One of MIT Sloan's oldest conferences in its 19th year
a convening of movers and shakers
It's that time of the year again. The event this February will showcase the latest cutting edge research and technology in development at MIT, along with TED-style talks and fireside chats (plus debates) between interesting people. No boring 45 minute panels.
Speaker announcements coming soon.
Interested in attending, speaking, or volunteering? We'd love to hear from you.
Professor Alex "Sandy" Pentland directs the MIT Connection Science and Human Dynamics labs and previously helped create and direct the MIT Media Lab and the Media Lab Asia in India. He is one of the most-cited scientists in the world, and Forbes recently declared him one of the "7 most powerful data scientists in the world" along with Google founders and the Chief Technical Officer of the United States. He has received numerous awards and prizes such as the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review, the 40th Anniversary of the Internet from DARPA, and the Brandeis Award for work in privacy.
He is a founding member of advisory boards for Google, AT&T, Nissan, and the UN Secretary General, a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded more than a dozen companies. His most recent books are `Social Physics,' published by Penguin Press, and 'Honest Signals', published by MIT Press.
Magatte Wade was born in Senegal, educated in Germany and France, and launched her entrepreneurial career in the San Francisco Bay Area. Magatte is a serial-entrepreneur and passionate advocate of positive change in business, gender roles, and Africa. Magatte is a Forbes “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa”, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos, a TED Global Africa Fellow and a "Leading Woman in Wellness” award winner by the Global Wellness Summit (she later got invited to join the Board, where she now serves). Magatte also serves on the Advisory Board of the Whole Planet Foundation, of Whole Foods Market.
Tony Tjan (pronounced “Chan”) is founder and CEO of Cue Ball Group, the venture capital firm focused on digital and information media, enterprise Internet, and tech-enabled retail. Cue Ball was founded in 2008 with a new model for venture capital through its human-capital centric philosophy and permanent capital structure.
Tjan is also chairman and co-founder of MiniLuxe, which combines design, technology, and elevated standards to transform the nail care salon industry. Other boards include the chairmanship of Shape Up (enterprise wellness via social networking) and Livefyre (real-time social content management).
In 1996 Tjan founded ZEFER, one of the first Internet advisory and development firms creating online strategies and large-scale applications for Fortune companies. After ZEFER, he became, at age 30, the youngest senior partner in the strategic consulting and investment firm, The Parthenon Group, where he was vice chairman until its sale to Ernest and Young in 2014. Tjan also served for seven years as senior advisor to the CEO of Thomson Corporation, at the time Dick Harrington, who today is his partner at Cue Ball. At Thomson, their work became the subject of a seminal Harvard Business Review (HBR) article on transforming a traditional publisher into the largest information services company, Thomson Reuters.
Tjan wrote the NYT best-selling book Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, and is a former World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow, past TED speaker, and contributor to Harvard Business Review. He has degrees from Harvard College in biology, an MBA from Harvard Business School (where he served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence), and was a Belfer Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Bradley started Tusk Ventures to help startups work with governments at scale.
In 2010, Bradley started Tusk Strategies, a political and strategic consulting firm dedicated to helping major institutions run multi-jurisdictional campaigns to shape their public reputation, overcome regulatory hurdles, and proactively engage governments to solve problems and seize opportunities. Tusk Strategies works with Fortune 500 companies like Google, Walmart, AT&T and Expedia, media companies like AMC, NBC News, The Weather Channel, Discovery and Cablevision, institutions like Stanford University, and individuals like Mike Bloomberg.
Previously, Bradley served as the campaign manager for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successful re-election bid in 2009.
Bradley served as Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois from 2003-2006. He oversaw the $60 billion state budget in addition to policy, legislation, communications, and operations encompassing 57,000 employees.
After serving as Deputy Governor, Bradley served as Senior Vice President at Lehman Brothers, where he created the lottery monetization group and headed all of its efforts regarding U.S. based lotteries.
Earlier in his career, Bradley served as Special Assistant to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Communications Director for New York Senator Charles Schumer. Bradley also served as Senior Advisor to New York City Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, and was an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University. Bradley is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago Law School.
Jerry Colonna is an American venture capitalist and certified professional coach who played a prominent part in the early development of Silicon Alley. He is the recipient of numerous awards and a speaker on topics ranging from leadership to starting businesses. Colonna has been named to Upside magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People of the New Economy, Forbes ASAP's list of the best VCs in the country, and Worth's list of the 25 most generous young Americans. He is a co-founder and CEO of the executive coaching and leadership development company, Reboot. He also serves as chairman on the Board of Trustees at Naropa University.
Kat Manalac was Chief of Staff to Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of reddit, before joining YC as its Director of Outreach. Prior to that, Kat was at WIRED Magazine where she managed brand and strategy. Kat has a BS in Communications from Northwestern University.
One of Facebook's first 10 employees.
