Human Health Featured Session (Food) — Join Matt Barnard (Co-founder and CEO of Plenty), Dominique Crenn (award-winning chef and author), and Mark Bittman (bestselling author) as they discuss the growing health impacts of homogenized foods and the democratization of access to the pure, clean food and flavors of our ancestors, bringing culture back to our tables, habits back to our cooking, and health back to humanity.
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Making Change On and Off the Screen Featured Session (Social & Global Impact) — Pop culture is a powerful mechanism to make social activism cool and accessible. Actors, comedians, musicians, athletes, and other entertainers and influencers use their platform and visibility to bring attention to important issues, and fans and consumers increasingly expect their favorite artists to speak out against oppression and injustice. As pop culture’s success in shifting public sentiment rapidly grows and becomes more powerful, how do celebrities craft their strategies and tactics in pushing for social change? This session features Ike Barinholtz, Amber Heard, Padma Lakshmi, and Anthony D. Romero.
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Amy Margolis (Cannabusiness) – Amy Margolis has been a lawyer for more than 16 years and is the founder of the Oregon Cannabis Association. She frequently advises both businesses and investors on deploying capital in the cannabis space, multi-jurisdictional growth, public offerings, and every other stage of business and corporate development. Margolis is also the founder of The Initiative, a business accelerator for female entrepreneurs, to train and fund women in the cannabis space.
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Kevin McCarthy (Cities, Government & Politics) — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will be in coversation with Politico senior writer Jake Sherman and senior Washington correspondent Anna Palmer during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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Elisabeth Moss with Brandi Carlile (Entertainment Influencers) — Grammy winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile interviews Emmy Award-winning actress Elisabeth Moss about her intense transformation to play punk rocker Becky Something in the acclaimed upcoming film Her Smell. Hear Carlile and Moss swap stories and trade secrets about the rock and roll lifestyle both real and pretend, as well as their recent collaboration on the music video Party of One.
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Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis (Music Industry & Culture) — Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist by constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music. Merck Mercuriadis is a Canadian-American music executive and music manager. He is the current CEO, founder, and managing partner of Hipgnosis Songs Ltd, an artist management firm, publisher, and record label based in London and Los Angeles. Rodgers and Mercuriadis will discuss the enduring power of the song and the deep hidden meaning of songwriting.
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Trevor Noah and The Daily Show “News Team” Panel Hard with Jake Tapper Featured Session (Media & Journalism) — CNN Anchor & Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper sits down with Daily Show host Trevor Noah and correspondents Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, Desi Lydic, Dulcé Sloan, Roy Wood Jr. and Jaboukie Young-White to panel harder than anyone has ever paneled before. They’ll discuss how today’s fast-paced media cycle has changed (and keeps changing!) the late-night comedy landscape. The Daily Show team will offer an inside look at how they tackle politics, race, and social issues on the show. And they’ll also dive into how both their digital team and Emmy Award-winning series “Between the Scenes” lend a fresh perspective to the larger conversation that happens with their audience.
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Hans Ulrich Obrist (Design) — In this lecture, Hans Ulrich Obrist will consider the future of technology, drawing on a wide range of artistic projects to demonstrate the possibilities that artificial intelligence presents for the creation of new art forms. Through seminal projects, such as Billy Klüver’s ‘Experiments for Art and Technology’ (1966) – which brought artists together with engineers – Obrist will highlight the early antecedents of art’s relationship to technology. From the Serpentine Galleries’ digital commission of James Bridle to Sondra Perry’s blue screen technology and 3D avatars to Ian Cheng’s sentient artwork, BOB (Bag of Beliefs), Obrist will propose artists as significant producers of our future realities. The lecture will also address the danger that things may be lost, such as the extinction of cultural phenomena and, with reference to Édouard Glissant, the importance of resisting the homogenizing forces of globalization in our digital age.
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Frank Oz (Entertainment Influencers) — Oz is a four-time Emmy winner and recipient of The Art Director’s Guild Award, The Comedy Awards’ Creative Achievement Award, Saturn Lifetime Achievement Award, George Foster Peabody award, and others. He’s performed with The Muppets and on the Star Wars films. The dozen feature films he’s directed include Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, In & Out, The Score, and Death at a Funeral.
