Travels from New York, USA
Michael Rogers's speaking fee falls
within range: $10,000 to $15,000
Michael Rogers was educated at Stanford University and has worked with companies like FedEx, Boeing, GE, Microsoft, Pfizer and American Express, as well as NASA and the Department of Defense. He began his career as a writer for Rolling Stone, and went on to co-found Outside magazine. He also launched Newsweek’s technology column, which won him numerous journalism awards, including a National Headliner Award for coverage of the Chernobyl meltdown. He spent 10 years as President of The Washington Post Company’s new media division, as well as Editor and General Manager of Newsweek.com, where he won the Distinguished Online Service award from the National Press Club for coverage of 9/11.
Michael has worked on projects for LucasFilm, Apple and dozens of Internet ventures. He has been listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering and named to the Magazine Industry Digital Hall of Fame. He received the World Technology Network Award for Lifetime Achievement in Media and Journalism in 2009.
Recently, Michael completed two years as futurist-in-residence for The New York Times. He is currently a columnist for NBC.com, as well as a best-selling fiction novelist. He is a regular guest on television, including Good Morning America, the Today Show, PBS, CNN and the History Channel.
Michael studied physics and creative writing at Stanford University with additional training in finance and management at the Stanford Business School Executive Program. He has worked with companies ranging from FedEx, Boeing and GE to Microsoft, Pfizer and American Express, as well as both NASA and the Department of Defense.
He addresses groups ranging from venture capitalists and corporate executives to educators, students and the general public and is also a regular guest on radio and television, including Good Morning America, the Today Show, PBS, CNN and the History Channel. A dynamic speaker who delivers an entertaining and common-sense vision of change for business and individuals, Michael blends technology, economics, demographics, culture and human nature.
Michael began his career as a writer for Rolling Stone and went on to co-found Outside magazine. He then launchedNewsweek’s technology column, winning numerous journalism awards, including a National Headliner Award for coverage of the Chernobyl meltdown.
For ten years he was vice president of The Washington Post Company’s new media division, guiding both the newspaper and its sister publication Newsweek into the new century, as well as serving as editor and general manager of Newsweek.com where he won the Distinguished Online Service award from the National Press Club for coverage of 9/11.
His work in interactive media ranges from early ground-breaking projects for LucasFilm and Apple to dozens of Internet ventures. He has received patents for multimedia storytelling techniques, and is listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. In 2007 he was named to the Magazine Industry Digital Hall of Fame, and in 2009 he received the World Technology Network Award for Lifetime Achievement in Media and Journalism.
Rogers recently completed two years as futurist-in-residence for The New York Times and is a columnist for NBC.com. He is also a best-selling novelist whose fiction explores the human impact of technology. He lives in New York City where he works on book and television projects.
In this presentation at Pressing Ahead at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Michael opens by discussing his background in new media, beginning back when he was 10 years old. “I was a nerd,” he says. “I was a complete nerd, only we weren’t called nerds then. We were called ‘the unpopular kids.’” He says that as a student at Stanford he spent his spare time writing science fiction stories.
Eventually, he says, he turned down an internship at Intel to write for Rolling Stone. “My two sides of the brain came together again when I started the technology column for Newsweek, and realized right away, in the 80s, that digital was going to change everything about media,” he says.
He goes on to discuss his experience working on a project with Apple in 1989. “When I think back to that time in 1989, I knew that we were in for a long ride when it came to figuring out how we were going to make this into the next wave of journalism,” he says, “but if you had told me then that almost 25 years later we would still be struggling to figure it out, I would not have believed you.” He adds that nothing prepared him for what happened over the last 20 years. “What all of this has made me realize is that what has happened is an enormous sea change.”
Michael addresses venture capitalists, corporate executives, educators, students and the general public. He is a dynamic speaker who delivers an entertaining and common sense vision of change for business and individuals. His programs blend technology, economics, demographics, culture and human nature. To each presentation he brings not only his own experience and expertise, but also the journalism and research skills to customize up-to-the-minute presentations for every audience interest.
Popular topics include the future of management, increasing trust in families and communities, the virtualization of America, the digital lifestyle, telecommunications and the media, globalization, education and healthcare.
These are suggested topics and may be combined in any fashion. In his work for The New York Times
and his Practical Futurist consultancy Michael stays current on numerous topics ranging from technology
and demographics to management and education. In each appearance he brings not only his
own experience and expertise, but the journalism and research skills to customize up-to-the-minute
presentations for every audience interest. Prior to booking, Michael will confer with a client about
his or her needs, and offer a customized topic and approach.
Management Meets the Future
Managers are facing multiple new challenges: virtual work forces, flattened corporate structures, a
new generation of ambitious and cyber-savvy workers, a heightened atmosphere of public scrutiny—
not to mention the perennial pressure to do more with less. How are smart managers coping and
what’s next to come?