Kevin Colleran is Managing Director of Slow Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund run by a group of early Facebook executives. Slow manages nearly $250 million in capital financed by a group of 100+ tech industry founders, CEO's, executives as well as a select group of notable venture capital firms and endowments. At Slow, Colleran focuses on early stage tech investments in consumer and enterprise startups including Pinterest, Barkbox, Birchbox, Postmates, Nextdoor, Casper, Pillpack, Classpass, Shyp, Breather, Slack, Product Hunt, Evernote, AngelList, Handy, Wealthfront and 180+ other companies. Kevin was also recently a Venture Partner and Advisor at General Catalyst Partners and wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal (online & print) as part of their "Accelerators" section.
Previously Kevin was one of the first 10 employees at Facebook Inc. having joined in early 2005 as their first advertising sales person. He stayed at Facebook for nearly 7 years on the revenue team leaving in 2012 after having become the longest tenured employee at the company other than Mark Zuckerberg.
Habib is a tech entrepreneur and angel investor, recently turned VC. He is currently the CEO of Wamda.com and the managing partner of Wamda Capital. He founded Yamli.com the Arabic search and transliteration startup that licensed its technology to Yahoo. He also started a number of non-profits including YallaStartup, INLET and ReliefLebanon.
In 2009, the World Economic Forum recognized Habib as a Young Global Leader and the ArabianBusiness named him one of the top 30 influential Arabs under 30 as well as of the most 500 powerful Arabs. He currently serves on the Global Agenda Council on innovation. He is an advisor to several US and Middle Eastern startups and non-profits.
Habib is behind the original idea behind Yamli, and today drives Yamli's vision of empowering the Arabic language and users on the web. His responsibilities span from product strategy and design to business development. The World Economic Forum recently recognized Habib as a Young Global Leader for 2009.
Prior to Yamli, he worked as a senior engineer at ATI (later acquired by AMD); and before that he was part of the early engineering team at Mok3 (now Everyscape), a startup out of the MIT CSAIL lab.
Habib co-founded INLET (International Network of Lebanese Entrepreneurs and Technologists), an organization geared towards promoting entrepreneurship and leadership for the Arab world in general and Lebanon in particular. He also founded Relief Lebanon, a grass roots effort aimed at supporting the relief operations in Lebanon during the July 2006 war. Relief Lebanon was featured by the "101 Stories to Tell" initiative by the UNDP in February 2009.
Habib often speaks about early stage development and entrepreneurship, and has spoken at venues such as the Harvard Business School, Boston College and the American University of Beirut. He currently sits on the advisory board of Meedan, a non-profit startup that aims to enable cross-cultural dialogs online.
Habib holds a Bachelor of Computer and Communication Engineering from the American University in Beirut and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.
Peter is co-leading and building McKinsey’s new 'Fast Growth Tech' Practice, serving innovative, growth-stage tech companies that are shaping the future. The practice is delivering real and lasting impact through a range of approaches that fit smaller companies — including strong counseling relationships, powerful knowledge assets such as SaaS Growth Benchmarking, published insights (www.SaasRadar.com), and rapid growth focused projects. In the last year the practice has built 100s of successful relationships with the C-Suite and investors (VC and growth PE) and successfully delivered our expertise in over 30 projects scoped for startup speed, teams, and fees. Prior to his current role, Peter spent nearly 8 years as a leader in McKinsey's 'Tech, Media, and Telecom' Practice, focused on serving leading technology companies on growth strategy in his core knowledge leadership areas (Cloud/SaaS, mobility, consumer tech/media, and IoT) and the related operational and execution topics across the product pipeline (e.g., design, pricing, COGS, and GTM).
Amisha Miller is a senior program officer in Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she leads programmatic research focused on “what works” in creating scalable businesses. She previously was a consultant at Mission Measurement, where she worked with nonprofits, including NGOs, multilaterals, and foundations of Fortune 500 companies, to measure their impact and create new, more results-oriented strategies that drive revenue and impact gains. Prior to joining Mission Measurement, Miller led the research and evaluation of global development programs, positioning NGOs as thought-leaders as well as creating practical measurement and operations tools for organizations and clients. She created the research and policy department at Endeavor Brazil, and through her work there and at Enterprise UK, forged partnerships with the United Nations, the Brazilian and British national and local governments, and many businesses from multinationals to small enterprises.
Miller regularly presents at international, national, and local practitioner and research conferences. She has published work on entrepreneurship programs and their effects, as well as measurement and other research themes. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Warwick and a MSc in population and development from the London School of Economics.
Ben Finkel founded and served as the CEO of Fluther.com--a Q&A site focused on getting fast answer to the right people. In December of 2010, Fluther was acquired by Twitter. Ben now works at Jelly Industries as CTO.
His background is in CS / math (which he studied at Brown University). His honors thesis was in the field of graph drawing, and was published in 2004 Journal of Graph Drawing. After Brown, he worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, developing algorithms in the Space Control Systems group.
In 2005, he moved to San Francisco, with the goal of starting his first company, which was Fluther.
