Forbes editor on Under 30 Summit: New ‘Star Wars’ droid, Sara Bareilles, and how to turn this into Philly’s South by Southwest


When the Forbes Under 30 Summit returns to Philadelphia this fall, the droid from the new Star Wars movie and the under-30-year-olds who designed it will be coming, too. Randall Lane, Forbes’ editor-in-chief, told Billy Penn they will be speakers at the Oct. 4-7 event. Sara Bareilles will speak as well, and the Sixers will be involved as partners for the summit. Lane said more speakers and performers would be announced in the coming weeks and months as the event gets closer.

Lane said that when all the speakers and guests had been announced the Forbes Under 30 Summit would live up to last year’s, which was highlighted by a speech from Monica Lewinsky.

“We’re going to do it bigger,” he said.

Last year, 1.500 people were invited to attend. This year, Lane says the number has been increased to 2,000. The nightlife events will be larger, as will a service project that the event featured last year.

What won’t change is Philadelphia. Lane says Forbes wanted the event here for its growing millennial population and up-and-coming status. He knew the event was in the right place when Wiz Khalifa and Afrojack played the first night at the Piazza in Northern Liberties.

“That’s a cool part of town and cool venue,” Lane said. “It just opened a lot  of people’s eyes that this isn’t the Philly I remember as a kid coming to see the Liberty Bell. This is a cool, fun city.”

Some of the other speakers who had already been announced for the event include Mike Tyson and Barbara Bush, the daughter of George W. and Laura Bush.

Forbes’ agreement with the city is on a year-by-year basis. Lane said the magazine plans to keep the Under 30 Summit here, though, as long as city leaders remain supportive and cooperative with the event.

“It’s the kind of place we like the idea of getting behind,” he said, “and working on as a long-term catalyst that South by Southwest has done for Austin, Texas.”

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