Sudhir Venkatesh

  • Facebook Lead Researcher on Consumer Engagement & Safety (2016-2018)
  • Renowned Sociologist, Expert on Creative Agencies, Technology, and Society
  • Senior Research Advisor, Department of Justice/FBI (2010-2011)
  • Professor of Sociology and Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University

Sudhir Venkatesh is an expert on digital technology and creativity. He directed the research team at Facebook responsible for user engagement and protecting platform integrity. His team built recognizable consumer products while addressing negative experiences like terrorism, hate speech and harassment. He actively consults with brands and organizations seeking to harness digital media to build and grow their customer and client base. Venkatesh's ability to uncover hidden truths, from diverse sources ranging from street gangs to social media companies, has made him a sought-after voice for business leaders worldwide on topics of leadership and management. 

 

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Rave Reviews About Sudhir Venkatesh
Sudhir was great, very well received, have already heard numerous comments with positive feedback on our speaker choice and his story. He was approached by many members afterwards to sign books and answer questions. Our members were locked in, very attentive and very focused during his presentation. He was very friendly, easy going, and gracious.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Sudhir Venkatesh
  • Patterson Realty
  • The Berkeley Carroll School
  • Columbia Business School
  • Berlin School of Creative Leadership
  • Kutztown University
  • University of Iowa
  • UnitedHealth Group
Navigating Modern Tech Ethics | Chicago Ideas [1:10:54] - Get Sharable Link
Navigating Modern Tech Ethics | Chicago Ideas [1:10:54]
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Floating City | International House UChicago [1:14:11]
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Helping communities help themselves | Atlanta Fed [25:17]
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Braving Unknown Territory
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Back Room Negotiations of Inner City Life
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Sudhir Venkatesh - Unusual Economy Lessons
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Explore Sudhir Venkatesh's Talks
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The Facebook Effect—An insider’s view on connecting the world

At Facebook, Venkatesh’s team handled the major challenges of our times—fake news, terrorism, election manipulation, and hate speech. This gripping story of governing more than 2 billion people includes key lessons every leader should know when harnessing the power of digital.   ...

At Facebook, Venkatesh’s team handled the major challenges of our times—fake news, terrorism, election manipulation, and hate speech. This gripping story of governing more than 2 billion people includes key lessons every leader should know when harnessing the power of digital.

 

Edge Leadership: Where do you turn for strategic direction?

Over the past two decades, Venkatesh has embedded with the FBI, street gang leaders, Facebook executives, and advertising agencies. His deep immersion results in practical and un-expected insights on how to develop your own voice, brand, and Northstar. ...

Over the past two decades, Venkatesh has embedded with the FBI, street gang leaders, Facebook executives, and advertising agencies. His deep immersion results in practical and un-expected insights on how to develop your own voice, brand, and Northstar.

Succeeding in the age of Digital Co-Creation

Today’s digital universe—flat and bi-directional—has blown up one-way communication and management strategies. Thriving requires co-creative postures that embrace distributed intelligence and co-ownership. Drawing on his Facebook experience, at Venkatesh offers a roadmap for harnessing co-creation t ...

Today’s digital universe—flat and bi-directional—has blown up one-way communication and management strategies. Thriving requires co-creative postures that embrace distributed intelligence and co-ownership. Drawing on his Facebook experience, at Venkatesh offers a roadmap for harnessing co-creation to build robust teams, grow users, and create dynamic consumer engagement.

Risky Business: Is it all that bad?

Everyone wants to understand the minds of the creative investors—the hedge fund traders, the bankers, the ones most people think are at the bottom of our current economic meltdown. Venkatesh looks for some clues in un-conventional places. He spent a decade with traders in the legitimate economy and ...

Everyone wants to understand the minds of the creative investors—the hedge fund traders, the bankers, the ones most people think are at the bottom of our current economic meltdown. Venkatesh looks for some clues in un-conventional places. He spent a decade with traders in the legitimate economy and traders of a different kind—hi ranking drug dealers. They have not only have more in common than you think, but by looking at both, we can get some new insights into how investors and hi-risk capitalists really think about risk and business success.

