Travels from District of Columbia, USA
Charlie Fink's speaking fee starts in range: $10,000 to $15,000
Former entertainment and tech executive, Charlie Fink is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and new media. He is a staple at AR and VR conferences, and has also presented multiple times at CES and SXSW.
Fink covers the latest on VR and AR in his regular column for Forbes. Additionally, he is a contributing writer to Huffpost, Virtual Reality Pop, and VR Scout. His recent book, Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, An AR Enhanced Guide to VR & AR, has been dubbed “the Bible of AR and VR” and explains everything you need to know about the past, present, and future of HoloLens, Oculus Rift, and similar technologies.
As an executive, Fink developed new media forms for Disney, AOL, and AG Interactive. He was responsible for the original conception of The Lion King, which he initially pitched to his supervisors as “Bambi in Africa.”
His startup venture eAgents.com which provided news feed to 5 million Internet users, was acquired by AGI, leading Fink to join the company and eventually serve as President and later Chairman.
In the 1990s, he was one of VR’s early pioneers, serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Virtual World Entertainment which developed Battletech Universe, and the first VR cockpit simulator. Fink oversaw the opening of over 12 gaming venues, many of which are still in operation 20 years later. Virtual World Entertainment was purchased by Microsoft in 1999.
Charlie Fink is a former Disney, AOL and AG Interactive executive who writes about VR, AR and new media for Forbes. While at Disney, Fink famously came up with the idea for “The Lion King”. In the 90s, Fink was EVP & COO of VR pioneer Virtual World Entertainment. He is now a consultant and frequent speaker on these topics at conferences like CES, SXSW, AWE, ARiA NYU, ARiA MIT, Digital Hollywood, VR Toronto (keynote), VR Voice Entertainment Summit (keynote), and “On The Lot” by VRS (keynote).
In addition to his column in Forbes, Fink is the contributing editor of VR Voice, and a regular contributor to HuffPost, Virtual Realty Pop, and VR Focus. He is the author of “Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, An AR Enhanced guide to AR &VR”.
Over the past 30 years working as an award-winning writer, executive, and producer, Charlie Fink has created and launched new media brands for Disney, AOL, and American Greetings.
In addition to his work as head of story development for Disney Feature Animation during the second golden age of Disney animation (‘85-’92), Fink was SVP & CCO of AOL Studios (‘95-’99). His past experience also features founding and selling several companies including eAgents, which sold to AG Interactive, where he then served as President for three years, and Charlie Company, an SEO/SEM affiliate marketer and consultancy that most notably created “The Other 98%” for client Moveon.org in 2009, which now has over 6 M followers on Facebook. Charlie Company was sold in a private transaction in 2014.
Charlie Fink is also a producer of live theater in NYC. He is the Producing Artistic Director of the New Musical Foundation, a non-profit that supports the development of new musicals and has won over 15 awards for its productions. From 2007-2017 Fink was Chairman of the Drama Desk Award-winning NY Musical Festival. His next production is “The VR Show”.
Virtual reality expert and Disney veteran, Charlie Fink dives into everything you need to know about VR and AR in 25 minutes, from past flops to major turning points and what’s coming down the pipeline. He details how different companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are utilizing these technologies along with which apps are hyped and which may become part of our daily experience.
“You look at 2019 and then you go out to 2020, and this is a $100 billion business,” Fink comments, surveying the industry’s rapid development.
At the heart of every past and future disruption in this area, he notes, is human connection. “Connecting with other people is ‘the Killer App,’” Fink says. “It’s why you bought a personal computer. It’s why you have a smartphone.”
With over 30 years at the forefront of technological innovations, Charlie Fink is uniquely qualified to guide you through the quickly evolving industries of VR and AR. Companies have been trying to hone these technologies and turn them into viable products since the 1970s and now, decades of experimentation and development, they are set to become part of our daily lives and an industry that’s worth over $100 billion.
Fink uses his unparalleled knowledge and understanding in this area to guide you and your organization through the multiple AR/VR initiatives flooding the market so that you can weed out the hype and identify the real game changers. Furthermore, Fink dives into the human aspect of these technologies, walking you through a clear-cut list of “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to incorporating these technologies into your own business.
Some of Fink's popular programs include:
• Painting the World With a Digital Brush: How Marketers Are Using Immersive Technology to Cut Through Clutter and Make Millions.
• Who’s Actually Monetizing on Virtual Reality? A 360° Money-Making Guide for Investors, Business Owners, and VR Enthusiasts.
