Speak the Future: Interview with Richard Kastelein, Founder of TV Hackfest London/San Francisco


Conferize’s “Speak the Future” series features speakers who are currently changing the conference world. For more info check out our “Speak the Future” Manifesto.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I am a Canadian expatriate living in the Netherlands. And I wear a number of hats. 

I am the founder of TV Hackfest London and San Francisco and publisher of TV App Market and have guest lectured at MIT Media Labs and the University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters around the globe such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, ITV and others with media convergence strategies – particularly around Social TV, OTT, DLNA and Second Screen. But am also making a transition now to becoming a more broad media futurist.

I am a traveller at heart – and sailed around the world on small sailboats in my 20′s – spending ten years in the Caribbean working in print media and the boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe where I now work with various startups via an extensive global network.

What is your favorite area of expertise to present?

I like to speak about disruption. How technology disrupts the future of media and other verticals, both in terms of threats and opportunities. I love to mull over the future.

How did you begin speaking at conferences? 

I started in the Music industry in 2008 talking about ticketing but then moved on to TV in 2010 – with smaller events in London. I have since moved on to speak at events in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Hollywood,  Hilversum, Groningen (TEDx), Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid,  NYC, Rio,  Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Vienna, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton & beyond.

What have been some of the key conferences you’ve attended or participated in?
MIPTV, MIPCOM, IBC, Rio TV Festival, Social TV Summit Hollywood, DLM Symposium Berlin, TEDx…. to name a few. New events coming up are… Australian Broadcast Summit, cool event in Estonia and NYC Second Screen Summit. 

Why do you think conferences are important today? 

They are essential in stimulating the Network economy. And allowing people to not only expand their horizons via structured panels and events, but also by meeting others in real life rather than just email and online.

Have you noticed any significant trends in the Meetings Industry in the wake of digital/mobile developments? 

I am considered an expert on Second Screen mobile devices for TV and entertainment in general. What we call media stacking – or when people use tablets and smartphones in particular in conjunction with watching linear TV, either as a distraction from commercials or as a playalong device with shows such as The Million Pound Drop in the UK and the Voice. 

This is also called Social TV by many Americans. But it’s much broader than that and the area includes not only the intersection of Social Media and TV (discovery, dissemination and discussion) but also game mechanics, tCommerce, contextual content, TVoip, Transmedia, Recommendation engines, search, and many other cool new terms and concepts. 

How would you like to see conferences change more in the future?

No more pay-to-speak please. 

I hate nothing more than listening to some guy who paid to be on stage delivering a corporate deck with no insight or bird’s eye view on his own industry or point of view. I am also wary of traditional unidirectional formats. I would like to see more interactive round table type discussions and more of a feedback loop between audience and speakers.

As an open source and open standards evangelist, and somewhat of an idealist, I would like to see events where independent speakers (self branded experts) band together to share intel collectively. And profit from that. 

Rather than the older model where an events organization essentially pulls money (or tries to) from big brands to be there. And also entice people to come based on the idea that the Googles, Facebooks and Twitters of the world are actually going to share something hugely important or even talk to them. 

I am not saying don’t include the big brands, but set it all up differently with the aim in ensuring that true value is obtained by those who pay to come and see them. 

I’d like to see more ‘second screen’ apps for conferences – where polls are conducted, context is presented and a feedback loop is created between those speaking and those watching. Both online or present at the event. 

As a speaker, what do you feel you need right now to strengthen your profile in the conference world? Tools, technology, network etc.

Nothing really. I am currently happy with Linkedin, my hard earned network of 3500 relevant contacts there, and the tools I use to do my presentations. Perhaps I would like to see a new breed of speaker’s bureau and speaker’s management – more digital and relevant to current and future events. And not based on celebrity so much but rather quality. 

Any conference nightmares?

A few heated discussions with others both on stage and in audience. But that’s entertaining for all us including audience… more than scary. I once flew to London with a crazy flu to moderate a panel and threw up both before and after. Stupid idea. And it was an unpaid gig. 

Advice to aspiring speakers?

Be brave. Get stuck in. Go for it. Think Bird’s Eye View. Back what you say with as much empirical evidence as as you can. 

Any feedback on Conferize?

Great UI and UX. Great service. Love it!