Rob Katz

NextBillion Goes to PopTech This Week

PopTech logoEvery fall, a small seaside town in Maine hosts an ideas festival called Pop!Tech.? In the past, I’ve jealously followed conference coverage on the blogosphere, trying to picture myself wedged between Bruce Sterling and Stewart Brand while they discuss the future of environmentalism (for example).? Reading blog coverage brought me close to the action, but mostly it stewed up my hopes of someday seeing this event firsthand.?

Well, thanks to a generous invitation from Pop!Tech curator Andrew Zolli and the flexibility of my teammates here at World Resources Institute, my hopes will be realized starting Wednesday.? is one of four English-language blogs that will be covering Pop!Tech 2007 – along with TreeHugger, BoingBoing, and AMGlobal.? In addition, GlobalVoices network bloggers will provide Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi and Swahili coverage.At this stage, you might be thinking, “Well Rob, that’s cool and I’m excited for you and all, but what does Pop!Tech have to do with base of the pyramid business strategy?”? Valid question – but one look at this year’s speaker’s list will silence any skeptics in short order.? Each day will feature at least one (if not more) panel of direct relevance to the community here on Keep an eye out for specific coverage of speakers including Jessica Flannery, Paul Polak, Adrian Bowyer, Sheila Kennedy, Cary Fowler, Robert Boroffice, Chris Luebkeman, Victoria Hale, Jay Keasling, John Legend (yep, THAT John Legend), and more.

What’s more, 600+ Pop!Tech attendees have each received a copy of The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid to help them prepare for the conference.? That Pop!Tech’s organizers wanted to put a BOP text – a data-driven BOP text at that – into the hands of its paying customers speaks volumes.? First, it’s quite an endorsement – a ticket to this thing costs $3500, and that’s before travel and lodging expenses.? Second, it shows that an “ideas conference” wants base of the pyramid thinking to be up front in the discussion.? And third, it shows that there’s an audience for BOP concepts beyond the traditional business/development/academic trio.

Pop!Tech begins in earnest on Thursday, so keep an eye on for my posts (2x/day at least).? In addition to bloggers, Pop!Tech will be streamed live for the first time ever this year.? If there is someone on the agenda that you’d particularly like to hear about, drop me a comment.? And if you’ll be in Camden as well, let me know – I would love to meet up with any NextBillionites!?