Salim Ismail

ExO Speakers Exclusive
Best-Selling Author of Exponential Organizations
Chairman of ExO Works
Founding Executive Director of Singularity University
Former Vice President of Yahoo!
MTP: Global transformation.
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Salim is a sought-after business strategist, who presents globally to the leaders of many of the world’s largest companies and Heads of State.

He has been featured across a vast array of media outlets, including The New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, WIRED, Vogue, Fox Business and the BBC.

Part of Salim’s magnetism is that he speaks from experience in transforming companies. He is the Founder and Chairman of ExO Works and OpenExO, which help companies to implement the lessons from Exponential Organizations by emulating the world’s fastest growing companies. They inspire innovators to replace incremental innovation with 10X improvements, implement groundbreaking technologies and profitably achieve large-scale social impact. They have created billions of dollars of return on investment over the past 4 years for clients, including Procter & Gamble, HP, Visa, BHP, and Stanley Black & Decker. In response to the 2020 pandemic, Salim created ExO World as a platform to transform the world for a better future together.

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Salim is a serial entrepreneur, having also founded technology companies including New York Grant Company, Confabb, PubSub Concepts, Fastrack Institute, and Ångströ, which was acquired by Google in 2010. He led Brickhouse, Yahoo!’s internal incubator and was the Founding Executive Director of Singularity University. He is a Board member of XPRIZE Foundation, Rokk3r Inc., Aion Advisory Board, and a General Partner of Rokk3r Fuel ExO Venture Fund. These associations give him extraordinary access to the most influential innovators of our time, plus technologies and business ideas while they are in stealth mode.

Salim’s quantum physics and philosophy education combined with his career experience gives him a uniquely macro vision of how the institutions that underpin our society and economy are broken and should be fixed. His entertaining, irreverent, epiphany-inducing presentations are known for impressing even the most skeptical listeners.

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Exponential Organizations

As a result of accelerating change, a new breed of businesses is scaling 10 times faster than established organizational structures. Salim Ismail calls these exponential organizations. This talk describes the characteristics and attributes of these organizations and finishes with how to implement these ideas into established companies. He looks at today’s fastest growing technologies and the social impact they will have on our organizational, political, legal, educational, and medical systems. From artificial intelligence to biotech, these disruptive technologies are changing the face of many disparate industries and creating new innovations and opportunities. Audiences walk away with a tailored action plan for moving forward that utilizes five internal and five external strategies to spur astounding growth – like partnering with an incubator and transforming their organization’s leadership team.

Disruptive Convergence

Salim describes major breakthroughs occurring in a series of accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, biotech, sensors, neuroscience, medicine, and even energy. He describes the implications of these breakthroughs on both society and business, and will give a perspective on their impact tailored to each specific audience.

Exponential Finance

Today there are 8 billion internet-connected devices in the world. By 2020 Salim Ismail predicts there will be 50 billion. Will computer driven cars be a reality in three years? Will we see a dramatically lengthened lifespan and delayed retirements in a matter of 1-2 decades? What does this mean for investment, growth, and contraction in key industries? As the world becomes more digital, advancements in technology are skyrocketing. Technology strategist Salim Ismail knows the trajectory of fascinating projects that are sure to change our lives and challenge societal norms as we know them. His take on the impact to the financial services sector will have you thinking twice about where to put money and how much is needed for the future.

Exponential Medicine

The fastest technological improvement today is being seen in biotechnology. According to technology strategist Salim Ismail, by the year 2020 it will be cheaper to sequence your genome than to flush your toilet. What will this mean for personalized therapies? Will we eradicate allergies? Or grow replacement organs? Will artificial intelligence make better, more accurate diagnoses than human doctors? Could a computer be your future surgeon? Ismail tells incredible stories of the research and development he’s seen first-hand and the potential for next-generation disruptive technologies. He weighs the benefits with the sinister side and calls on society to prepare our systems for running the world (legal, political, medical) to meet the realities of the very near future.

Future of Entrepreneurship

The confluence of new developments makes today the best time ever to be an entrepreneur. Salim talks about how accelerating technologies, crowd funding, incubators, fablabs, and cloud computing have made it faster, better, and cheaper to be an entrepreneur. This talk also covers the steps needed to create entrepreneurial ecosystems and start-up communities in different regions.

We have two possible futures ahead of us: Mad Max or Star Trek

In this talk by Salim Ismail, he’ll paint the picture with examples of the two possible futures that lay in front of us, Mad Max or Star Trek. Right now, we may feel like humanity is headed towards a Mad Max dystopian future with more people being disenfranchised. But in fact, we do have a choice to move towards more of a Star Trek-like utopia. In Star Trek, diversity and tolerance are encouraged and inclusivity and equality are the norms. Technology can make the impossible, possible. Salim will explore this further with participants.

Salim will discuss some of the powerful myths and stories that can guide us away from Mad Max and toward a Star Trek future. He’ll invite participants to think, question, and challenge the status quo with the intention of creating a brighter future.

Introduction to Exponentials

Dealing with disruption in every industry begins by understanding exponential change. In this talk on Intro to Exponentials, Salim helps one better understand Linear to Exponential thinking through a multitude of emerging technologies that are changing at an exponential pace and continue to disrupt norms collectively. You will see how this has many implications for various industries. “Once you take a domain or sector and power it with information technology, it jumps on Moore’s law.” As a result, we can now apply the world’s best technologies to the world’s biggest problems.

The Meaning of Life Evening Session

This is a late-night, French Salon-type discussion run by Salim Ismail at each Singularity University summer GSP program to discuss the broader implications of exponential technologies like human longevity, AI, or the transition of humanity from scarcity to Abundance.  Depending on audience engagement, the session can last up to three or four hours. It is an open, guided conversation with participants on metaphysics, philosophy, and the meaning of life.  Alcohol (or equivalent) is helpful.  He has run this session about 50 times. Attendees call it ‘life-changing.’  Salim’s one-of-a-kind Meaning of Life talk was typically rated as the best session of the SU summer program.


“Salim is one of our highest rated Keynote speakers to date. Our attendees have many opportunities to meet and hear exceptional speakers, and are not easily impressed. To say that Salim blew their minds would be an understatement. His presentation challenged them and led them to think about their business in a new light. Salim’s willingness to create a custom presentation for our audience and to interact with attendees was appreciated. Salim was the highlight of our annual conference.”

- Association for Corporate Growth

“Salim Ismail was a genuine knockout hit at our executive conference. His message resonated deeply, and his dynamic presentation totally captivated a sophisticated and demanding audience. He skillfully wove video and PowerPoint into his talk in ways that amplified his message. And People are still talking about it.”

- Edison Electric Institute

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