Peter Hirshberg

Keynote Session
Thursday, May 25, 2017 | 8:30 am - 9:30 am

Peter Hirshberg has served as an innovation advisor to cities and companies for over 30 years. Hirshberg started his career at Apple Computer, where he headed Enterprise Marketing and grew Apple’s large business and government revenue to $1B annually.

Today, Hirshberg serves as Founder of the Maker City project and Chairman of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts.

Maker City project
As Founder of the Maker City project, Hirshberg incubated and developed a national organization tasked with helping cities and towns reclaim economic opportunity and create jobs by leveraging the Maker movement. Taking its cue from the hands-on Maker movement, a Maker City invites citizens and industry to go hands-on with the modern tools of production: computer science, robotics, electronics, CAD/CAM, and advanced manufacturing. A Maker City recognizes that by building up a skilled workforce, it can create a new groundswell of economic opportunity, support advanced manufacturing, and create “new collar” jobs – skilled work that pays well but may not require a 4-year college degree.

Hirshberg’s research on the Maker City is available in the best selling book – Maker City: A practical guide to reinventing our cities. Published in late 2016, the book was funded by the Kauffman Foundation and created in collaboration with the Obama White House.

Gray Area for the Arts
As Chairman and Co-founder of San Francisco’s Gray Area Art and Technology Theater, Hirshberg has been instrumental in building one of San Francisco’s most vibrant and civic-minded arts organizations. Gray Area serves as a center for digital media education, incubation, performance and exhibition. He spearheaded initial fundraising, provides strategic and operational guidance, and helps pioneer internationally recognized programs including Urban Prototyping, a global movement that engages citizens in the co-creation and co-planning of their cities.

Corporate Growth Leader
During his nine-year tenure at Apple Computer, Hirshberg headed Enterprise Marketing, where he grew Apple’s large business and government revenue to $1 billion annually. Subsequently he was CEO of Elemental Software (sold to Adobe), Gloss.com (Estee Lauder), and served as Chairman of Technorati, the pioneering social media search engine and advertising network with over 100M monthly uniques. Today he serves as an advisor to companies in the Internet of Things (IoT) and on-demand mobility sectors.

Early Champion for the Smart City and Open Data
Hirshberg pioneered the open data movement to foster transparency and innovation in cities, leading dozens of hackathons and open data events in San Francisco, Singapore, New York, Hong Kong, and London.

Hirshberg is also the cofounder of the City Innovate Foundation, an organization formed with The San Francisco Mayor’s office, UC Berkeley and the MIT media lab to promote a network of global civic innovation centers.

As an advisor to United Nations Global Pulse he addressed the General Assembly on the use of real-time data for international development and served as editor of, “Taking the Global Pulse.”

Sought after Technology Advisor and Innovation Speaker
Hirshberg frequently consults with executive teams at Best Buy, Sony, IBM, Verizon, Time Warner, Unilever, GE, Estee Lauder, Telefonica, and many others on their innovation and digital growth strategies.

Hirshberg is a sought after technology and innovation speaker, having presented at TED, the World Economic Forum, DLD, The Aspen Ideas Festival, Techonomy, CeBIT, WEB 2.0 Summit, and many other events.

His board and advisor positions have included Active Video Networks, Technorati, Build Public, Transloc, The Computer History Museum, and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. He is a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and a Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute and an author for the Brookings Institution. In addition to the Maker City book, Hirshberg contributed to the book “From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond” with MIT Media lab. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he received his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.