15 Fascinating Speakers for SXSW 2017

The Forrest Four-Cast: February 2, 2017

Hugh Forrest
3 min readFeb 2, 2017

For March 10–18, the 2017 SXSW Conference includes more than 3000 creative industry experts speaking on more than 1000 total sessions. 15 of the most intriguing speakers on this year’s schedule include:

  1. Rohit Bhargava. Come to his “Non-Obvious: Trends of the Future” Book Reading on Sunday, March 12. A Professor of Marketing + Pitching at Georgetown University, Bhargava is focused on helping to bring more humanity back to business.
  2. Ryan Bubinski. The Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Codeacademy, Bubinski will talk about “Building for the Future of Code” on Tuesday, March 14.
  3. Jean Case. On Saturday, March 11, hear the CEO of the Case Foundation address the need for more founders from all walks of life in the “Changing the Face of Entrepreneurship” session.
  4. Greg Fischer. Ozy News recently tagged Fisher as “The Most Innovative Mayor in America.” Judge for yourself when he contributes his expertise to the “Five Cities Are Eliminating Racial Inequity, You Can Too” panel on Sunday, March 12.
  5. Ryan Hoover. Pictured above, Hoover is the founder of the startup-focused website Product Hunt. He will be part of the “Pitching Tech Press Without Embarrassing Yourself” panel on Tuesday, March 14.
  6. Nicholas Horbaczewski. The Founder and CEO of the Drone Racing League, the premier international drone racing circuit for elite pilots, Horbaczewski is the presenter of the “Futuristic Sports: Delivering Against the Hype” session on Sunday, March 12.
  7. Benjamin Todd Jealous. He is the former president and CEO of the NAACP. Hear his insights at a panel titled “Beyond Brogrammers: Diversity in Tech & VC” on Saturday, March 11 in Startup Village.
  8. Lisa Lee. Her title at Pandora is Director of Diversity & Inclusion. Learn her perspectives on this topic at the “True Inclusion: Leading Through World Trauma” panel on Friday, Match 10.
  9. Joe Miller. The head writer, show runner, and executive producer of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the Emmy-nominated and TCA award-winning satirical comedy show which airs weekly on TBS. Miller will lend her intellect to the “Good Night & Good Luck: Media in Election Years” session, along with rock star Washington Post investigative reporter David Fahrenthold.
  10. Ella Morton. The author of “Atlas Obscura: Exploring the World’s Hidden Wonders,” hear her Book Reading on Friday, March 10.
  11. Russell Okung. The starting left tackle for the Denver Broncos, Okung is also the founder of “Launching Revenge of the Jocks,” a new avenue for athletes and others interested in top performance technology to invest in the future of health and sport. He will lend his voice to the “The Sports, Tech & Venture Capital Huddle” panel on Saturday, March 11.
  12. Seval Oz. The CEO at Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, she will be part of the “How Will Trump Steer Car and Transportation Tech?” session on Thursday, March 16.
  13. Amy Webb. She talks about her new release “How to Think Like a Futurist” on the SXSW Book Reading stage on Saturday, March 11. The folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should read her recent Politico post on why the government needs a Department of the Future.
  14. Montel Williams. The longtime talk-show host is part of the “Political Strategy for Legalizing Marijuana” session on Friday, March 10.
  15. Britt Wilson. A speaker on the “Shedding Light on Hidden Bias” panel on Saturday, March 11, Wilson currently holds the position of Vice President of Inclusion at Pixar.

More SXSW 2017 speakers will be announced the week of February 7. Buy your badge to connect with these experts in Austin. Purchase before end of the day on February 10 to save $100 off the walkup price.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.



Hugh Forrest

Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.