Snapdragon Tech Summit–The capital of the modern

Editor’s note: Qualcomm provided travel, lodging and other accommodations associated with the Snapdragon Tech Summit.

KONA, HAWAII–Aside from being the most fun, informative and collaborative annual technology event, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit is also one of the most important. While the focus is primarily on the latest and greatest SoCs that will power premium-tier Android smartphones, there’s a much broader context of how foundational innovation that improves the way we interact with our mobile devices will permeate a range of categories leading to more personal, immersive and productive experiences. 

Being at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island’s eastern coast feels for me like what it must’ve felt like to be in Paris in the mid-1920s. Instead of Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky shaping the trajectory of visual art, Cristiano Amon and Hugo Swart share a vision for a connected present and future with socioeconomic implications too sweeping to articulate. Instead of James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov changing the concept of what prose can be, Jeff Gehlhaar and Ziad Asghar explain the contours of how pervasive artificial intelligence tools can make our personal and professional lives fundamentally better. 

Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Henry James, Isadora Duncan, Max Ernst, Josephine Baker, and the rest of the Paris intelligentsia who co-existed and co-created between the wars all have technologist analogs. And they’re all here. In his brilliant historiography The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War, Louis Menand describes this remarkable time and place: “For a small group of people, however, Paris…represented a set of values that had supreme status in mid-century art and thought: it was the capital of the modern.”

For these fleeting days in late November/early December on the Hawaiian archipelago, Qualcomm creates the capital of the modern. 

A recurring sentiment shared throughout the event was how nice it was to be back in person—sharing meals, drinks, memories, and ambitions. Spending long days with the insightful analysts that help inform my work and the gifted journalists who challenge me to do my work better is refreshing. Chatting with Qualcomm’s incredibly hard-working and talented communications and marketing teams—the people who make it possible for me to do the job that is my remit—is a delight. Sharing personal stories like mine and my partner’s struggle with fertility, IVF journey and now pregnancy, and then receiving supportive feedback and constructive advice from colleagues who have traveled that same road, is, frankly, overwhelming. 

While there are obviously varying degrees of receptivity to the information being shared, and different opinions on the impact that will be had, what you see here are people committed to bringing innovation to bear on our world. That’s a difficult job and one that never ends or slows down. But it has to be done and Qualcomm is doing it. Reflecting on my experience at Snapdragon Tech Summit, I’ll borrow again from Menand. “Every time you open a door, there’s a whole story behind it.” 

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