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Networking the Who’s Who, Bloomberg Style

February 28, 2014

One of Bloomberg’s most influential ventures happens not on the terminal, but at the Art Institute of Chicago. Also at the Alkaff Mansion in Singapore. Or the Habima National Theatre in Tel Aviv. Sketched out in a 2009 memo, Bloomberg Link (BLINK) has quickly morphed into a world-class multimedia platform that connects a Who’s Who of industry leaders and economic influencers.

“We are the only conference business capable of delivering a truly integrated media gathering designed by journalists and delivered across every media platform available,” says Robert Bierman, head of BLINK. “Our gatherings are fast-paced, held in unique, non-hotel venues, and driven by unparalleled subject matter expertise, via Bloomberg News journalists.”

BLINK events are invitation-only, ensuring an intimate gathering that allows for peer-to-peer networking. Attendees are distinguished in their fields and the conference experience is second to none. The name, incidentally, was inspired by the so-called Link at 731 Lexington, where employees and guests mix and the east and west sides of the building physically connect.

“BLINK is Bloomberg brought to life,” says Jason Kelly, who is responsible for BLINK’s content development. You’ll also see him on stage emceeing or interviewing guests. “We look to present things that are uniquely Bloomberg in a fresh way, be it a piece of data, a journalist, or other assets.”

Consider the Year Ahead multimedia franchise, an effort that brings together numerous departments, including Sales, News, Bloomberg Industries, and the CTO’s Office, to deliver unparalleled data and analytics to the business community. BLINK produced the associated conference, a wildly successful gathering that represented Bloomberg’s first conference for CEOs.

“We’re constantly innovating and thinking of new ways to present news, information, and ideas,” affirms Kelly. “The live event is a great way to synthesize and amplify all aspects of our company.”

The tony, one-million-square-foot Art Institute of Chicago, home to some 300,000 works, was the location for Year Ahead conference. Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, was there. So were Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs, IAC’s Barry Diller, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, and other folks you likely don’t have on speed dial.

“Coordinating outreach and Rolodexes involves a lot of negotiations and balancing expectations,” says Robin Wood Sailer, one of BLINK’s editorial directors. (Mary Christine Ong and Caroline Richenberg also develop content for events.) “Everyone wants to be the keynote speaker,” says Sailer, “but some of the most interesting conversations happen between two people that have never shared the stage before.”

Stephanie Ruhle leads a conversation on sustainability with the CEOs of Illy Coffee, Sprint, and Nascar.

The two-day event in Chicago, for example, featured a conversation on sustainability between the CEOs of Nascar, Sprint, and Illy Caffe (naturally).

Of course there are smaller events too, like the Fuel Choice’s conference in Tel Aviv, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared his thoughts on the Iran nuclear talks. So, you know, “smaller” events.

“Convening the top leaders in business, technology, and finance positions Bloomberg at the forefront of today’s headlines,” says Bierman. “These are powerful ways to demonstrate our company’s influence.”

At the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit, Bloomberg TV’s Matt Miller interviews NBA star Carmelo Anthony. Photo from Robin Wood Sailer’s Twitter feed @ARobinWood

Contributed by Shaun Randol for On Bloomberg, Bloomberg LP’s internal newswire.