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Let the Code Speakers Begin: Spiegel, Meeker, Chesky, Iribe

And away we go.

Preparations for our second Code conference are well under way and today we begin rolling out our speaker list.

Although we have booked a lot of them, we are going to announce the list in fours, so we can focus on each of them and better explain why we think they are important voices to bring to our stage in 2015.

As usual, the event — held May 26 to 28 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. — sold out quickly. But, as always, Re/code will be putting up extensive video clips of the interviews immediately and the entire sessions soon after.

Since there are so many interesting issues to discuss this year — from diversity to hacking to privacy to national security — we looked for speakers who could discuss these big issues and be challenged to explain what it all means for consumers. While we never have a specific theme to Code events, this has been an especially disruptive year in tech and media and we want to put disruptive speakers in the spotlight.

Over the next weeks, we will be announcing more speakers — most of whom are already confirmed — with more to come from the big tech and media companies like Google and Apple and also the up-and-coming stars of the future. And, since this is a political year, you should expect to hear some interesting voices there as well.

(Note to those who will pay mind to this important issue: As always, we have spent a lot of time trying to invite the most varied and diverse list we can. While we do not always get the speakers we want — yes, some people say no to us — Walt Mossberg and I have been committed to inviting speakers who are pertinent and also reflect a broader range of viewpoints and experiences.)

So, without further ado, here are the first four Code speakers:

It’s pretty clear that the strides Snapchat has made over the last year have been impressive, from rolling out its first ad products to changing the way people tune into live events via its Our Story feature to the innovative Discover platform allowing content publishers to reach Snapchat’s fast-growing audience. And, oh yeah, all that funding that has brought the ephemeral messaging and social media company to ever-larger valuations. At the center of it all is the 24-year-old entrepreneur Evan Spiegel, who is perhaps one of the more compelling techies to come along since Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. We had Spiegel onstage early in Snapchat’s history — way back in 2013! — so we are looking forward to how he sees the progress of his startup since then. Spiegel will open the conference on the first night.

Airbnb is another compelling Internet startup that we have covered from early on — I met its trio of founders at a hipster San Francisco coffee shop when they were just starting out. But we’ve never brought its CEO Brian Chesky to the stage at any of our events. Now we will, since the disruptions that the online accommodations marketplace has made in the travel space have been significant. From regulatory challenges to the difficulties it has faced changing how people think about renting out their homes to shaking up the hospitality industry, Airbnb has been at the center of the action.

Oculus VR’s Brendan Iribe has also been onstage at our events before, back when the virtual reality headset company was very small. Then, of course, Facebook bought the startup for $2 billion last year. It has since moved up to the social networking giant’s HQ in Silicon Valley from Southern California, working on the next generation of devices that move consumers beyond the smartphone. It has been a very competitive and active space over the last year, as the focus shifts to the new ways people will consume content and more.

Asa Mathat

And what would our conference be without the annual state of the Internet report by Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker. As we noted last year, she “can synthesize trends, pinpoint interesting numbers and research, and deliver hundreds of slides like nobody’s business.” That’s because we give her just 20 minutes to present more than 150 slides. Last year, Meeker highlighted the explosion of mobile data usage and noted that the tech bubble then paled in comparison to that of 1999 and 2000. What she will conclude this year and turn her focus on will be worth the wait.

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