Josephine is 11 years old, and opened our conference last year. I wrote this text for her, and then we fine-tuned it together so it would feel natural for her to speak the words in front of an audience of 5,000 people.
We wanted to make sure people understood that working in digital tech is not about just making a quick buck, but that with every small improvement you are making the world a better place.
We don't shill.
Check out TNW's Hard Fork.
It was an absolute joy to work with Josephine. She understood what we meant, wasn’t shy, and knew the text by heart. She understood that her message was meant to give people goosebumps and get them ready to make the best of our event.
Here’s the full text of her talk:
My name is Josephine, and I’m 11 years old. But it would be a mistake to see me as an 11 year old. Because what you are looking at is the future. I’m the future. I’m going to be your customer, your critic, your opponent, your competitor.
I’ll be your enemy, your biggest fan and the person paying your bills.
I’m the one that will help you out when you’re in trouble and I’m the one who will suffer from the world’s problems, or I will fix them.
Today is the first day of this conference, and I’m the opening act. Over the next three days you will learn a lot.
You might do a deal, meet a potential partner, and advance your business in a small or big way. And that will be progress. But it won’t just be ordinary progress. It will be essential and monumental progress.
At The Next Web we believe that technology is essential for the future of mankind and it is making the world a better place.
I can’t solve all the world’s problems in one go. But together we can increase our knowledge, improve technology and take another step towards a better future.
That’s the way to solve the world’s problems, by improving every aspect of it. That is the mindset I want you to have.
You are not just here to be inspired. You are not just here to do business. The work you do is going to make the world a better place. You are not doing this for yourself or for me. You are doing it for a future me, and for your future self.
My name is Josephine, I’m 11 years old and on behalf of The Next Web, and my future self, I hope you have a great conference.
I hope you will join me and Josephine again this year and make essential and monumental progress. See you soon.