“Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.”—Thomas Edison
Over the past 25 years, Tobias Frere-Jones has established himself as one of the world’s leading typeface designers, creating some of the most widely-used typefaces, including Interstate, Poynter Oldstyle, Whitney, Gotham, Surveyor, Tungsten, and Retina.
Tobias received a BFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992. He joined the faculty of the Yale University School of Art in 1996 and has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. His work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2006, The Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague awarded him the Gerrit Noordzij Prijs for his contributions to typographic design, writing, and education. In 2013 he received the AIGA Medal in recognition of exceptional achievements in the field of design.
Project Greenlight / Duly Noted
Los Angeles-based producer Effie Brown received a degree in Film Production and Theater from Loyola Marymount University before going on to participate in Film Independent's Project Involve, an intensive fellowship for people seeking a career in the film industry. She started her career at Tim Burton Productions as Director of Development. After producing several feature films at various production levels, Brown founded the production company Duly Noted, Inc. It is the force behind such critically-acclaimed HBO films as Stranger Inside, Real Women Have Curves, and Everyday People. Real Women Have Curves won the 2001 Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Audience Award and the Special Jury Prize for Ensemble. Working in association with Sony Screen Gems and Pathe International, Brown also executive produced In The Cut directed by Jane Campion. Brown's film Rocket Science, won the Sundance 2007 Grand Jury Prize for Directing and was also nominated for Best Feature, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress by the Independent Spirit Awards.
With a love of multiple platforms, she focused on digital episodic content and produced over 130 episodes of WIGS, an award-winning, original content channel funded by Google/YouTube. Currently, the number one scripted channel on YouTube, WIGS has recently been picked up for wider distribution via Hulu.
Her latest film Dear White People won the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically in the fall of the same year. Most recently, Brown joined the Matt Damon and Ben Affleck reboot of Project Greenlight, which aired on HBO in the fall of 2015.
Walker & Co
Tristan is Founder and CEO of Walker & Co. Brands, a company that makes health and beauty simple for people of color. Its flagship brand, Bevel, is the first and only shaving system clinically proven to reduce and prevent razor bumps and irritation. Tristan is also the Founder and Chairman of CODE2040, a program that matches high performing black and latino undergraduate and graduate coders and software engineering students with Silicon Valley start-ups for summer internships.
Tristan has been named a USA Today Person of the Year in 2014, Ebony Magazine's 100 Most Powerful People, Vanity Fair's "Next Establishment," Fortune Magazine's 40 Under 40, AdAge Creative 50, and Black Enterprise's 40 Next. Prior to founding Walker & Co. Brands, Tristan was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Andreessen Horowitz. Before that he served as the Director of Business Development for foursquare, where he oversaw strategic partnerships and monetization. Tristan holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Stony Brook University, where he graduated as valedictorian, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He currently lives with his wife and son in Palo Alto, California.
Jason Fried is the Founder and CEO of Basecamp, a privately-held, Chicago-based company committed to building the best web-based tools possible with the least number of features necessary.
Prior to shifting its focus solely to Basecamp, the company was known as 37Signals and was responsible for launching a range of products including Highrise, Backpack, and Campfire. 37Signals also developed and open-sourced the Ruby on Rails programming framework. The company's weblog, Signal vs. Noise, is read by over 100,000 people every day.
Jason believes there is real value and beauty in the basics. Elegance, respect for people's desire to simply get stuff done, and honest ease of use are the hallmarks of Basecamp's products.
Yuko Shimizu is an award-winning Japanese illustrator based in New York. Her work has appeared on the pages of the New York Times, TIME, and Newsweek, on the covers of DC Comics, Penguin, Abrams and Random House books, on the Gap and Nike T-shirts, and on Pepsi cans.
Her monograph Living with Yuko Shimizu will be published this spring. A Wild Swan, her collaboration with Pulitzer-winning author Michael Cunningham, came out in 2015. She was chosen as Newsweek Japan's "100 Japanese People World Respects" in 2009.
Society of Grownups
Kristy Tillman currently serves as the Design Director for Society of Grownups, a Boston-based start-up whose mission is to democratize financial literacy for the young adult set. There she leads design teams dedicated to crafting exceptional experiences across both digital and physical platforms.
Prior to Society of Grownups, Kristy was a designer at IDEO, an award-winning global design consultancy where she helped solve design problems across a variety of industries including consumer product goods, finance, education, and healthcare. She also did a tour through the footwear industry as a product graphic designer at PUMA and Reebok.
