CES' Next Big Thing panel features Google's Schmidt, Sling's Krikorian

The Next Big Thing panel at CES, presented by CNET, will bring together top executives and venture capitalists to discuss the merits of creating a complete ecosystem, from devices to services.

Eric Schmidt Stephen Shankland/CNET

It's often hard to sort through the cacophony of the Consumer Electronics Show to find the trends and technology that will emerge in the coming year worthy of attention.

We're here to help.

On Tuesday, CNET is presenting a panel dubbed "The Next Big Thing in CE," featuring a few of the most prominent figures in tech. The group includes Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Sling Media co-founder Blake Krikorian, Benchmark Capital General Partner Bill Gurley, and Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America sales, marketing and operations, covering both the consumer and enterprise business divisions.

The panel, in the Las Vegas Convention Center's north hall, N255-257 at 3 p.m. PT, will focus on the development of ecosystems at a time when ever more gadgets are proliferating from consumer electronics makers.

CNET Executive Editor Molly Wood and CNET Editor at Large Brian Cooley will moderate. They'll look at Google's bid to create a complete ecosystem, from its Android devices to its Google Music service. And they'll discuss how Samsung can thrive creating gadgets that run on a variety of platforms and run a hodgepodge of services. And finally, they'll offer guidance to small companies about innovating when they can't offer soup-to-nuts approaches.

Eric Schmidt
Schmidt joined Google in 2001 and served as its chief executive until last April, when the company's co-founder, Larry Page, took the post. Schmidt now serves as executive chairman, where he is the public face of Google, appearing at conferences, testifying before Congress, and working to build the company's relationships with governments and business partners.

Prior to joining Google, Schmidt served as chairman and CEO of Novell, and before that, he was the chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems.

Though long in management positions, Schmidt has tech credentials. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University and a master's degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. And he once served on the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

Blake Krikorian
In 2004, Krikorian co-founded Sling Media, whose Slingbox lets users stream television programming to their laptops. Sling Media was sold to Echostar in 2007 for $380 million. Krikorian served as the company's chief executive until 2009.

And he founded the tech consulting and incubation firm, id8 Group Holdings, from which the Slingbox emerged. id8 recently developed R2, an application that turns Android devices into a touch panels to control Crestron home automation systems.

Krikorian is also an investor in several startups, including Clipboard, Wavii, and Refocus. And he's an Amazon board member.

Bill Gurley
Gurley is a veteran venture capitalist, whose investments have included Shopping.com, Vudu, OpenTable, and Zillow.com. He's been at Benchmark for a decade, and prior to that served as a partner at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.

Before becoming a venture capitalist, Gurley was a Wall Street research analyst at CS First Boston. He covered Dell, Compaq, and Microsoft, and served as the lead analyst on Amazon's initial public offering.

He also worked as a design engineer at Compaq. And Gurley writes the Above the Crowd blog, which looks at the evolution and economics of high tech businesses.

Tim Baxter
Baxter took his post last month, amid a handful of Samsung executive changes. Previously, he served as president of the consumer business division of Samsung Electronics America, a job he held since 2009. He joined Samsung in 2006 as the executive vice president of sales and marketing for the consumer electronics division.

He joined Samsung after a 10-year career at Sony Corporation of America. There, he served as senior vice president of strategic marketing. He also worked sales and marketing jobs at AT&T and Lucent Technologies.

Updated at 6:53 p.m. PT to add the new job that Samsung's Tim Baxter was appointed to last month.

 

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