Gigaom’s CEO Byron Reese is launching a new conference, Gigaom Change, which is ‘a hands-on summit designed to help those leading business get a grasp on the dizzying amount of technical change occurring around us and gain the confidence to accelerate enterprise adoption’.
I thought I’d ask Byron about the conference, and what his goals are.
Byron Reese is an Austin-based serial entrepreneur, inventor, futurist, and historian who believes that technology will soon usher in a new golden age of humanity, where there will be no hunger, disease, poverty or war. He launched his first business while an undergraduate at Rice University and over the years has started several others. Along the way, he became an award-winning author with the publication of Infinite Progress. He presently serves as the CEO of Knowingly Corporation, as well as the publisher of Gigaom.
Stowe Boyd: Gigaom Change is a new event you’re orchestrating. What was your motivation? Was there an itch you just couldn’t scratch? Does the world need another tech conference?
Byron Reese: Gigaom Change is something entirely new and different. There isn’t another conference quite like it. It is based on the idea that a series of technologies are all converging on us at the same time, and they promise to a cataclysmic impact on the world. The seven technologies we will be looking at are artificial intelligence, virtual reality/augmented reality, robotics, human-machine interfaces, nanotechnology, cybersecurity, and 3D printing.
I have noticed that business leaders everywhere are having trouble keeping up with these technologies. Everyone knows the high-level basic concepts, but this growing complexity is strangling corporate foresight and slowing business productivity.
If you think about it, it is no surprise that these technologies are so overwhelming. Humanity has only faced real change three times in the past: When we got speech 100,000 years ago, when we developed agriculture 10,000 years ago, and when we invented writing 5000 years ago. We are literally going to witness the fourth major change, when our technologies upend our society and its institutions. Business leaders need to understand how to use these new technologies.
SB: The event will be covering a broad range of topics, so how will that done? Seven parallel tracks? What’s the experience going to be like?
BR: Gigaom Change is a single track event broken up into seven sections over two days. So all the attendees have the same conference experience.
SB: How does Gigaom Change articulate with Gigaom’s research focus?
BR: Gigaom’s research focus is exactly that: Helping our audience of executives understand the technologies they are confronted with. There are all kinds of research organizations covering the consumer space, there are plenty covering marketing departments and IT departments, but our unique focus is serving business leaders confronted with the implications of emerging technologies on their business.
SB: What should attendees anticipate as the takeaways from the event?
BR: Gigaom Change is being built in such a way that we can dive into these seven technologies and understand three things about each one: 1) How we got to where we are, 2) How these technologies can be deployed today, and 3) Where it is all heading.
The intent to give leaders the most practical yet thoughtful insight into why these technologies matter and the very tangible impact they will have, collectively, on their business, their industry and the society of which we are all a part.
While it is a very practical conference in that regard, it is not going to be your typical “sit in your chair watching talking heads all day” kind of event. It is being built as an experience not just a conference that connects enterprise leaders with leading edge innovators. If any attendees are ever served baked chicken, I have failed.
Those wanting more information can contact Byron by email.