Speaking

We’re evidence-based. We are professional public speakers delivering keynote and other talks on reality and how to improve the world. We generally cut against the common narratives and show why things may not be as they seem. Audiences will talk about these talks long after the event is over.

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David Siegel Founder of the Pillar Project and 2030, David has been a professional speaker for more than twenty years, giving over 200 speeches around the world. His prolific work on blockchain technology, entrepreneurship, and business has distinguished him as a thought leader in innovation, organizational dynamics, and economics. He has spoken to executives, managers, and audiences up to 1,000 people. An engaging speaker, David enjoys interacting with audiences, livening up panels, conducting master classes and workshops. David is always one of the most valuable players at any event. Many of these talks have videos, which you can see by clicking the links.

Keynotes

The Smart Era. This talk explores the next thirty years leading up to 2050. Much of our world is now digital. We have digital infrastructure for almost everything from science to government to leisure. Those countries and industries moving to digital and mobile know what to do - it’s no longer a matter of innovation but simply implementation. We are now entering the smart era, where humans and machines interact. In this talk, David shows that the smart era will eliminate repetitive work, create billions of new jobs, and raise the quality of life for almost everyone on the planet. For the next thirty years, humanity will experience an explosion of productivity, health, longevity, and prosperity - even as we add another 2 billion people to the planet. David ends with a glimpse of what comes next: The Machine Age.

The Machine Age. In this futuristic talk, David explores how very different the world will be by the end of this century. By that time, machines will do all repetitive tasks and many non-repetitive tasks. They will entertain us, cook for us, and even put our children to bed. In this world, there are no human drivers on the roads - all drivers are machines that can communicate and coordinate. There will certainly be flying cars. There will be abundant energy, water, food, and natural resources. The human population will have peaked. Many prophesies of doom have not played out in reality. This age will not distribute wealth and prosperity evenly, yet almost everyone will be vastly better off than we are today. What will we do in an age where machines do most of the work? What about the divide between rich and poor? What are the real threats to humanity? David explores these questions and more, with plenty of room for variance and uncertainty. As Yogi Berrra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Ten Drivers of Change for the 21st Century Based on his research for an upcoming book, David takes the audience through a neck-snapping tour of the next thirty years that will leave everyone thinking about their true priorities for the future. This is a special 90-minute talk that walks through each of the drivers and shows the impact they will have on our lives: globalization, gene editing, artificial intelligence, future of work, robotics, decentralization, money, life extension, personal data, and volatility.

Future of Money This is an important talk on the future of monetary policy and crypto-finance. David shows how important monetary policy is to the world. Why is a bit of inflation better than no inflation? As he says, “If you like recessions, the monetary policy we have today is probably the perfect thing. But did you know central banks can prevent recessions?” In plain english, David presents the concept of Nominal GDP Level Targeting, which could prevent recessions in most advanced economies.

Intro to blockchain In this very accessible talk, David explains the basic concepts of blockchain in non-technical terms and shows how blockchain will change business, society, governments, and more.

An Alternative Look at Education. There are many books and people talking about how to fix education. In this talk, David makes the case that education is so broken that it should not be fixed. Instead, we must replace education with something better. Here’s the problem in a nutshell: more education gets you more money in the long run. But it doesn’t make you more productive! While there is a reasonable correlation between education and earnings, there is no correlation between education and job performance. We must start by educating employers to stop requiring credentials and certificates and instead give non-degreed people a try. We must learn as we work, because sitting in classrooms listening to lectures, studying text books, doing homework, taking tests, and getting grades has nothing to do with the real world of work. David argues for a complete overhaul of the way we view education, which he hopes will lead to a better life for most people. After this talk, David encourages people to explore the Singularity University education series.

Talks

What Happened in the Great Financial Crisis. David’s research has taken him on a journey of discovery to learn that the financial crisis was not what we thought and the common narrative is not supported by the data. This is a high-level overview of a technical subject. The audience will learn that while there were many incentives to create bad loans and false credit ratings, the world economy would have been spared a severe recession. David shows that the recession was actually caused by not enough housing in the key “congestion” cities of New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, coupled with a very bad decision by the Fed not to accommodate the drop in output. You can get a taste of this talk in his essay, Understanding the Great Financial Crisis. It is based on the work of Kevin Erdmann, who is also part of our group (see his work below). Given that the GFC is the defining event for an entire generation (Millennials), it makes sense to spend an hour understanding what really happened.

