Fortune’s notable Brainstorm Tech conference exits Aspen and is headed for Park City
After years in Colorado, Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech is moving to Utah this summer and will draw hundreds of the world’s top business leaders and startup founders
Fortune’s long-running Brainstorm Tech conference is on its way to Utah.
The event launched in Aspen in 2001 as a small summer retreat for “those interested in discussing global business issues and innovation,” according to Fortune. It has since grown into a gathering of leaders from Fortune 500 companies and draws investors, banking executives, startup founders and global thought leaders together for a three-day conference aimed at exploring the latest in tech and innovation.
The 2023 edition of Brainstorm Tech will take place at Montage Deer Valley on July 10-12 and feature a wide range of speakers including former Vice President Al Gore; FedEx Founder Fred Smith: Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn; Embark Technology CEO Alex Rodrigues; Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson; Rakuten CEO Amit Patel; Diligent Robotics CEO Vivian Chu; Bonobos co-founder Andy Dunn and others.
Fortune Media CEO Alan Murray said the innovation sector has evolved dramatically since the first iteration of Brainstorm and noted technology now “permeates every industry.” Murray said the move to Park City makes sense at multiple levels, including ease of access and its location amid a burgeoning Utah tech ecosystem.
“We thought there was a need for a refresh and rethink,” Murray said. “The Montage is a lot easier for very busy business people to get in and out of. And, we’ve been watching the incredible tech renaissance that’s been happening in Utah and Park City ... and this is an acknowledgment of that.”
The theme of 2023’s Brainstorm Tech conference, Reset and Reinvent, aims to explore the new business realities after “the extreme highs and lows of the last few years” and a fundamental reshuffling of who — and where — the power players are, according to Fortune. Some questions likely to be explored over the course of the event include: Where are venture capital dollars going in this new reality? Which regions are leading the way with new innovation hubs? What are the technologies that will provide the new building blocks for future companies — from the metaverse to blockchain? And who are the emerging leaders of future tech companies?
Murray said Brainstorm Tech is a carefully curated event and works to upend the typical business conference structure of segregating speakers and audience. Instead, Brainstorm aims to build a community atmosphere based on dynamic interactions.
“We really focus on the community aspect of the event,” Murray said. “(Attendees) are going to meet people there that they can really learn from. It’s as much about the people you meet as the people appearing on stage.”
Murray said the event’s debut in Utah will include 500 to 600 invited senior executives featuring a large contingency of startup founders. Over 30 speakers are scheduled and topics to be covered will include:
- Transformative technologies .
- Navigating and shaping the future of tech policy.
- Tech’s new innovation hubs.
- Future of work.
- Privacy and security.
- Mobility’s new roadmap.
- Clean tech for the climate.
- Building (and keeping) user trust.
While dealmaking isn’t an explicit or implied goal of the Brainstorm Tech conference, fortuitous connections are certainly part of the landscape.
One of the most notable occurred at the 2012 edition of Brainstorm Tech when Michael Dell, founder of personal computer maker Dell, Inc., met Silicon Valley venture capitalist Egon Durban. A year later, Durban’s Silver Lake venture firm would partner with Dell to take his eponymous company back to private ownership in a deal worth almost $25 billion. And that move led to a subsequent and truly blockbuster transaction when Silver Lake and Dell acquired business tech giant EMC in a $67 billion buyout in 2016.
And, to connect a little Utah tech trivia to that event, Silver Lake just led the $12.5 billion buyout of Utah’s homegrown tech titan Qualtrics in a deal announced earlier this month that returns Qualtrics to private ownership. Customer experience software innovator Qualtrics was co-founded by Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith in 2002 and has traveled its own path of private-public-private ownership over the past five years.
Fortune Media operates Fortune magazine, Fortune.com and hosts dozens of conferences every year, of which Brainstorm Tech is among the largest and longest running. Fortune magazine has its own deep legacy, tracking back to its launch amid the depression era, and is among the publications founded by legendary publisher Henry Luce, who also founded Time, Life and Sports Illustrated magazines.