This February, Melbourne’s annual Pause Fest will again draw some of the world’s brightest minds to Fed Square for its annual “creative, tech and business” innovation event. Now in its eighth year, the three-day conference unites some of the brightest minds from across the globe to engage in a range of talks, panels, workshops and collaborative opportunities.

Pause Fest founder George Hedon says the event aims to empower creators of all kinds. “It’s a place where you go to find things, elevate your knowledge, find interesting tech ideas and meet the person who can take you to the next level,” he says. “You can really progress your professional career.”

Running February 7–9, each day of the 2018 program will be devoted to one of the festival’s three pillars: creative, tech or business. “The first day is geared more towards personal development,” says Hedon. “The second is more about building the product and the third is about global thinking.”

For the first time, Pause will also host a two-day retreat along the Great Ocean Road immediately following the conference (February 9–11), which includes curated workshops and experiences.

Andrew Ranger is a member of the advisory board at Pause. “The idea behind Pause is it’s not just for people interested in computers and design,” he says. “Anyone can come and float around between the different topics, enjoy the themes and come away with a better understanding of an area they’re not particularly big in.”

One of those themes this year is Virtual Reality. “We see VR as being a very strong part of where Melbourne and Australia can play a role in developing, because we have such a great gaming scene,” says Ranger. “So a big part of Pause this year will be for anyone interested in how games are made, and how VR can change the way we do business and education.”

Another hot-topic tech talking point at Pause will be blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency such as bitcoin.“We’ve got a number of experts appearing who will talk about everything from Bitcoin to Ethereum to Litecoin,” says Ranger. The 2018 event will also see the introduction of a fast-flowing morning panel called the Talk Show. “We’re going to interview a lot of people in an energetic format,” he says. “Then at the end of the day we’ll have debates, the idea being we get everyone together again to talk out a big topic or an idea.”

Here’s some of Ranger’s key picks to look out for at Pause Fest 2018.

Guy Kawasaki
Chief Evangelist at Canva
“One of the big ones is Guy Kawasaki,” says Ranger. “He’s a veteran marketing genius. He did the marketing for the original Macintosh at Apple back in the day. We’ve got him talking about the Top 10 Mistakes of Entrepreneurs and he’ll also be talking about Canva, a startup in Australia which he’s an evangelist for.”

Shruti Shah
Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Valley Bank
Shruti Shah is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Valley Bank. “They really know how investors work and the best way to build businesses,” says Ranger. Shah will head up a talk on day three about how startups work in the banking world. “For people interested in finance, this would be perfect for them.”

Kelsey Whelan
Product Manager at Netflix
Whelan’s talk on the Global Stage about how Netflix creates content will be popular says Ranger: “She’s going to talk about the journey of actually creating content for Netflix, including how they pitch ideas to Netflix producers and the insights from the backend.”

Mike Butcher
Editor-at-Large at TechCrunch
“He doesn’t need too much of an introduction, other than he was the editor at TechCrunch and now he’s the Editor-at-Large,” Ranger says of Butcher, who will be chatting with investor Susan Wu on day two at the Global Stage. “He’s a very interesting speaker for his general knowledge of the technology industry and Silicon Valley.”

Local picks
Ranger says local picks include Simon Griffiths, CEO of Who Gives a Crap, talking about measuring success; Fiona Patten, Leader of the Australian Reason Party (formerly Sex Party), discussing her career as a spokesperson for sex, cannabis and politics; and Gretta Van Riel, Founder of SkinnyMe Tea, The 5th, Drop Bottle and Hey Influencers.

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Pause Festival. Tickets are limited to 1000. Book now.