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Recent Speaking Gigs

<p>Charlie Oliver’s recent speaking engagements.</p>

Invasion of the Hackathons

“The first rule of hackathon is there are no rules. Kind of like ‘Fight Club,’ but with no blood.” — Facebook engineer Paul Tarjan

January 8, 6:30PM, RSVP HERE

Far from the impromptu, overnight pizza parties full of college hacks eager to “create cool stuff” and show off their coding skills, Hackathons of today are big business. Streamlined, professionally organized and overflowing with corporate sponsorships and investor-participation, today’s hackathon offers unlimited opportunities for corporations seeking business solutions and innovation, investors looking for the next great startup and entrepreneurs who are inspired to innovate, collaborate and make a difference in the world. So what exactly is a hackathon? If you’ve never been to a hackathon, or still aren’t sure exactly what a hackathon is, check out this brief video rundown HERE.

One thing is for sure, Hackathons ain’t what they used to be!

The opportunities are, indeed, endless. Hackathon events are, more than ever, hyper-focused on solving real world problems across all industries in need of technological innovation such as health, social activism, government, the meat industry (Meat Hackathon) and sanitation (Sanitation Hackathon). There are even hackathons targeted at helping governments combat corruption (more on that here).

Hackathons are mushrooming all around the world, particularly in emerging markets like South Africa and India (ironically, there are so many hackathons in South Africa that there is a raging debate in the entrepreneurial community there as to whether the proliferation of hackathons might actually be killing the entrepreneur spirit in South Africa (read more on that here)).

No longer the the sole playground of college kids for sport, Hackathons have officially gone mainstream. Not only is a diverse mix of people ever-present and competing at hackathons today (women, minorities, baby-boomers, etc.), but non-tech talent such as marketers, business development and “ideas” people who have traditionally been shut-out of Hackathons are showing up in full force and innovating alongside coders and designers. The true spirit of innovation is being bred in these environments — people from all walks of life are innovating together to solve big world problems!

So what does this all mean? MUCHO OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE!

Join us as our esteemed panel of experts take on the Hackathon — from the evolutuion of the hackathon as a geek underground event for college kids to a worldwide movement and beyond. We’ll discuss how entrepreneurs, freelancers and even people working in corporate America can reap many benefits and opportunities by attending and pitching their ideas at Hackathons.


  • Hack or hype? Is innovation really being gleaned from hackathons today or is it all hype?
  • How do hackathons here in the United States differ from hackathons around the world?
  • What happens to the ideas and technology that is developed at hackathons after the hackathon is over (are we maximazing the outcome of these hackathons)?
  • How and why are big brands like Pepsi, BMW, Adobe, Facebook, NY Times, Amazon, Microsoft, Pillsbury and others investing in (and seeking talent at) Hackathons?
  • What are companies and investors looking for at Hackathons?
  • Why is the media taking such an interest in Hackathons now and how can entrepreneurs maximize exposure at these events?
  • How can an entrepreneur with a startup benefit from partaking in Hackathons? What steps and strategies should be implemented before and during the Hackathon to glean the most out of it?
  • What are the legal issues surrounding sharing your ideas in an open forum? Are there ways to protect your ideas (or should you) before attending a Hackathon? Who owns the idea once it is developed into technology at hackathons?

Old School Hackathons Hackathons Today


Christopher KennedyCHRISTOPHER KENNEDY (@KennedysGarage), recently named one of Betabeat’s Most Poachable Players in Tech and one of the most respected web designers/developers in the business, currently leads the digital design front at M. Shanken Communications.

He recently co-founded Grade Spotter, a full-featured NYC restaurant inspection guide for the iPhone. Lately his main focus has been UX design for tablet & mobile applications, however he’s designed and launched several successful websites over the past eight years.

Kennedy also works with 48HOURapps as a UX designer and front-end developer, ushering apps from concept to app store in just 48 hours. Recently, his team PoachBase won second place at the most anticipated hackathon of the year, TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC.

