From Bill Nye to Rosario Dawson, Here’s the People Worth Seeing at Life is Beautiful Fest

September 22, 2015

2:00 pm

While this year’s Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival will include everything from Stevie Wonder and Duran Duran to Kendrick Lamar and Porter Robinson (and our CEO Frank Gruber’s favorite twenty one pilots), the weekend will also give attendees an opportunity to hear from some of the world’s most influential visionaries and generally-awesome-human beings.

Throughout the weekend, attendees to Life is Beautiful will have the chance to attend a learning series featuring more than 30 leading entrepreneurs, entertainers, athletes, and scientists. Because there won’t be time for you to go to all of them this weekend, we’ve gone ahead and picked out eight that we think are most the most notable.

This preview of the 2015 Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival is brought to you in partnership with Wendoh Media.

Friday, September 25: A Force for Good

Bill Nye

The renowned scientist, engineer, and former Cornell professor is most widely known among Millennials for his show Bill Nye the Science Guy. But aside from that, Bill Nye‘s an accomplished author and inventor, and current serves as the CEO of the Planetary Society, the nonprofit that engages in research and engineering projects tied to planetary space and astronomy. At last year’s very first White House Maker Faire, I managed to take a selfie with the guy, which makes him infinitely cooler than you already perceived. Just for fun, here he is explaining the theory of evolution through emoji:

Dan Price

Dan Price is the founder and CEO of the Seattle, WA-based credit card processing company Gravity Payments. Price made headlines earlier this year when he announced a plan to increase the minimum salary of his employees to $70,000 over the next three years. Outside of that, though, his company has managed to earn the trust of more than 12,000 independent business across the United States.

Tony Hsieh

Prior to becoming the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh sold his previous company LinkExchange for $265 million to Microsoft. In 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. Needless to say: the man knows what he’s doing when it comes to running a company. His 2010 book Delivering Happiness landed him on the New York Times Bestseller list and also established him as leading figure in a business strategy focused on establishing great company culture. Watch him at last year’s Celebrate conference as he talks more deeply about Downtown Las Vegas and the Vegas Tech Fund:

Saturday, September 26: Shaping the Future

Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman is a tremendously successful entrepreneur and CEO, having first served as a founding member of starting in 1997. He has also served previously as chairman and CEO of Black Sky Entertainment, a production company out in Hollywood, as well as CEO of Enable Holdings. Today, Hoffman is a partner and cofounder of digital tech agency ColorJar. You can read a 2013 interview Tech.Co conducted with Hoffman here.

Melody McCloskey

Melody McCloskey is the founder and CEO of StyleSeat, a company that easily connects users with beauty and wellness professionals. Founded in 2011, the company now has more than 320,000 beauty professionals across 15,000 cities in the United States, and it has raised nearly $40 million in funding from the likes of Lightspeed Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Dave Morin, and Ashton Kutcher. Last year, McCloskey joined us in Miami where she sat down and talked about bootstrapping her company. Watch that interview below:

Kimbal Musk

The brother of SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. He currently sits on the board of both companies, as well as The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, as well as Chipotle. Aside from these roles, though, Musk is the cofounder of The Kitchen, a growing chain of restaurants that sources from local farmers. In 2011, he also cofounded The Kitchen Community, a nonprofit organization that builds Learning Gardens in schools of the mission of bringing together communities through food. To date, 200 Learning Gardens have been built through The Kitchen Community.

Sunday, September 27: Challenging the Game

Rosario Dawson

The Hollywood actress and singer Rosario Dawson is probably most notable for her roles in Rent, Sin City, and Seven Pounds, but outside of the entertainment industry, she’s active in several charities including the ONE Campaign, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and the environmental group Global Cool. Most recently, Dawson plays the role of Claire Temple in the critically-acclaimed Netflix series Daredevil.

Coach (Ken) Carter

Perhaps most well known for the 2005 American biographical film documenting his time as the basketball coach for Richmond High School, Coach Ken Carter currently serves as the Dean/Headmaster of the Coach Carter Impact Academy, an all-boys boarding school known to have a strict academic and athletic atmosphere. Here’s a clip from the movie Coach Carter in case you need a refresher:


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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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