Jack Dorsey is the Co-Creator, Co-founder, and Chairman of Twitter, Inc. Originally from St. Louis, Jack’s early fascination for mass-transit and how cities function led him to Manhattan and programming real-time messaging systems for couriers, taxis, and emergency vehicles. Throughout this work Jack witnessed thousands of workers in the field constantly updating where they were and what they were doing; Twitter is a constrained simplification designed for general usage and extended by the millions of people who make it their own every day. Jack is dedicated to creating public goods which foster approachability, immediacy, and transparency, and is starting a second company focused on bringing these concepts to commerce.
Twitter creator Jack Dorsey outlines his simple approach to making amazing ideas happen: drawing out the idea, gauging the right timing, and iterating like mad.
For four decades Paula Scher has been at the forefront of graphic design. Iconic, smart and unabashedly populist, her images have entered into the American vernacular. Scher has been a principal in the New York office of the distinguished international design consultancy Pentagram since 1991.
She began her career as an art director in the 1970′s and early 80′s, when her eclectic approach to typography became highly influential. In the mid-1990s her landmark identity for The Public Theater fused high and low into a wholly new symbology for cultural institutions, and her recent architectural collaborations have re-imagined the urban landscape as a dynamic environment of dimensional graphic design. Her graphic identities for Citibank and Tiffany & Co. have become case studies for the contemporary regeneration of classic American brands.
Scher has developed identity and branding systems, promotional materials, environmental graphics, packaging and publication designs for a broad range of clients that includes, among others, Bloomberg, Bausch + Lomb, Coca-Cola, Perry Ellis, the Museum of Modern Art, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the New 42nd Street, the New York Botanical Garden, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Robin Hood Foundation, TheStreet, the Sundance Film Festival and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. In 1996 Scher’s widely imitated identity for the Public Theater won the coveted Beacon Award for integrated corporate design strategy. She has served on the board of The Public Theater, and is a frequent design contributor to The New York Times, GQ and other publications. In 2006 she was named to the Art Commission of the City of New York.
During the course of her career Scher has been the recipient of hundreds of industry honors and awards. In 1998 she was named to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, and in 2000 she received the prestigious Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design. She has served on the national board of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and was president of its New York chapter from 1998 to 2000. In 2001 she received the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in recognition of her distinguished achievements and contributions to the field. In 2006 she was awarded the Type Directors Club Medal. She has been a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale since 1993 and was elected its president in 2009. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich; the Denver Art Museum; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Scher holds a BFA from the Tyler School of Art and honorary doctorates from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the Maryland Institute College of Art and Moore College of Art and Design. She has lectured and exhibited all over the world, and her teaching career includes over two decades at the School of Visual Arts, along with positions at the Cooper Union, Yale University and the Tyler School of Art. She has authored numerous articles on design-related subjects for The Huffington Post, AIGA Journal of Graphic Design, Print, Graphis and other publications. She is the author of Make It Bigger (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002) and MAPS (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011).
“Once you know what you’re doing, it’s not as good,” says legendary designer Paula Scher in this talk about ignoring the brief & charting your own course.
Author & Vulnerability Researcher
Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
Brené is a nationally renowned speaker and has won numerous teaching awards, including the College’s Outstanding Faculty Award. Her groundbreaking work has been featured on PBS, NPR, CNN, and has appeared in The Washington Post, Psychology Today, and many other national media outlets.
Her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most watched talks on TED.com, with over 6 million views. She gave the closing talk, Listening to Shame, at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach.
Brené is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (2012). She is also the author of The Gifts of Imperfection (2010), and I Thought It Was Just Me (2007).
In 2007, Brené developed Connections, a psychoeducational shame resilience curriculum that is being facilitated across the nation by mental health and addiction professionals. The Connections Certification process was launched in 2012.
Brené lives in Houston with her husband, Steve, and their two children.
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.
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’s 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.
Yves Béhar is the founder of fuseproject, a San Francisco based design agency contributing to areas that include technology, furniture, sports, lifestyle and fashion. Béhar brings a humanistic approach to his work with the goal of creating projects that are deeply in-tune with the needs of a sustainable future, connected with human emotions and which enable self-expression.
Examples of fuseproject’s diverse projects include the world’s first $100 “XO” laptop for Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization, which aims to bring education and technology to the world’s poorest children. fuseproject is now working on the laptop’s successor, the “XOXO”. Other recent projects include a partnership with “Jawbone”, a leading edge mobile phone headset company; “LeCube”, a set top box for France’s premier digital TV brand Canal +; a recycling project for Coca Cola; a new identity and strategy for iGoogle’s home page; “MINI-Motion”, a new brand for BMW’s MINI Cooper; the LEAF light and other furniture projects for Herman Miller and the NYC Condom for the department of Health of the City of NY.
Béhar was born in Switzerland and studied industrial design in Europe and the U.S. Fifteen years ago he moved to San Francisco at a moment of immense technological innovation; “those innovations were a part of everyday culture here and became an additional tool-set for my work as a designer,” Béhar says. He credits his design ethos in part to growing up in Switzerland with a Turkish father and East German mother; “I have a triad personality,” he explains. “There’s the warmer, expressive, story-telling culture of Turkey combined with an ethic of quality that comes from Switzerland, and the California tech-causal culture mixed in.”
The combination of technological innovation and design, or the notion of design ‘from the inside out’ is a hallmark of Béhar’s work. “I see design less from a style standpoint than in terms of innovative experiences,” Béhar explains. fuseproject considers not just the outer shell, but the relevant functional purpose and emotional connection of the product itself.
In addition to fuseproject’s commercial projects are many not-for-profit clients which underline Béhar’s core philosophy that, “Design is a real agent of change. We need to initiate an emphasis on the notion of ‘Design for Good’; we have a responsibility to the world around us.”
Ironically, perhaps, it’s his work which has been developed purely for a developing world audience, the XO and the XOXO for OLPC, which has generated some of the most dramatic innovations in computer design in recent years. A laptop which has been designed to cost 100euros, which can withstand knocks and even be dropped, whose screen must stand up to intense daylight, whose keyboard has to cope with damp and dust, which should be light enough for a small child to carry on long walks to school, and whose appealing design is bright and playful, has all the qualities many consumers in the developed world would find immensely desirable, and yet which conventional manufacturers have barely considered until now.
Yves Béhar’s innovative designs have garnered more than 150 awards and his work is in the permanent collections of museums including the Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne/Centre Pompidou, the MOMA, the Munich Museum of Applied Arts and the Chicago Art Institute.
In 2009 Yves Béhar was the one of two industrial designers invited to speak at Davos.
“Start with questions, not answers,” says visionary designer Yves Béhar in this in-depth 99% talk on his seven principles for “holistic making.”
Alexis is the co-founder of Reddit (now on the Board of Directors) and presently founder of Breadpig. A year after helping launch Hipmunk.com in 2010, he’s now an advisor. Today he’s an active startup advisor and investor (Das Kapital Capital), writing a book, and playing with his cat.
Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of Radiolab, which reaches roughly 2 million people per month. He’s been called a “master of the radio craft” for his unique ability to combine cutting edge sound-design, cinematic storytelling and a personal approach to explaining complex topics, from the stochasticity of tumor cells to the mathematics of morality. Jad studied creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. He composes much of the music for Radiolab, and in the past has composed music for film, theater and dance. He’s currently co-producing a second child.
In 2011, Radiolab received a Peabody Award, the highest honor in broadcasting, and Jad received the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
Author, How to Be Black
Baratunde is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He co-founded the black political blog, Jack & Jill Politics, serves as Director of Digital for The Onion and is a regular guest on Leo Laporte’s TWiT. His book, How To Be Black, was published in February 2012 and is a New York Times best seller. Basically, he’s a smart, funny, and extremely handsome dude.
The bestselling author of How To Be Black talks about making things happen with a team, despite his natural inclination to fly solo.
Beth Comstock is Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of GE. She leads the company’s organic growth and commercial innovation initiatives, and the sales, marketing and communications functions. She is responsible for the GE-wide business platforms ecomagination, devoted to reducing environmental impact with new technology, and healthymagination, focused on achieving sustainable health through innovation by lowering costs, improving quality and reaching more people.