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Trevor Paglen and Kate Crawford (Intelligent Future) – Are Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning really the right metaphors to address training sets that feed into automated processes? Join researcher, academic, and author Kate Crawford and artist Trevor Paglen as they look into the production of training data and uncover the historical origins, labor practices, infrastructures, and epistemological assumptions, with biases and skews built into them from the outset.
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Amanda Palmer (Making & Marketing Music) — Amanda Palmer is a singer, songwriter, playwright, pianist, and blogger who embraces and explodes traditional frameworks of music, theatre, and art. She emerged as half of the Boston­-based punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, earning global applause for their wide­-ranging theatricality and inventive song craft. Her solo career has proven equally boundless, including such groundbreaking works as the fan­-funded Theatre Is Evil. Palmer is again joining forces with producer John Congleton to release her first solo album in seven years in Spring 2019.
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Gwyneth Paltrow with Poppy Harlow (Brands & Marketing) — Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow is also a best-selling cookbook author, singer, and entrepreneur. In 2008, Paltrow founded goop from her kitchen table. goop has grown into a lifestyle brand devoted to helping women make their own choices count in the various facets of their lives—from style, travel, work, food, and beauty to physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Poppy Harlow anchors the weekday edition of CNN Newsroom alongside Jim Sciutto. She also hosts the CNN podcast BossFiles with Poppy Harlow.
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Eli Pariser (Social & Global Impact) — Eli Pariser has dedicated his career — as an author, an online organizer, and a co-founder of Upworthy — to figuring out how technology can elevate important topics in the world. Currently, Pariser is an Omidyar Fellow at the New America Foundation, studying how platforms can effectively promote civic good.
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Ari Paul, Kyle Samani, Linda Xie with Robert Hackett (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) — Join Kyle Samani (Managing Partner, Multicoin Capital), Linda Xie (Managing Director, Scalar Capital), Ari Paul (CIO, Blocktower), and moderator Robert Hackett (Editor, Fortune) for a conversation with managers from Scalar Capital, BlockTower, and Multicoin Capital as they elucidate their investment approaches and predict the future of blockchain for users around the world.
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Esther Perel (Future Workplace) — Famed couples therapist Esther Perel has spent more than 35 years helping people articulate their aspirations, explore boundaries between self and others, and repair trust that is broken. Now she’s applying her extensive knowledge of relationships to help us master the art of modern leadership. Join Perel at her Featured Session, “What Business Leaders Can Learn About Workplace Dynamics from Couples Therapy.”
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Jonah Peretti (Media & Journalism) – After co-founding The Huffington Post in 2005, Peretti launched BuzzFeed in 2006 as an experimental lab that focused on tracking viral content and making things people wanted to share. Under Peretti’s leadership, BuzzFeed now reaches the third largest U.S. millennial audience on the internet and generates more than 9 billion monthly content views, with writers and producers creating shareable and entertaining content, and reporters and editors covering everything from politics to technology and investigations.
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Busy Philipps and Hillary Kerr (Entertainment Influencers) – Busy Philipps is an actress best known for roles in cult TV classics like Dawson’s Creek, Freaks and Geeks, Cougar Town, ER, and most recently HBO’s Vice Principals. She has appeared in fan-favorite films such as Made of Honor, I Don’t Know How She Does It, He’s Just Not That Into You, White Chicks, and The Gift. Philipps also was one of the writers of the hit film Blades of Glory. In fall 2018, her late-night talk show Busy Tonight premiered on E!. Hillary Kerr is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Clique Brands, a content, commerce, and consumer brands company that includes WhoWhatWear.com, Byrdie.com, MyDomaine.com, CollegeFashionista.com, and the Who What Wear Collection.
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Lola Plaku (Music Industry & Culture) – With more than ten years of experience working behind the scenes in the music industry, Lola Plaku’s resume is both extensive and multifaceted. Formerly a music journalist for Canada’s hip-hop music scene, the Toronto native made a name for herself after launching her blog, iLuvLola. This led her to a role in promotions at Maxamus Entertainment followed by an online marketing position at CP Records. Plaku was passionate about breaking U.S. talent in the Toronto market and eventually branched out into concert production, working with The Weeknd, French Montana, Travis Scott, Kehlani, Big Sean, and A$AP Rocky, among others. She then transitioned into working with French Montana in a full time role.
