Michael Hawley

Digital Pioneer and thought leader in High Technology

Inventing and re-inventing the digital world.

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A truly brilliant, versatile and compelling speaker, Michael Hawley has a gift for bringing far-ranging material into practical focus for individual audiences. A true renaissance thinker, Hawley is one of those rare innovators who can express his passion and insight through science and technology, art and design, to industrialists and academics with fluency and flair. He directs the annual EG conference in Monterey, widely hailed as the most inspired gathering of creative talents in the world; and he serves on several corporate boards, large and small.

Michael has participated in some of the great digital breakthroughs of the last 30 years. He pioneered digital cinema technology at LucasFilm. He worked alongside the original team that wrote UNIX at Bell Labs. He worked intimately with Steve Jobs at the inception of NeXT. As a photographer, he innovated digital photo systems and was the first to produce very large format fine-art prints. His book on Bhutan was named the World's Largest Published Book by Guinness World Records.

He speaks with unparalleled authority on the global evolution of digital media and its business and societal implications.

An early faculty member at MIT’s Media Lab, Michael was founder and director of several significant and highly entrepreneurial research thrusts to develop a very broad array of game-changing technologies. He is equally at home in corporate board rooms, research labs, exotic cultures and far-off wildernesses. Some of his expeditionary research at MIT ranged as far as the summit of Everest, the glaciers of Greenland, dogsledding in Norway, plant biology in Hawaii and reef ecology in Indonesia, all of it instrumented in creative ways with inventive digital systems.

Michael is also a notable pianist: he won the Van Cliburn competition in 2002, and made his Boston Symphony Hall debut in 2003 and still concertizes several times each year.

Articulate, quick, witty and deeply insightful, Michael is a very dynamic and compelling speaker. His musical programs are unforgettable and truly unique: they embody a fresh approach to the patterns of many corporate gatherings.


  • Director, EG conference
  • Founder, President, Friendly Planet
  • Former Director, Special Projects, MIT
  • Founder, MIT’s "Go Expeditions" program
  • Founder, Director: Toys of Tomorrow, MIT; Counter Intelligence, MIT
  • Co-founder and director, Things That Think, MIT Media Lab
  • First-prize winner, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs
  • Former Dreyfoos Professor, Media Technology, MIT
  • Board of Directors: Kodak, Color Kinetics, Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies, TTI Vanguard, SiOnyx
  • Fellow and trustee, Jonathan Edwards College at Yale
  • Ph.D., MIT, and two undergraduate degrees from Yale
  • One-time Duncan Yo-Yo champion
  • Former luge racer
  • Member, United States Bobsled Federation
  • Recipient, first Jack Kilby Award for innovation in science, 1990


Michael tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The Big Bang Moment for Wearables

In this talk, Michael discusses the past, present, and future of wearable technology, from the first awkward steps in the 1990’s to today’s latest products. He describes the origins of the wearable movement, its remarkable development in fields as varied as healthcare, gaming, and the military. Reflecting on wearables' ongoing struggles to find a real identity and purpose, he explains which devices on the current market have a real future and which are dead ends. Whatever rises to the top, Michael assures his audiences, the next ten years of wearables will be unimaginably transformative — as astonishing as the last ten years of smartphone evolution. A key talk for tech devotees and investors alike.

Building Technology that Adds Value to Life

Keys to Creativity

The Virtuoso Team, Private Concert and Discussion



A Fortune 50 company:
We certainly enjoyed Mike’s futuristic technology message mixed with his unique sense of humor. And, as anticipated, our post-event survey comments show he was the highlight of the program. Thanks for sending him our way. It’s nice knowing we can count on you for giving us good, solid speakers.

A college audience:
Today in class, students were buzzing about how wonderful your talk was yesterday. Several faculty members said they thought the entire symposium was the best yet in the 19 years we've offered it! It really did accomplish the goal of getting students to think creatively about interdisciplinary applications.

You speak with such clarity, humor, and warmth. Your visuals enhanced your spoken word, stretched our minds, and tugged at our hearts. Your vision for serving humanity with creativity and intelligence fits all that we as a College aspire to achieve. We would love to invite you back in a few years to learn more about your projects.

A college audience:
Wonderful feedback on Hawley: He was absolutely terrific! He was the one of the top 2 speakers of the year. THE top speaker based on content.