Sabeen AliSABEEN ALI (@sabeen_sabeen), co-founder of AngelHack leads the global operations for the largest hackathon in the world. AngelHack has grown from a single-city domestic event to an international phenomenon, written about in over 30 publications including Forbes, TechCrunch, and Wired. In 2012 AngelHack held 20 hackathons in 6 countries and brought together over 4,000 hackers. In2013 AngelHack is expanding to 30 international cities with an expected 12,000+ hackers.

Prior to AngelHack, Sabeen co-founded an event-planning company that led her to the world of Hackathons. Here she was able to use her experience to construct a forum where complete strangers can mingle, meet, form teams, create amazing products and get awarded seed money to see their dreams turn into reality; all within a span of 36 hours.

Along with co-founding AngelHack and TeamBuildingROI, Sabeen is the Lead Facilitator for Practical Change Management for Project Managers at Cisco, a virtual course that instructs Project Managers across the globe on how to successfully manage change, expectations and behaviors in a technical environment.

Sabeen holds a MS from University of San Francisco, CA in Organization Development and a BA in English from California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, CA.


Peter Robinson

PETER ROBINSON is Business Development Lead at ChallengePost, a New York City-based start-up that is a marketplace for challenges. A Challenge takes place when an unsolved problem is released to the public by an organization or individual, with a prize reserved for the solver.

Current clients include the City of New York (Mayor Bloomberg), First Lady Michelle Obama and the USDA, The World Bank, Evernote, MTA, Thomson Reuters, Samsung, Qualcomm and more. ChallengePost created and launched, the Governmentwide Challenge Platform for the US federal government.

Prior to joining ChallengePost, Peter was with the Center for Economic Transformation at NYC Economic Development Corp where he focused on media, technology and innovation related policy initiatives, including the NYC BigApps Competition, NYC Media Lab, and Media.NYC.2020, and worked on business and product development for CSFB Data & Analytics and Linkshare, a pioneer in online marketing. He has an MBA from Yale School of Management, an MA in economics from New York University, and a BA in philosophy from Reed College.

Marianne BellotiMARIANNE BELLOTI (@bellmar) is a hackathon vet, having attended Photo Hack Day I & II, API Hack Day I & II,, GDI Hackathon in the Hamptons for Humanity, Startup Weekend NYC, Meetup’s Battle of the Braces among other events, winning thousands of dollars in prizes.

Currently she serves as a Developer Evangelist and Prototype Engineer at Basic6. She hacks in PHP, Python, and Javascript (including node.js) and is particularly interested in visualizations, data, and machine learning.




Jonathan AskinJONATHAN ASKIN (@jaskin) founded the BLIP Clinic when he joined Brooklyn Law School in 2008, bringing more than a decade of experience in the communications industry from both the public and private sectors. He has provided legal and policy counsel and strategic advice for companies that build and develop communications networks and Internet applications, as well as for other technology-oriented enterprises and startups. A sought-after expert in the field of Internet law, he played a key role in the tech task force of President Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign. He has also served as president and general counsel for the Association for Local Telecommunications Services and was a senior attorney at the Federal Communications Commission. He is actively involved in developing Brooklyn as the 21st century “Silicon Alley,” recognizing the borough as a burgeoning hub for innovative start-ups, and is affiliated with the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law.


Bruni PRJAMES BRUNI (@JamesBruni) is the founder and CEO of Bruni PR, a New York-based PR firm that specializes in media relations for Emerging Growth companies, Internet/Web 2.0 startups and major Finance/Wall Street/Professional Services companies. Bruni PR has media contacts who follow all industries/areas at the NYT, WSJ, Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, FT, Reuters/AP and other key news outlets. Past and present clients include Mellon Financial,, Vizu, Foursquare Day, Dr. Drew Pinsky (, eShare,, 360 Digital Design, Fastweb, Outbrain and Beyond Media.




Do It In Person


Angel Hack Logo


NYU Poly


Innovation Unleashed



Digital Dumbo


Served Fresh Media Logo
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Is Ownership Obsolete?

