The Roundtable Team
Brock Pierce, Chairman & Co-Founder
Brock Pierce is an independent political thought leader, a cryptocurrency and blockchain technology pioneer, a venture capitalist, philanthropist, and a critically-acclaimed Disney childhood actor, whose global influence has expanded opportunity for millions. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and the co-founder of Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin. Pierce has been accredited with establishing marketplaces for digital currency which have brought opportunity and wealth to millions across the globe. Pierce has lectured at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions, the Milken Institute Global Conference, International World Congress, and has been featured by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune. Pierce was on the first-ever Forbes List for the “Richest People in Cryptocurrency” and was a Independent Party candidate for President of the United States. Pierce starred in feature films such as “The Mighty Ducks,” and “First Kid.”
David Bailey, Co-Founder
David is the CEO of BTC Inc and Bitcoin Magazine. As the first dedicated media outlet for digital currency, BTC Media has been providing mission-critical intelligence since 2011 for hundreds of companies, from Fortune 500 corporations to Silicon Valley startups. Previously David was the founder of yBitcoin, CEO of The Distributed Ledger, a board member of the Po.et Foundation, and a Founding Partner at 402.digital, one of the earlier cryptocurrency hedge funds officially launched in 2016.
James Heckman, CEO
James Heckman founded and led Maven (MVEN), growing it to a $100 million public company providing publishing, distribution and monetization for 300 brands including Sports Illustrated, Maxim, History.com, and TheStreet. Previously James served as head of global media strategy for Yahoo!, leading all significant transactions and revenue strategy under Ross Levinsohn’s tenure. As chief strategy officer at Fox Digital, he architected the first programmatic social advertising platform as part of the market-changing, $1 billion ad alliance between Google and Myspace and was instrumental in Hulu’s formation. James was also founder/CEO of the online advertising platform 5to1.com (sold to Yahoo!); CSO of Zazzle.com; founder/CEO of Scout.com (sold to Fox), founder/CEO of Rivals.com and Rivals.net (sold to Yahoo! post tenure and 365-Sports, respectively); and president and publisher of NFL Exclusive, an official NFL publication network. Rivals and Scout were ground breaking initiatives that coalesced market-leading independent publishers into single-platform networks.
Bill Sornsin, COO
Bill co-founded and served as COO of Maven (MVEN), a $100 million public company providing publishing, distribution and monetization for 300 brands including Sports Illustrated, Maxim, History.com, and TheStreet. Earlier in his career Bill led MSN’s Core Technology team, including the original MSN Communities and instant messaging, before co-founding two of the web’s most successful professional publisher networks – Rivals.com and Scout.com – serving as CTO for both. With Scout’s 2005 acquisition by Fox Interactive Media, he joined Fox as vice president of engineering and operations for that unit. He then moved into consulting, during which time he worked as acting-CTO of the online advertising platform 5to1 (acquired by Yahoo!). He returned to Scout in 2013 as CTO (later COO), and directed a massive technological renovation focused on mobile and video.
Sornsin began his tech career as a Rockwell Collins test engineer, then joined Microsoft in various roles including product planning lead for Microsoft Exchange. He holds a bachelor’s in electrical/computer engineering from the University of Iowa and an MBA from UCLA.
Luke Stokes, Evangelist
Luke Stokes is the Managing Director for the Foundation for Interwallet Operability. He’s passionate about voluntary systems of governance and has been involved in bitcoin since early 2013. He’s been a consensus witness for the Hive (previously Steem) blockchain since early 2018 and a custodian for eosDAC, a community-owned EOSIO Block Producer and DAC Enabler, since its inception. With a computer science degree from UPENN, he built, bootstrapped and co-founded the shopping cart software company FoxyCart over a ten year period and is now focused on blockchain technology as a means to create a world we all want to live in. He currently lives in Puerto Rico with his wife and three children and enjoys discussing everything from philosophy, to consciousness, to volunteerism, to love and awakening.
Rob Nelson, Executive Producer/Anchor
Rob has hosted national TV shows on ABC, FOX, UPN, Fox News, E! and A&E. He hosted a daily nationally syndicated talk show on Fox and a weekly Fox News show where he sparked dialogue in a roundtable style format. He also hosted The Rob Nelson Show on KABC radio in Los Angeles. Rob was an executive producer and consulting producer for E! and Showtime, in addition to independent production work.
In the 1990’s, Rob co-founded Lead…or Leave, a generational political movement that became the largest twenty-something organization since the 1960s. Rob’s activism made it into the Presidential Debates and landed him on 60 Minutes, The NBC Nightly News, and ABC’s Nightline. Rob was on the cover of US News & World Report and has been profiled in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has been a guest on numerous TV shows and networks including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and Politically Incorrect.
Rob has authored two books: Revolution X (published by Viking Penguin), and Last Call: Ten Commonsense Solutions to America’s Biggest Problems (Random House). During law school, Rob did a stint on the White House staff and was a member of the National Youth Re-election Committee for President Clinton. He earned his JD at Stanford Law School.
Jan Ritch-Frel, Network Development
Jan Ritch-Frel has worked in Independent Media for more than 15 years at a range of publications in many roles, including more than a decade with AlterNet. He is Executive Director of The Independent Media Institute (IMI), a nonprofit organization that educates the public through a diverse array of independent media projects and programs. A graduate of St. Andrews University of Scotland, Jan previously worked on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and for many media start-up companies. He is the co-author of Neighbors From Hell: An American Bedtime Story (Feral House, 2015).
Michael Strong, Network Development
Michael Strong is one of the most experienced creators of small, innovative, high performance schools in the world. His projects include Moreno Valley High School, which was ranked the 36th best public high school in the U.S.; KoSchool, a lab school based on entrepreneurship and intellectual development; Winston Academy, a school at which middle school students passed Advanced Placement courses; and middle school programs for HeadsUp!, a multi-campus Montessori organization. Michael joined Higher Ground Education (HGE) in 2017 to launch its first vanguard high school, the Academy of Thought and Industry, in San Francisco.
One of Michael’s innovations at his schools is Socratic Practice, a form of text-based intellectual dialogue designed to increase SAT verbal scores and increase intellectual sophistication. He is the author of The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice and has consulted for hundreds of schools and universities across the world. Michael’s work as an educational entrepreneur led to a partnership with John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, to co-found Freedom Lights Our World (FLOW, Inc.), a non-profit dedicated to promoting entrepreneurial solutions to world problems. FLOW gave birth to Conscious Capitalism, Peace through Commerce, Radical Social Entrepreneurs, and the Startup Cities Institute. Michael is the lead author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalism Can Solve All the World’s Problems.
Michael earned an M.A. in Social Thought from the University of Chicago; a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College (NM); and studied Philosophy at Harvard University.