To create growth, companies have recognized the need to drive innovation: new products, new businesses, new brands and new technology. However, there are few examples of success. For many of these organizations, the solution to innovation has been acquisition—buying start-ups and usually sucking the life out of them. Michael J. Wolf will lead on discussion on the key question for large companies: do they need to buy start-ups or can they act like one on their own?
Michael J. Wolf is founder and managing director of ACTIVATE, a technology and strategy consulting firm which helps media, technology and communications businesses position their companies for growth. Previously, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of MTV Networks, where he was responsible for leading all of the global business and technology operations of the $7bn cable programming and Internet company. Prior to joining MTVN in 2005, he was the Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company’s global Media, Entertainment & Information Practice, and served as the top strategist to the CEOs and senior executives. Before that, Wolf was a Senior Partner and member of the Executive Committee of Booz Allen Hamilton, where he led the firm’s Communications, Media & Technology Practice.
WWolf was a board member of Slide.com, the largest developer of third-party applications for Facebook, until it was acquired by Google for $182 million; iAmplify.com, a digital marketplace for expert-generated video; Entercom; and the Educational Broadcasting Corporation. Additionally, Wolf is the author of the influential THE ENTERTAINMENT ECONOMY: How Mega Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives (Random House). Wolf, his wife and their three children live in Manhattan.