Kristy believes in a future where design is a tool that aids underserved communities in solving sociocultural problems. As the former co-founder of the Detroit Water Project and founder of Tomorrow Looks Bright, Kristy has a strong commitment to furthering the accessibility of design.
She is an alumna of Florida A&M University.
Dan Mall is a creative director and advisor from Philly. He is the director of SuperFriendly, a design collaborative that brings exquisite creative direction and design to the world’s most important and interesting organizations. Dan is a husband and dad and co-founder of Typedia (an encyclopedia for typefaces) and Businessology (a podcast and workshop series teaching designers how to run better businesses). He writes about design and other issues on Twitter and on his industry-recognized site, danielmall.com.
Scott Belsky believes that the greatest breakthroughs across all industries are a result of creative people and teams that are especially productive. Scott co-founded Behance in 2006, and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. Millions of people use Behance to display their portfolios, as well as track and find top talent across the creative industries.
Through his work at Behance and as author of the best-selling book Making Ideas Happen, Scott has become an advocate for technology and community initiatives that empower the careers of creative professionals and help businesses leverage the creative potential of their people. He has worked with leading media and Fortune 500 companies, including GE and Facebook, and has traveled around the world to share his findings. In 2010, Scott was included in Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business" list.
The Obstacle is the Way
Ryan Holiday is a writer and strategist. After dropping out of college at age 19 to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, he went on to advise many best-selling authors and musicians. He served as director of marketing at American Apparel for many years, where his campaigns have been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube, and Google and written about in AdAge, the New York Times, and Fast Company.
His first book, Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator—which the Financial Times called an “astonishing, disturbing book”—was a debut best-seller and is now taught in colleges around the world. He is also the author of Growth Hacker Marketing and the forthcoming Ego is the Enemy. He lives in Austin, Texas, and writes for Thought Catalog and the New York Observer.
Cap Watkins is a product designer living and working in Brooklyn. He is currently the VP of Design at BuzzFeed, as well as a blogger, podcast guest, conference speaker, and lover of start-ups and technology. Cap believes in thoughtful, holistic design solutions that get out of the way and empower people to accomplish more. His past work includes Etsy, Zoosk, Formspring, and hush-hush stuff at Amazon.
The Confidence Game
Maria Konnikova is the author, most recently, of The Confidence Game. Her first book, the New York Times best-seller Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, was a nominee for the Agatha Award and the Anthony Award for Best Non-fiction and a Goodreads People's Choice Semifinalist for 2013. She is a contributing writer for The New Yorker, where she writes a regular column with a focus on psychology and culture, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Scientific American MIND, WIRED, The New Republic, and The Smithsonian, among numerous other publications. Maria graduated from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University. She is currently a Schachter Writing Fellow at Columbia University's Motivation Science Center and lives in New York City.
Know Your Company
Claire Lew is the CEO of Know Your Company, a software tool that helps business owners with 25 to 75 employees overcome company growing pains. The software was originally built by Basecamp. Since then, Know Your Company has helped over 10,000 people at companies like Airbnb, Kickstarter, Medium, and TechStars in more than 15 different countries all over the world. Claire's mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Previously, she helped co-found The Starter League, a beginner-focused software school in Chicago, and founded ClarityBox, a consulting practice for CEOs. Claire is also a proud Northwestern University alum. You can say hi to Claire on Twitter at @cjlew23.
Jeff Sheldon is the founder and designer of Ugmonk, a brand focused on creating high quality, well-designed products. What started as a small side project to create and sell simple T-shirts has grown into a full-blown lifestyle brand, which he now runs full time. Ugmonk has shipped products to over 65 countries around the world and has been featured on Uncrate, SwissMiss, Computer Arts, and HOW Magazine. When not designing, Jeff is hanging out with his wife and Boston terrier in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Double Your Freelancing
Brennan Dunn is the founder of Double Your Freelancing and helps teach freelancers and consultants how to earn more money and work with better clients. He is the creator of Double Your Freelancing Rate and Double Your Freelancing Clients, and the host of the Business of Freelancing podcast.
"When we think of our work as a gift, it radically changes what we create," says rogue designer James Victore.
Tina Roth Eisenberg, also known as Swissmiss, shares how she turned several side projects into full time labors of love.
One of the most underrated parts of the creative process is remaining vulnerable says New York Times bestselling author Brenè Brown in this moving 99U talk.
"We're not good at everything, we're not good by ourselves," says Simon Sinek. Our ability to build trust and relationships is the key to our survival as a race, and to thriving as ideamakers.