Salim Ismail Profile

  • Leading technology strategist and entrepreneur, Ismail has led Singularity University since its 2008 launch.

  • Ismail is one of the few people who has intersected with leading thought leaders and innovators from every major sector.

  • Ismail's global consulting agency, OpenExo pioneers and tests strategies to fast track change in both the private and public sector.
  • Futurist Salim Ismail is the Founding Executive Director of Singularity University. He has an extensive track record as an entrepreneur and technology strategist, making him a highly sought speaker who gives approximately 150 keynotes per year.

    Ismail is Co-founder and Chairman of OpenExO, a global consulting agency that works with organizations and institutions to streamline innovation and grow exponential thinking. He draws from his experience leading influential tech companies, including PubSub Concepts and Angstro (both acquired by Google in 2010). Ismail also set up and ran Yahoo!’s internal incubator, Brickhouse.

    Ismail is also the co-founder of Fastrack Institute which works to solve cities’ most pressing problems via emerging technology. He is the best-selling author of Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Salim Ismail is a man who is passionate about business, entrepreneurship, and technology. He is a technology strategist, software engineer, and successful entrepreneur.

      Futurist and best-selling author of Exponential Organizations and Exponential Transformation, Salim Ismail has been building disruptive digital companies as a serial entrepreneur since the early 2000s.

      A prolific speaker, Salim gives more than 150 talks a year to audiences of all sizes around the world. He has been profiled across a vast array of media outlets including The New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, WIRED, Vogue, and the BBC

      Salim is Founding Executive Director of Singularity University and Co-founder and Chairman of OpenExO, a global transformation ecosystem that connects world-class professionals with organizations, institutions and people who want to build a better future through cutting-edge ideas and actionable methodologies. The ExO consulting ecosystem consists of more than 155 certified coaches and advisors from 29 countries doing business in 24 different languages. OpenExO and the global consulting team at ExO Works transforms global business by catapulting organizations into the world of exponential thinking through the ExO Sprint, a proprietary process to achieve 10x performance for organizations of all types.

      Salim founded and led some of the most influential tech companies at the foundation of our digital society, including PubSub Concepts and Angstro, which Google acquired in 2010. He led Yahoo!’s internal incubator, Brickhouse, and is an XPRIZE Foundation Board member.

      Salim also co-founded the Fastrack Institute which harnesses new technologies to solve the most pressing problems faced by cities today. He sits on the Board of Rokk3r, Inc, and is a general partner at its Rokk3r Fuel ExO venture fund where he identifies the next founders of exponential growth companies.

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    Salim Ismail's Speech Descriptions

    Singular University leader, Salim Ismail delves into accelerating technologies and how your organization can proactively adapt to the new reality. Ismail offers a deep understanding how AI, biotechnology, IoT, and other influential trends will affect every major sector. Furthermore, he draws from his first hand experience implementing innovation in both the private and public sector, imparting concrete steps and guidelines you can take to fast-track change in your organization.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Salim Speak

    Rating Entries

    “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

    “I wanted to let you know that Salim exceeded all expectations and was an amazing kick-off to our conference. His session was thought provoking, insightful, and an unbelievable fit with our SHIFT theme. I could not be happier, he spent time answering a ton of questions and hung out with our folks after at the bar.”
    – Global CLP

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    Books by Salim Ismail:

    Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)

    In business, performance is key. In performance, how you organize can be the key to growth.

    In the past five years, the business world has seen the birth of a new breed of company—the Exponential Organization—that has revolutionized how a company can accelerate its growth by using technology. An ExO can eliminate the incremental, linear way traditional companies get bigger, leveraging assets like community, big data, algorithms, and new technology into achieving performance benchmarks ten times better than its peers.

    Three luminaries of the business world—Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest, and Mike Malone—have researched this phenomenon and documented ten characteristics of Exponential Organizations. Here, in EXPONENTIAL ORGANIZATIONS, they walk the reader through how any company, from a startup to a multi-national, can become an ExO, streamline its performance, and grow to the next level.

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