Byron Reese, Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur

Brett Hurt on Social Networks and AI

Breaking Echo Chambers: Brett Hurt's Vision for a Diverse, Digital Society

Exploring Innovation, Social Networks, and AI with Brett Hurt, CEO of

In this enlightening episode, Brett Hurt, CEO of, delves into the intricacies of social networks, both online and in real life, and how they shape our perspectives and interactions. Brett shares his personal journey as an entrepreneur and an optimist, emphasizing the importance of breaking out of echo chambers to discover ground truth and diverse viewpoints. He candidly discusses the pitfalls of social networks, highlighting the Bernie Madoff scandal as an extreme example of echo chamber misuse. Brett also touches on his recent investments, particularly in kinship, and the challenges of designing inclusive social networks.

Brett further explores the role of social media in today’s society, the need for intentional design to avoid reinforcing biases, and the impact of technology on human interaction. He emphasizes the dual nature of social media, acknowledging its ability to connect people while also perpetuating echo chambers. The conversation also covers the transformative power of AI tools in enhancing productivity and creativity, as evidenced by Brett’s experiences at He concludes by highlighting the positive aspects of AI and social media, underlining the importance of intentional use and design in these domains.



Brett Hurt is the CEO and co-founder of, an Austin-based Certified B Corporation and public benefit corporation. makes it easy for everyone—not just the “data people”—to get clear, accurate, fast answers to any business question.’s cloud-native data catalog maps its customers siloed, distributed data to familiar and consistent business concepts, creating a unified body of knowledge anyone can find, understand, and use. is also home to the world’s largest collaborative open data community, including public COVID-19 datasets. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, was honored on the “Best for the World” list by B Lab that recognizes the top 10% of all B Corps globally. And in 2020, was named by the Austin Business Journal as one of the top-three companies to work for. Brett is also the co-owner of Hurt Family Investments (HFI), alongside his wife, Debra. HFI are involved in 115 startups, 31 VC funds, and multiple philanthropic endeavors. 

Brett co-founded and led Bazaarvoice as CEO, through its IPO, follow-on offering, and two acquisitions. Bazaarvoice became the largest public SaaS (Software as a Service) business in social commerce and was named by the WSJ as one of the top IPOs of 2012. Brett also founded and led Coremetrics, which was rated the #1 Web analytics solution by Forrester Research and, like Bazaarvoice, expanded into a global company and leader. Coremetrics was acquired by IBM in 2010 for around $300m. 

In 2017, Brett was given the Best CEO Legacy Award by the Austin Business Journal. He is a Henry Crown Fellow and Braddock Scholar at the Aspen Institute. Brett began programming at age seven and doing so on the Internet at age eighteen. He finished his book, “The Entrepreneur’s Essentials”, in August 2019 (available at for free).




Key Takeaways:

  • The Danger of Echo Chambers: The necessity of escaping echo chambers to reach ground truth and embrace diverse perspectives.
  • The Role of Intentionality in Network Design: The importance of intentionally designing diverse and inclusive social networks to avoid biases and stereotyping.
  • Social Media’s Dual Nature: The potential of social media to both connect people and reinforce existing biases.
  • The Transformative Impact of AI: How AI tools like ChatGPT can significantly boost productivity and creativity in various fields.
  • Balancing Online and In-Person Interactions: The importance of balancing digital connections with meaningful in-person interactions.
  • The Future of AI and Social Networks: Emphasizing the potential of AI and social media to create positive changes when used with intention and awareness.

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