October 10–11, 2016  •  San Francisco, CA

About Next:Economy

John Maynard Keynes's optimistic take on "what's next for our economy" is as true today as it was in 1930:

“We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism. It is common to hear people say that the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterised the nineteenth century is over; that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down; that a decline in prosperity is more likely than an improvement in the decade which lies ahead of us. I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us. We are suffering, not from the rheumatics of old age, but from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another…”

There are those who worry that as more and more jobs are done by machines, there will be nothing left for humans to do. Yet in the 21st century, we face enormous challenges: climate change, refugees displaced by war and economic inequality, aging populations supported by fewer young workers, new infectious diseases, crumbling 20th century infrastructure, and more. In the past, machinery augmented human labor, making things that were once impossible the stuff of everyday life. We tunneled through mountains and under the sea, brought electricity, plumbing, and instantaneous communications even to remote locations. We have to stop worrying about "jobs" and start focusing on how to use the current generation of technology to enable people to do things that were unthinkable in the 20th century. As Nick Hanauer has said, "Technology is the accumulation of solutions to human problems. We won't run out of jobs till we run out of problems."

Nor is that all. Even in "a world where machines do many tasks that humans do today," the Next Economy will pay for what is uniquely human. We all crave the human touch, and caring and creativity will be keys to success. People at all levels of society pay a premium over the base cost of goods as a way of expressing and experiencing beauty, status, belonging, and identity.

In our most vibrant cities, we experience a taste of a future that could be the future for everyone. Restaurants compete on the basis of creativity and service, "everyone's private driver" whisks people around in comfort from experience to experience, and one-of-a-kind boutiques provide unique consumer goods. Technology can make everyone richer. And it is only when everyone is richer, not just a few, that an economy truly thrives. It is our opportunity—not just our responsibility—to make the economy enjoyed by the rich into the economy for everyone…the Next Economy.

We hold these truths to be self-evident

  • That business can be a force for good in the world.
  • That for every job that technology destroys, it can create two more, doing things that weren't previously possible.
  • That profit is fuel for a business, not its purpose.
  • That companies must serve their workers and their communities as well as their owners and their customers.
  • That we can do better at harnessing the power of technology and markets to build a better world for everyone.
  • That every company, every entrepreneur, and every worker has a role in transforming the economy.

Questions we’ll tackle include

  • Is human-machine cooperation changing the way we work?
  • How are AI and algorithms making it possible to rethink fundamental workflows and transform long-accepted business practices?
  • How do we put people to work solving the world's hardest problems?
  • What opportunities can businesses find in revitalizing the cities in which they operate?
  • Why human originality and creativity is the common thread in many great cities and social networks. How should we pay for this creativity?
  • What lessons can we learn from 21st-century network-centric organizations?
  • How are AI and "bots" bringing new opportunities into the enterprise?
  • Are we measuring the right things? What can we learn about policy and regulation by watching technology companies measure and manage their products?
  • How do we manage bias in algorithms?
  • What surprising new jobs emerge as the definition of work evolves? Which ones are going to scale?

Who will be at Next:Economy?

Attendees will include senior executives, VCs, policy makers, and entrepreneurs. See the list of last year's participants here.

Why you should attend

If you're a leader in today's business world, you're dealing with implications of exponential transformation. At Next:Economy, you'll encounter innovators on the front edge of the fundamental changes that technology is bringing to business and society, plus you'll meet and share ideas with people like yourself who are wrestling with those changes.

You'll hear not only from key executives of companies driving this transformation, and from economists and journalists who are studying it, but also from people on the front lines: a new class of workers taking on ways of earning a living; kids who've grown up without the assumptions business leaders share; and inventors who are changing the world with their products and services.

Invited speakers include not just familiar faces from Silicon Valley (though they will be there) but also leaders from mainstream companies in diverse industries who know that every business is now a tech business and realize the urgency of understanding and influencing the future. Next:Economy collects the leading players and thinkers in the web space in one room; it will be the place where important deals and decisions are made, with a huge ripple effect on the society over time.

“I have been to a lot of conferences, and this was possibly the most thoughtfully constructed agenda I've ever seen, as evidenced by the engaged conversation and high caliber of speakers and attendees.”

Matt Stein, CEO of Multitude, Inc.

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