Summit at Sea
November 9-12, 2016

Black Turtlenecks and Garages


There’s this belief out there that the most successful entrepreneurs all fit the same mold: visionary geniuses who embrace risk and are steadfast in their convictions and ruthless in their execution. It makes for good movies, but the fortunate truth is that there are numerous formulas for building a scalable and sustainable business.

Embracing curiosity, empathy, and artistry may well be as important as developing the perfect elevator pitch. Join leading minds from venture funds, top startups, and legendary brands, plus some outsiders offering radical viewpoints, to investigate the unexpected factors that power lasting growth.

Snapshots of Select Black Turtlenecks and Garages Sessions


Gary Vaynerchuk on the Big Opportunities in Media and Startups

Where many see uncertainty, prolific angel investor, venture capitalist, and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk sees opportunity. After turning his family’s liquor store into a $60 million e-commerce business, he co-founded digital agency VaynerMedia, which helps Fortune 500 clients spread and amplify their messages across the digital landscape. Today he sees traditional media as overpriced and fading in relevancy, while most digital media are low-value and not producing real results—in other words, the field is wide-open if you have a smarter and informed strategy. Meanwhile, he believes that startups in all industries have become plagued by an obsession with raising funds, forgetting that the ultimate goal is to build sustainable companies. We are living in what he calls “the greatest era of fake businesses, ever.” Come hear GaryVee share his insights on an investment and digital landscape rife with both pitfalls and massive opportunity.


Unlocking Innovation in Healthcare with John Sculley and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

John Sculley is an icon of American business, having turned Apple into a multi-billion-dollar company when he was CEO in the 1980s, and has dazzled with his investments in technology, most recently shifting into healthcare and wearable tech. Kiran Muzumdar-Shaw built Biocon from a garage startup in India to a worldwide pharmaceutical powerhouse. Join them for a lively conversation about how to pick and develop new technologies, translate great ideas into scalable global brands, and convert coming biotech breakthroughs into affordable healthcare products that benefit people and business.

Lessons on Massive Success (and Spectacular Failure) from the Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time

How did Sara Blakely go from selling fax machines to revolutionizing the hosiery industry with an invention called Spanx? Why did Instagram take off, rather than the dozens of other mobile photo-sharing apps available at the time? How did a simple tweak turn Zumba into a $250 million company? NPR host Guy Raz, creator of two of the most popular podcasts in the United States—TED Radio Hour and How I Built This—has spent the past year interviewing some of the most inspiring inventors, creators, and builders, including Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Steve Case, Joe Gebbia (AirBNB), Suroosh Alvi (Vice), Angie Hicks (Angie’s List), Jane Wurwand (Dermalogica), Ben Silbermann (Pinterest), John Zimmer (Lyft), Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia), Cathy Hughes (Radio One), and many more. Come hear Guy share some of their incredible stories and most enduring lessons.


What’s Next in the Perpetually Shifting and Wildly Unpredictable Business of Storytelling, with Stacey Sher and Beau Willimon

Over the past few decades, the film and television industries have gone through several cycles of disruption and creative upheaval, from Hollywood’s infatuation with franchises like Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark in the eighties to the rise of HBO and subscriber-driven TV in the nineties to our current era of on-demand commercial-free streaming services like Netflix. What drives these almost constant tectonic shifts? How do new models of financing and content ownership interplay with creative trends and emerging technologies? Do the artists follow the resources, or is it the other way around? Veteran producer Stacey Sher, an Academy Award nominee for her work on Django Unchained and Erin Brockovich, and Beau Willimon, creator and showrunner of Emmy- and Golden Globe–winning House of Cards, reveal the forces behind the never-ending metamorphosis and offer their visions for where it all goes from here.

Crafting the First Mile of Product

As leaders become immersed in their products and businesses, they become more focused on the customers they have and less on those they don’t. This natural tendency to gravitate toward your best customers handicaps your ability to build and sustain increasingly inclusive products and services. History is full of companies that failed to sustain their focus on new customers, added complexity, and suffered as a result. If you aspire to engage millions (or hundreds of millions) of people, you must defy the tendency to prioritize features for your best customers at the expense of the “first mile” of product experience for every customer. In this session, Scott Belsky, co-founder and CEO of Behance, explores the psychology of customers during their initial use of a new product or service and the common obstacles and strategies a team must employ to successfully scale a product—and business—over time.