Brock Pierce is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with an extensive track record of founding, advising and investing in disruptive businesses. He pioneered the market for digital currency in games and has raised more than $200 million for companies he founded. Mr. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and founder and Managing Partner of Blockchain Capital.
Blockchain Capital is the first sector focused venture fund that invests in Blockchain technology companies and the Bitcoin ecosystem. The firm has invested in more than 45 companies in the space. Blockchain Capital was recently named the most active FinTech Venture Fund by Pitchbook.
Mr. Pierce is the founder of IMI Exchange, the world’s leading digital currency marketplace for games, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion and investors such as Goldman Sachs and Oak Investment Partners, which was sold in 2016 for more than $100 million. He founded ZAM, one of the world’s largest media properties for gamers, which was acquired by Tencent in 2012. Mr. Pierce founded IGE, the pioneer of digital currency in online games, achieving revenues exceeding $100 million in 2006 and sold in 2007. Mr. Pierce is a is an early investor in Bitcoin and one of the largest investors in the Ethereum crowd sale. He's also a founding board member of the Omni Foundation, GoCoin, Tether (sold), Xfire 2.0, Playsino, Five Delta (sold to SCRI), Evertune, GamesTV, and Digital Entertainment Network.
Mr. Pierce is faculty at the Singularity University and has spoken at the Milken Global Conference, Wired, INK, Stanford, USC, and UCLA. He attended the University of Southern California.
Daniel leads McKinsey New Ventures, recently launched to pioneer the firm’s next frontier of innovation and entrepreneurship. New Ventures complement McKinsey’s current capabilities to deliver even more impact to clients.
Also a member of McKinsey’s global operating committee, Daniel has helped to build the firm’s Industrial and Aerospace & Defense practices in the Americas. He has extensive experience serving clients across a broad range of sectors (aerospace, defense, technology, software, industrial) and geographies (North America, Europe, and Asia). In his work with clients, Daniel’s primary focus is strategic and operational: creating new digital businesses; building new operational capabilities (e.g., Design To Value, Next Generation Procurement); building new marketing and sales capabilities to accelerate growth; expanding portfolios through acquisitions and partnerships, and capturing the full value of acquisitions.
Daniel graduated from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris, and, as part of that program attended Haas School of Business of the University of California at Berkley.
Currently Senior Advisor to the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, Casey has two decades of experience as a journalist—most recently as a senior columnist at The Wall Street Journal, covering digital currency, global finance, and economics. In addition to co-authoring The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order — a “timely and colorful book [that] is a rewarding place to learn it all” (The New York Times) and “the most thorough and readable account of the short life of this controversial currency” (The Washington Post)—and hundreds of bylines at WSJ, he has written for Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Financial Times and many other publications. He is also the author of two prior books: The Unfair Trade: How Our Broken Financial System Destroys the Middle Class and Che’s Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image. His new book is The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life (co-authored with Oliver Luckett), about how social media functions just like a living being.
Alex is a General Partner at Spark Capital and joined the firm at its inception. He has led Spark Capital’s investments in Andela, Everything But The House, Flywire, GetYourGuide, IEX, Linkwell, Mark43, SoundHouse, Talkspace and TravelPerk. He also led Spark’s previous investments in 5min Media (acquired by AOL) and Wayfair(NYSE:W).
Alex likes to invest in unlikely, non-obvious startups led by entrepreneurs who are driven to connect, rather than copy. He likes to partner with founders building consumer marketplaces and other businesses that take advantage of network effects.
Prior to joining Spark Capital, Alex was the creator and producer of a number of television shows that he sold to major networks, including FOX, E!, Discovery, ITV1 (U.K.) and Yahoo.
Gareth Keane is an Investment Manager with Qualcomm Ventures, based in the Bay Area. His career to date has stretched from engineering roles to venture capital investment.
Prior to Qualcomm Ventures he worked for two years in the corporate development teams at National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments, focused on strategic investment, corporate M&A and corporate strategy. Previously he worked for PMC-Sierra and a number of other technology firms across both hardware and software.
Gareth has an MBA from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, a PhD in Electronic Engineering from The Queen’s University of Belfast and a BE in Electronic Engineering from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Gareth is also a Kauffman Fellow.
Roberto Rigobon is the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Management and a Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee, and a visiting professor at IESA.
Roberto is a Venezuelan economist whose areas of research are international economics, monetary economics, and development economics. Roberto focuses on the causes of balance-of-payments crises, financial crises, and the propagation of them across countries—the phenomenon that has been identified in the literature as contagion. Currently he studies properties of international pricing practices, trying to produce alternative measures of inflation. He is one of the two founding members of the Billion Prices Project, and a co-founder of PriceStats.
Roberto joined the business school in 1997 and has won both the "Teacher of the Year" award and the "Excellence in Teaching" award at MIT three times.
He received his PhD in economics from MIT in 1997, an MBA from IESA (Venezuela) in 1991, and his BS in Electrical Engineer from Universidad Simon Bolivar (Venezuela) in 1984. He is married with three kids.