The State of Trust
In many ways, modern technology has temporarily eroded trust, as bloggers blow the whistle on corporate
cover-ups or catch the big media companies in mistakes or misrepresentations. In families it
has created a new tension between parents and children, as kids seek freedom in the Internet world
while parents worry, quite rightly, about the dangers that lie online. But there are also some methods
emerging wherein new technology can be used to increase trust among families and communities.
The Virtualization of America
Over the next decade, more and more of our work, what we care about and how we interact with others
is going to move into the virtual world, mediated by computers and the Internet. In addition, we’re
seeing the rise of a new generation of “digital natives” who are remarkably comfortable with virtual
relationships. What will this mean for how our businesses and organizations must grow and evolve in
the years to come?
The Digital Lifestyle
Computers, the Internet and the digitization of all media are changing many aspects of the American
lifestyle—from how we work, where we shop, how we entertain ourselves and even how we meet our
mates. It is also beginning to reshape the way our homes are built, furnished and lived-in. What does
the digital lifestyle mean for what companies must do to reach their customers and how products must
change to meet new needs? It’s necessary to tie together strands from pop culture, consumer electronics
and even home décor to understand fully the scope of the transformation.
Telecommunications and Media
The rise of the Internet and the digitization of all media are having a profound effect on both the telecom
and media industries. The relationship between the creators of content and the owners of “the
pipes” has never been more complex or volatile. And new technologies such as wireless broadband
and VOIP are only now arriving. What will the next decade see in content and services delivery, customer
expectations, the protection of intellectual property, and the role of traditional media?
We have only seen the beginning of how globalization will change our world over the next decades. The
democratization of information via the Internet, the rise of middle class consumers in the developing
world, the spread of outsourcing to professions like law and medicine, new competitors dislodging Fortune
500 firms in global markets, increased pressure on natural resources…the list will only grow longer
as market forces and technology spread across our planet.
Information technology and genetic science are combining to create a fundamental shift in the way we
think about and treat disease. At the same time, however, prices continue to rise and there is as much
pressure to use technology to cut costs as to advance health science. How do we balance the enormous
potential of advancing technology with the real world questions of delivering affordable health care?
The Next Generation
The first generation never to know a world without an Internet is rapidly approaching adulthood. It is a
cohort that has fundamentally different ideas and expectations about how to relate to businesses, employers,
the media and each other. How do we market to this new breed? How will we manage them? What
will they expect from products and services, and what new skills—or deficits—will they bring to the
It’s common knowledge that the US population is graying—but what’s less noted is that the United
States is also the fastest growing industrialized nation on earth. Between now and 2050, our population
could increase by as much as 40%—and the drivers of that increase are already in place, ranging from
the largest K - 8 population in history to longer lifespans and liberal immigration policies. Fixed resources—
waterfront property, elite educations, room on our roadways, suburban open space—will be
under increasing pressure. How will population shape our nation in years to come?
After creating the award-winning Parents’ Guide to Children’s Software in 1996, Rogers has followed
education and technology issues closely. He often speaks to audiences of both parents and educators
about technology and learning—and specifically how the rise of computers and the Internet has actually
increased the importance of the thinking skills that underlie the traditional three R’s. Too much emphasis
on technology, especially in early grades, may actually interfere with the lifelong learning skills that
this century will demand from every worker.
Rogers has followed the world energy picture since he shared the National Headliners Award for coverage
of the Chernobyl disaster and its implications for nuclear energy. He has written extensively on alternative
energy and recently participated in the United Nations conference Bridging the Divide on bringing
new energy technology to developing countries.
SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?
ROGERS: I want my audiences to gain a sense of what their profession or business may look like 5 – 8 years in the future. That’s farther out than most companies think these days, but it’s within the realm of realistic forecasting, particularly in areas like technology and demographics. Adopting that longer view–if only for a few hours–can give new meaning to the directions you should go today.
SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?
ROGERS: It’s probably my journalism background, but I always work closely with a client to learn as much as I can about their firm and industry and what outcome they want from the event I’m speaking at. My speeches vary quite a bit; there’s a big difference, for example, between the direction I might take with an employee meeting as opposed to a conference for clients and customers.
The most elaborate preparation I do is for my half-day interactive sessions with small groups–usually top management or board directors. Besides a customized presentation, I also create a few scenarios for what their industry may look like in the early 2020s, and use those scenarios to generate both table work and discussion.
The scenarios draw on my science fiction writing background. I like to create scenarios with enough detail and reality that, just for a morning or afternoon, the participants can feel truly engaged with a possible future.
SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?
ROGERS: Once I gave a speech on the future of luxury to the global senior executives of a famous French couture and perfume company. It was, hands down, the best-dressed audience I have ever seen–they all looked like they’d just come back from a Vogue shoot. Even though I was in my best suit, I felt like I’d wandered in off the street.
