The Globalization of D: All Things Digital Begins Now
So why Asia? It seemed the most obvious choice for us, as we looked at the global landscape for tech. While the whole world has now been engulfed in the powerful trends of digitalization, perhaps nowhere else has been as important a place for understanding where it is headed next than this region, which is home to companies critical to the next phase of innovation.
There’s no question that Silicon Valley, which has been the base for most of the key players — such as Google, Apple, Facebook and more — has driven the digital revolution over the past decade. But as we look out onto what’s to come, it’s clear to us and many others that what’s coming next and even the next great company might be born here.
That’s why we have created a conference that mixes both important speakers from U.S. tech and also from all over Asia.
Given that smartphones are in ascendance globally, having Andy Rubin, who runs Google’s Android efforts, is a no-brainer. The longtime mobile exec is at the top of an aggressive push by the Internet giant to dominate the important sector across the world.
Speaking of domination, Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma efforts to make the company a powerhouse in China and elsewhere are hard to ignore. His recent tussle and interest in Yahoo, as he has built a wide-ranging Internet giant, should make for an interesting interview.
Expect a deep dive into what makes the future Web work with Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey, who is someone breaking new ground as he tears down old digital paradigms. With Twitter, Dorsey redefined the real-time world and how the virtual one communicates; with Square, he is upending the payments arena.
Nvidia is not only a pioneer of graphics chips, but now its processors are widely used in the latest mobile devices. That’s why its founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has a lot to say about the future of the fastest-growing sector of computing, from smartphones to tablets and whatever’s next.
Asus Chairman Jonney Shih has presided over the Taiwanese tech giant since the early 1990s. Most recently, the company pioneered the netbook market and is now plunging deeply into the tablet business, making Shih perfect to discuss these key issues in Asia and around the world.
Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai is widely considered the second in command at the consumer electronics giant Sony, in charge of its key computer entertainment division, as well as now serving as executive deputy president of the whole company. As Sony struggles to reassert its dominance in tech, Hirai will be a key player in that effort.
Bradley Horowitz — as head of product management for Google+, the search giant’s aggressive effort to break Facebook’s hammerlock on social networking — has a perfect perspective to talk about the fast-growing area and where it is going globally. With locally-based social companies springing up all over Asia, can Google establish one the whole world will use?
At Microsoft, Andy Lees is leading one of the software giant’s most important initiatives, as president of its Windows Phone division. His come-from-behind-Google-and-Apple job includes mobile software and hardware, as well as its key partnership with Nokia, and Lees will need to win in markets globally, especially in Asia.
Peter Chernin is one of Hollywood’s top players and execs. But he’s also been increasingly active in media investing in Asia of late, and has a lot to say about the global nature of entertainment in the digital age.
John Roese heads the North American R&D team for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant making everything from heavy-duty gear for networks to mobile phones and tablets. Roese will also talk about the phenomenon of a Chinese-owned company emerging on the world technology stage.
We also felt that it was important to hear from Silicon Valley start-ups, which have enjoyed unprecedented growth and funding in the Web 2.0 era. But as they seek to expand beyond the U.S., a critical move for them all, we’ve assembled a panel of entrepreneurs to discuss it, including: Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, the popular online vacation rental site; former Google exec Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who is running the recently funded Joyus, a new premium video commerce site trying to pioneer a new way to shop online; and David Goldberg, who is now running one of tech’s most successful start-ups at SurveyMonkey, the dominant online survey company.
Yahoo co-founder and former CEO Jerry Yang, who will appear with the Internet giant’s Asia head Rose Tsou, needs little introduction. For all of the noise around the company these days, Yahoo has a huge footprint in the region, maintains a big e-commerce business there and holds massive stakes in key firms, such as Yahoo Japan and China’s Alibaba.
And so does LivingSocial, whose CEO and co-founder Tim O’Shaughnessy, who will appear along with founders of two of its Asian units, Daniel Shin and Paul Srivorakul, which the daily deals site just bought as part of its aggressive move into Asia.
Because of Samsung’s increasing importance as a global player in smartphones and tablets, it was natural to invite Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, who heads global product strategy for the Korean giant’s mobile business. That has surged in the past year to make Samsung a leader in Android-based phones and tablets, and a significant challenger to Apple.
Also key in the mobile arena is Cher Wang, chairman of HTC, the important and innovative handset and tablet maker which has been a key player in Android’s success story. Add to that HTC buying an operating system, which would further strengthen its hand in the competitive market, and it’s clear it is in a pole position on the critical mobile market going forward.
Finally, we are also glad to bring back Al Gore, who had a memorable interview at the fourth D: All Things Digital conference in 2006. The former VP and Nobel Peace Prize winner is now chairman of Current TV and also continues as a prominent environmental activist. He is also on the board of Apple, while also being a senior adviser to Google, as well as a partner in the famed Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins.
In total, along with some very cool demos to show off, it’s going to be an exciting AsiaD, and we are thrilled most of all to welcome our first international audience. So get ready for a busy three days here and we hope you will like what we have to show you.