Tokens and Tokenomics An entertaining talk on what tokens are and how they will change our world. What are tokens? What kind of tokens exist? Why will there be trillions of dollars' worth of tokens in just a few short years? This is David’s most requested talk. Using real world examples, he shows how tokenomics and tokenised business models will change the world. He also gives a quick overview of the world of security tokens, touches on mechanism design, and makes predictions about the future of tokens and token models. 

All About Stablecoins Stablecoins are a very hot topic these days. They hold the promise of opening the world of blockchain to interface with the world of contracts, commitments, insurance, and many other use cases. Several have tried and failed, and the weight of the crypto-economy hangs in the balance. In this talk, David breaks down the basic concepts and examples, and points to where he thinks this fascinating space will take us.

Workshops

What is money? Money is very misunderstood. Is gold money? What supports the dollar? Will we have future forms of money? What is the relationship between macroeconomics and money? How does monetary policy help or hurt the economy? This workshop can be from 2-4 hours, exploring money today and in the future. David introduces concepts of digital money, fiat vs private money, stable coins, nominal GDP level targeting, automated monetary policy, and more.

Introduction to monetarism. David puts monetarism in perspective and helps people see that most central banks are using outdated models to predict the future of the economy. This talk includes an overview of the Great Depression, the business cycle, the origin of the Fed, understanding the equation of exchange, the role of central banks, nominal vs real GDP as a measure of aggregate demand, the optimal level of inflation, nominal GDP level targeting, a quick overview of the Great Financial Crisis, “never reason from a price change,” the Fed’s dual mandate, global currency issues, and more. This talk is more about macro economics. It relates monetarist theory to Keynesian, new Keynesian, Modern Monetary Theory, and the Austrian school of economics (without diving into those theories).

Decentralized Finance. In this 2-4 hour workshop, David covers the basics, the projects, and the future of decentralized finance. He shows how we will cut out the middleman (Wall Street) and create financial products that are far better, more sophisticated, and cheaper than what we have today. He shows working apps and talks about regulatory hurdles.

Unpacking the Ten Drivers for the 21st Century. David can create workshops around each of the ten drivers: globalization, gene editing, artificial intelligence, future of work, robotics, decentralization, money, life extension, personal data, and volatility. This would be a good track for a multi-day event.

The Myths of Entrepreneurship. In this provocative 2-hour event, David works with entrepreneurs and angel investors to understand what really drives start-up success, what angels are doing wrong, what really causes start-ups to fail, and how to improve your odds of success on either side of the table. He blows away most common conceptions of angel investing and starting a company. Using audience examples, he shows how we can use a different frame to reprioritize our activities and increase innovation.

David is a fabulous public speaker I have worked with directly on a number of conferences. He always brings a great energy to the room and can tell a complex technical story in a way that wakes everyone up and fully engages them. He strikes the perfect balance between fun, big picture 'blue sky' thinking and practical information.

- Helen Disney, event producer

Kevin Erdmann is an expert on the real-estate macro picture. His evidence-based view of the Great Financial Crisis is a stunner. The common narrative is that we had too much money, too much credit, and we built too many homes. In fact, our problem for at least the last 20 years has been that we don't have enough homes, and it is a shortage of homes that has put continual upward pressure on housing costs. This may seem unbelievable, but the evidence is overwhelming. Seeing this evidence will open up a whole new way of thinking about the economy, investing, and homeownership. This is a radical new way of thinking about the economy that all serious professionals need to understand.  This has implications for real estate brokers, real estate investors, financial advisors, homebuilders, public policymakers, and more. And, in the end, it is a motivational story about how learning the right lessons about the financial crisis illuminates opportunity that surrounds everyone in the real estate and financial sectors.

Ronald Pol is an international expert on Anti-Terrorist Financing and Anti-Money Laundering regulations. A former lawyer in New Zealand and the UK, and an author, speaker and leadership adviser, Dr Pol’s expertise is outcomes in policy, law, and business. Troubled by evidence that the ‘war’ on money laundering may be the least effective policy initiative and legal experiment anywhere, ever, Pol sought out the world’s best political science and legal thinkers to help test root causes and new concepts with the rigor of a PhD. Despite the exponential growth of a vast global anti-money laundering industry, the current compliance model is more than 99 percent ineffective at disrupting criminal finances. Serious profit-motivated crime continues, flourishes, and expands globally. Ron presents the evidence for failure and then describes innovative new approaches to reframe the conversation for better outcomes, as detailed in his forthcoming book.