‘Sup, bra’? Like, the first two featured conversation speakers were just announced on YouTube! I know, totally! Check this out:
Dude!! Tony Hawk! (Ok, I’ll stop with the Valley talk.)
About an hour ago, Sage announced the first two featured conversation speakers for Sage Summit 2015: YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk. This is a great start to what looks to be another great lineup of speakers.
If you’ll recall, last year was the first time Sage presented a series of keynote conversations throughout the conference. And just like last year, they’re reaching across multiple industries to provide insights to Sage Summit attendees.
Hands down, last year’s featured conversation with Magic Johnson, Jessica Alba, and Carey Smith of Big Ass Fans was the highlight of the conference (for me, anyway). It wasn’t just a panel discussion. The three of them had a great conversation among themselves, and it really provided a more genuine learning experience than a straight question-and-answer session. It also showed that you could combine an athlete-turned-entrepreneur, a Hollywood star with her own company, and a manufacturing CEO in one session in a way that made you forget that two-thirds of the panel are celebrities. They were three business people sharing their stories.
While Magic Johnson is famous for his entrepreneurial work, especially in under-served communities, Tony Hawk may be a bit more obscure for some people. More than any other skateboarder, Tony Hawk brought his sport into the mainstream by being an all-around nice guy and presenting a clean image. That was awfully hard to do during a time when skateboarding wasn’t always seen as a constructive past time. When I was in high school (late ’80s, early ’90s), everybody knew who Tony Hawk was, even if you weren’t into skateboarding.
While Hawk doesn’t quite have the entrepreneurial chops that Johnson does, that isn’t to say he has zero business acumen. When skateboarding as a sport suddenly bottomed out in 1991, he hung on when so many had switched careers. Highly intelligent with a flair of showmanship, Hawk almost single-handedly brought the sport back to full popularity. He has parlayed his incredible athletic talents and his clean-cut brand into a vastly successful video game franchise (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater), an X Games-style tour (Boom Boom HuckJam), and his own skateboard company (Birdhouse Projects).
Incidentally, Hawk is also known for launching the YouTube venture The RIDE Channel, a digital destination for skate culture and conversation. Which leads us to the second featured conversation speaker, Chad Hurley.
Once again, Sage is bringing in a founder of an entire form of communication. Last year, it was Twitter founder Biz Stone. This time, Sage Summit attendees will gain knowledge from one of the minds that brought us YouTube.
It’s hard to remember a time — even though it was only 10 years ago — when YouTube didn’t exist. From cute puppy videos to breaking news, from how-to videos to people recording video game sessions, from professional artists to children creating Littlest Pet Shop movies, YouTube has become a window into all of humanity. It’s a place to share our triumphs and tragedies, our celebrations and seriousness, our business and our recreation, our similarities and our differences.
Even though he was working for eBay’s PayPal division at the time, Hurley and two friends recognized the time was right for a video-sharing website. With the quick expansion of high-speed internet access, combined with the growing popularity of the internet as a recreation, YouTube quickly became one of the go-to places on the world wide web. According to biography.com, YouTube reached the Top 10 most popular websites within a year of its launch. That same year, Hurley and Steve Chen sold the website to Google for a whopping $1.65 billion in stock. (Not a bad return on investment.)
Sage built a solid foundation with their featured conversation speakers last year. And it’s so far, so good for Sage Summit 2015. These are two people I’m looking forward to hearing from. They’re not who I expected, but that’s not a bad thing. I like that they’re bringing in people with fresh perspectives from interesting backgrounds. I can’t wait to hear who else will be joining the featured conversation roster.
Early Bird pricing ends on Friday
Ok, so the last time I said Sage Summit 2015 Early Bird registration was ending in a couple of days, Sage went behind my back and extended it. But I’m pretty confident that they’re not going to do that again this time.
Friday is the last day that Sage customers will be eligible for $500 off the regular registration price for Sage Summit, which means you have two more days to register for $299 for the week. Make sure you head over there if you want to take advantage of this great rate.
Sage Summit 2015 will take place in New Orleans from July 27-31.