Is it me or are a handful of narratives sucking up a lot of air in tech news at the moment? Online privacy. Deep Fakes. The streaming media wars.
All are incredibly important and worthy of substantial coverage. But I worry that the news media’s obsession with a handful of topics like these is drowning out other developments in technology that will disrupt business in the not-too-distant future.
We want to give these other themes room to breathe. And so for our fifth Subscriber Summit, our flagship annual event this October 17 in Menlo Park, we are going to try to move beyond what’s happening in the next five minutes and focus on the next five years—with a nod to the next 50.
We have been fortunate to have amazing speakers over the last four years of Subscriber Summits, including Medium’s Ev Williams, BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti, reporter Katie Couric, Box CEO Aaron Levy, TPG CEO Jim Coulter and Adam Mosseri, now CEO of Instagram.
And this year, because The Information is as much a community as a publication, we want you to be involved in setting the agenda. Here are some themes that are top of mind for me and the team. What are we missing?
Capitalism 2.0—Younger consumers are losing trust in companies and raising their voices in protest. This activism has been particularly acute in Silicon Valley where employees have pounced on what they perceive to be the hypocrisy between mission-driven tech companies’ rhetoric and how they do business. From how they structure their IPOs to the projects they pursue, companies are trying to adapt. Will their efforts work, and will Silicon Valley be leaders or laggards in adapting?
The Future of Investing—From VC firms that run on algorithms to companies raising money via ICOs, the traditional ways businesses raise capital are shifting dramatically. Against the backdrop of the continuing flood of money into tech, how should investors and companies respond?
The Future of Work—Artificial intelligence is colliding with the enterprise, and perhaps no more directly than with robotic process automation (RPA)—or creating tasks for software to handle instead of humans. Startups in the field are some of the fastest growing tech businesses in history. But there are a lot of questions, including the valuations of the businesses and the competitive impact of other fast-growing companies trying to change the way we work.
Media Everywhere—There are two themes around media that are important to track. One is simply the consolidation of companies, traditional and digital. The second is how, just two decades after the internet upended the business, technology is going to again force us to rethink our notion of what media is and how we consume it. People can listen to podcasts over Amazon Echo devices in our living rooms and eventually will read from tablets in self-driving cars. Then there’s AR. These kind of new technologies will dramatically disrupt the media business—again. How should companies react?
East vs. West—The unraveling of business ties with the U.S. and China is one of the most important global stories, and the tech sector is at the heart of it. What will a more self-sufficient Chinese technology economy mean for U.S. tech companies?
Mobility—Ride-sharing is only the tip of the iceberg in the disruption of how we get around. Scooters. Self-driving cars. All are going to challenge the traditional makeup of our roads and our cities and fundamentally rethink mobility infrastructure. We need a roadmap for how this will all play out.
What are we missing? Shoot me an email at email@example.com.
And if any of these themes resonate with you, I would love to hop on a call and see if there is a way we can work together to make this a truly unique event. I look forward to announcing our initial round of amazing speakers shortly.