Ramez Naam is a former Microsoft executive, entrepreneur, inventor, and one of the day’s leading voices on disruptive technologies. Ramez spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he led teams working on artificial intelligence, big data, and internet search. His software, including his work on early versions of Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer, has touched the lives of more than a billion people. He holds more than 20 patents—including several as co-inventor with Bill Gates. Dynamic and personable, Naam speaks around the world, captivating audiences as he illustrates “what disruption looks like” and shares the eight strategies incumbents should draw on to keep the pace of change. Naam’s presentations are geared at helping businesses optimize their positioning and products to win in a crowded, dicey marketplace. He is currently Energy Co-Chair at Singularity University.
A perfect blend of entertainment and insight—sharing videos of Teslas powering to 160mph using “Insane Mode” and graphs that break down how many VC-backed startups fail and succeed—he talks about the disruptive power of technologies (AI, robotics, drones, 3D printing, biotechnology, and more), and how organizations can adapt and thrive in this new era. Looking at the reasons Uber is worth $69 billion or Airbnb is worth $39 billion, he encourages audiences “do the math” and follow cost trend-lines, embrace the “flywheel” effect, lean into change even when it may appear threatening, and empower their teams to fail with a “default yes” mentality. Naam also specializes in the disruption that clean energy and related technologies are bringing to the $6 trillion energy, transportation, food, and water industries. Naam’s talks focus mainly on preparing audiences for both the incredible challenges of those transitions and the immense opportunities they bring with them.
In addition to his work at Microsoft, Naam has spoken extensively to executives and government leaders. He has briefed Fortune 100 CEOs, the Presidents of multiple nations, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Director and senior leaders of DARPA.
He is the award-winning author of five books, including the science fiction series Nexus. Naam’s books have won the Prometheus Award, the Endeavour Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and his 2015 book Nexus: Install was named one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year. In addition to the Nexus trilogy, he is the author of The Infinite Resourcee: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet and More Than Human. His work has appeared in or been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Atlantic, Slate, Business Week, Discover, Wired, and Scientific American.