She returned to the CMO role after having spent over two years as President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal. Beth oversaw the television ad sales, marketing and research teams, with a focus on new advertising innovations. She led the company’s digital media development and distribution, including the formation of hulu.com, Peacock Equity and the acquisition of ivillage.com.
In 2003, she was named GE’s first Chief Marketing officer in more than 20 years and as such, helped reinvigorate marketing across the company, introducing ecomagination, Imagination Breakthrough innovations and the “imagination at work” brand campaign.
Previously, Beth held a succession of publicity and promotions roles at GE, NBC, CBS and Turner Broadcasting. She began her career in local television production in Virginia.
Beth is a trustee of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. She and her husband have two daughters.
Storytelling, experimentation, passion, and even failure – these are the ingredients that help great ideas make it to the finish line, says GE’s Beth Comstock.
Tony Fadell is the founder and CEO of Nest Labs, Inc., the company that developed the Nest Learning Thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat learns about you and your home to automatically turn itself down when you’re away, guide you to energy-efficient temperatures when you are home, and free you from programming hassles by creating a customized temperature schedule. Nest has been dubbed the “iPhone of thermostats” by Wired, and the New York Times describes it as “gorgeous, elegant and very, very smart.”
Prior to Nest, Tony served as senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, reporting to Steve Jobs. He was responsible for creating the first 18 generations of the iPod digital music player and the first three generations of the iPhone. In 2001, after eight weeks of researching and designing the iPod product solution as a contractor, he was hired to create and lead the implementation team.
Before joining Apple, Tony was a co-founder, CTO and director of engineering of the Mobile Computing group at Philips Electronics. He architected the award-winning Velo and Nino PDAs, based on the Windows CE Palm PC platform, and later became vice president of business development for Philips U.S. Strategy and Ventures, managing its digital music strategy and investments.
Earlier in his career, Tony was a hardware and software architect at General Magic working with Sony, Philips, Matsushita, Toshiba and other consumer electronics firms to develop a line of personal handheld communicators. Tony is currently an advisor to and investor in several Silicon Valley startups in the mobile-Internet and green-tech industries, helping them craft and implement their business, technical and product strategies.
In his 20-plus years of experience in the consumer electronics industry, Tony has authored more than 100 patents.
He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan in 1991 and won the College of Engineering’s alumnus of the year award in 2004.
iPod godfather and ALVA Award-winner Tony Fadell shares incredible insights on how to design, build, and ship disruptive products.
Sebastian Thrun is CEO of Udacity, a start-up focused on democratizing higher education. He is also a part-time Google Fellow and Research Professor at Stanford University. Thrun is known for his work at Google X, home to the Google Self Driving Car. He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering at Age 39, and started and sold two companies, after winning the DARPA Grand Challenge, a historical robot race. Fast Magazine named him the fifth smartest person in business; he’s on Vanity Fair’s list of the New Establishment; his inventions have been featured as the best 50 inventions by Time Magazine, and one of his robots was named the top robot of all times by Wired Magazine.
Google X mastermind and ALVA Award-winner Sebastian Thrun shares insights on how to build groundbreaking products that will change the world.
Stefan Sagmeister formed the New York-based Sagmeister Inc. in 1993 and has since designed for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones, HBO and the Guggenheim Museum. Having been nominated five times for the Grammies, he finally won one for the Talking Heads boxed set. He also earned practically every important international design award.
In 2008, a comprehensive book titled Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far was published by Abrams. Solo shows on Sagmeister Inc’s work have been mounted in Zurich, Vienna, New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Osaka, Prague, Cologne, Seoul and Miami. He teaches in the graduate department of the School of Visual Art in New York and lectures extensively on all continents.
A native of Austria, he received his MFA from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and, as a Fulbright Scholar, a master’s degree from Pratt Institute in New York.
Outlining the creative process for his short films, designer Stefan Sagmeister tells us to embrace the surprises that come with executing a creative endeavor.
Seventeen years ago, a little-known potter named Jonathan Adler was thrilled to receive his first order from Barneys New York. He couldn’t have dreamed that today, in 2011, he would lead an international design company offering decorative accessories, tabletop collections, bedding, furniture, rugs, pillows, lighting, and fabrics, all featuring Jonathan’s signature Modernist forms, bold colors and groovy graphics. Jonathan is obsessed with creating beautiful design mixed with impeccable craftsmanship. His motto is “If your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t make it.”
Jonathan Adler has fourteen stores nationwide and just opened the doors to his first international boutique located in London. Beyond a thriving website and a wholesale business boasting more than 1,000 locations around the world, Jonathan is also a highly sought-after interior designer working on luxury residential projects and commercial projects including the celebrity hot spot Parker Palm Springs Hotel.
Jonathan has partnered with many companies to design products including Lacoste, Starbucks, 7 For All Mankind, Lifeguard Stationery, Steuben, Larson Juhl, Robert Abbey Lighting, and HSN. In 2009, Jonathan was tapped to design the retro-glam interior for the “real” Malibu Dream House for Barbie’s 50th Anniversary and Jonathan was the lead judge on the Bravo TV series Top Design.
In 2005, Jonathan published his first book, My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living. In 2010 Jonathan launched a new book series with two books: Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Colors and Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Accessorizing.
Jonathan Adler is a design company dedicated to bringing style, craft, joy to your home.
“I wanted to follow my heart and not be strategic and throw all preconceived ideas away,” says Jonathan Adler in this talk about ignoring other people’s opinions and charting your own path to creative fulfillment.
Author, Drop Dead Healthy
A.J. Jacobs is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including The Year of Living Biblically (about his quest to follow every rule of the Bible as literally as possible); The Know-It-All (which chronicles the year he spent reading all 33 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica); and Drop Dead Healthy (about his attempt to become the healthiest person alive). He is the editor at large at Esquire magazine. He has appeared on The Colbert Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Oprah, among others, and is a contributor to NPR. He lives in New York with his wife and sons.
Could self-delusion be the best invention ever? If it makes you take action on your idea, the answer just might be yes.
Michael Bierut was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1957, and studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, graduating summa cum laude in 1980. Prior to joining Pentagram in 1990 as a partner in the firm’s New York office, he worked for ten years at Vignelli Associates, ultimately as vice president of graphic design.
His clients at Pentagram have included The New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Harley-Davidson, The Minnesota Children’s Museum, The William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, Mohawk Paper Mills, the New York Jets, Princeton University, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Morgan Library and Museum.
He has won hundreds of design awards and his work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Montreal. He has served as president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) from 1988 to 1990 and is president emeritus of AIGA National. He also serves as on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and New Yorkers for Parks. Michael was elected to the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1989, to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2003, and was awarded the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in 2006. This year, he was named winner in the Design Mind category of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards.
Michael is a Senior Critic in Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art, and a Senior Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management. He writes frequently about design and is the co-editor of the five-volume series Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic published by Allworth Press. His commentaries about graphic design in everyday life have been heard nationally on the Public Radio International program Studio 360 and his appearance in Helvetica: A Documentary Film is considered by many that movie’s funniest moment. Michael is a co-founder of the weblog DesignObserver.com, and his book 79 Short Essays on Design was published in 2007 by Princeton Architectural Press.
Pulling from his collected notes and sketches from over three decades, renowned graphic designer Michael Bierut shares five simple secrets for doing great creative work.
Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestseller, I Will Teach You to Be Rich and writes for over 450,000 monthly readers on his website, where he covers psychology, personal finance, and careers.
Ramit’s unusual combination of psychology, analytical testing, and irreverent style led Fortune Magazine to call him the “new finance guru on the block.”
Ramit appears on ABC and PBS regularly, and periodically writes for the New York Times. He studied social influence and persuasion at Stanford, and previously co-founded PBworks, a Silicon Valley collaboration startup.
The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin is the author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, Happier at Home and The Happiness Project; accounts of her experiences test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, www.happiness-project.com, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness.
Rubin is an enthusiastic proponent of using technology to engage with readers about ideas, and she has a wide, active following on social media. Not only that, The Happiness Project was even an answer on the game-show Jeopardy!