Is Ownership Obsolete? When Sharing Isn’t Enough

Tuesday, February 26, 6:30PM, RSVP:

Influencer Conference 2013 (InfluencerCon) is proud to present Amplify. A monthly global salon series designed to delve deeper into InfluencerCon themes in an intimate setting. Through presentations, keynotes & guest curated panels attendees will be exposed to new ideas and challenged to expand the conversation. Amplify salons will provide a social & intellectual environment to meet fellow influencers, exchange ideas and create change.

Is Ownership Obsolete? When Sharing Isn’t Enough 

The concept of ownership as we know it has been a keystone of industrial age capitalism. The idea that the possession of property (physical or intellectual) can be transferred via legal right is a basic construct that is now taken for granted among a majority of industrialized nations. Does ownership as we know it still work? Does it serve us as we move toward a shared economy? Can Stewardship, as a counter value, unlock innovation and creativity and become the prevailing value of the near future?

Join us for this conversation and stay to network, mix and mingle. Wine and light refreshments will be served.


Philip McKenzie, Founder/Global Curator – Influencer Conference

Phil McKenziePhilip L. McKenzie is the Founder and Global Curator of Influencer Conference. Influencer Conference is a global content platform that brings together tastemakers in the arts, entrepreneurship, innovation, philanthropy and technology to discuss the current and future state of influencer culture. From its beginnings in 2010 in NYC, InfluencerCon has grown to include London, Berlin, Brussels, Detroit, Sao Paulo, Mumbai and Tel Aviv. Prior to that he was the Managing Partner of FREE DMC, an influencer marketing agency that specializes in integrated marketing strategy, digital content creation, and experiential events. He is a believer in the power of creativity, love and innovation to transform to transform the world. He is a writer, strategist and speaker.



Charlie Oliver, CEO – Served Fresh Media

Charlie (small)Charlie Oliver’s years of experience in the trenches of media, marketing and branding include working in advertising at such media goliaths as BBDO Worldwide and Condé Nast, to producing sitcoms and dramas at Sony Pictures EntertainmentParamount PicturesWarner BrothersDreamworks, to event management at such notable events as The Sundance Film Festival. She segued seamlessly into digital  media and technology over six years ago as a web video producer with the launch of her first digital media startup (Art of Talk TV) and as a web developer for small companies and emerging brands.
Currently, she is CEO of Served Fresh Media which provides digital media strategy and social media amplification for live, large scale events and startups globally. In addition to managing Served Fresh media’s clients and initiatives (including Innovation Unleashed, Brooklyn Ventures Meetup and NY Viral Meetup), Charlie works with web developers and entrepreneurs as an advisor to startups. She also facilitates and moderates discussion and debate on hot topics on industries, markets and trends at live events.

Gitamba Salia-Ngita, Founder + Chief Innovation Officer – The Deft Collective

GitambaGitamba has collaborated and produced work for Odopod, Evolution Bureau, Stage Two Consulting, Apple, globalWORKS and Tribal DDB. Gitamba has an education in design, years of experience in brand cultivation, and a passion for picking complex strategic locks by leveraging big culturally-centric data.



Running Away with the Band

Running Away with the Band: A Revealing Conversation with Music Industry Legend Ted Cohen

Talking HeadsVan HalenPrinceSex PistolsAlice CooperFleetwood Mac

***The first 20 RSVPs of this event will receive a complimentary pass to attend the
DMW Music Conference courtesy of DMW (@DMWnews).****

February 20, 12:15PM – RSVP:


What it would be like to sit down and have a no-holds-barred conversation with a man who has spent over three decades in the music business helping to mold the careers of music icons like Fleetwood Mack, The Who, Prince, Alice Cooper, The Beach Boys, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Van Halen and Talking Heads (to name a few), and who has significantly contributed to ushering in the music innovation we all enjoy and benefit from today?

