Meet the final five Disrupt Audience Choice roundtable winners


TechCrunch readers, you came through in a big way when we asked you to vote for the roundtable topics you want to hear at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18–20 in San Francisco. We’ve been rolling out our Audience Choice winners in groups of five, and while this is the last wave, it is by no means the least.

Roundtables — some of the most popular sessions at TechCrunch Disrupt — are 30-minute, expert-led discussions designed for up to 20 attendees who share an interest in a particular subject. The format allows for deeper conversation, questions and answers as well as time for attendees to connect and explore collaborative opportunities.

Missed the previous 20 Audience Choice speakers and topics? Be sure to check out the first, second, third and fourth groups. And before we reveal the final five, here’s a timely reminder.

Click and save: Buy your Disrupt pass before tomorrow, August 5 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, and you can save more than $1,000.

These five roundtables cover a range of hot topics. From adapting to Gen Z consumer needs, turning customers into advocates and cultivating consumer hype to hiring an A-team without a big budget and leveraging behavioral science to design and scale products, you’ll walk away informed and inspired.

Gen Z: Adapting to the next generation of consumers

Speaker: Emir Talu, the co-founder and partner at Pentas Ventures

This roundtable discussion aims to provide useful insights on Gen Z consumer trends to help startups better understand how they can position themselves to prioritize the next generation’s needs.

As a Gen Z consumer tech investor, Emir Talu will go over how Gen Z consumers respond to emerging industries and how they challenge the established ones to reinvent themselves.

Attendees will get to share their own perspectives on consumer trends and participate in the discussion about which companies they think do a good job adapting to Gen Z’s needs versus those that don’t.

Changing consumer behavior and turning customers into advocates

Speaker: Sofia Laurell, the co-founder and co-CEO at Tiny Organics

We’re in the third wave of a pandemic and products that have gained product-market fit (or product-market love) are aggressively looking to scale acquisitions profitably. The best brands out there have developed emotional connection through a distinct brand identity and a clear value, but what are some of the underrated growth opportunities?

This roundtable discussion will talk about sectors that haven’t changed in almost seven decades and why loyalty programs can improve the status quo. You’ll learn about tried-and-true growth strategies for exponential growth, how you can lean into first-party data and differentiated acquisition channels, and why products that fulfill a specific niche can help diversify versus dilute a brand. We’ll discuss when the timing is right to move into other product offerings that can also help scale customer acquisition and growth.

HypeFeast: How hype fuels the economy and the unique opportunity startups have to take advantage

Speaker: Alain Sylvain, the founder and CEO at Sylvain

We can’t escape hype. When we look at the past 30+ years, to the likes of the Beanie Baby craze, the anticipation surrounding Y2K and our fixation with crypto and NFTs, it’s clear that we’ve become obsessed.

And startups especially are known for tapping into our penchant for hype, using techniques like manufactured scarcity to stimulate desire for products. But have companies inflated the hype to be bigger than the products themselves? At what cost? Is there a better way to harness the power of hype?

At this roundtable Alain Sylvain will argue that consumers are the ones who create the hype — brands and their founders just plant the seeds. He’ll discuss a framework for cultivating consumer hype in effective and sustainable ways. And through open discussion, founders will be encouraged to share their experiences with the highs and lows of hype in order to learn from each other.

Hacking Hiring: How to build an A-team without a large corporate budget

Speaker: Anna Buldakova, the CEO at Vektor AI

The success of your company depends on your ability to hire and retain talent; however, hiring has become an immensely complex and expensive process. How can a startup founder build an A-team without the budget of a large corporation?

We’ll discuss some of the recent trends, research findings and founder lessons to help you answer that question. In this roundtable, you’ll learn

  • How to create a job description that stands out from thousands of others.
  • How to hire people from top companies.
  • How to balance different seniority levels.
  • What startup founders need to know about hiring Gen Z.
  • What psychological principles to keep in mind to build an A-team.

Design and scale using behavioral science

Speaker: Shirin Oreizy, the founder and CEO at Next Step

We’re building technology for the future, but we’ve forgotten that our users still rely on a brain that hasn’t changed in 40,000 years. In this roundtable, we’ll discuss how leveraging the power of behavioral science and catering to the ancient decision maker inside all of us can help you design and scale successful products.

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place in person on October 18–20 in San Francisco with an online day October 21. Buy your pass before prices go up tomorrow, August 5 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, and you’ll save more than $1,000.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt 2022? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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