A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, Rubin started her career in law, and she was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. She has written several books, including three novels that are safely locked in a desk drawer.
Joe defines the Airbnb experience. He is dedicated to creating an inspiring and effortless user experience through sharp, intuitive design, and crafts the product roadmap to make it so. Joe values products that simplify life and have a positive impact on the environment, and ensures that the company adheres to these tenets.
Prior to Airbnb, Joe was employed by Chronicle Books, co-founded Ecolet, a green design website, and developed several consumer products, including CritBuns, a product featured in the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. An alumni of the Rhode Island School of Design, Joe earned dual degrees in Graphic Design and Industrial Design.
Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia walks us through how to shake off our reservations and take the first small step to turning our ideas into an actual experience.
Author & Cultural Historian
Sarah Lewis has served on President Barack Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, been selected for Oprah’s “Power List,” and is a faculty member at Yale University, School of Art in the MFA program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an M. Phil from Oxford University, and will receive her Ph.D. from Yale University in March 2014.
Her debut book, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery will be released by Simon & Schuster U.S., HarperCollins U.K. in March 2014. The Rise is a layered, story-driven investigation of how innovation, discovery, and the creative progress are all spurred on by advantages gleaned from the improbable, the unlikely, even failure.
Her second book, based on her Yale dissertation, Black Sea, Black Atlantic: Frederick Douglass, The Circassian Beauties, and American Racial Formation in the Wake of the Civil War, for which she has received support from the Ford Foundation, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition, is under contract with Harvard University Press for release in 2015. Her essays on contemporary art have been published widely in journals such as Callaloo, Artforum and Art in America, and in publications including Rizzoli, the Smithsonian, The Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She has held positions at both the Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is currently a board member of The Andy Warhol for the Visual Arts, the CUNY Graduate Center, and The Brearley School. She lives in New York City.
Union Square Ventures
Fred Wilson has been a venture capitalist since 1987. He currently is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures and also founded Flatiron Partners. Fred has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Fred is married with three kids and lives in New York City.
You don’t have to raise tons of venture capital to be your own boss. Seasoned investor Fred Wilson outlines 10 ways to make a living doing what you love.
Jason Goldberg is a serial entrepreneur, passionate about designing products that enrich millions of people’s lives. Prior to leading Fab.com, Jason founded fabulis, socialmedian (sold to XING AG), and Jobster. Jason also served as Chief Product Officer at XING in Hamburg, Germany in 2009. Jason holds an MBA from Stanford University. Jason writes about entrepreneurship on his blog, http://betashop.com. The first start-up Jason worked at was Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign in 1991 and 1992, which led to a 6 1/2 year stint working in the White House. Jason resides in New York City with his partner Christian and their dog Rupey, aptly named after the Indian currency as Jason has traveled to India more than 30 times in the past 5 years to work alongside the best web development team on the planet.
Co-founder and CEO Jason Goldberg shares the thinking behind Fab.com’s famous pivot and how it translated into incredible success in less than 12 months.
Marc Eckō Enterprises
Once a graffiti artist with no connections or fashion pedigree, Marc Eckō left the safety net of pharmacy school to start his own company. Armed only with hustle, sweat equity, and creativity, he flipped a $5,000 bag of cash into a global corporation now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Eckō is an American fashion designer, entrepreneur, investor and artist. He is the founder of Marc Eckō Enterprises, a global fashion and lifestyle company. He is also the founder and chairman of Complex Media, the world’s leading provider of fashion, entertainment, lifestyle, and product trends to young male tastemakers. Complex Media Network includes 110+ websites that generate more than 700 million page views and 70 million unique visitors per month. Eckō serves as an emeritus board member to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Big Picture Learning, Tikva Children’s Home & Everloop. Marc lives in NJ with his wife and three kids.
Leadership Expert & Author
A trained ethnographer and the author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek has held a life-long curiosity for why people and organizations do the things they do. Studying the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact in the world and achieve a more lasting success than others, he discovered the formula that explains how they do it. Sinek’s amazingly simple idea, The Golden Circle, is grounded in the biology of human decision-making and is changing how leaders and companies think and act.
Sinek’s unconventional and innovative views on business and leadership have attracted international attention and have earned him invitations to meet with an array of leaders and organizations, including: Microsoft, Dell, SAP, Intel, Chanel, Members of the United States Congress, multiple government agencies and entrepreneurs. Sinek has also had the honor of presenting his philosophy to the Ambassadors of Bahrain and Iraq, and to the senior leadership of the United States Air Force.
Sinek shares his optimism with all who will listen, speaking at conventions and corporate gatherings around the globe. Additionally, he has written or commented for local and national press, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, Fast Company, CMO Magazine, NPR and BusinessWeek. Sinek is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, BrandWeek, and makes regular guest appearances on MSNBC’s Your Business, among others.
Sinek recently became an adjunct staff member of the RAND Corporation, one of the most highly regarded think tanks in the world. He is also active in the arts and not-for-profit world, working with Education for Employment Foundation to help create opportunities for young men and women in the Middle East region. He lives in New York, where he teaches graduate level strategic communications at Columbia University.
“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.
Author, Moonwalking with Einstein
At a time when electronic devices have all but rendered our individual memory obsolete, Joshua Foer makes a compelling bid to resurrect the forgotten art of remembering in Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything.
Joshua was born in Washington, DC in 1982 and lives in New Haven, CT with his wife Dinah. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Esquire, Slate, Outside, the New York Times, and other publications. He is the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura, an online guide to the world’s wonders and curiosities. He is also the co-founder of the architectural design competition, Sukkah City.
OK-ness is the enemy of greatness. Journalist Joshua Foer illustrates why we must step outside of our comfort zones to achieve truly remarkable things.
Hosain Rahman is the CEO and founder of Jawbone, a groundbreaking developer of popular products and services for the mobile lifestyle. Hosain is passionate about bringing innovative, intuitive, and elegantly designed products to market that let consumers get the most out of their mobile experience. Jawbone is one of the largest venture capital-backed consumer electronics companies in the world.
Jawbone is a 2010 IDSA Design of the Decade winner. Jawbone introduced the BIG JAMBOX recently, and the Jawbone JAMBOX, the first intelligent wireless speaker and speakerphone, is now the best-selling speaker in the US. Jawbone also invented NoiseAssassin® technology, the only military-grade noise-eliminating technology that’s built into its Bluetooth headsets like the Jawbone ERA and Jawbone ICON.
Hosain was named as one of Fortune‘s 40 Under 40 in 2012 and has spoken at several leading industry events, including D! and D! Mobile and has guest lectured at Columbia Business School.
A vision for revolutionizing the way people work led Leah Busque to pioneer the concept of “service networking.” Her passion for product innovation and devotion to user experience have propelled TaskRabbit into a leading role in the collaborative consumption movement.
Since bootstrapping TaskRabbit in 2008, Leah has expanded the company nationally, grown the team to more than 60 employees, raised nearly $40 million in venture funding from venerated investors like Shasta Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, and Founders Fund, and inspired legions of startups to launch in the collaborative and service networking space. Fast Company named her one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and her achievements have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Time. Under her leadership, TaskRabbit has gathered accolades as a finalist in the Crunchies and Mashable Awards, and was named “The Next Big Thing in Tech” by the New York Times. Prior to founding TaskRabbit, Leah was a Software Engineer at IBM, working in the Messaging and Collaboration Software Development Group.
Leah lives in San Mateo with her husband, TaskRabbit’s VP of Technology Kevin Busque, and a cuddly black lab named Emerson. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sweet Briar College, where she earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science.
Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and his MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture in 2008. He has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad including, Galerie Anne De Villepoix in Paris, Annarumma 404 in Milan, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, among others. Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and installed publicly at the Oakland International Airport, The Birmingham International Airport, The Oakland Museum of California and the University of California, San Francisco. Recent notable exhibitions include Hank Willis Thomas at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Strange Fruit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Picture Windows: Hank Willis Thomas in collaboration with Sanford Biggers at the International Center for Photography, and the Istanbul Biennial. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City and Goodman Gallery in South Africa.
