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Big Tech’s Conscience to Join Techonomy NYC

Techonomy’s program for our New York conference on May 8th and 9th is galloping forward. The conversation will range widely across technologies, company strategies, public policy, and the state of human progress. We believe deeply in curating diverse viewpoints to get at the essence of the head-spinning changes that tech is, depending on your perspective, either imposing or bequeathing on society. There is no other event
like it.

We’ll have WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, probably the most powerful person in advertising, and development economist Jeffrey Sachs, who played an important role in helping develop the United Nations’ Global Goals for the planet in 2030 (a key organizing principle for Techonomy’s discussions this year). Here are just some of the other amazing people who will join us.

Brad Smith, President, Microsoft

Brad is the grown-up in the room when it comes to the tech industry. He served for decades as Microsoft’s chief lawyer before CEO Satya Nadella elevated him to his right hand. He is a deep thinker about public policy, privacy, global good, and human rights. At a time when Silicon Valley is increasingly seen as pushing society in a negative direction, Smith is an advocate for the responsible use of technology — passionate, eloquent, and committed. He led and won Microsoft’s suit refusing, on privacy and constitutional grounds, to give the U.S. government personal data stored on company servers in Ireland, a case now being appealed by the Justice Department to the Supreme Court. He supports and oversees work on how tech can improve civic life, including concerns about eliminating implicit bias in societal software. And he has just co-written a book entitled The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society. Our onstage conversation with Smith will be wide-ranging and eye-opening.

Anjali Sud, CEO, Vimeo

She took over as CEO of Vimeo just last summer and is already well underway with a fundamental shift in strategy for this company, which serves 60 million video-makers. Whereas in the past it mainly hosted videos on its site, Vimeo now partners in all ways with creators of video, enabling them to easily produce content and distribute on any platform. Prior to joining Vimeo three years ago, Anjali was an executive at Amazon, and worked closely with Marc Lore, who now runs e-commerce at Walmart. She is an energetic and visionary thinker about where business is headed and a champion for the empowerment of creators, with lots of ideas about how they can carry more weight in a digitized distribution world dominated by Facebook and Google.

Bastian Lehmann, CEO, Postmates

This San Francisco-based company is only seven years old, but has established itself as a pillar of the on-demand economy. Using a vast network of local couriers in cities throughout the country, it enables “anyone to have anything delivered on-demand.” Bastian will talk about what a speeded-up economy means for jobs, economic efficiency, and the creation of useful data about how cities work. The company has a local window into what people want and where they want it. It has fascinating data about the flow of goods, including everything from senior citizens receiving health and wellness products to a sudden surge in orders of vodka on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration. A high-energy and opinionated presence, this immigrant from Germany recently wrote on the company blog, after Trump’s State of the Union address, that “by turning our backs on our…heritage as a nation of immigrants, for immigrants, we risk squandering it.”

Merit Janow, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University

Merit oversees one of the world’s largest and most important training grounds for global leaders, and is a big-picture thinker about the world. She is also a techonomist; SIPA has broadened in recent years to include significant support and training for entrepreneurship. She sees it is a key lever for growth and inclusion. Figuring out how private and public capital and institutions can come together to drive global progress is a key priority for her. And, as a former official in the World Trade Organization and one-time Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China, she is especially acute in her insights into relations with that country. On our stage, she will contribute to our dialogue about how important that nexus has become for tech and the world economy.

Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO, Novozymes

The Copenhagen-based multinational biotech company Peder heads is ahead of peers in thinking about how purpose-driven business can be both profitable and good for the planet. Its entire corporate strategy is built around a commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, especially goal number 13 — Climate Action. Producing “more from less” is a watchword. Sustainability goals sit alongside financial ones here. Among Novozymes’ top products are enzymes that enable washing clothes in cold water, thus powering numerous detergents you see on supermarket shelves. By reducing washing temperature, energy use is also reduced, and thus the emission of carbon dioxide that contributes to a warming planet. Novozymes also sells enzymes that enable fewer chemicals in textile production and keep clothes feeling new for longer, reducing unnecessary production. Nielsen is a committed advocate for the U.N.’s Global Goals, and says he is mystified that more American business leaders have not put their support behind them. We’ll draw him out on that.

Join us.  Request your invitation now.

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