WNSF: From Startups to NewCos with John Battelle

John Battelle was the perfect person to kick off the series What’s Now: San Francisco. John not only told the big-picture story of the Bay Area tech boom, but he also had new insights into one of the region’s key drivers of innovation – startups.

John was the founding managing editor of Wired magazine from its inception in 1993, just a few blocks away from Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange. As co-founder of the Web 2.0 Summit, he helped reboot the tech industry with a new narrative after the dotcom crash. John has launched half a dozen media startups, including his latest, NewCo Platform.

NewCo replaces on-site conferences with festivals where startups and other innovative companies open their doors to attendees. NewCo festivals currently operate in 16 cities around the world and they are rapidly expanding. The company is just now moving into media with NewCo Shift, which covers “the biggest shift in business and society since the industrial revolution.” They celebrate a new kind of company, one motivated not by money, but by mission.

During this event, John laid out his ideas on the evolution of yesterday’s startups to today’s NewCos. While John sees the tech story as receding in importance, he believes the defining features of tech startups are now moving into the broader economy and transforming business culture. The timing of this shift could not be more fortuitous, according to John, given mounting challenges ranging from inequality to climate change.