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

J.J. Abrams and Andrew Jarecki's featured session "The Eyes of Robots and Murderers" at SXSW 2016. Photo by Andy Nietupski.

Super Sponsors

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. Learn more about our Featured Speakers and Featured Sessions below.

Stay tuned to SXSW News for more announcements throughout the season.

Explore Full Lineup »

2017 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 2017 lineup of confirmed speakers below.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Entertainment Influencers Track) – David Benioff works as an author and screenwriter. D.B. Weiss is a writer and the author of Lucky Wander Boy. Both Benioff and Weiss are co-creators and executive producers of the Emmy Award-winning Game of Thrones for HBO.

Anthony Bossis (Health Track) – Dr. Anthony Bossis is a clinical psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, and an investigator in FDA-approved psilocybin-generated mystical experience research.

Amber Venz Box (Style Track) – Co-Founder and President of rewardStyle and the cross-channel consumer shopping service, LIKEtoKNOW.it.

Steve Case and Beth Comstock (Startup Village Track) – Steve Case is America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of AOL and CEO of Revolution. Beth Comstock is Vice Chairman at GE. In this capacity, she leads GE’s efforts to accelerate new growth.

Vint Cerf interviewed by Susan Hassler (Intelligent Future Track) – Chief Internet Evangelist for Google and Co-Founder of People-Centered Internet, Vint Cerf, will be in conversation with IEEE Spectrum Editor-in-Chief, Susan Hassler.

Dr. Robert Cialdini interviewed by Guy Kawasaki (Brands & Marketing Track) – Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the groundbreaking book, Influence, and president of INFLUENCE AT WORK will be in conversation with Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool.

Scott Cook and Robert Herjavec (Startup Village Track) – Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit, will be in conversation with Robert Herjavec, dynamic entrepreneur and a leading Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Kate Crawford (Intelligent Future Track) – Leading researcher, academic, and author who works on the social implications of data, machine learning, and AI. In 2016, she co-chaired the White House symposium AI Now, and wrote about AI and discrimination in The New York Times.

Mark Cuban and Adam Lyons interviewed by Michele Skelding (Tech Industry Track) – During the Featured Session Is Government Disrupting Disruption?, Michele Skelding will interview panelists Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and investor, and Adam Lyons, CEO of The Zebrawill, as they explore working with and against government regulation in marketplaces such as car travel, ticketing, and insurance.

Tom Cwik, Maggie Malone, Steve May, and Vick Schutz (Entertainment Influencers Track) – Tom Cwik leads Space Technology development at JPL, initiating and maintaining the Laboratories long-term tech strategy. Maggie Malone is the Head of Creative Affairs at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where she has worked on such films as Zootopia, and Frozen. Steve May is the Chief Technology Officer at PIXAR, overseeing the development of visual effects tools and processes for the entire studio. Vick Schutz is the Computer Graphics Supervisor at ILM, where he completed work on films such as Avatar, War of the Worlds, and more.

Paul Dillinger and Dr. Ivan Poupyrev for Project Jacquard (Style Track) – Paul Dillinger, Vice President of Global Product Innovation at Levi Strauss & Co., will be in conversation with Dr. Ivan Poupyrev, an award winning scientist, inventor, and designer working at the cutting edge of interactive design and technologies blending the digital and physical realities.

Gregory F. Fenves in conversation with Bob Metcalfe (Startup Village Track) – Greg Fenves, President of The University of Texas at Austin, will be in conversation with internet pioneer and Ethernet inventor, Bob Metcalfe.

Bill Ford and Doug Newcomb (Intelligent Future Track) – As Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford Jr. is leading the company that put the world on wheels into the 21st century. In August, Ford Motor Company announced plans to mass produce a line of self-driving vehicles by 2021. Ford will be in conversation with C3 Group President and Co-founder Doug Newcomb, a leading authority on connected car and mobility.

Alex Gorsky and Ginni Rometty interviewed by Clay Johnston (Health Track) – Clay Johnston, Dean at Dell Medical School, will interview Alex Gorsky, Chairman & CEO of Johnson & Johnson, and Ginni Rometty, President & CEO of IBM Corporation, about the convergence of health and IT during their Featured Session Collaborative Innovation in the Digital Health Age.

Gale Anne Hurd, Richard Gladstein, and Ruth Vitale (Film & TV Industry Track) – During the Featured Session How to Make Art, Pay the Rent, and Survive Piracy, panelists – Academy Award-winning film producer and CEO of Valhalla Entertainment, Gale Anne Hurd; Academy Award-nominated film producer and the Founder and President of FilmColony Richard Gladstein; and CEO of CreativeFuture Ruth Vitale – will explore how to build a career in the arts.

Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro and Dr. Ryuichiro Higashinaka (Intelligent Future Track) – Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro is director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, part of the Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University, Japan. Dr. Ryuichiro Higashinaka is a Senior Research Scientist at the Audio, Speech, and Language Media Laboratory, a part of the NTT Media Intelligence Laboratories.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs (Entertainment Influencers Track) – President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences serving her fourth term. She has represented the Public Relations Branch as a governor for 24 years. She produced the Academy’s 2012 4th Annual Governors Awards.

Marc Jacobs interviewed by Sally Singer (Style Track) – Design icon Marc Jacobs has stores across the globe featuring Women’s and Men’s RTW and accessories, a children’s line called Little Marc Jacobs, multiple award-winning fragrances, the bookstore Bookmarc, and most recently Marc Jacobs Beauty. Marc Jacobs will be in conversation with Sally Singer, Creative Digital Director of Vogue.

Mary Lou Jepsen (Health Track) – Founder and Chairman of Openwater, whose goal is MRI resolution imaging in a wearable, previously co-founded One Laptop per Child and held executive roles at Facebook, Oculus, Intel, and Google [x].

Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Sports Track) – NBA legend, professional sports team owner, entrepreneur, philanthropist, motivational speaker and Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises.

Van Jones (Government Track) – Van Jones is an author, CNN political commentator, and host of The Messy Truth with Van Jones on CNN. Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama, and has founded and led four not-for-profit organizations engaged in social and environmental justice.

Marie “KonMari” Kondo (Design Track) – Marie “KonMari” Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant, author and visionary entrepreneur. Kondo has captured the findings from her lifelong journey of organization as the best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

Ray Kurzweil and Amy Kurzweil (Tech Industry Track) – Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists. He is co-founder and Chancellor of Singularity University and a Director of Engineering at Google. Amy Kurzweil is a cartoonist and writer whose comics have appeared in The New Yorker. She is the author of Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir (NY Times: Best of 2016). She teaches writing and comics at Fashion Institute of Technology and The New School for Design.

Michele Madansky, Lisen Stromberg, and Leslie Wingo (Workplace Track) – In a follow up to the SXSW 2016 Elephant in the Valley Keynote, Michele Madansky, Michele Madansky Consulting; Lisen Stromberg, CEO and Founder of PrismWork; and Leslie Wingo, President and CEO SandersWingo come together for the Elephant on Madison Avenue Featured Session to discuss sexual harassment and gender bias in the advertising industry and how it compares to tech.

Parag Khanna (Intelligent Future Track) –Leading global strategist, world traveler, and best-selling author. He is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Dan Lyons (Tech Industry Track) – Author of the New York Times best-seller, Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble, and a former writer on HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Candice Morgan (Workplace Track) – Head of Diversity at Pinterest, leading strategy and programs to enhance diversity and inclusion.

Wagner Moura and Alice Braga with John Hopewell (Entertainment Influencers Track) – Golden Globe Nominee actor Wagner Moura (Narcos, Netflix) and actress Alice Braga (Queen of the South, USA Network), two Brazilian artists, discuss diversity in Hollywood alongside Variety reporter John Hopewell, as both star in cutting-edge, prime-time drama series in the United States with Latin American protagonists.

Kimbal Musk (Food Track) – On the boards of Chipotle, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX. His personal mission is to strengthen communities through food. Musk is a cofounder of The Kitchen, a growing family of restaurants that sources directly from local farmers.

Casey Neistat (Journalism Track) – Casey Neistat is a YouTube creator with over 1.3 billion views, a filmmaker and a technology entrepreneur. In November 2016 he became part of CNN Worldwide, where he is currently building an entirely new stand-alone media and technology company that combines CNN’s global resources with a fresh approach to the news.

Peggy Orenstein (Social Impact Track) – Author of The New York Times best-sellers Girls & Sex, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and Waiting for Daisy among others. She has written for dozens of prestigious magazines and newspapers, with her articles anthologies many times.

Randall Poster (Making Film & Episodics Track) – Renowned music supervisor, perhaps best known for his long-term collaboration with director Wes Anderson, as well as directors including Harmony Korine, Todd Haynes, Richard Linklater, Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, and Sam Mendes.

