2014 Speakers

Doug Rushkoff
Media Theorist, CNN Commentator, Author
Media Theorist, CNN Commentator, and author Douglas Rushkoff is one of the most influential thinkers of the digital age. He offers accessible and provocative insights into how interactive communications affect society, business, and our day-to-day lives.

The originator of such terms and ideas as “viral media” and “social currency,” Dr. Rushkoff is the author of 12 books on technology, media, and pop culture that have been translated into 25 languages. He won the Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity and was named one of the 10 most important thought leaders in the world by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.

2013’s Present Shock, describes the constant movement of information and events flowing from technology into our daily routines. From Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party Movement to The Simpsons, present shock is, says Forbes, “a big concept with profound implications for culture, politics and business.”

Rushkoff contributes to The Guardian, Discover, and NPR and has served as an applied futurist for companies such as Sony, Nokia, Pepsi, AT&T and Dell. He holds a PhD in New Media from Utrecht University and teaches at NYU and The New School.

Deb Roy
Chief Media Scientist of Twitter, MIT Professor
Deb is Chief Media Scientist of Twitter and a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2008 he co-founded and was the founding CEO of Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics company, which MIT Technology Review named as one of the 50 most innovative companies of 2012. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013.

Deb conducts research at the MIT Media Lab on language, games, and social dynamics at the intersection of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. An author of over 100 academic papers in machine learning, cognitive modeling, and human-machine interaction, his TED talk, Birth of a Word, has been viewed over 2.5 million times.

A native of Canada, Deb received a Bachelor of Applied Science (computer engineering) from the University of Waterloo and a PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT.

Jer Thorp
Co-Founder, Office for Creative Research; Fmr NYT Data Artist in Residence
Jer Thorp is a data artist and big data speaker whose work focuses on adding narrative meaning to huge amounts of data. In other words, he makes data more human. Through cutting edge data visualization techniques, Thorp helps people and corporations take control of the information that surrounds them, using technology and data as a new way to tell stories.
Felix Salmon
Finance Blogger for Reuters
Felix Salmon is the award-winning finance blogger for Reuters, and has been blogging since 1999. He arrived at Reuters from Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com, where he originated the Market Movers financial blog.

His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Wired, the New York Times, New York magazine, and Euromoney magazine. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, he has worked in the United States since 1997.

Amanda Palmer
Singer/Songwriter and The Social Media Queen of Rock-N-Roll
Provocative, irreverent, controversial and wildly creative, Amanda Palmer is a fearless singer, songwriter, playwright, blogger and an audaciously expressive pianist who simultaneously embraces – and explodes – traditional frameworks of music, theater and art.

Amanda first came to prominence as one half of the internationally acclaimed punk cabaret duo
The Dresden Dolls. In 2008, she released her debut solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer.

Amanda is widely known as “The Social Media Queen of Rock-N-Roll” for her constant and disarmingly intimate engagement with her fans via her blog, Tumblr, and Twitter (800,000+followers), and has been at the vanguard of using both “direct to fan” and “pay what you want” (patronage) business models to build and run her business.

In May of 2012 she made international news when she raised nearly $1.2 million pre-selling her new album, Theatre is Evil, along with related merchandise and “experiences” via Kickstarter. Theatre is Evil went on to debut in the “Billboard Top 10” when it was released on Sept. 11, 2012, and has been released in over 20 countries on her own label, 8ft records.

Amanda was invited to present a “TED Talk” at TED’s 2013 Conference. To date her Talk, “The
Art of Asking”, has been viewed more than 4 million times worldwide. 2013 also saw the release of “An Evening with Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer”- a 3 CD collection of tracks culled from a live tour with her husband and best-selling author Neil Gaiman.

Ken Auletta
Media Columnist for The New Yorker, Author
Media columnist for The New Yorker and bestselling author of Googled and Greed and Glory on Wall Street. In ranking him as America’s premier media commentator, theColumbia Journalism Review concluded, “No other reporter has covered the news communication business as thoroughly.”

