Tech pioneer, UW-Madison grad on tap for ‘virtual’ event

MADISON, Wis. – Brian Pinkerton, Apple’s chief architect for Siri and a graduate of the UW-Madison Department of Computer Sciences, will speak June 4 during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference via a virtual platform that will offer plenty of interaction with attendees.

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While a graduate student at the University of Washington in 1994, Pinkerton created WebCrawler, an internet search engine that is the oldest surviving search engine on the web today.

Pinkerton has served as chief technology officer for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for Facebook, led a team of about 800 developers at Amazon ( and has been engaged with a handful of emerging companies at different points in his career. A Michigan native who grew up in Madison, Pinkerton will discuss technology trends, entrepreneurial tips and more during his presentation.

“We’re excited to have someone of Brian’s credentials and technology overview speak during our first-ever ‘virtual’ Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. The Tech Council has produced the conference each year since 2003.

About 1,200 people are part of Apple’s team for Siri, a virtual assistant that is part of Apple’s iOS, iPad, watch, Mac and other operating systems. The assistant uses voice queries and a natural-language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Internet services. Pinkerton has been with Apple since January 2018.

Over time, he’s been part of the leadership teams at Lucid Imagination, Technorati, Minimal Loop and Scout Labs.

Pinkerton serves on the board of visitors for the UW-Madison Department of Computer Sciences, which is now part of the larger School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences.

“Crossing the coronavirus chasm” is the theme of the conference, where ‘treps from around the state will showcase their innovations, services and technologies. Six strategic panel tracks formed under three unique stages of “launch,” “grow” and “succeed” will appeal to entrepreneurs in all stages. Detailed panel information will be posted soon at

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference is one of the largest events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper Midwest. Other highlights will include:

  • Diligent Dozen: Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest will have presentations available to watch online in the week preceding June 4th.
  • Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” 2020 award winner to be announced!
  • Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards ceremony with category winners, a grand prize winner, a “Bright New Idea” award and a new “People’s Choice” award this year
  • Virtual interactive exhibitor booths from more than 40 Wisconsin companies
  • A presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest, and;
  • Plenty of chances to network with 1:1 virtual private meeting times, “Birds of a Feather” breakout sessions in the afternoon, a “Quarantini Happy Hour” and so much more!

Sponsors thus far include: PLATINUM: American Transmission Co., AT&T, Godfrey & Kahn, Husch Blackwell, Michael Best, Northwestern Mutual, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. GOLD: Aberdean Consulting SILVER: Affiliated Engineers, American Family Insurance, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Boardman & Clark, Burish Group at UBS Financial Services, CD Smith Construction, Center for Technology Commercialization, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Dedicated Computing, DeWitt, Discovery World, Findorff, HealthX Ventures, J.P. Morgan Chase, Kimberly-Clark, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Microsoft, Neider & Boucher, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer, Oshkosh Corp., Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Rockwell Automation, UW-Madison D2P, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, UW-Madison University Relations, Versiti, WEA Trust, Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Technical College System, Yahara Software, Zerology and SPECIAL SUPPORT: Board member Susan Healy and Madison Development Corp.