's Top 10 Keynote Speakers

Serving conference and event organizers since 2007
Introducing the first annual Top 10 Keynote Speakers Series

These 10 videos were carefully selected from nearly 15,000 programs produced at hundreds of conferences, debates, summits, forums, and think tanks around the world. Our criterion was simple: Which speakers have that magical power to transform an ordinary conference into the year's most memorable event? These 10 speakers have this talent and more.

Enjoy these selections and let us know what you think!


Clinton Makes No Apologies for Oil Sands Pipeline

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defends her approval of the Alberta Clipper pipeline. Until the U.S. passes more aggressive clean energy legislation, she explains, "we're either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf, or dependent on dirty oil from Canada."

Tim Ferriss: 10,000 Hours of Education Is Flawed

Bestselling author Tim Ferriss scoffs at Malcolm Gladwell's theory that most people can master a skill in 10,000 hours, quipping, "For most people, they do things the wrong way." However, argues Ferriss, given enough practice, most people have the capacity to excel at a variety of skills.

Gawande: Pick the Best Care, Hospital 1 or Hospital 2?

Would you rather be cared for in a hospital that produces fewer  complications, or a hospital that has a better rescue rate? Atul Gawande, surgeon and New Yorker staff writer, explains which hospital is more likely to provide better care.

Gladwell: Martin Luther King's Nazi Hug, Birmingham 1963

Malcolm Gladwell recounts Civil Rights protests organized by Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama. While King was attacked by a Nazi in 1963, he counters with a hug and forgiveness.

Paul Krugman: What U.S. Can Learn From Japan Rebound

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman explains why the U.S. government is slower to help its economy now than Japan was after the bubble burst in the 1990s.

Jane McGonigal: Gamers Have Spent 5.93M Years Playing WoW

Jane McGonigal, author of Reality Is Broken, points to the 3 billion hours the world invests every week in online gaming as a clear indicator that many people are not being sufficiently challenged in their day-to-day lives.

"5.93 million years is how long people have spent tackling unnecessary obstacles in World of Warcraft," says McGonigal. "We've spent as long playing World of Warcraft as we have evolving as a human species."

SF Mayor Gavin Newsom Advocates Innovative Electric Cars

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom describes innovative ways of thinking about electric cars. He suggests a pricing plan for electric cars modeled after cell phone pricing plans.

"Instead of buying minutes, you buy miles," says Newsom.

Making on a Budget: Adam Savage Goes Dumpster Diving

Adam Savage, co-host of Mythbusters, traces his making routes to advise young makers how to make using found and discarded materials.

Could Online Learning Kill Off Student Loans?

Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity, demonstrates how offering courses to large classes online through a partnership with San Jose State helps combats rising tuition costs.

Simon Winchester Discovers a Curious Skull Collector

Simon Winchester, bestselling author of the Professor and the Madman, discusses the subject of his new app and book Skulls and the unexpected discovery of Alan Dudley's collection of over 2,000 animal skulls.

About this series

Who gives the best keynote address? At, it's a question we get asked all the time -- by conference and event organizers, and by our viewers. The best keynote speakers are those who boldly combine their passion and knowledge to address thorny, big idea topics, and consistently wow us with arresting, new insights.

Our Top 10 Keynote Speakers manifest this ideal. From Adam Savage tackling the essence of human curiosity, to Hillary Rodham Clinton proposing a new model for diplomacy, to Atul Gawande describing the surprising benefits of making errors, these speakers reveal how an exceptional keynote address can transform an event from good to great.

Our list serves as an inspirational guide for conference and event organizers seeking to pack the house, create buzz, and delight sponsors. And for our online viewers, these 10 talks serve as a leaping off point for discovery and further exploration of, home to nearly 15,000 videos on the people, issues and ideas changing the world. Enjoy!

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