Leadership Secrets to Performing in Hi-Risk Situations

How do great business leaders cope with high risk and uncertainty? To find their secrets to success, Sudhir Venkatesh spent time with more than 100 business leaders—from the tech sector to old-fashioned manufacturing to the FBI. He provides insights about the strategies that help executives stay cal ...

How do great business leaders cope with high risk and uncertainty? To find their secrets to success, Sudhir Venkatesh spent time with more than 100 business leaders—from the tech sector to old-fashioned manufacturing to the FBI. He provides insights about the strategies that help executives stay calm and get the most of themselves and their team when situations become stressful and pressure-filled. He integrates stories of leaders who surprised themselves by performing beyond expectations.

Ten Things Great Leaders Do

In this story-driven talk, Venkatesh talks about the surprising qualities of great leadership. For example, great leaders will have a confidante—like Shakespeare’s “court jester” who tells the King the things no one else will say. Great leaders stop and reflect on their failures, and they tie their ...

In this story-driven talk, Venkatesh talks about the surprising qualities of great leadership. For example, great leaders will have a confidante—like Shakespeare’s “court jester” who tells the King the things no one else will say. Great leaders stop and reflect on their failures, and they tie their greatest successes to acknowledging their mistakes. The most active and busy leaders also manage to take a lot of naps. The talk is meant to change our view of the most accomplished executives by showing that successful leadership means being human, making mistakes, but learning how to redefine failure for yourself and your team.

The New American Worker

We’re in the middle of a jobless recovery, so we’re told. Behind the media punditry, there’s a real change in how Americans work. Americans are more and more likely to be self-employed, self-made, and moving between two and three jobs. For over a century, your economic position—union worker, CEO, et ...

We’re in the middle of a jobless recovery, so we’re told. Behind the media punditry, there’s a real change in how Americans work. Americans are more and more likely to be self-employed, self-made, and moving between two and three jobs. For over a century, your economic position—union worker, CEO, etc.— determined how you voted and what causes you supported. Well, no more. Politics and political action now have strange bedfellows: Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are the new signs of the political voice in America. Venkatesh sheds light on who we are, what we do, and what it means for the election. He draws on his own study of American workers and his own research into Occupy Wall Street protests.

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Biography

Sudhir Venkatesh has spent three decades researching a wide-range of organizations, from global advertising companies and street gangs, to the FBI and Facebook. Venkatesh’s deep immersion technique locates practical insights for creative and business leaders from unconventional sources. For nearly 20 years, he has been the William B Ransford Professor of Sociology at Columbia University.

From 2016 to 2018, he managed Facebook's lead Research team devoted to building user engagement and addressing platform integrity. His team helped grow Facebook’s 2.2 billion user base and focused on building products to address negative experiences, ranging from terrorism and bullying, to misinformation and hate speech. He currently consults for global brands seeking to harness the power of digital media for brand management, customer acquisition, and effective leadership and management practices. He also works with organizations to build safe and secure digital media spaces.

Venkatesh also served for two years as a Senior Advisor to the executive team at the FBI in Washington, DC. And, he was the Academic Director of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, an MBA program serving the creative industries. His most recent book is Floating City (Penguin Press). His earlier book, Gang Leader for a Day (Penguin Press) received a Best Book award from The Economist, and was translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German, Italian, Polish, French, Russian and Portuguese. His previous work, Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor (Harvard, 2006) received a Best Book Award from Slate.com (2006) as well as the C. Wright Mills Award (2007). 

Venkatesh’ editorial writings have appeared in The New York Times, the Chicago TribuneFast Company, and the Washington Post. He writes for Slate.com, and his stories have appeared in This American LifeWIRED, and on National Public Radio. He is the producer and director of three award winning documentary film and radio productions, including Dislocation (PBS), which followed families as they relocated from condemned Chicago public housing developments.

Venkatesh received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows (Harvard) and an NSF CAREER award recipient in 2000.