Artist & Technologist
Joshua Davis, joshuadavis.com, is a New York based artist, designer, and technologist producing both public and private work for companies, collectors, and institutions. Currently residing at Code and Theory, codeandtheory.com, as creative director of physical installations.
Artist and technologist Joshua Davis on his multi-year dry spell and how he smashed through with a mix of help from friends and a return to tackling projects outside of his comfort zone.
An accomplished social entrepreneur with expertise in health care, labor issues, and public policy, Cheryl Dorsey was named President of Echoing Green in May 2002. She is the first Echoing Green Fellow to lead this global nonprofit, which has awarded more than $27 million in start-up capital to over 450 social entrepreneurs worldwide since 1987.
Dorsey received her education at Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges where she earned a degree in history and science in 1985. In 1992, while training to be a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School, she received an Echoing Green Fellowship. With it, she launched the Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit that provides basic health care and outreach services to at-risk residents of inner-city Boston neighborhoods.
As a public policy innovator, Cheryl served as a White House Fellow from 1997-1998, serving as Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, advising the Clinton Administration on health care and other issues. She was later named Special Assistant to the Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department, where she helped develop family-friendly workplace policies and spearheaded the labor secretary’s pay equity initiative.
Cheryl serves on the board of the Coro New York Leadership Center, City Year (national), DonorsChoose.org, and Freelancers Insurance Company, Inc., a for-profit insurance company and subsidiary of Working Today. She also serves as an advisory board member of the Action Tank for Social Entrepreneurs, America Forward, and the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation. Dorsey is a 2006 Henry Crown Fellow through the Aspen Institute, a 2007 Prime Mover Fellow through the Hunt Alternatives Fund, and a member of the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Visiting Committee.
Cheryl has received numerous awards and honors for her commitment to public service, including the Pfizer Roerig History of Medicine Award, the Robert Kennedy Distinguished Public Service Award and the Manuel C. Carballo Memorial Prize. She holds a B.A. in History and Science from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, an M.D. from the Harvard Medical School and an M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She writes and speaks widely on minority affairs, social justice, social entrepreneurship, and maternal and child health issues.
Photographer & Filmmaker
Andrew Zuckerman is a New York based photographer and filmmaker. Conceptual in nature, his work investigates common themes explored through multiple mediums.
Andrew has published four books that reflect his influential style of photography and film, including the internationally acclaimed CREATURE (Chronicle, 2007), an intimate portrait series of animals; WISDOM (Abrams, 2008) a book, film, and traveling exhibition produced with the support of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which included portraits and interviews with extraordinary individuals over the age of 65, such as Nelson Mandela, Andrew Wyeth, and Chuck Close; BIRD (Chronicle, 2009), a study of over ninety species from common to rare; and MUSIC (Abrams, 2010) a book, film, and iPad app featuring musicians from across genres, who provide their perspectives on one of the most universal and yet unexplainable art forms.
In 2006, he produced and directed the critically acclaimed short film High Falls, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win for best short narrative at the Woodstock Film Festival.
In 2007, the Forma International Center of Photography featured a solo exhibition of Andrew’s work from CREATURE. The WISDOM portraits were on display at the Library of New South Wales in Sydney in 2008, and in 2010, the WISDOM North American tour launched at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center. A companion film to BIRD screened on The High Line in New York City in 2009, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 2010. Photographs from BIRD were exhibited at Colette in Paris.
Andrew has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for both his photographs and films.
Curiosity is an essential part of the creative’s condition. But it’s even more powerful when combined with rigorous technique.
Innovation Kitchen, Nike Inc.
Benjamin Shaffer is a designer/innovator who lives and works in Portland. As the designer and creative lead of Nike Flyknit he is orchestrating the growth of a new paradigm shift in footwear manufacturing that was introduced in the 2012 Olympics on the feet of the some of the world’s fastest athletes. Now as a Studio Director, his passion for new materials and processes of making and a keen eye for aesthetic relevance has positioned him nicely at the incubation of Nike’s future product within the Innovation Kitchen.
In a journey that began 12 years ago with Nike, Shaffer has designed products from a variety of categories ranging from Yoga, Dance, and Running, as well as contributing to the conceptualization of Nike Plus. Six years in, he joined the Innovation Kitchen assisting the Women’s Training team with their Diamond Flex technologies, Free, and performance calibration as their Innovation Lead. From there he transitioned to be the Innovation Lead of Sportswear where he was charged with designing, developing, and introducing technologies such as Nike’s Hyperfuse into Sportswear.
Neil Blumenthal loves helping people see. Determined to radically transform the eyewear industry, Neil and three friends launched Warby Parker in February of 2010. Warby Parker designs and sells vintage-inspired frames and prescription lenses for $95 whereas comparable quality glasses cost $500. For every pair sold, a pair is given to someone in need. To date, Warby Parker has distributed over 100,000 pairs to those in need around the world.
Neil had been the Director of VisionSpring, a non-profit social enterprise that trains low-income women to start their own business selling affordable eyeglasses to individuals living on less than $4 per day in South Asia, Africa and Latin America. He was responsible for developing VisionSpring’s award-winning strategy (Fast Company Social Capitalist Award ’08, ’07 and ’05) and expanding VisionSpring’s global presence from one to 10 countries. In 2005, Neil was named a Fellow for Emerging Leaders in Public Service at NYU Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service.
Prior to joining VisionSpring, he worked with the International Crisis Group and attended the Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution in The Hague, Netherlands. Neil received his BA from Tufts University and his MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he was both a Social Enterprise Fellow and a Leadership Fellow. Neil and his wife, jewelry designer Rachel Leigh, live in NYC.
Everybody makes mistakes, even great businesses. Warby Parker and Rent the Runway on the unexpected benefits of transparency and vulnerability in customer service.
James Victore runs an independent design studio hell-bent on world domination. He is an author, designer, filmmaker and firestarter. He continually strives to make work that is sexy, strong and memorable; work that toes the line between the sacred and the profane. His paintings of expressionist designs can be seen on ceramics, surfboards, billboards, and supermodels.
Recently described as “part Darth Vader, part Yoda,” Victore is widely known for his timely wisdom and impassioned views about design and its place in the world. He expresses these views and teachings through his numerous lectures, workshops, and writings.
James’ work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is represented in the permanent collections of museums around the globe. His clients include Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Esquire Magazine, Moet Chandon and The New York Times. His work was recently published in a monograph titled, Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss? Victore teaches at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He lives, loves, and works in Brooklyn.
eBay & KPCB
John Maeda is Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, where he works KPCB’s entrepreneurs and portfolio companies to build design into their company cultures. He served as the 16th president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) from 2008 through 2013, during which time RISD saw increased applications, fundraising, and career placements. Prior to RISD, Maeda spent 13 years at the MIT Media Lab as a professor and head of research. His career bridging the intersections of graphic design, computer science, art, education, and leadership earned him the distinction of being named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire.
Maeda chairs the eBay Design Advisory Council, serves on the boards of the wireless hi-fi company Sonos and the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership. His books include The Laws of Simplicity; Creative Code; and Redesigning Leadership, which expands on his Twitter feed at @johnmaeda, one of TIME Magazine‘s 140 Best Twitter Feeds. He has received a variety of international awards for his creative work, including induction to the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame and the White House’s National Design Award.
Pixar Animation Studios
Dr. Michael B. Johnson leads the Moving Pictures Group at Pixar Animation Studios. His group is responsible for the design, implementation and support of the pre-production pipeline for Pixar features and shorts. This includes Story, Editorial, Art and the review process, as well as Production Management. His team works directly with the directors, editors, producers, production designers, art directors, artists and production folks who start the process of bringing Pixar stories to the screen.
Dr. Johnson has been at Pixar since 1993, and has written tools for all of Pixar’s feature films (and many of their short films), including storyboarding, pre-viz, layout, animation, modeling, lighting, rendering, and editorial tools.
Prior to Pixar, Michael attended the University of Illinois where he earned his undergraduate degree in Computer Science Engineering. He studied abroad for a year in Swansea, Wales and also worked for NCSA, Thinking Machines, IBM and MIT’s Media Lab.
