Tim Cook and other members of the tech elite are at the Sun Valley Resort for their annual shindig.
Allen & Co.’s “summer camp for billionaires” returns to Sun Valley this week after taking a COVID-induced hiatus — and a lot has changed since the power powwow was last held in 2019.
Officially known as the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference, the annual retreat in Idaho lures the biggest names in tech, media, and finance, and, while the event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, it’s set to kick off next week.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, and other influential figures from Big Tech, mainstream media, and politics are on the guest list for a private, five-day Sun Valley conference in Idaho that kicks off on July 6.
Estimates suggest that the combined wealth of those attending this year, thought to include Zuckerberg, Bezos, and others, will exceed $1 trillion USD.
The annual conference was started in 1982 by the private investment firm Allen & Company — a company that has been the underwriter for several major Big Tech initial public offerings (IPOs) and an adviser for other significant Big Tech acquisitions.
The Sun Valley conference has also reportedly been the place where several major Big Tech and mainstream media deals were closed including Comcast’s 2009 acquisition of NBC/Universal and Jeff Bezo’s 2013 acquisition of The Washington Post.
Not only are the conference and its organizer notable for their close ties to deals that have allowed large corporations to consolidate their power but the Big Tech executives, mainstream media representatives, and current and former public officials that are expected to attend this year’s event also have a significant influence over what people are allowed to say online.
Big Tech executives help to shape the policies that dictate what gets censored on their platform, mainstream media outlets frequently use their influence to pressure these Big Tech companies, and public officials can push for laws and regulations that impact both the tech giants and online speech.
Attendees in 2019 included Facebook bosses Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg; Disney’s Bob Iger; 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki; Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch, who is the CEO of Fox Corporation; PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman; Instagram COO Marne Levine; McDonald’s chief Steve Easterbrook and billionaire media executive Shari Redstone.