Deep thoughts at Half Moon Bay

Photography Concierge
A bagpiper roams the Ritz Carlton grounds in the evening to greet the sunset.

Exec Editor Abe Madkour and I put together one of SBJ’s patented conference emails from this year’s Thought Leaders Retreat. It’s the first time we’ve done an email from the Retreat because of the off-the-record format at the event. But this year the content and socializing and setting were so great that we wanted to give a little peek behind the curtain for people who couldn’t attend.

Below are the first few grafs of the email. You can click the link at the end to get to a free page and read the rest.

From Half Moon Bay: Seen and Heard at Thought Leaders Retreat

Photography Concierge
If you were on the other side of the net from this guy, you’d be scared, right?

LISTENING, LEARNING AND PLAYING IN HALF MOON BAY: Innovation. Disruption. Taking big swings. The promise and peril of artificial intelligence. The threat of security lapses. And how you may only be allowed to drive a car for another 25 years. The speakers and discussions at the Thought Leaders Retreat presented by CSM and LeadDog were provocative and frequently frightening, but also offered optimism and ideas for facing an uncertain future. Most attendees – who were drawn from our classes of Forty Under 40, Game Changers and Champions honorees – began arriving Wednesday night at the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay in California. Those early arrivals were the first to enjoy the nightly ritual of a magnificent sunset (usually around 8:30 p.m.) complete with a roaming bagpiper, drinks around the fire pits and a cool wind blowing off the Pacific Ocean.

WHAT WAS SAID: We’ll be a bit circumspect about this. Thought Leaders Retreat is an off-the-record conference so that everyone in the room can speak their mind without fear that ideas, problems and plans will be revealed publicly. But there were plenty of takeaways that were not proprietary and will give you a good idea of the quality of the discussions. The speakers who had everyone buzzing had one thing in common: a certainty that we’ll see more changes in sports in the next ten years than we’ve experienced in the last 50.

MALCOLM FRANK, Cognizant, executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief marketing officer. With a precise eye and full understanding of the digital economy, Frank offered a sometimes chilling look at how artificial intelligence and machine learning will bring dramatic changes to the way we live. One of our favorites points from his presentation: Things sucking is the mother of all invention.

JEFF COLE, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The professor examined the potential collapse of broadcast networks, how it will happen, the future of ESPN and what all of this means for sports. He spoke boldly of Amazon’s growth plans and said if the company’s leader, Jeff Bezos, wants sports programming, he will get it.

Read the full report.