In his award-winning “Annals of Communications” for The New Yorker, Auletta regularly provides readers with a look into the future of media and how it will change our lives. He chronicles major events and explores the powerful people shaping the internet, social media, television, Hollywood, newspaper, publishing and technology industries. His profiles have revealed with unique intimacy the inner-workings of such famous media personalities as Rupert Murdoch, Google’s Larry Page, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg, Harvey Weinstein, Barry Diller, the editors and publisher of The New York Times, and Bill Gates. His profile of Ted Turner, “The Lost Tycoon,” won a National Magazine Award.

Auletta is a frequent guest on Charlie Rose. He has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, been named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library, and was selected one of the 20th century’s top 100 business journalists by a distinguished panel of his peers.

Mark D'Arcy
Chief Creative Officer, Facebook Creative Shop
Mark D’Arcy is Chief Creative Officer of the Facebook Creative Shop. In this role, he leads a team of creative strategists tasked with creating and building ideas that transform how the world’s largest and most innovative marketers use Facebook to drive business growth.

Prior to joining Facebook Mark spent seven years at Time Warner in New York, as Chief Creative Officer of its Global Media Group. Here he co-developed the first truly creative media arts practice within a global media company designed to better leverage the company’s extensive television, film, print and digital assets for its key marketing partners. In 2009, Mark was also named President of the Group and Senior Vice President of Time Warner.

Mark has been widely recognized for his creativity and leadership in the creative industries and regularly speaks all around the world on the subject of creativity in social media, the transformation of marketing, the communication arts and the role and purpose of brands in society. Mark has served as a juror on numerous international awards shows including the
CLIO Awards, LIA Awards, The International ANDY Awards and in 2013 served on the inaugural Innovations Lions jury at the Cannes Lions Awards.

Douglas Merrill
Co-Founder and CEO ZestFinance.com
Douglas Merrill is the former Chief Information Officer at Google. Put another way: he championed innovation at one of the world’s most innovative companies. In his passionate keynotes, Merrill draws on real world experience to help companies build their own thriving, strategic, and sustainable cultures of creativity
Douglas Merrill brings a rich real-world perspective on innovation as strategy, as culture, while delivering an overview of how new technologies have changed the way we live and work. Informed, passionate and brilliantly counter-intuitive, Merrill now helps companies around the world learn how to build their own sustainable cultures of innovation.
Merrill’s latest project is ZestFinance.com; a Big Data fueled underwriting and short-term loan service that provides customers with an affordable alternative to traditional payday loan companies.

Merrill has also served as COO of New Music at EMI Group, and as VP of Infrastructure and HR Strategy at Charles Schwab. In academia, he was an Information Scientist at the RAND Corporation. He holds a Ph.D. in cognitive science from Princeton and is the author of Getting Organized in the Google Era: How to Get Stuff Out of Your Head, Find It When You Need It, and Get It Done Right.

David Shing
AOL's Digital Prophet
David Shing is AOL’s digital prophet. Shing spends most of his time watching the future take shape across the vast online landscape. The rest he spends talking to people about where things are headed and how we can get the most out of it. Shing has spent most of his adult life in the digital world working for both large and small creative companies. He served as AOL’s European head of media and marketing before taking on his current mantle. Engaging, witty, and refreshingly candid, Shing provides both historical perspective and current context as he lays out his vision of the brave, new world of marketing to come – one he believes will belong to those willing to embrace change and take risks now, and one that he dearly hopes will suck a great deal less. The opportunities are incredible. The rewards are real. And Shing’s here to show you the way. That, after all, is what prophets do.
Ron Tite
Branding and Creativity Expert
Relevant, engaging, and interactive, Ron Tite exceeds expectations each and every time he takes the stage. Named one of the “Top 10 Creative Canadians” by Marketing magazine, the award-winning advertising writer, chief executive officer, and creative director addresses a variety of topics surrounding branding, corporate strategy, creativity and social media. Boasting training from Second City, Tite’s presentations are not only information-packed, they’re also infused with his unique humour–guaranteed to have you laughing while you learn.

Currently, he is CEO of The Tite Group, a content marketing agency based in Toronto. He has also written for a number of television series, penned a children’s book, and wrote, performed, and produced the play, The Canadian Baby Bonus.

Conference 2014 Platinum Sponsors

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