He completed his Masters of Science in Visual Studies and his PhD in Computer Graphics and Animation at the MIT Media Lab, where Dr. Edwin Catmull (founder & President of Pixar) was on his thesis committee. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and daughter.
Diego Rodriguez is a partner at IDEO and a founding professor at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University (a.k.a. the d.school). A leading thinker on innovation, Diego leads IDEO’s office in Palo Alto. He works with clients on issues involving venture design, organizational processes, and marketing. He also pioneered a new discipline called Business Design, which has become a core part of IDEO’s offerings.
At Stanford, Diego created a paradigm for active learning in his class, “Creating Infectious Action,” in which business, engineering, and social science students use design thinking to prototype disruptive new offerings and services.
His influential blog, metacool, is an opinion leader on business, technology, and innovation. Fast Company called the site “a must-read for anyone who wants to incorporate design thinking into their work.”
Prior to IDEO, Diego held operating positions at Hewlett-Packard and Intuit. He is the recipient of a Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award and holds multiple patents. Diego holds degrees with honors in engineering and humanities from Stanford and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. He sits on the advisory boards of Boulder Digital Works and the Harvard Business School California Research Center. In 2010 Diego was named by Fortune as one of “The Smartest People in Tech”.
Author & Entrepreneur
Seth Godin is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, and Purple Cow. In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth is founder of squidoo.com, a fast growing, easy to use website. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. Before his work as a writer and blogger, Godin was Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, a job he got after selling them his pioneering 1990s online startup, Yoyodyne. In 2013, Godin was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor.
Recently, Godin once again set the book publishing world on its ear by launching a series of four books via Kickstarter. The campaign reached its goal after three hours and ended up becoming the most successful book project ever done this way. His latest, The Icarus Deception, argues that we’ve been brainwashed by industrial propaganda, and pushes us to stand out, not to fit in.
Bestselling author Seth Godin argues that we must quiet our fearful “lizard brains” to avoid sabotaging projects just before we finally finish them.
Aaron Dignan dressed up like a super hero for 180 straight days of the first grade, which marked the beginning of his life as an iconoclast, observer, theorist, and performer. Now, as a founding partner of the digital strategy firm Undercurrent and based in New York, he advises global brands and complex organizations like GE, American Express, Hyatt, and Ford on their future in an increasingly technophilic world. Aaron’s first book, Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success, was released in 2011.
Real life isn’t always satisfying, but games are almost always are. So how can we take the principles that make Angry Birds so addictive and apply them to work?
Jane ni Dhulchaointigh is the Irish inventor of sugru, an innovative product that has been called ‘the best invention since sellotape’ and that’s getting DIYers, gadget lovers and outdoors enthusiasts around the world very excited.
Jane was studying product design at the Royal College of Art in London in 2003, when she had a big idea. What if, instead of having to buy new things all the time, people could fix and improve the things they already had to work better for them?
From that initial spark of an idea, she led a long and dedicated scientific development process involving a small team of material scientists, designers and business people to develop an entirely new material that could make the idea a reality. The result after 6 years of R&D was sugru – a brand new silicone that’s like play-doh or modelling clay that the user can form into whatever shape they like before it air cures into a tough, flexible, colourful silicone rubber. Used in this way, it can make all kinds of products more comfortable, safer or simply better.
Jane is passionate about promoting a culture of fixing, creativity and resourcefulness, and sees it as an antidote to the throwaway mindset. Her passion is hitting a chord with the growing number of people looking to live more sustainably and three years after launch there’s already a vibrant 100,000-strong world-wide community building around the product.
And the idea is catching on: sugru (inspired by the Irish word for play) has been described as “21st Century Duct Tape” by Forbes and was named alongside the iPad by TIME magazine as one of the top 50 Inventions of 2010.
How do you get from “what if?” to “eureka”? Sugru creator Jane ni Dhulchaointigh describes her six-year journey from design student to inventor.
The Medici Group
Frans Johansson is an entrepreneur and thought leader. He is also a consultant and the managing director for a hedge fund. Frans previously co-founded and managed two companies, a Boston-based software company and a medical device company operating out of Baltimore, Maryland and Stockholm, Sweden.
Raised in Sweden by his African-American and Cherokee mother and Swedish father, Frans earned an MBA at Harvard Business School and a BS in environmental science at Brown University.
A successful author, Frans has written on a variety of topics, from business management to healthcare to sport fishing to how to save our oceans. His bestselling book, The Medici Effect, has been translated into 17 languages and was named “One of the Ten Best Business Books of 2004″ by Amazon.com.
Actions DO speak louder than words (or tactics, or strategic planning). Frans Johansson illustrates why groundbreaking innovators generate and execute far more ideas than their counterparts.
Rent the Runway
Jennifer Hyman has been the Chief Executive Officer of Rent the Runway since the company’s inception in November 2009. She is responsible for all areas of the business including technology, fashion, sales, marketing, operations, customer service and team management, while also serving as a company spokesperson. Most well-known within the entrepreneurial and fashion communities for her unmatched marketing abilities, Jennifer was named as the Chief Marketing Officer of Fortune magazine’s “Executive Dream Team.”
Jennifer co-founded Rent the Runway with her Harvard Business School classmate Jennifer Fleiss. After receiving approximately $31 million in venture capital from Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, they quickly built the company to include over 2 million members, 60 employees and 150 designer brands. Rent the Runway is a members-only online fashion community that builds customer loyalty for designer brands by enabling women to rent dresses and accessories for all the special occasions in their lives. As the “Netflix for fashion,” Rent the Runway encourages women to live the life they dream today.
Within only two years of business Rent the Runway has been honored with numerous recognitions including Time Magazine‘s “50 Best Websites of 2010,” Forbes‘ “15 Names You Need to Know in 2011,” Fast Company‘s “10 Most Innovative Fashion Companies of the Year” and Newsweek‘s “Best Ways to Save in 2011,” among others. Additionally, Jennifer and her co-founder were named as Fortune‘s “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2011,” Inc. Magazine‘s “Top 30 Under 30,” and Fashionista‘s “Fashionista 50: The Most Influential People in New York Fashion.”
Prior to Rent the Runway, Jennifer was the Director of Business Development at IMG where she focused on the creation of new media businesses for IMG’s Fashion Division. She also ran an online advertising sales team at WeddingChannel.com and was an in-house entrepreneur at Starwood Hotels, creating Starwood’s first wedding business which was recognized on the Oprah Winfrey Show for its innovation.
Jennifer received her BA from Harvard University and MBA from Harvard Business School. She currently resides in New York City where she is a Bloomberg Fellow, on the Entrepreneurship Board at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and enjoys her favorite neighborhood restaurants and boutiques for socializing with her family and friends.
Everybody makes mistakes, even great businesses. Warby Parker and Rent the Runway on the unexpected benefits of transparency and vulnerability in customer service.
Ladies Learning Code
Heather Payne is an entrepreneur based in Toronto, Canada. She’s the founder of Ladies Learning Code, a Toronto-based not-for-profit startup that runs popular workshops for women (and men) who want to learn computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way.
Ladies Learning Code now has chapters in Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax, London and Calgary, a permanent workshop space in Toronto, and a thriving girls’ program called Girls Learning Code. In 2012, she founded HackerYou as a way to bring more intensive technology learning experiences to Toronto and beyond. Recently she spent a year working on a project for the Mozilla Foundation: her job was to build a community of people and organizations in Toronto who care about raising youth as creators – not just consumers – of technology and the web. In December 2012, the project was granted $365,000 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Heather was an early investor in ShopLocket, and in a former life, she helped startups like Pinpoint Social and Shopcastr to acquire their first users. In her spare time, she enjoys building websites and furthering her knowledge of Ruby on Rails.
How do we leverage our passion projects into something more? Ladies Learning Code founder Heather Payne demonstrates how unabashedly sharing her vision led to a team she loves and a rapidly-growing organization.
Columbia University Motivation Science Center
Heidi Grant Halvorson is the Associate Director of Columbia University’s Motivation Science Center, and a popular blogger for HBR, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Forbes, WSJ, and 99U. As a researcher, she studies goal pursuit, the obstacles that derail us, and the strategies we can use to overcome them. Her latest book is FOCUS: Using Different Ways of Seeing The World for Success and Influence.