Vivek Ranadivé (Sports Track) – Entrepreneur, technology visionary, The New York Times best-selling author and philanthropist, Ranadivé is recognized for his outside-the-box thinking. He is the owner and chairman of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Rachael Ray (Music Influencers Track) – Television host, best-selling author and Austin enthusiast, Rachael Ray, has hosted two annual Feedback food and music events in Austin during SXSW for the last 9 years which have played host to the likes of The Districts, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Shovels & Rope, JEFF The Brotherhood, Blondie, Raekwon, and over 150 others.

Will Roper interviewed by Nick Thompson (Government Track) – Will Roper, Director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), will be interviewed by Nicholas Thompson, Editor of newyorker.com.

Adam Savage (Tech Industry Track) – Internationally renowned television producer, host, maker and public speaker.

Alan and Sarah Schaaf interviewed by James Ledbetter (Tech Industry Track) – Alan Schaaf, Founder and CEO of Imgur, an image-sharing community, and Sarah Schaaf, Director of Community at Imgur, will be interviewed by James Ledbetter, Editor of Inc. magazine and Inc.com.

Gen. Paul J. Selva (Government Track) – General Selva serves as the 10th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he is the nation’s second highest-ranking military officer. Selva was recently featured on the 60 Minutes segment “The Coming Swarm,” which addressed autonomous drones.

Fidji Simo, Tali Rapaport, Stephanie Hannon, and Merci Grace (Development & Code Track) – This Featured Session Product Mavericks: Top Tips From Women Who Build, will feature panelists Fidji Simo (Facebook), Tali Rapaport (Lyft), Stephanie Hannon (Hillary for America), and Merci Grace (Slack). Hear from the women who are defying the numbers, building the products we’re all using each and every day, and are both figuratively and physically shaping our future.

Thad Starner (Intelligent Future Track) – Thad Starner is the Technical Lead of Google Glass, Director of Contextual Computing Groupat Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, and Georgia Tech Chair of the IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computing.

Noor Tagouri (Social Impact Track) – Journalist and motivational speaker, Noor Tagouri, has gained international attention since launching the viral #letnoorshine campaign in 2012.

Nadya Tolokonnikova (Music Influencers Track) – Russian conceptual artist, political activist and member of punk rock group Pussy Riot.

Ingrid Vanderveldt (Startup Village Track) – Self-made businesswoman, investor and media personality, Founder & CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020.

Gary Vaynerchuk (Tech Industry Track) – Entrepreneur, investor, four-time New York Times best-selling author, and CEO of VaynerMedia.

Padmasree Warrior (Intelligent Future Track) – Chief Executive Officer of NextEV, U.S., Warrior also serves as the Chief Development Officer of NextEV, as well as a member of its Board of Directors. Forbes has named her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” for three years running.

Melanie Whelan and Tyler Haney with Julia Boorstin (Health Track) – Melanie Whelan is the CEO of SoulCycle, the country’s premier indoor cycling brand. Tyler Haney is the Founder and CEO of active lifestyle brand Outdoor Voices. Julia Boorstin is the Senior Media and Entertainment Correspondent for CNBC.

Chris White (Intelligent Future Track) – Chris White is a Principal Researcher and Partner at Microsoft working on special projects. Prior to joining Microsoft, Chris was a Program Manager developing advanced technologies for data science and leading President Obama’s Big Data Initiative at DARPA.

Rainn Wilson and Justin Baldoni (Entertainment Influencers Track) – During their Featured Session, Shake Up the Industry by Entertaining with Empathy, panelists Justin Baldoni, actor, entrepreneur, and founder of Wayfarer Entertainment, and Rainn Wilson, actor and founder of SoulPancake, will explain that how their projects provide an opportunity for people to rethink the industry.

Whitney Wolfe (Intelligent Future Track) – CEO and Founder of Bumble, a social discovery app with a unique twist: encouraging women to make the first move. Using a modern day Sadie Hawkins concept, Bumble creates a selective and meaningful environment for connecting with and discovering new people.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche – (Intelligent Future Track) – Dr. Dieter Zetsche has been a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since December 16, 1998, and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since January 1, 2006. Zetsche is also Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division. Dr. Dieter Zetsche will focus on the ever growing importance and opportunities of maps for future mobility during his conversation.

Explore Full Lineup »

All speakers subject to change.

Learn More

Attend SXSW 2017

Join us for unparalleled discovery, networking, and inspiration at the 2017 SXSW Conference & Festivals in Austin, TX from March 10-19.

Register Today

Explore SXSW Conference Tracks

The SXSW Conference provides an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, learn, and network. Each track allows attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of entertainment, culture, and technology.

Explore Tracks

Explore the SXSW Conference

Stay Tuned

Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.