What does Monica Lewinsky have to do with tech? We’re about to find out.
Lewinsky joins retired Gen. Colin Powell, futurist Ray Kurzweil, skateboard entrepreneur Tony Hawk, tech pioneer Steve Case and Pitbull as headliners for next week’s homegrown eMerge Americas technology conference.
For the third year, eMerge Americas will bring together dozens of speakers, an expo, a hiring fair and startup pitch contests for its main event on Monday and Tuesday at Miami Beach Convention Center, where more than 10,000 attendees are expected, said eMerge Americas CEO Xavier Gonzalez. As in year’s past, a hackathon and a Startup Bootcamp will precede the main conference.
But this year, the content will be more streamlined and more generally focused on innovation and disruption, Gonzalez said. Instead of multiple summit stages presenting speakers simultaneously like in past years, there will be one main eMerge Stage, where all the keynotes and most of the main panel discussions will be. Within the expo area, there will also be a LaunchPad stage, where startup-focused talks and contests will be held, and a TexPert stage for industry talks and interactive demonstrations.
The feedback last year was that people didn’t want so much competing content, Gonzalez said. “We tried to simplify it and not overburden our attendees,” he said.
But there will be no less variety at the conference.
Like last year, NBCUniversal stations will be holding live broadcasts on the Expo floor both days and eMerge Americas founder Manny Medina will ring the Nasdaq closing bell on Monday. The WIT (Women Innovation & Technology) track will be back on Tuesday, as well as eGov on Monday; and this year the sessions will be available to attendees with Tech, Summit or VIP passes. About 40 companies are participating in the two-day hiring fair, including Magic Leap, Open English, United Data Technologies and FPL.
Monday’s highlights include the opening keynote about leadership by Gen. Powell. Talks on entrepreneurship in Cuba, the Hyperloop transportation project, smart cities, Miami as a healthcare hub and the University of Miami’s hemispheric innovation strategy will follow.
Case will discuss the “third wave” of innovation, in which he argues that we are entering a period when entrepreneurs will leverage new technologies to transform major “real world” sectors like health, education, transportation, energy and food — and in the process change the way we live. Hawk will talk about the power of authenticity and finding success through passion.
On Tuesday, author and inventor Kurzweil will look into the future to offer his predictions on how far science and technology innovation will go. Later in the day, Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal International Group, and Mark Hoffman, chairman of CNBC, will join CNBC Fast Money’s Melissa Lee and Armando Christian Pérez, aka Pitbull, for a discussion about trends in media and music.
Tuesday also will be contest day, with youthful alumni from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship pitching their companies in the morning for $10,000 to invest in their businesses. The two-day Startup Showcase, involving more than 100 companies, will climax on Tuesday when finalists from the University, Early Stage and Later Stage tracks face off for $175,000 in investment dollars. Like last year, the judges will become investors in the companies they choose — skin in the game.
As to Lewinsky, Gonzalez said she will talk about cyberbullying, a topic that has been in the news and is something Lewinsky has experienced for two decades, making this a talk not to miss, he said.
“Have you seen her TED Talk? She is a phenomenal speaker,” he said.
eMerge Americas 2016
What: Keynote speakers, panels, country pavilions, a company expo, a hiring fair, a Startup Showcase and numerous networking opportunities.
When: April 18-19
Where: Miami Beach Convention Center
Prices: Tickets range from $55 for an Expo Pass to $1,795 for a VIP Pass.
Tickets and more info: emergeamericas.org
Pro tip: Register and pick up your badge between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m on Sunday to avoid the line.