Charlie Todd is the founder of Improv Everywhere, producing, directing, performing, and documenting the group’s work since 2001. Based in New York, Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places and has executed over 100 missions involving thousands of undercover agents, including the legendary Grand Central Freeze and the infamous No Pants Subway Ride. The group’s videos have received over 275 million views online. Charlie is also the author of Causing a Scene, published by Harper Collins.
Jared Cohen is the Director of Google Ideas and an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
From 2006 to 2010 he served as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and a close advisor to both Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, where he was not only the youngest member of Policy Planning in history, but also one of the few appointees kept on in both administrations. He is twice a recipient of the Secretary of State’s Meritorious Honor Award, earning the honor in both administrations. In this capacity, he was one of the principal architects of what has become known as “21st century statecraft”, which is a new approach to foreign policy that leverages and harnesses the power of connection technologies and new stakeholders for defense, diplomacy, and development.
Cohen introduced the concept of technology delegations to American diplomacy, where he routinely assembled delegations of technology CEOs and senior executives to places like Iraq, Congo, Syria, Russia, and Mexico in an effort to develop technology-based solutions and leverage technology-based thinking in our effort to address local challenges in these countries. His delegation with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, marked the first trip by a Fortune 500 CEO to post-war Iraq. In the midst of the June 2009 post-election protests in Iran, Cohen reached out from the State Department to Twitter Chairman and co-founder Jack Dorsey and urged the company to reschedule its planned maintenance of the website so that Iranians could keep tweeting.
Prior to his time in government, Cohen traveled extensively throughout Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Afghanistan, where he at great risk spent time interviewing terrorists from groups like Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda to better understand the recruitment process, the nature and root causes of radicalization, and the dynamics between the terrorist groups and the communities they live in. He also conducted extensive research on the youth of the middle east, looking at how technology is impacting their identity and creating space for new opposition.
Cohen is author of several books. His first, One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide, was published in 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield and chronicles U.S. policy toward Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide. His second book, Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East, was published by Penguin Books (Gotham) in October 2007 and has also been published as an audio book and translated into Dutch, Arabic, and Italian. Children of Jihad was starred by Kirkus Review and selected as one of the “Best Books of 2007.” Additional publications include “The Passive Revolution: Is Political Resistance Dead or Alive in Iran” (Hoover Digest, 2005), “Iran’s Young Opposition” (SAIS Review, 2006), “Diverting the Radicalization Track” (Policy Review, Spring 2009), and “The Digital Disruption: Connectivity and Diffusion of Power” (Foreign Affairs, November/December 2010), which he co-authored with Google CEO Eric Schmidt and which also appeared as an op-ed in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.
Cohen frequently appears in the media: he has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Business Week, Wired Magazine, and appeared on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, CNN, CBS, ABC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, BBC, Discovery Channel, CSPAN, and a variety of other TV and radio programs both domestic and international. He is frequently asked to speak at domestic and international conferences hosted by think tanks, the public sector, the military, the private sector, and foundations.
Cohen is actively involved in the Tribeca Film Festival, where he has twice served as a juror for the categories of “best world documentary”, “best first time filmmaker”, and “best short narrative.” He is also a professional artist and has sold his work in east coast galleries. Cohen is fluent in Swahili and has also studied Arabic, Farsi, Maa, Kilarusa, and Spanish. He received his BA from Stanford University and his M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He was selected by Huffington Post as one of the 100 gamechangers of 2010 and by Devex as one of the top 40 people under 40 in international development.
Gov. Island Preservation & Education Corp
Leslie Koch is president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC). Governors Island is a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbor that includes a 92 acre National Historic Landmark District with historic buildings, fortifications, and open spaces. Appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki in April 2006, Ms. Koch is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and on-going operation of 150 acres of the Island. Under her leadership, GIPEC has developed a strategy to create world-class open spaces on the Island, expand public access and early signature uses, preserve historic structures and improve the Island’s transportation and infrastructure, and plan for mixed-use public and private development over a multi-year, multi-phase process. This strategy is helping to transform Governors Island into a destination with great public open space, as well as education and other facilities.
Prior to GIPEC, Leslie Koch was the CEO of the Fund for Public Schools, the nonprofit organization affiliated with the New York City Department of Education where she developed initiatives to increase public participation and private sector support for public education in New York City. Under her leadership, the Fund secured nearly $160 million for system-wide initiatives and school-based programs.
A native New Yorker, Ms. Koch began her career in the NYC government and since that time, her career has spanned all three sectors. As an executive with Microsoft, she was responsible for strategic development and marketing of several flagship products. Ms. Koch also served as a consultant and board member for a variety of organizations. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a B.A. in history and received a Masters in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management.
Get the little stuff done every day, and make sure what you’re doing maps to the strategy you laid out. According to Governors Island president Leslie Koch, it’s that simple.
Susan Gregg Koger is the co-founder and chief creative officer of ModCloth, an online retailer known for its innovative social shopping experience, unique apparel and décor, and wide range of styles sourced from independent designers around the world. As ModCloth’s CCO, Susan employs her creative edge and love for vintage to inform all things ModCloth; from its careful curation of remarkable goods, to the look and feel of the site and mobile apps. In 2013, ModCloth was recognized as one of Fast Company‘s “Most Innovative Companies,” and Susan was listed in Forbes‘ “30 Under 30″ and Refinery29‘s “30 Under 30: San Francisco.”
Adobe & Behance
Scott Belsky believes that the greatest breakthroughs across all industries are a result of creative people and teams that are especially productive. He is Adobe’s Vice President of Community and Head of Behance, the leading online platform for creatives to showcase and discover creative work. 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.
Ever find yourself jumping from idea to idea, hooked on the high of idea generation but never completing any one project? Scott Belsky breaks down road-tested methods for seeing ideas through to the finish.
The Art of Non-Conformity
Chris Guillebeau travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at chrisguillebeau.com. For more than a decade he has modeled the proven definition of an entrepreneur: “someone who will work 24 hours a day for themselves to avoid working one hour a day for someone else.” From 2002-2006, Chris also served as a volunteer executive for a medical charity in West Africa before returning to the U.S. and starting the blog The Art of Non-Conformity. When not roaming the world on a quest to visit every country (151 down, 41 to go), Chris lives in Portland, Oregon.
Birsel + Seck LLC
Ayse Birsel has been designing award-winning products for over twenty years. She is the co-founder of Birsel + Seck, an innovative design studio in New York that partners with leading brands and Fortune 500 companies, including Target, Herman Miller, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota and TOTO. She has also consulted GE, Hasbro, The Drucker Institute, and Bridgestone Turkey, among others, on design thinking, strategy and innovation projects. Called affectionately by the press the “Queen of Toilets” and “Queen Bee” for her bathroom designs and office systems respectively, she brings new solutions to old problems by thinking differently, using her user-centered, humanistic design approach and her unique process, Deconstruction:Reconstruction. Ayse is also known for her acclaimed workshops, Design the Life You Love for individuals and Design the Work You Love for corporations, applying her design process to help people design their life and work respectively.
Ayse is the recipient of the 2001 Young Designer Award from the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Athena Award for Excellence in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design, and numerous design awards including the IDEA Gold Award and ID Magazine Award. She is a speaker at international conferences, notably the Aspen Design Conference, IDSA and AIGA Conferences, the Indaba Conference and DMI (Design Management Institute). She is a Fulbright Scholar, has a master’s degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and is a graduate of Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art. She lives between New York and Istanbul, with her husband and partner Bibi Seck and their three kids.
Robert Brunner founded San Francisco-based design studio Ammunition in 2007 to communicate ideas through products, brands, and their surrounding experiences. His work as an industrial designer has spawned numerous brand-defining designs over the past three decades. Prior to founding Ammunition, Robert was a partner at Pentagram and led strategic brand consulting and industrial design programs for Fortune 500 companies. Previously, he was the Director of Industrial Design for Apple, where he established its pioneering internal corporate design organization, Apple IDg. Before joining Apple, Robert co-founded design consultancy Lunar.
