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Featured Speakers

Cory Doctorow
Journalist, Science Fiction Author, Activist and Blogger

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of the YA graphic novel IN REAL LIFE, the nonfiction business book INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE and young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER and novels for adults like RAPTURE OF THE NERDS and MAKERS.

He co-founded the open source peer-to-peer software company OpenCola, and serves on the boards and advisory boards of the Participatory Culture Foundation, the Clarion Foundation, the Metabrainz Foundation and The Glenn Gould Foundation.

He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.

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Dr. Margaret Heffernan
Entrepreneur, CEO and Author

Dr. Margaret Heffernan produced programmes for the BBC for 13 years.  She then moved to the US where she spearheaded multimedia productions for Intuit, The Learning Company and Standard&Poors. She was Chief Executive of InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and then iCast Corporation, was named one of the “Top 25” by Streaming Media magazine and one of the “Top 100 Media Executives” by The Hollywood Reporter.  

The author of five books, Margaret’s third book, Willful Blindness : Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril was a finalist for the Financial Times Best Business Book Award 2011, and the book was named one of the most important business books of the last decade. In 2015, she was awarded the Transmission Prize for  A Bigger Prize: Why Competition isn’t Everything and How We Do Better, described as “meticulously researched…engagingly written…universally relevant and hard to fault.” Her TED talks have been seen by over four million people and in 2015 TED published Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes. Through Merryck & Co., she advises CEOs and senior executives of major global organizations and is Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership Programme.

She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath.


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Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D.
Science Evangelist

Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D. is a science evangelist who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science. She co-authored Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game (Random House); and, authored Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists (TED Books).

Dr. Ramirez received her training in materials science and engineering from Brown University (Sc.B.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.). Prior to being on the faculty at Yale, she was a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, in Murray Hill, New Jersey were she did award-winning research. 

She now focuses her energies on making science fun, and gave an impassioned called to action at TED on the importance of understanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), which generated widespread enthusiasm. At Yale, she was the director of the award-winning science lecture series for children called Science Saturdays and hosted two popular-science video series called Material Marvels and Science Xplained.

She speaks internationally on the importance of making science fun and has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and several science museums. Currently, she is writing a book on the role of materials in history and co-hosts a science podcast called Science Underground.

How Technology Shapes Us
Linus Torvalds
Linus Torvalds
The Linux Foundation

Linus Torvalds created the Linux kernel and oversaw open source development of the widely-used Linux operating system. Torvalds was born on December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland. Torvalds enrolled at the University of Helsinki in 1988, graduating with a master's degree in computer science. His M.Sc. thesis was titled Linux: A Portable Operating System. An avid computer programmer, Linus authored many gaming applications in his early years. After purchasing a personal computer with an Intel 386 CPU, he began using Minix, an Unix-inspired operating system created by Andrew Tanenbaum for use as a teaching tool. Torvalds started work on a new kernel, later to be named "Linux", in the fall of 1991 and after forming a team of volunteers to work on this new kernel, released V1.0 in the spring of 1994. In 1996, Torvalds accepted an invitation to visit the California headquarters of Transmeta, a start-up company in the first stages of designing an energy saving central processing unit (CPU). Torvalds then accepted a position at Transmeta and moved to California with his family. Along with his work for Transmeta, Torvalds continued to oversee kernel development for Linux. In 2003, Torvalds left Transmeta to focus exclusively on the Linux kernel, backed by the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a consortium formed by high-tech companies, which included IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many others. The purpose of the consortium was to promote Linux development. OSDL merged with The Free Standards Group in January 2007 to become The Linux Foundation. Torvalds remains the ultimate authority on what new code is incorporated into the standard Linux kernel.

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Joe Beda
Entrepreneur in Residence at Accel Partners, Advisor to CoreOS and Shippable
The Operations Dividend
Jim Whitehurst
President and CEO, Red Hat

James "Jim" Whitehurst is president and CEO of Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source enterprise IT products and services. Whitehurst is an avid advocate for open software as a catalyst for business innovation. With a background in business development, finance, and global operations, Whitehurst has proven expertise in helping companies flourish—even in the most challenging economic and business environments. Since joining in January, 2008, he has more than doubled the company’s revenue. Under his leadership, Red Hat was named to Forbes’ list of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” in 2015, 2014, and 2012; added to Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 stock index in 2009; and named one of the best places to work by Glassdoor in 2014.

In June 2015, Whitehurst published a book with Harvard Business Review Press entitled "The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance" showing how open principles of management—based on transparency, participation, and community—can help organizations navigate and succeed in a fast-paced connected era.

Prior to Red Hat, Whitehurst spent six-years at Delta Air Lines where he oversaw all aspects of airline operations and drove significant international expansion as chief operating officer. Before Delta, Jim held several corporate development leadership roles at The Boston Consulting Group, working in the Chicago, Hong Kong, and Shanghai offices, and as a partner in the Atlanta office with numerous clients across a wide range of industries.

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