Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Larry Summers, Gabrielle Giffords and Extreme Pilots Headline Google’s Partner-Petting Conference in the Desert

Google’s Zeitgeist Americas conference starts today at a tony resort near Scottsdale, Ariz., with more than 450 partners, customers and Google executives set for multiple days of talks from speakers including CEO Larry Page and other notables flown in from around the globe.


It’s a snazzy boondoggle, indeed; last year, guests got to experience zero-gravity flights that mimic the weightlessness of space. It’s not clear what this year’s freebie will be, but there will be yoga.

Sources provided us with the speaker list, and here are some selections from the 2013 lineup, which is a mix of execs, modern-day superheroes and many TED Talk alums wrangled by Google marketing head Lorraine Twohill:

  • Not-Fed-Chairman-candidate Larry Summers
  • Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly
  • Education administrators Cami Anderson and Freeman Hrabowski
  • Young inventors Elif Bilgin and Taylor Wilson
  • A pair of CEOs: Netflix’s Reed Hastings and GoPro’s Nick Woodman. Also BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti
  • Entertainment-makers Mark Burnett, Sal Masekela and Shane Smith, as well as former CNN anchor Campbell Brown
  • Solar-powered pilot André Borschberg, BASE jumper Matthias Giraud, and balloonist Bertrand Piccard

Many of the Zeitgeist talks are posted on YouTube pretty quickly; you’ll be able to find them here.

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The best and brightest are usually put to work on optimisation. … They will then go forward and solve the inefficiencies, and that’s where 99% of most energy is spent on. But, at some point you run out of room to improve things, and that’s when you have to step aside and ask, can we make it different?

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