Named one of Fast Company‘s “Most Creative People in Business,” Robert’s work is included in the permanent design collections of the MoMA in both New York and San Francisco. He is the co-author of the book Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company.
Illustrator & Graphic Journalist
Wendy MacNaughton is an illustrator and graphic journalist whose books include Meanwhile in San Francisco, The City in Its Own Words; Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology; The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming A Wine Expert; and the forthcoming Pen & Ink, Tattoos and The Stories Behind Them. Her work appears in places like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Print Magazine. She lives in San Francisco with two cats, one dog and her partner, writer Caroline Paul.
For the past two decades, Keith Yamashita has worked alongside CEOs and their leadership teams to define — and then attain — greatness for their institutions. He has worked with leaders at Apple, IBM, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Nike, and Gap, among others.
Keith founded, and currently serves as chairman of, SYPartners — a firm steeped in the belief that transformation of individuals, teams, and institutions requires equal parts empathy, aspiration, and a bravery to act. The firm fuses systems thinking and creativity to help organizations in times of seismic change: the formulation of a new business strategy, a merger or acquisition, the rise of a new CEO, the evolution of a brand, the return-to-greatness journeys after an industry shock.
In 2011, SYPartners launched a sister company called Unstuck — dedicated to taking the 20 years of knowledge the firm has gained about transformation and bringing it to everyday people. The first offering is an iPad-based app that helps people find a way forward, when they don’t know how to go forward. Slated for release in 2012, SYPartners’ next offering will be a suite of collaborative tools focused on helping managers and teams perform at their best.
From 2009 to 2011, Keith served as The Charles and Ray Eames Brand Fellow at IBM — a post dedicated to driving IBM’s growth and greatness as an institution and enabling IBMers to perform at their best. He is an author and essayist on leadership and design, having published in the Harvard Business Review and several journals. He has lectured at the Yale School of Management, Stanford Business School, and the Jack F. Welch Leadership Center. He holds an MA in organizational behavior and a BA in quantitative economics from Stanford University.
Great teams don’t happen by accident, they require a diligent and mindful effort to cultivate the specific habits that lead to success.
Theorist on Developing Expertise
Jason Randal is a renowned entertainer and speaker to Fortune 500 companies who has developed strategies to accomplish extraordinary results in shockingly record time.
Randal holds a PhD in social psychology, is a member of MENSA (the high IQ society), plays and writes for five musical instruments, and has recorded six original CDs. He works in three languages, has published numerous magazine articles and three books including Magic For Professionals and The Psychology of Deception. Randal is a board certified master hypnotherapist, a licensed locksmith, a NAUI master scuba instructor, a licensed special effects technician, and a master certified flight instructor for both airplanes and helicopters. He flies his own turbo twin Aerostar and Enstrom helicopter.
Randal, a seventh degree black belt master in karate instructed six years for the Chuck Norris karate schools, and 3 years as a drill sergeant and hand to hand combat instructor for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. For ten years Jason was a technical advisor and stuntman in Hollywood working on projects such as the CHiPS television series, and in 11 films including Officer and a Gentleman, Tequila Sunrise, and Pretty Woman. He extensively trained such stars as Richard Gere, Lou Gossette, Tom Cruise, William Shatner and Mel Gibson.
A licensed general contractor, Randal designed and built his own unique granite home. He lives on a 200-acre ranch outside of Yosemite National Park in California.
The Energy Project
Tony Schwartz is Founder and CEO of The Energy Project, a company that helps individuals and organizations fuel energy, engagement, focus and productivity by harnessing the science of high performance.
Tony’s most recent book, Be Excellent At Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work and Live, was published in May 2010 and became an immediate New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. His previous book, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy Not Time, co- authored with Jim Loehr, spent four months on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 28 languages.
Tony is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, and is one of HBR.org’s most popular bloggers. His most recent HBR article, The Paradox of Productivity: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of Employees By Demanding Less was published in May, 2010. He also writes for numerous other publications, including the New York Times.
Tony began his career as a journalist. He has been a reporter for the New York Times, an editor at Newsweek, a staff writer at New York and Esquire, and a columnist for Fast Company. He also co-authored the #1 worldwide bestseller The Art of the Deal with Donald Trump, and wrote What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America.
Tony has delivered keynotes to audiences around the world and has worked with leaders at dozens of organizations including Apple, Ford, Google, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Ernst & Young, Kraft, Wells Fargo and Oracle, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department, the Cleveland Clinic and the National Security Agency.
Are you over-worked and under-energized? Energy expert Tony Schwartz breaks down our productivity myths and shows us how to get back on track.
Jill Greenberg Studio
Born in July of 1967 in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in a suburb of Detroit. Jill was based in NYC until 2000 and now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and 2 young children.
Since the age of 10, Greenberg has staged photographs and created characters using the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, film, and photography. Greenberg’s notable success with gallery and museum shows, book, publishing, commercial and editorial photography displays her unique perspective with a clear voice, which is apparent through her distinctive lighting and personally executed postproduction. Greenberg is known worldwide for her uniquely human animal portraits. Her second monograph Bear Portraits is due out in the fall of ’09 with Little, Brown and Company.
Her series, End Times, combines beautiful, poignant imagery, impeccable executed, with both political and personal relevance. Greenberg’s subject is taboo: children in pain. She utilizes the uncomfortable images to break through the pop mainstream and participate in a growing national dialogue of the real dangers facing this country and world. Greenberg’s images are sharp, saturated, stunning, and quirky, her work is soaked with realism and imagination, which hits a national nerve.
For the series, Monkey Portraits, Greenberg created a series of monkey portraits and asks us to consider our history in evolution. We look into her monkey’s expressions and see ourselves in their peculiar physiognomy. She mischievously holds up a mirror where we confront an ancient and distorted reflection, a startling spectacle leaving us feeling disorientated, but exhilarated. By intentionally anthropomorphizing her monkeys, we can’t help but identity with their gaze; we are minded of people and expressions that we have seen before.
“What’s interesting about controversy is that it gets your pictures out there.” Photographer Jill Greenberg on the value of pushing the envelope.
Author, So Good They Can't Ignore You
Cal Newport is an author and a professor computer science at Georgetown University. His writing focuses on unconventional advice for life in school and after graduation. His most recent book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, argues that “follow your passion” is bad advice. Newport’s writing and ideas regularly appear in major publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Post, and Inc. Magazine.
Google Creative Lab
Born in Seoul, Korea, and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Ji Lee studied design at Parsons School of Design. He currently works as the Creative Director at Google Creative Lab in New York and teaches design at School of Visual Arts. In the past, Lee has worked as the branding director at Droga5 and art director at Saatchi & Saatchi.
Ji Lee is the founder of the widely publicized Bubble Project and the author of two books: Talk Back: The Bubble Project and Univers Revolved: a 3-Dimensional Alphabet.
Lee has given numerous lectures including Harvard University, MIT and MoMA. Lee’s work has appeared in ABC World News, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Guardian, Wired among others.
How can personal projects feed our professional development? Ji Lee changed his career trajectory with 30,000 stickers and a guerrilla art approach.
The New York Observer calls him, “for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter.” Madrigal co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.
He’s spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).
Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley’s Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.
Alexis Madrigal tells us how startups can up the ante by shifting away from free “viral” business models & by having more diverse founders.
Hacker & Author
Joshua Klein is an internationally known technology expert who studies systems, from computer networks and institutions to consumer hardware. His recent projects have included an acclaimed new television series on the history of innovation on the National Geographic Channel, called The Link, one of the most watched TED videos of all time (about a vending machine that train crows to exchange found coins for peanuts), and the development of a cell phone application to create a virtuous cycle of education and employment in South Africa. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, O Magazine, and The Harvard Business Review. He has made appearances on MSNBC, NPR, and has spoken at conferences from TED to Davos, and presented in front of organizations ranging from the State Department to the Young Presidents Organization Global Leadership Congress, to Microsoft to Amazon. He lives in New York City.
Designer & Illustrator
Rilla Alexander is an Australian-born Berlin-based designer and illustrator. Her cast of creatures dance across Madrid’s Museo del Prado’s ceramics and stationery products, populate Swiss Credit Cards for Cornér Bank and sleep on the walls of Hotel Fox in Copenhagen (where she replaced the bed with a tent).
