What We Haven’t Told You About Tech Agenda 2015, and Why

When we started recruiting speakers for Xconomy’s Tech Agenda 2015, we had a few major goals: Assemble a group of top-notch leaders that represents a healthy cross-section of innovation happening today. Make sure they’re all women. Make the program about tech, not “women in tech.”

That third part is why, in marketing Tech Agenda, we’ve purposely avoided highlighting the, shall we say, noticeable lack of men among our speakers, panelists, and moderators. Fundamentally, we didn’t want to turn the gender of this stellar lineup of speakers into some kind of totem or oddity that would detract from their ideas and accomplishments. Lord knows that happens enough in the technology industry and the venture capital field that finances much of its growth, both of which remain stubbornly and inexplicably male-dominated.

But as the Dec. 2 event has drawn closer—get your tickets now to lock in the best prices!—more people have been picking up on the fact that this is a tech conference featuring an all-woman lineup, and we figured it’d be worth explaining why we took this approach.

The original idea came from our CEO, Bob Buderi. We knew it would be worth doing, just because there is such a dearth of women being featured at mainstream technology conferences. There are a number of excellent meetings and organizations that are focused on women in technology, of course, which appeal to an audience that cares about women’s status in and contributions to the field. In a sector with a particularly troublesome track record on gender, we think it’s important to put the best people, who happen to be women, in front of the broadest audience.

I helped by suggesting the format: an all-in-one, year-end look at what has happened in the past year across several innovative industries, and predictions for what would happen in 2015.
As happens with all of our events, the broader Xconomy editorial team got to work recruiting speakers from across our network. And even though women are generally outnumbered by men in technology fields, we got a great response.

Honestly, putting together a top-tier tech event that features only women just wasn’t that hard.

I think that carries one really important lesson for everyone who puts on conferences in the tech sector, ourselves included: If you set out trying to make sure you get good, qualified women involved, you are likely to succeed. That puts some pressure on us to do a better job in the future of making sure none of our events are male-dominated, but that’s OK.

I’m happy to say that ticket sales for Tech Agenda 2015 are going really, really well. But we’ve still got space left, and since there’s a holiday coming up before the big day gets started, we really wanted to make sure that readers don’t miss out on a chance to see a unique event packed with amazing speakers.

We’ll have a lead-off presentation from Fernanda Viegas, a co-leader of the “Big Picture” data visualization group at Google Research. We’ll hear predictions for the next year in innovation from Sophie Vandebroek, the chief technology officer of Xerox, who oversees the legendary company’s research centers in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Helen Greiner, the co-founder of iRobot and founder of industrial drone startup CyPhy Works, is on the agenda to talk about the rise of machine assistants. And we’ll hear from some exciting, up-and-coming entrepreneurs like Kit Hickey, co-founder of high-performance clothing company Ministry of Supply and Jen Andre, co-founder of cloud-computing security software startup Threat Stack.

Register now to make sure you get the best rates for this event. We’re really proud of the slate of speakers we’ve been able to assemble for this event, and we can’t wait to let you hear what they have to say on Dec. 2. We’ll see you then.

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