This year’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen was incredible. Below, its four co-chairs—Adam Lashinsky, Dan Primack, Michal Lev-Ram, and Andrew Nusca—offer their picks.
On the feats of female founders
Stanford’s Graduate School of Business has long been considered the top institution for entrepreneurs. But Harvard Business School, its competitor to the east, is more than just catching up. When it comes to female founders who are raising capital, Harvard tops Stanford—and it was abundantly clear on the Brainstorm Tech stage that it’s no fluke. “Building a fleet of alumni of both men and women who see women as leaders is really important,” Birchbox co-founder Katia Beauchamp (below left) told a captivated audience. (She went on to announce a new virtual-reality “experience” for her male customers.) Two more female HBS grads, CloudFlare co-founder Michelle Zatlyn (right) and Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake, agreed. Collectively the trio have amassed more than $190 million in funding for their companies—proving that Stanford isn’t the only cradle of entrepreneurial success. —Michal Lev-Ram
On the Emanuel brothers
Brainy, charismatic, tenacious, combative, accomplished, fun loving: These are just a few of the characteristics two of the three Emanuel brothers displayed, in large dollops, during the opening evening of Fortune Brainstorm Tech. Rahm, the mayor of Chicago (above left), talked about lengthening the school day for the city’s children and compelling Chicago’s world-class cultural institutions to contribute to less posh corners of town. Ari, the country’s most famous Hollywood agent, explained his shift to CEO of WME-IMG, a giant, private-equity-controlled entertainment and talent-management concern. More than political and business acumen, though, the Emanuels displayed two kinds of love public figures seldom show: an abiding affection for each other and a passion for their jobs. —Adam Lashinsky
On his favorite exchange during Adam Lashinsky’s interview with SoftBank (SFTBY) president Nikesh Arora:
Lashinsky: Uber wants that [Asian] market, right?
Arora: Yeah, I want a lot of things in life too.
(SoftBank invests in Uber rivals Ola and GrabTaxi.)
On the winner of ‘Unicorn Idol’: Natalya Brikner
It takes courage to stand in front of the world’s top technologists and pitch your startup as a countdown clock ticks. Natalya Brikner showed it in spades as she explained the idea behind Accion. Small space satellites are easy to build, but propulsion is a problem. The company’s answer to bulky tanks and explosive propellants? Tiny, efficient computer chips. Judges Brad Feld, Amy Banse, and David Stern—plus the audience—thought the idea was out of this world. —Dan Primack
Miss this year’s conference? Watch the highlights at fortune.com/brainstormtech.
A version of this article appears in the August 1, 2015 issue of Fortune magazine.