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Michael Pollan (Health & MedTech) — Michael Pollan is the author of eight books, including most recently How to Change Your Mind, a number one New York Times Bestseller. Previous books include The Omnivore’s Dilemma; The Botany of Desire; and In Defense of Food. Pollan teaches journalism at Berkeley and Harvard. In 2010, Time magazine named him to its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
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Tara Razavi (Making & Marketing Music) – For over a decade, Tara Razavi’s adventurous aesthetic and clever imaginings have made a lasting impact on the music video, commercial, film, and event worlds. Razavi’s content has reached audiences worldwide with over 2 billion cumulative views on YouTube alone. The California native and award-winning producer has worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Jay Z, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Tyler the Creator, Travis Scott, John Legend, and more. Razavi founded Happy Place, Inc in 2008 to help make her portion of the entertainment industry a happy-as-hell place to be. Happy Place, is a creative production agency based in Los Angeles with satellite offices in New York, Atlanta, and Miami.
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Douglas Rushkoff (Intelligent Future) — Douglas Rushkoff is a media theorist, author, documentarian, and world-renowned public intellectual. Rushkoff has spent his prolific career thinking about how new media and technology are impacting culture, business, and the economy. Named one of the world’s 10 most influential thinkers by MIT, Rushkoff has written 15 bestselling books and coined such concepts as “viral media,” “social currency,” and “digital natives.”
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Zoe Saldana with Shira Lazar (Entertainment Influencers) — Actress and entrepreneur Zoe Saldana will join actress and writer Shira Lazar in a conversation on the importance of positive messaging and role models on social platforms for millennial and Gen Z audiences, and how her new media company, BESE, is addressing this issue and the imbalance that exists today in mainstream media.
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Howard Schultz (Social & Global Impact) — Recognized for his entrepreneurship and servant leadership, Howard Schultz built Starbucks Coffee Company into one of the world’s most recognized and respected businesses, a company committed to strengthening communities through human connection and social innovation. After four decades with Starbucks, Schultz stepped down on June 26, 2018 and became chairman emeritus. Along with his wife, Shari, he is co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. Schultz is also the bestselling author of four books including his most recent title For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice.
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David Schwartz with Sara Silverstein (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) — Known as “JoelKatz,” David Schwartz is the Chief Technology Officer at Ripple and a respected voice in the digital currency community. Schwartz developed encrypted cloud storage and enterprise messaging systems for organizations like CNN and the National Security Agency (NSA). Schwartz will be in conversation with Sara Silverstein, Editor-At-Large and Executive Producer for Business Insider. Silverstein is the host of Business Insider shows Business Insider Today and Crypto Insider.
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Joanna Shields (Intelligent Future) — Joanna Shields is a digital entrepreneur, experienced executive, and prominent leader in the global technology industry with a track record in helping to grow some of the world’s best-known transformational companies. She is currently CEO of BenevolentAI, the global leader in the development and application of AI for scientific innovation. Most recently, Joanna served as the UK Minister for Internet Security & Safety, a Special Advisor to the UK Government on the Digital Economy, and Chair & CEO of TechCityUK.
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Shooting Stars: How NASA Works with Film & TV Featured Session (Making Film & Episodics) — What’s your favorite space movie? NASA may have played a role in its production. See the science behind the art in this session, as we show how (and why) America’s space agency works with Hollywood to provide assets, locations, and technical expertise to select entertainment projects, such as The Martian, Hidden Figures, and First Man. From treatment review through shooting, the social media campaign to home theatrical release, take a trip with us from the Red Planet to the Red Carpet and back again. Bert Ulrich, Joby Harris, Stephanie Smith, and Veronica McGregor.
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Maria Shriver (Health & MedTech) — Maria Shriver is the mother of four, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, the author of seven New York Times bestselling books and a bestselling coloring book, an NBC News Special Anchor, and founder of the nonprofit The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. A trailblazer for empowering women and one of the nation’s leading advocates for women and Alzheimer’s sufferers, Shriver uses her journalism and her activism to inspire others to make a difference and move humanity forward. In 2018, she released the No. 1 New York Times-bestselling book, I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life.
