The Paley Center for Media presents Next Big Thing: June 2012. Next Big Thing is a series of quarterly gatherings designed to showcase new entrants and disruptors in the media, entertainment, and technology spaces by bringing them together with established leaders and investors in those industries. A mix of elevator pitches, open debate, and cocktail conversation, the Next Big Thing provides a forum for rising innovators and entrepreneurs to meet the pioneers and pillars of the media industry."
David S. Bennahum
David S. Bennahum is cofounder and CEO of Punch! Media. Punch! produces and distributes smart, topical, and irreverent news and entertainment apps for iPad and other touch devices. Prior to Punch!, Bennahum founded The American Independent News Network in 2006, and served as president and CEO until 2011. His career in new media began as a founding writer with Wired magazine in 1994. His reporting on the rise of the Internet and its impact on our culture was published in The New York Times, New York magazine, and The Economist. Bennahum's business career included guiding online strategy for several Fortune 500 corporations and partnership in a New York-based private equity fund that invested in next generation wireless mobile services. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University.
Marci Harris, cofounder and CEO of POPVOX, likes to say that "her first startup was a town." In 2004, an F4 tornado struck her town of Jackson, Tennessee, the night before an election for which she was running the campaign of the incumbent mayor. Directed to "find out what people need and get it," she became the town's Tornado recovery coordinator for the long process that followed. Her first interaction with federal agencies and Congress was as an advocate for thousands who lost homes and businesses. This taste of public service led her to law school and eventually to the LLM program at American University in Washington, DC. In 2007, she became tax, trade, and health counsel to a senior ways and means member and led committee efforts on Medicare program integrity and transparency. She left Capitol Hill in February 2010 to build POPVOX, which won the SxSW BizSpark Accelerator startup competition in 2011. Harris is a recipient of a 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Disruptive Innovation Award and was named #13 of the "Top 100 Most Creative People in Business" by Fast Company magazine.
Jennifer 8. Lee
Jennifer 8. Lee is a journalist, author, and adviser to Upworthy, where her responsibilities include partnerships, talent recruiting, and business development. At 24, she was one of the youngest full reporters ever hired at The New York Times, where she worked for nine years. She is also the author of "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles," which established fortune cookies are originally from Japan. She has served as the lead judge for the Knight News Challenge, a $25 million giveaway. She serves on the board of the Nieman Foundation, the Center for Public Integrity, Asian American Writers Workshop, among other organizations. She helps organize Hacks/Hackers, a global network of thousands of journalists and technologists to reinvent journalism. She also is an Awesome Food trustee. She majored in applied math and economics at Harvard, where she was also vice president of the Harvard Crimson.
As CEO of Speakaboos, Neal Shenoy manages the companyâ€™s purpose and vision, sets its strategy and execution plan, recruits talent and manages strategic relationships with investors and partners. He is responsible for recruiting and managing a team across organizations such as Nickelodeon, Sesame, PBS Kids, Cartoon Network, Scholastic, Barnes & Noble, and Leapfrog. He has helped guide Speakaboos to be one of the largest, fastest growing, and most promising platforms for interactive childrenâ€™s books earning recognition from the Aspen Institute, Education World, and National Education Association. Shenoy is also a founding partner at MEDIA which builds consumer internet ventures alongside media companies. He cofounded each of the MEDIA portfolio companies including Saavn, the largest digital service for South Asian music globally. Prior to MEDIA, Shenoy was cofounder and president of Simile, a contextual advertising platform that served media and publishing customers. He began his career as an investment banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette advising media and telecom companies. Shenoy earned a BSFS in International Relations at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Anand Subramanian has been founder and CEO of NimbleTV since January 2011. Prior to NimbleTV, he was founder and chairman of ContextWeb, previously serving as its CEO. The vision of ContextWeb was to develop an easy-to-use ad exchange to bring together advertisers and publishers to enable mutually beneficial advertising transactions. Before founding CONTEXTWEB, Subramanian was vice president of product development at Gobi, Inc., a provider of accessible home computing and Internet connectivity; and also managed a team of technology consultants and sales staff at iGate Capital, an IT and finance and accounting staffing resource company, with responsibility for major accounts including AT&T, Bellcore and MCI. In the early 1990s, Subramanian built and ran a successful healthcare software business in Bombay, India. He is a frequent speaker and commentator on technology, digital media and the convergence of the two. He has recently spoken at "Think Tomorrow~Today," ThinkPanmure's 2008 conference, The Upstream Group's Seller Forum, iMedia Communication, Inc.'s Agency Summit, Red Herring's "Always On" conference, and he was also a finalist for The Metro New York Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2008 Awards. He received his bachelor of technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in 1992.