Speakers

All times Eastern

We hope you'll join us for this inspiring and insightful lineup of speakers. More speakers will be announced soon!
 

2021 General Sessions

Tristan  Harris

Tristan Harris

Wednesday, February 24, 5-6 PM
Humane Technology
Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic, Tristan Harris spent three years as a Google design ethicist developing a framework for how technology should ethically steer the thoughts and actions of billions of people from screens. He is now co-founder and president of the Center for Humane Technology, whose mission is to reverse “human downgrading” and re-align technology with humanity. Additionally, he is co-host of the Center for Humane Technology's Your Undivided Attention podcast with co-founder Aza Raskin.

Rolling Stone named Harris one of “25 People Shaping the World”, and he was named in Fortune’s 40 under 40 of 2018 for his work on reforming technology. In 2016, he left Google to work on reforming the attention economy with the nonprofit initiative Time Well Spent, which called out the industry’s “race to the bottom of the brain stem” to capture attention and proposed design solutions. In January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg embraced “time well spent” as a design goal for Facebook, and in May 2018, Apple and Google each launched digital well-being initiatives and screen time features now shipping on iOS and Android phones.

Harris has spent more than a decade studying the influences that hijack human thinking and action. From his childhood as a magician to his work in the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab where he studied persuasive technology, he became concerned about the need for ethical and humane technology.

His work on the attention economy started in 2013, when he created a slide deck within Google that went viral, warning about the technology industry's arms race to capture human attention and the moral responsibility companies have for the ways they restructure society.

Harris’s work has been featured on TED, The Atlantic, 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, and many more. He has briefed heads of state, technology company CEOs, and members of Congress about the attention economy. 
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Before Google, Harris was co-founder and CEO of Apture, which Google acquired in 2011. Apture enabled millions of users to get instant, on-the-fly explanations across a vast publisher network. Harris holds several patents from his work at Apple, Wikia, Apture, and Google. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in computer science, focused on human computer interaction, while dabbling in behavioral economics, social psychology, behavior change, and habit formation in professor BJ Fogg’s Stanford Persuasive Technology lab.
Suneel Gupta

Suneel Gupta

Thursday, February 25, 4:30–5:30 PM ET
Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You
Suneel Gupta is an expert at accelerating growth and innovation. In less than two years, he helped grow Groupon from a tiny startup into a multibillion-dollar company. Since then, he founded and serves as the CEO of RISE, which is tackling the obesity epidemic through personalized mobile technology. His company has raised funding from Greylock Partners and Google.

Gupta is an expert on lean product development, and he was handpicked by entrepreneur Eric Ries to be the closing keynote speaker at the Lean Startup conference in 2011. He has been heralded as one of the most inspiring product speakers in the country by leaders at Deloitte and Walgreens. He has guest-lectured and worked with universities around the world, including Stanford, Harvard, and Yale.

Also a lawyer and filmmaker, Gupta started his career working as a White House speechwriter. In the media world, he blogged for MTV and produced with his brother, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN), The Kahani Movement, an interactive film project about the first generation of Indian-Americans that debuted at SXSW. He also worked for the president of Sony Pictures Television when the studio was investing in new creative concepts like Breaking Bad.

Gupta has always moved quickly. In less than six years, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.
Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds

Friday, February 26, 12-1 PM ET
Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author who writes novels and poetry for young adult and middle-grade audiences. His most recent book, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, was a National Book Award finalist and was named one of the best books of 2019 by NPR, The New York Times, School Library Journal, and more. Look Both Ways is composed of interconnected stories, each centering on a different student from the same school, and tells what happens after the dismissal bell rings, brilliantly reminding readers to look at our surroundings more closely and notice all the things that connect us to our communities.
 
Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Maryland, Reynolds first found inspiration in rap and began writing poetry when he was nine years old. He went on to publish several poetry collections before publishing his first novel, When I Was the Greatest, which won the Corretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. He has since written numerous award-winning novels, including All American Boys, the Track series, Patina, Sunny, For Everyone, Miles Morales-Spiderman, and As Brave As You, which won the Kirkus Prize, an NAACP Image Award, and the Schneider Family Book Award. He is also the author of Long Way Down, a novel in verse that was named a Newberry Honor book, a Printz Honor Book, and best young adult work by the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards.
 
Reynolds’ book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, written in collaboration with author and historian Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, is a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative that illuminates the many insidious forms of racist ideas and give readers the tools to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their own lives. Based on Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, Reynolds has reimagined this groundbreaking work for young adults and provides an accessible book that helps young readers understand race and society.

Photo by James J. Reddington