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 AndrĂ© 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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We believe that America is at a major digital turning point. Simply, we find tremendous benefits in online technology, but we also pay a personal price for those benefits. The question is: how high a price are we willing to pay?

— Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, after a 10-year study by the Center incorporating more than 100 major issues involved in the impact of online technology in the United States