Google Invited These People To A Super-Deluxe Resort Last Week To Talk About The Future

Google Sergey Brin with beard at Solve for X

Photo: Google via Google+

Last week, Google invited about 50 entrepreneurs, innovators, and scientists to the deluxe CordeValle resort in the mountains south of San Jose.There, they spent three days talking about big problems and how to solve them.

Word leaked out yesterday about the confab, when 9to5 Google got an early look at the Solve for X Web site. That Web site officially went live last night, and Google explained what was really going on in a blog post. There’s also a Google+ page about it.

Solve for X going to be a regular event — sort of like TED, but run by Google — and the goal is just to inspire conversation and efforts to solve big “moonshot” problems.

There’s no direct tie-in to Google’s business, apart from the image-polishing that comes from being seen as an innovative company concerned about big ideas, rather than a pure business machine. (Google doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of love from Silicon Valley insiders these days, so this is probably a good news.)

So who was there, and what did they talk about? Here’s who we know so far:

  • Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman and former CEO, was a co-host.
  • Sergey Brin, Google cofounder, was there, sporting a great beard.
  • Astro Teller, Google’s director of new proejcts, also co-hosted.
  • Megan Smith, who heads up Google.org, the company’s non-profit arm, was another co-host.
  • Omri Amirav-Drory, the cofounder of Genome Compiler Corp., which is all about “synthetic biology” (read: artificial life).
  • Privahini Bradoo, cofounder of BioMine, which is recycling metal from electronic waste, spoke about resource reclamation.
  • David Berry, a partner at Flagship Ventures and the CEO of Essentient, which wants to transform global nutrition.
  • Mike Cheiky, the cofounder of CoolPlanet, which is developing carbon-negative energy systems based on plant photosynthesis.
  • Michael Crow, the president of Arizona State University.
  • Kevin Dowling, the vice president of R&D at MC10, which is making stretchable electronics.
  • Juan Enriquez, managing director at Excel Venture Management, who helped fund ZipCar and a bunch of other startups.
  • Mir Imran, a medical tech entrepreneur, talked about drug delivery.
  • Mary Lou Jepsen, an artist and researcher who cofounded the MIT Media Lab, talked about mapping the mind’s eye.
  • Robert McGinnis, founder of Oasys, which is making desalination equipment, spoke about the global scarcity of drinking water.
  • Nicholas Negroponte, the cofounder of the MIT Media Lab and an author.
  • Daphne Preuss, cofounder of agriculture company Chromatin.
  • Andreas Raptopolous, founder of Matternet, which wants to revolutionise transportation through unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Neal Stephenson, an author of speculative and historical fiction, gave a talk about getting big stuff done.
  • Adrian Treuille, a Carnegie-Mellon computer science professor, spoke about collaborative science.

CordeValle is reportedly part-owned by SAP founder Hasso Plattner, but no word on whether he was invited.

If you were there, please let us know what happened! [email protected]

Here’s a scene from the resort:

Google Solve for X conference

Photo: Google via Google+

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