Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Welcome to Lucky D7: Still Gambling on the Digital Future

Incredibly, this is the seventh year of the D: All Things Digital conference.

We feel very lucky to get here, especially in the midst of what our own site’s Digital Daily scribe, John Paczkowski, has so perfectly dubbed the “econalypse.”

Ironically, Walt Mossberg and I planned to launch the very first conference in the middle of the last major downturn for tech, in 2001. But, in the carnage of the Web 1.0 meltdown, we actually held off for two years, with our first D gathering taking place in 2003.

It’s been a real winning streak since then for D, due in large part to our great speakers–such as Microsoft (MSFT) icon Bill Gates and Apple (AAPL) legend Steve Jobs.

Both have been onstage many times over the years, including a historic interview the pair of tech titans did together in 2007 at D5.

Other amazing speakers have included: Howard Stringer of Sony (SNE), Barry Diller of InterActiveCorp (IACI), legendary director George Lucas, Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Bezos of Amazon (AMZN), former eBay (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman, News Corp. (NWS) head Rupert Murdoch, Microsoft head Steve Ballmer, Walt Disney (DIS) honcho Bob Iger, Bobby Kotick of Activision Blizzard (ATVI), CBS (CBS) CEO Les Moonves, Democratic and Republican pols like former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John McCain, all the leadership of Google (GOOG) and many, many more.

We have had a lot of great moments onstage with all these tech and media players over the years, to be sure, with interviews ranging from the funny to the sublime to the truly disastrous.

But, like the digital industry and the innovation our conference focuses on, we also like to lean forward to try to figure out what the Next Big Thing is around the corner, whether it comes from Silicon Valley or not.

That’s why we’re kicking off our conference on May 26 with two of the founders of Twitter–Biz Stone and Evan Williams–who are riding high on tech’s latest hot thing, which might turn out to be either a rocket ship or a shooting star.

They’ll be followed up over the next two days by a plethora of interesting players, from the leaders of several major mobile companies to content execs hit hard by fast-moving digital forces to a new Internet leader like Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz, who is trying to turn around one of the Web’s great icons from its more recent lackluster path.

And, as we always do, we will be featuring a spate of demos too, trying to see if we can unearth that next next thing.

In the past, the D stage has seen the debut of start-up products like Sling Media’s Slingbox, Aliph’s Jawbone and Pure Digital’s Flip, all of which have gone onto glory. And also some, like Palm’s Foleo, which did not.

While not everyone can attend D, our crack staff is committed to bringing all the action from this year’s conference to readers of the All Things Digital site via up-to-the-minute blogs, photos, videos, tweets, digs and more. We’ll also, as soon as we can, post the videos of each of the onstage sessions, in their entirety.

Until it all kicks off, here is the list of speakers, below, in alphabetical order, who will be appearing at 2009’s D7 conference:

Irving Azoff | CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment (TKTM)

Mitchell Baker | Chairman of Mozilla

Steve Ballmer | CEO of Microsoft

Carol Bartz | CEO of Yahoo

Mark Cuban | Chairman of HDNet and Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures

Eve Ensler | Playwright and Founder of V-Day

Arianna Huffington | Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo | CEO of Nokia (NOK)

Mike Lazaridis | Co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIMM)

John Lilly | CEO of Mozilla

John Malone | Chairman of Liberty Media Corporation (LCAPA)

Roger McNamee | Partner, Elevation Partners

Jon Miller | Chief Digital Officer of News Corp.

Jon Rubinstein | Executive Chairman, Palm (PALM)

Randall Stephenson | CEO of AT&T (T)

Biz Stone | Co-founder of Twitter

Owen Van Natta | CEO of MySpace

Katharine Weymouth | Publisher of the Washington Post (WPO)

Evan Williams | Co-founder and CEO of Twitter

Jeff Zucker | CEO of NBC Universal (GE)