Another time I was giving an after-dinner speech at a resort, in a small building connected to the main hotel. Midway through my speech a fire alarm started in the adjacent hotel–loud, but not overwhelming. The organizer said it was almost certainly a false alarm and asked me to keep speaking. I did–until a couple of minutes later the room filled with flashing red lights as three fire engines pulled up right outside. It turned out the fire was in the kitchen next to us. I’ve never seen an audience leave a speech so quickly.
SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?
ROGERS: I think I’m a good fit with traditional professions and industries such as law, medicine, construction, retail, real estate, banking, etc. I’m particularly interested in how existing companies, with established business models and the trust of customers, can adapt to the rapidly changing environment around us. Silicon Valley start-ups can turn on a dime, and thus many of their notions of innovation aren’t really relevant to established organizations. Instead I help organizations figure out how to take advantage of their “home court advantage” and existing business model to out-innovate new competitors.
SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?
ROGERS: “Your Business in the Twenties” is my favorite–it gives me the chance to do research as I customize the presentation and then I also get to use my fiction-writing background to create realistic future scenarios that trigger great discussions.
SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?
ROGERS: I began speaking competitively in high school; I won a debate scholarship to Stanford. Then, years later, when I was at Newsweek and The Washington Post, the executives often asked me to speak to advertisers and at subscriber events. At one of those events, a speaking agent signed me up. It’s been twenty years now, and I’m still having a great time.
SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?
ROGERS: My approach is gentle humor, and tons of anecdotes and stories. I’m fortunate to be able to spend a great deal of time in R&D labs, as well as working with all kinds of companies, and those sources give me an unending supply of relevant stories.
SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients achieve?
ROGERS: For an association of local governmental bodies, I suggested that their younger employees launch and run a social network that connected everyone across jurisdictional lines. Eighteen months later it’s become very popular and is used for sharing solutions to common problems.
A defense contractor was having difficulty creating civilian products; I suggested and then helped arrange some meetings with venture capitalists–not to ask for funding, but to borrow expertise.
And of course, in the end, I always consider high survey ratings from the audience to be a success in itself!
Thank you so very much for your wonderful presentation at last weeks Electronic Services Conference. I had a great number of people come up to me and remark how thought-provoking and entertaining they found your speech. From an organization that does a good number of these types of sessions every year, the remarks were that yours was one of the best ever! Law School Admission Council(Event booked by Speakers Platform)
I have not seen a standing ovation come from this group in the past! There were more times when I think you actually had them spell-bound.System One Amadeus [travel industry]
Thank you for the excellent talk you gave to our audience here at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York yesterday. The range of topics you addressed was thought-provoking and exactly on target with the theme, “Building Bridges to the Future.”Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Your talk was exactly what I had hoped for in a keynote speech and many people sought me out to personally to tell me how much they enjoyed you.National Association of State Workforce Agencies
Thanks for such a great presentation at our conference. Your remarks fit the conference perfectly and widened out audience’s understanding of technology into new areas, all with humor and insight. The evaluations and buzz were excellent.American Society for Training & Development
Your remarks were timely, thought-provoking and to the point. A number of the attendees considered your presentation the highlight of the conference.Mortgage Bankers Association of America
Many of the delegates mentioned that your session was the most informative of the program–many expressed that they especially appreciated your warmth and wit, and found the Newsweek Interactive demo absolutely fascinating. We were very pleased that your remarks were so carefully tailored for our audience, and that you delivered exactly the message we had planned.National Association of Federal Credit Unions
Lucent′s Mid-Atlantic marketing team has conducted these seminars for the past 18 months with quite a few outside speakers. It is my opinion that you have done the best job of conveying our message by using specific industry examples.Lucent Technologies
Your opening keynote address to the 80th Annual Conference of the National University Continuing Education Association at Anaheim earlier this month was the best NUCEA members have heard in many years. Thank you! I can′t tell you how many people made a point of telling me, as program co-chair, how much they appreciated your presentation.National University Continuing Education Association
You were a great success at our annual Kentucky Bankers Associations Bank Directors Conference. We believe that a significant reason for your strong evaluation marks was your willingness to customize your presentation for our bank directors.Kentucky Bankers Association
The evaluations were superb. In almost every case, your presentation was mentioned as the most enjoyable and useful facet of the conference.State University of New York Health Education Conference
Thanks again for a very interesting and thought-provoking presentation at our Anheuser-Busch National Sales Convention in New Orleans. The demonstration of your interactive Newsweek magazine format was especially interesting and appropriate for our audience.Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
You did an excellent job of clearly explaining the future of technology in terms that those with varying degrees of experience could understand.American Association of Museums
Your speech was very well received by our audience. You certainly did an excellent job in making them think about print′s role in the future of communications.Association for Printing and Publishing Technologies
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