Join us as we take a trip back (waaay back) with the legendary, incomparable Ted Cohen (Managing Partner, TAG Strategic, @tagstrategic), in an intimate conversation that will touch on everything from Ted’s humble beginnings at a radio station in Cincinnati, to the start of his music career (when he literally ran away with rock bands), through the glory days of rock and roll and the birth of hip hop, and ultimately, his transition to digital music innovation where he currently unapologetically challenges conventional wisdom and revenue models.

We’ll also pick Ted’s brain on the future of the music industry, how innovation is hurting and helping the music industry, and how artists and music industry innovators can stay ahead of the curve and seize longevity.

Served Fresh Media‘s Charlie Oliver (@itscomplicated) goes one-on-one with Ted Cohen in what is sure to be an enlightening, fun journey through life and music. Join the conversation (hosted by DMW Music Conference), be prepared to ask Ted your most pressing questions about the music industry and be prepared for his brutally honest answers (Ted Cohen tells it like it is). Take a look at an interview Ted did with us a year ago:


Event hashtag: #TalkingwithTED


Ted Cohen

Integrating his widespread digital authority in music, mobile, IPTV and product & service development, Ted Cohen is the Managing Partner of TAG Strategic.

In an industry that’s been slow to embrace change, Cohen is the exception to the stereotypical music-exec rule. Of course, when you start a career on the road with Alice Cooper and Van Halen, you’re more primed for the unexpected.

Known throughout the technology and music industries as being “part ambassador and part evangelist,” Cohen was instrumental in crafting the licensing agreements upon which the Rhapsody subscription service and the iTunes Music Store were built.

In his previous role as Senior Vice President of Digital Development & Distribution for EMI Music (home of artists including Coldplay and the Rolling Stones), Cohen led next-generation digital business development worldwide for this “big four” record company, which includes labels such as Capitol, Virgin, Angel/Blue Note, Parlophone and Chrysalis. During that time, EMI led the industry by embracing and exploiting new technologies and business models such as digital downloads and online music subscriptions, custom compilations, wireless services, high-definition audio and Internet radio.

Ted Cohen and Pete Townsend

In addition to seeking out, evaluating and executing business opportunities for the company on a global basis, Cohen served as both a strategist and key decision-maker for EMI’s global new media and anti-piracy efforts. He worked to establish company-wide digital policies, which have provided EMI’s artists and labels a substantial advantage in the digital music arena.

Prior to his role at EMI, Cohen served as Executive Vice President of Digital Music Network Inc., where he co-founded and served as Chairman of the groundbreaking Webnoize conferences.

Cohen also led two highly successful new media consulting operations, DMN Consulting and Consulting Adults, attracting clients such as, Microsoft, Universal Studios, DreamWorks Records, Liquid Audio, Wherehouse Records/ and various other entertainment, technology and new media organizations. Cohen also held senior management positions at both Warner Bros. Records and Philips Media.

A 30-year industry veteran, Cohen currently chairs MidemNet, an international music/technology conference convened in Cannes each year. Cohen also serves on the NARAS (Grammy) Los Angeles chapter Board of Governors as well as the national Trustee Board, the Board of Directors for the Neil Bogart Memorial Fund, co-chairs the new media arm of the T.J. Martell Foundation, and lends his time and talents to music & technology education efforts such as the Grammy In The Schools Program.

Cohen served two terms as the Chairman of the Mobile Entertainment Forum Americas.


CharlieCharlie Oliver’s (@itscomplicated) years of experience in the trenches of media, marketing and branding include working in advertising at such media goliaths as BBDO Worldwide and Condé Nast, to producing sitcoms and dramas at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, to event management at such notable events as The Sundance Film Festival. She segued seamlessly into digital media and technology over six years ago as a web video producer with the launch of her first digital media startup (Art of Talk TV) and as a web developer for small companies and emerging brands.

Currently, she is CEO of Served Fresh Media which provides digital media strategy and social media amplification for live, large-scale events and startups globally. In additin to managing Served Fresh Media’s clients and initiatives (including Innovation Unleashed), Charlie works with web developers and entrepreneurs as an advisor to startups. She also facilitates and moderates discussion and debate on hot-topics on industries, markets and trends at live events.

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