Tech CTOs, Venture Capitalists Predict the Future at FIRE

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2006-05-17 Print this article Print

Jim Louderback reports from the Future in Review conference, where top CTOs and venture capitalists predict which technologies are worth watching. (

SAN DIEGO—The annual Future in Review conference is an anomaly. Other executive-level conferences seem to be as much about the socializing outside the sessions as the sessions themselves. FIRE, on the other hand, is all about the content. Instead of a cocktail party at the end of the day, for example, this group boarded buses to explore the new CalIT2 technology center at the University of California, San Francisco.
Covering a wide range of topics, from nanotech to biotech, globalization and technology, it attracts some of the smartest people working and investing in technology. The audience composition leans more toward technology experts than marketing-driven CEOs.
Click here for details about the previous FIRE (Future in Review) conference. I love it because Im the dumbest person in the room; its a throwback to the Socratic form of learning, where you study at the feet of the masters. After two days of discussions one always comes away feeling just a bit smarter. Todays focus will be on some of the more interesting predictions made at FIRE, while tomorrow Ill take a closer look at some of the nanotech and space exploration discussion from the show. Ill wrap up by describing the amazing new technologies being explored at the CalIT2 center at UCSD, along with some quick hits. (The week of May 22, look for a special Whats New Now podcast, recorded at FIRE, with Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot.) Because its called "Future in Review," much of the conference focuses on the next five years. "Specific Innovation" discussions spread out across two panels. The first featured an A-list of chief technology officers, including Phil Hester of AMD, Jeff Nicklaus of EMC, and Jonathan Murray, CTO for Microsofts EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) division. Read the full story on Tech CTOs, Venture Capitalists Predict the Future Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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