First Summit 17 Speakers Announced

With meanings including the highest point of a mountain, a peak of achievement, and a meeting between people on a particular topic, Summit seems a particularly apt new name for our annual Sydney-based summer conference.

Web Directions Summit 17 is where we bring together some of the most renowned and advanced thinkers and practitioners in the world around technology, culture and society. Above all, we seek to learn, exchange and promote ideas that inform how we all approach and refine our own work, now and into the future.

In returning to a 2-track format for our annual flagship event, structured so that attendees can focus on engineering, focus on design, or mix and match according to their own priorities, we’re recalling some of the spectacular Sydney summer Web Directions conferences of the past, with our eyes firmly fixed on the future.

And now it’s time to reveal the first of our Summit speakers.

(Do read on for your Early Bird discounts.)


Web Directions Summit

The Speakers

Our first two keynote speakers each define and embody exactly our approach to this conference, and we feel privileged to bring them to Summit to share their insights with you.


Summit 17: Chris Messina & Genevieve Bell


Chris Messina invented the use of the hashtag for Twitter, a convention now adopted across almost all social media. But Chris’s contributions to the web go far beyond this one small, significant innovation, from co-working (he was one of its originators), Microformats and Web Standards, to deep thinking about the broader impact of technical advances on society, the economy and culture, and working with companies as diverse as Yahoo!FirefoxGoogle and Uber.

A renowned cultural anthropologist at Stanford UniversityGenevieve Bell moved to Intel in the late 1990s, eventually becoming Director of Intel’s User Experience Research Group. Now back in her home country as a Professor at the Australian National University College of Engineering and Computer Science, Genevieve focuses on “how to bring together data science, design thinking and ethnography to drive new approaches in engineering” and explores the questions of what it means to be human in a data-driven economy and world.

The Presentations

Summit 17 is going to be two very full days in November packed with inspiring, challenging, entertaining and thought-provoking presentations from our four keynote speakers plus over 30 Australian and international speakers addressing key topics relating to our role in the ongoing evolution of the web, digital technology, design and engineering.

It’s already shaping as a tremendously exciting conference, and the structure we have in mind is coming together. But there’s an important element missing.


Not just to attend, although we hope lots of you do and we know lots of you will (in fact, lots of you already have!), but as a presenter.

If you have any interest in joining us a speaker at Summit 17, jump over to this page and get the details.


We always keep our prices as low as we can, and we have complete confidence in the quality and relevance of our speakers and their presentations, but we also know that a little incentive can sometimes make it easier to find room in a limited budget, especially if you have to convince someone else.

Thus, we have our Early Bird discounts. Register during the Primary Early Bird period up to 15 September and get $200 off the regular cost.

  • Classic Summit ticket (conference only) for just $999 (save $200)
  • Silver Summit ticket (conference plus videos) for just $1,199 (save $200)
  • Gold Summit ticket (conference, videos and speaker dinner) for just $1,299 (save $200)

Hot Tip: Can’t allocate funds to this just yet? You can register now and pay later. 

Tell me more about Summit 2017

We are constructing Summit 17 as a summer festival of sorts: a festival of ideas, challenges, people, organisations, approaches and understandings. In this way, we hope to advance the industry, and your career.

One cautionary note: up to this point, before announcing any speakers or talks, about 15% of available tickets have been sold(the venue’s locked in so our numbers are limited). Given that, and the fact that Code sold out completely before Early Bird even closed, it is probably wise to book your place at Summit 17 sooner rather than later.

I hope to see you in Sydney this November.

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