• The Overhyped and Misunderstood World of Virtual Reality: What is Silicon Valley BS and What Do We Really Need to Care About?
• The Journey to the Workplace of the Future: How Business Owners Can Cope (and Win) in a World of VR.
SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn / take away from your presentations?
FINK: Wearable, invisible, contextual computing is reaching a tipping point, which will be apparent to pretty much everyone in the next five to ten years. I truly believe in its potential to transform the workplace and the home of the future – and it’s not going to stop there. When we talk about augmenting reality, what we’re really talking about is the evolution of humankind.
SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How to you prepare for your speaking engagements?
FINK: I try to understand the needs of the audience. Big ideas are the most fun and compelling to me personally, but people in the audience want to know what’s in it for them. To answer that, I need to know who they are. Once I understand and internalize that, I can craft the most relevant presentation possible.
SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?
FINK: Here’s what I love about speaking: getting the hype out of the way, and sharing a realistic vision of the XR industry today and the limitless potential of tomorrow. XR is the Internet in 1992; no one knows about it yet. It is a thrill and a privilege to be its practical evangelist. I love it when people get as excited as I am.
I come at this as someone who’s lived through the computer revolution, which has taken up forty years of my adult life. Now I’m seeing – and sharing – what I’ve always wanted to know: where this goes.
I’m a pragmatist, though. I like to say I am “planting a tree whose shade I shall never sit in.” But those young people in the audience, those thirty-year-old kids, my kids, are going to live it, do it, and make it happen. Being with them keeps me young. It gets me up in the morning.
This work also suits me since I love to travel, meet new people, and make new friends. I come away from every conference with twenty ideas for new Forbes columns. Plus with the gray beard and whiskey voice, I’ve come to look and sound like the professor from central casting, a supporting role that I’m content to have. I’m filled with gratitude when so many smart people appreciate what I have to say. It’s fun, too, so I don’t see stopping any time soon.
SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?
FINK: I honestly can’t think of anyone who couldn’t benefit from hearing more about the technologies that are going to be integrated into our work and personal lives over the coming decades.
XR is going to touch every industry and consumer. I believe everyone needs to be aware of what’s on the horizon. We always overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term.
My grandfather was born in 1892. He lived his early years much as his ancestors did on a little farm in Lithuania. He could never have imagined 125 years later his grandson would be sitting in a 747 writing this on a personal computer 36,000 feet (roughly 5 miles!) in the air while sipping coffee over the Atlantic Ocean. Things are accelerating. That’s how different our grandchildren’s world will be.
SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?
FINK: “AR is White Hot, VR is Not…Yet” is by far my favorite keynote right now.
SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?
FINK: It’s the live version of my writing. It just comes with writing a popular technology column.
SPEAKING.COM: How much do case studies, personal stories and or humor factor into your keynote speech content?
FINK: Humor is my thing. I’m fundamentally an entertainer. All educators are. We seduce so we may teach. We try to make it easy to relate, to help you let your guard down, and to free you to think without limitations.
Most of all, I am a messenger. The main insights in my book and my talks are hardly original:
(1) Technology succeeds when it makes what we are already doing better, faster, and cheaper.
(2) People are the killer app.
(3) We always overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term.
People know the things I am saying are true. They knew these things before they read my book or stepped into an auditorium to hear me speak. But they need to hear them and read them again because every day they are bombarded with messages that are confusing, messages that tell them something else, and messages they sense are not true.
Unlike those invested in the industry, I have no dog in this fight. Rather, my audience, my clients, are my vested interest;) and this is the reason they trust me. I have nothing to sell but ideas which, when I think about it, is what I’ve done my entire career.
SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients make?
FINK: The client ultimately decides what to do and how to do it; I can only help stimulate their internal conversation. I help with business and product strategy, thought leadership, and marketing. I help them make connections with vendors, and even other consultants.
As a consultant, I serve not only a wide range of companies already involved in XR, but also many companies that want to understand how they can use it to improve their bottom line – to augment their business, so to speak.
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Charlie Fink’s Metaverse – An AR Enabled Guide to AR & VR
Charlie Fink, who covers VR & AR for Forbes, brings thirty-five years of experience as an entertainment and technology executive to what he calls “the greatest business and technology story of our time”. He and his collaborators have created a guide to emerging VR & AR that is engaging to professionals, accessible to non-technical readers, and relentlessly entertaining to everyone. The book features original character animation, presented through our free app, “Fink Metaverse”, available in the App Store and Google Play.
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