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Brian Solis (Brands & Marketing) — Brian Solis is a leading anthropologist, futurist, and best-selling author who studies the impact of disruptive technologies on business, society, and culture. In his new book, Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life, Solis tackles the struggles of living in a world rife with constant digital distractions. His model for the book helps readers overcome the unforeseen consequences of living a digital life to break away from diversions, focus on what’s important, spark newfound creativity, and unlock new possibilities. With an online audience of over 700,000 viewers, his work makes him a sought-after thought-leader to leading brands, celebrities such as Oprah, Shaq, and Ashton Kutcher and over 1,000 startups globally.
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Roy Spence (Future 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.
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The State of the Story: How Carbon Won “The Big Game” Featured Session (Brands & Marketing) — The fragmentation of traditional media has required brands to invent a new kind of storytelling. Some of these elements we already know: storytelling is now more social, more mobile, and more visual. But a new frontier of storytelling is also emerging. Enter “hyper-growth” startup brands that use that special combination – audience data and unique narratives – to beat out well-established, better funded competitors. As Megan Cunningham found in her research, “The power of a well-told story distributed in a strategic way can change minds and overturn industries; and the playbook is being written today.” Carbon is disrupting manufacturing in the way that Tesla disrupted the auto industry. Meet Dara Treseder, Carbon’s first CMO. She’s a marketing leader whose time at GE, Apple, and Goldman prepared her for the challenge of a lifetime: putting a B2B tech brand on the map in a mainstream way, virtually overnight. Join Cunningham of Magnet Media (and author of The State of the Story and The Art of the Documentary) for an exploration of how their approach cut through the most cluttered media moment to put Riddell helmet and Adidas sneaker products, powered by Carbon, at the center of the conversation.
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Bruce Sterling (Intelligent Future) – Bruce Sterling is an author, journalist, editor, and critic. Best known for his ten science fiction novels, he also writes short stories, book reviews, design criticism, opinion columns, and introductions for books ranging from Ernst Juenger to Jules Verne. His nonfiction works include The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on The Electronic Frontier, Tomorrow Now: Envisioning The Next Fifty Years, Shaping Things, and The Epic Struggle of the Internet Of Things. His most recent book is a collection of Italian fantascienza stories, Utopia Pirata: I Racconti Di Bruno Argento.
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Talk the Thrones Live Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers)Chris Ryan and Binge Mode’s Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion, the co-hosts of The Ringer’s Game Of Thrones after show, Talk the Thrones, prepare you for the final season of HBO’s epic tale of royalty, loyalty, blood, and betrayal. Who will sit on the Iron Throne? How will they get there? And how many bodies will they step over along the way? They’ll attempt to answer those questions, and more, as they get ready for the most what might be the most anticipated season in television history.
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Kerry Trainor (Music Industry & Culture) – Kerry Trainor is the Chief Executive Officer of SoundCloud, leading the strategic direction of the platform’s creator-first initiatives. Founded in 2007, SoundCloud is the world’s largest open audio platform, empowering the world’s audio creators with the best tools, services and resources to build and grow their careers. Since Trainor joined, SoundCloud has rolled out a number of new services and features, including most recently the expansion of SoundCloud Premier, its direct monetization program, integrations with major DJ applications, a partnership with Dubset, and more, benefiting its community of more than 20 million creators globally.
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David Estrada, Sarah Kaufman, and Josh Rasmussen (Tech Industry & Enterprise) – Join Chief Policy Officer of Bird, David Estrada, CEO of Monday Motorbikes, Josh Rasmussen, and NYU Assistant Professor, Sarah Kaufman, as they discuss the accelerating evolution of urban transportation. This fireside chat will include topics on micro mobility, lightweight electric vehicles, transportation adoption by age and gender demographics, and predictions for the future of urban transportation.
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Margrethe Vestager (Cities, Government & Politics) — Margrethe Vestager is European Union Commissioner for Competition. She previously served as Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior (2011–14) and Minister for Education (1998–2001) of Denmark, and as President of the ECOFIN Council (2012). She was Political Leader of the Danish Social Liberal Party (2007-14), and has worked for the Danish Ministry of Finance (1993–95). Vestager holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Copenhagen.
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Elizabeth Warren (Cities, Government & Politics) — Senator Elizabeth Warren will be in coversation with Time Magazine contributor Anand Giridharadas during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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Amy Webb (Tech Industry & Enterprise) — Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist. She is a professor of strategic foresight at the NYU Stern School of Business and the Founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm that helps leaders and their organizations prepare for complex futures. Webb will deliver her Emerging Tech Trends Report, where she’ll provide a data-driven analysis for the emerging tech trends that need to be on your radar in 2019 – and she’ll draw on those trends to show you scenarios for the future of business, governing, and society.
