Contact Team

Douglas Rushkoff, Conference Host

Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other's values. He teaches media studies at NYU and the New School University, serves as technology columnist for The Daily Beast, and lectures around the world.

William Lohse, Founder of the Tomorrow Project, LLC

William Lohse is a leading angel investor and an America/Japan consultant. William has been successful in software, hardware, publishing and angel capital. He is best known as the president of Ziff Davis Publishing and founder and CEO, SOFTBANK Forums. During William’s tenure, SOFTBANK Forums grew to become the largest technology event producer in the world as measured by revenue. Events produced include Java Internet Business Expo, JavaOne, NetWorld+Interop, Seybold Seminars , Web 2.0, Windows Solutions and other educational and interactive forums, expos and conferences in seven countries. He currently holds the positions of founder, The Tomorrow Project, LLC; founder, Software Venture Partners; investor, New York Angels and advisor, Japan Entry, where he helps American companies get started in Japan.

Mike Edelhart, President

Mike Edelhart is an experienced media and Internet start-up executive. Most recently, Mike was Managing Director and founder of First30 Services, a launch accelerator for early stage companies. Previously, Mike has held CEO and executive management positions at a range of media organizations, including LiveDeal, Inc, DeepDyve, and Olive Software, as well as Inman News, Zinio Systems, and Third Age Media. As vice-president at SoftBank, Mike directed content for the Seybold, Interop and Comdex conferences and launched new businesses in online education, conferences and consulting. Prior to SoftBank, Mike spent thirteen years at Ziff Davis in a variety of executive and editorial positions. He has also worked as an Internet strategies consultant to Bloomberg, Reuters, AARP and other major media and Internet companies. Mike is on the Board of Directors of Good Health Media; He is an Advisor to Aggregate Knowledge, SmaSh Technology and Matter Networks. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado.

Seth Rosenblatt, Chief Financial Officer

Seth has over 20 years of experience in media and technology, including executive positions in both start-up companies and large enterprises in positions across finance, marketing, business development, technology and general management. In addition to running a number of start-up businesses, Seth has operated his own consulting firm for clients focused on go-to-market strategy, operations and business development. He has extensive experience in social media, marketing technology and enterprise software. Previously, Seth also held senior positions at Interwoven, Optimost, Bluefish Wireless, PocketScience and Ziff-Davis. He also began his career as an investment banker. Seth holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is also an elected School Board Member of the San Carlos (CA) School District.

Venessa Miemis, Executive Director

Venessa Miemis is a senior analyst with Constellation Research, exploring how social technologies and networked culture are transforming business, commerce, and collaboration.  She often synthesizes insights and analysis into video-based communications along with blogs and reports. Her views have been featured in leading media outlets such as CNN and Forbes, as well as her own widely followed blog, Emergent by Design. She recently completed an MA in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research, and is currently working on projects about the Future of Facebook, social currency, digital identity, and p2p finance. Venessa is a board member of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, and serves in an advisory role for a number of tech startups and social change initiatives. She is a principal organizer with Douglas Rushkoff of the Contact Conference.

Laurea de Ocampo, Event Producer

Laurea de Ocampo has been an event producer for the past five years based in New York City and have produced major conferences such as the Gel conference, which focuses on good experience in businesses, art, design and life she is an event producer for the Shorty Awards which honors the best producers of short real-time content on Twitter, and is now currently working on event production for the Contact Conference. Laurea hopes to continue to work with people and organizations who are dedicated to making events that inspire, engage, and connect people through meaningful experiences.

Andrew Nealon/Insert Culture, Web Administration

Andrew is principal at Insert Culture, a Brooklyn-based Web services and solutions group. Insert Culture provides Web support to technology and creative clients, with the aim of making the Web a better place to connect, communicate and learn. Originally from Oregon, Andrew holds a BS in Communication from Oregon State University and an MA in Media Studies from the New School in New York City. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife and cat, writes about culture, reads comics and works closely with technologist and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff on building a next net.

Amy Matteson, West Coast Sponsorship Sales

Amy is the resident globetrotter and San Francisco event girl at Contact. Having recently moved back to the U.S. from working in India, she brings a background of various customer facing roles to Contact, in addition to a social sciences perspective. Shortly before joining Contact, she was with Amazon.com working with transportation operations to facilitate real time communication and negations between movement on the ground and Amazon’s vast network of fulfillment centers. Prior to Amazon, Amy held assorted retail and hospitality positions while attending the University of Minnesota, from which she holds a B.A. in Global Studies. While at the U of MN, she was active in the liberal arts honors society and participated in a year long internship with a grassroots NGO in Rajasthan, India. In her spare time, Amy travels, enjoys camping, takes great pleasure in analyzing human culture and behavior, and loves creating new outfits to wear around town. It’s been said that Amy bakes the tastiest mango crisp this side of Hyderabad.

Yavuz "Fuz" Inanli, East Coast Sponsorship Sales

Yavuz “Fuz” Inanli came running to Contact from Cincinnati, OH by way of New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Fuz came to the East Coast to earn his BA in International Studies and pursue his talents as a long distance runner. He continued to run for the duration of his college career, while also adding the hat of student leader and leading a push to reform the student government. Fuz honed his sense for negotiation while conducting field research for international conflict resolution initiatives.
Yavuz also enjoys traveling, good food, and meeting cool people with passion for new ideas and services. It has been said if you feel a whir go by you, it’s not Superman or the Flash, it is just Fuz out on a run.