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Intel Anthropologist, Payments Expert and Auto Startup CEO to Set Stage for October's Code/Mobile

The three experts will help introduce the key themes of the Oct. 7-8 mobile conference: Cars, wearables and payments

Much of the upcoming Code/Mobile conference will be what you have come to expect from our events: The biggest names in tech sitting down in our signature red chairs while being interviewed by our journalists.

And we have plenty of big names lined up for the Oct. 7-8 mobile event, which takes place in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Speakers include Android co-founder Andy Rubin, Apple Pay chief Jennifer Bailey, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie and top executives from Facebook, Google, Twitter and more.

But we’re also trying some new things. We’re inviting some of the smartest people we know in our key subject areas to frame the discussions taking place at the event.

This year, we have a focus on three areas within mobile: Autos, wearables and payments. Helping us think about where wearable computing could go will be Genevieve Bell. An anthropologist by training, Bell has been working at Intel since 1998, helping the company understand how people react to and interact with technology. Given that wearable computing is only in its infancy, we thought Bell would have a great perspective on the opportunities and barriers to putting technology directly on our skin.

“We don’t all want to carry a laptop around on our bodies,” Bell said in a recent interview.

Just how personal we want those objects to be is another question. Bell recalled being a bit weirded out recently when her ATM wished her a happy birthday. Of course her bank knows her birthdate, but just how to use that personal information without being creepy remains a challenge.

“I don’t see anyone threading that needle particularly effectively,” she said.

On cars, we’ve tapped Zendrive CEO Jonathan Matus, a former Googler with a great sense for just how much change tech is going to bring to the car and how that change will reshape the way we live. Matus’s company focuses on using the smartphone to make drivers better, but his thinking goes well beyond the work that Zendrive is currently undertaking.

“Transportation is at the early days of a major shift,” Matus told Re/code. “The most interesting car maker is in fact a tech company; the fastest growing transportation business employs no drivers and owns no cars; and the most important purchase that young folks make is a smartphone, not a car.”

For finance, we reached out to Karen Webster, CEO of Market Platform Dynamics and head of After years of little change, the world of payments is undergoing rapid transformation with the arrival of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. But switching from a swipe to a tap is really only the beginning, and Karen will help explain why.

These three are in addition to our kickoff speaker — Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans — who will bring his unique wit and insight to our stage for the first time.

If you want to hear from all these great minds and see some amazing interviews, there’s still time to grab a seat — but not much.

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