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The Weekly: The New York Times Expands to TV Featured Session (Media & Journalism)The Weekly, coming soon to FX and Hulu, brings the unparalleled journalism and insight of The New York Times to the screen for the first time, allowing viewers to see the world through a sharper lens. 1,550 journalists. 160 countries. 2,500 stories a week. In each episode, we select one of these stories and bring it to life. Learn more about one of television’s most exciting new series from Sam Dolnick, assistant managing editor at The New York Times, Ken Druckerman, executive producer of The Weekly and the co-founder and co-president of LEFT/RIGHT, and others on the team powering the next chapter of New York Times storytelling.
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Bill Weld (Cities, Government & Politics) — Former Governor Bill Weld will be in coversation with WIRED contributing editor Garrett M. Graff during the Conversations About America’s Future Series.

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When Life Becomes Art Featured Session (Making Film & Episodics) — Controversial and political content has long been popular across all genres – from dramas to comedies. Content creators have come up with plenty of fictional ideas that have turned into fan favorite, award-winning series. But, now more than ever, these fictional worlds feel closer to reality. In this panel, you’ll hear from top creators about how they are leaning in to current events and political movements to create hits that resonate with viewers, rather than taking advantage of social and political issues for shock value. Join L Word creator IIene Chaiken, Shrill Executive Producer and Showrunner Ali Rushfield, writer and UnREAL co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, and Hulu Head of Originals Beatrice Springborn.
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Henry Winkler Acting Workshop Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – Henry Winkler co-stars as acting teacher Gene Cousineau on the new HBO dark comedy, Barry, for which he received an Emmy Award and Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor opposite series star, Bill Hader. Winkler has enjoyed over four decades of success in Hollywood and continues to be in demand as an actor, producer, and director. Join Henry Winkler as he leads an entertaining and insightful acting workshop in front of an audience.
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Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) — Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss co-founded Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, to build a bridge to the future of money. Gemini is a New York Trust company that allows customers to buy, sell, and store digital assets such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, zcash, and litecoin. Both graduated from Harvard University with degrees in Economics in 2004 and earned their MBAs from Oxford University in 2010. Together, they represented the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, placing 6th in the Men’s Pair event. They have been angel investors and entrepreneurs in emerging technologies since 2003, began investing in bitcoin in 2012, and launched Gemini in 2015.
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Willy Woo with Nolan Bauerle (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) – Willy Woo is an entrepreneur, advisor, and investor in seed-level technology ventures, but best known publicly as an independent crypto-asset analyst. Creator of the NVT ratio, much of his work is available on his Twitter feed which is regularly cited as a source for publications covering crypto-asset markets. Nolan Bauerle is the Director of Research at CoinDesk. His work with bitcoin began in 2012 while he was researching money laundering. Since then, he became a student of cryptography, decentralized systems, crypto economics, and the theory of the firm.
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The Women’s Evolution in WWE and Beyond Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – Brave women and men from all walks of life are stepping into the spotlight to shine a brighter light on gender equality gaps. This industry shift has brought global attention to the need for women to have greater opportunities. In February 2015, WWE fans created the viral hashtag #GiveDivasAChance as a rallying cry for female performers to be featured in more prominent storylines. WWE has since responded with the Women’s Evolution. No longer known as “Divas,” WWE “Superstars” now receive more air time to showcase their athleticism. WWE has not only increased its dynamic female fan base, but is actively empowering women inside and outside the ring. Join Stephanie McMahon, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, and Charlotte Flair for a discussion focused on the broader industry relevance of women’s empowerment and the leadership needed to foster change.
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Jeff Zucker (Media & Journalism) — Jeff Zucker has been the President of CNN Worldwide since 2013. He oversees all of CNN’s businesses, including the CNN US television network, CNN International, HLN, all of CNN’s digital properties, and Great Big Story. Prior to coming to CNN, Zucker spent more than two decades at NBC Universal, where he rose through the ranks to become the company’s President and CEO. Zucker’s ascent at NBC began during his nearly eight-year tenure as executive producer of NBC News’ Today show.
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