As a member of design collective Rinzen, she has published several books exploring the creative process. The felt-covered book Neighbourhood featured the collaborative efforts of over 30 artists reworking and remaking hand-made toys in a sequence that stretched across the world.
Her all ages picture book Her Idea was launched with an exhibition at Colette in Paris — and tells the tale of her alter-ego Sozi and her quest to make ideas happen.
Ever get distracted by a new idea and have trouble seeing the original one through? Illustrator Rilla Alexander shares her idea execution struggle through an all-ages story.
Julie Zhuo leads the design team focused on engagement and core experiences at Facebook, including News Feed, content discovery, and Facebook’s mobile apps. She has been at Facebook since 2006 helping the service grow from 8 million users to over 1 billion. She designed much of the original Facebook platform and the Like button you see embedded on sites across the web. Prior to Facebook, Julie graduated from Stanford with a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science, where she was a Mayfield Fellow and coordinated the well-known CS198 program of student Computer Science instructors. In her spare time, she likes writing about design, playing video games, and exploring SF’s delectable food scene.
Author, Imagine: How Creativity Works
Jonah Lehrer is Contributing Editor at Wired and the author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. His new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, will be out in March 2012. He is also a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Radiolab and writes the “Head Case” column for The Wall Street Journal.
Author, Die Empty
Todd is the founder of Accidental Creative, a consultancy that helps people and teams to be prolific, brilliant, and healthy. He teaches companies how to be creative under pressure, collaborate more effectively, and align their activities around the work that matters most. He’s also the author of two books: The Accidental Creative, and Die Empty, which was named as one of Amazon.com’s “Best Books of 2013.”
Tina Seelig is the executive director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and the director of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) at Stanford University’s School of Engineering. She teaches courses on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the department of Management Science and Engineering, and within the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. She received the 2009 Gordon Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, recognizing her as a national leader in engineering education.
Seelig earned her PhD in 1985 from Stanford University School of Medicine, where she studied Neuroscience. She has been a management consultant, multimedia producer, and an entrepreneur. Seelig has also written 16 popular science books and educational games. Her newest books are Wish I Knew When I Was 20 (HarperCollins 2009) and inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity (HarperCollins 2012).
In this compelling 99U talk, Stanford professor Tina Seelig shows us how the top organizations in the world foster a creative environment.
Josh’s career has spanned marketing analytics and quantitative finance, including running a data mining consulting firm, a quantitative strategy group at a $10b fund, and core components at the mortgage lead market, Root Exchange. Three years ago, Josh founded Simple, formerly BankSimple, a company that is working to radically redesign banking by using modern technology to help people worry less about money. Josh has a BSc. in mathematics and statistics from the University of Melbourne, most of a medical degree, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Simple co-founder and CEO Josh Reich shows us how his team wrangles with banking bureaucracy to create a product people love.
Angel Investor & Blogger
Joanne has had several careers starting out as a buyer at Macys to running a company in the rag trade eventually leading to spearheading sales for a start-up magazine/e-zine/events company called Silicon Alley Reporter. On to the non-profit world where she chaired MOUSE (Making Opportunities in Upgrading Schools in Education) an organization focused on technology in inner-city schools. She has sat on a number of profit and non-profit boards and has been involved with a variety of real estate transactions from beginning to end.
Joanne has been blogging since 1994 under the name Gotham Gal. She is involved with the start-up community as an angel investor and adviser. She has been a champion of women in tech by starting and co-chairing the Women’s Entrepreneurial Festival with the ITP division of NYU. Many of the companies she is working with are owned or started by women. The tech companies are Food52, Edison Jr., Catchafire, Dailyworth, The Sweeten, NGAdventage, Windowfarms, Venuebook, Scoot, Talk Market, 3rd Ward, Editd, Blue Bottle Coffee, Lover.ly, Mouth Foods, How Good, , Little Borrowed Dress, Vengo, Willa Skincare, Kitchensurfing, littleBits, Nest.io, Red Stamp, VenueBook, Architizer, Capture Proof, Have to Have, Mercaris, Le Tote, Curbed (Eater/Racked) as well as Ricks Picks, several restaurants and The Moon Group. She is the Chairperson of Hot Bread Kitchen and sits on the board of the Highline.
Her most successful venture is being married to her best friend, Fred and raising her three kids, Jessica, Emily and Josh.
Kaaren Hanson is vice president of design innovation at Intuit, recognized in Forbes as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. She worked closely with Intuit Founder Scott Cook to create the cross-company Design for Delight initiative. Harvard Business Review covered the success of their work, which she is continuing with her latest passion to create teams that deliver awesome product experiences. Prior to joining Intuit in 2002, Kaaren led User Experience teams at Silicon Valley companies ranging from large enterprises to small startups. She earned her PhD in experimental psychology from Stanford University and is currently a member of the Design Management Institute advisory board.
Photographer & Sociologist
Jeff Sheng is a photographer, artist and sociologist, whose artwork has been internationally exhibited, and has taught as a visiting professor of photography and visual studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and most recently at Harvard University in 2011. He is currently a doctoral Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Stanford University.
Sheng first became known for his photographic series Fearless, a project on “out” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes on high school and college sports teams, and since 2003, has photographed and interviewed over 150 individuals for this series. This project was recently nominated for a GLAAD award through a feature article by ESPN.
Between 2009-2011, his other photography series Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on over 80 closeted service members affected by the government policy known by that same name, was instrumental in providing a face to the issue as part of the repeal debate, as the photographs were seen and published in Time Magazine, Newsweek, the New York Times, CNN, NPR, the BBC, and ABC World News Tonight. A graduate of Harvard University, Jeff also holds an MFA (master of Fine Arts) in studio art from the University of California, Irvine.
Named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News & World Report and one of 100 “Innovators for the 21st century” by TIME, Linda Rottenberg is one of the world’s most dynamic and respected experts on entrepreneurship, business opportunities in emerging markets, and innovative leadership for the new economy.
As the CEO and Co-founder of Endeavor, Rottenberg pioneered the field of High-Impact Entrepreneurship, the global phenomenon of using business to transform economies. Headquartered in New York with affiliates throughout Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, Endeavor identifies, mentors, and scales the most promising emerging-market entrepreneurs. The 600 Endeavor Entrepreneurs selected to date have created 150,000 jobs and generate annual revenues of nearly $4 billion.
Having assembled an unparalleled network of the world’s foremost business leaders, Rottenberg is often sought out for her ability to understand trends in global business. She has been the subject of three Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business case studies; Dell, Inc. featured her as a Hero in its “Take Your Own Path” global ad campaign; Veuve Clicquot named her Business Woman of the Year in 2008; and Thomas Friedman dubbed her the world’s “Mentor Capitalist” in The World Is Flat 2.0.
Rottenberg, who in 2011 was named “Ms. Davos” by Business Insider, served as co-chair of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and currently serves on the Forum’s Entrepreneurship Steering Committee. She has been named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow,” “Young Global Leader” and “Leading Social Entrepreneur” by the Forum.
A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, Rottenberg is a member of Young Presidents Organization and Council on Foreign Relations and an expert judge for the prestigious McKinsey-Harvard Business Review awards. She has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, New York Times, Fast Company, Inc., and The Economist. The mother of identical twin daughters, Rottenberg is the wife — and frequent subject — of the best-selling author and New York Times columnist, Bruce Feiler.
Rottenberg has inspired and instructed audiences across the globe on the next big waves of growth and innovation: “After 20 years of traveling from Rio to Cairo, Johannesburg to New Delhi to Istanbul, I have come to understand the power of thinking big and thinking global; you cannot understand the world today without understanding what is happening in emerging markets. I’ve been honored to have a front-row seat into the incredible changes taking place in the new economy.”
If no one is calling you “crazy,” you’re probably not thinking big enough. Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg shares unorthodox advice for startups.
Hawthorne Valley Farm
Martin Ping is the Executive Director of Hawthorne Valley Association, a nonprofit corporation promoting social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture and the arts.
The Hawthorne Valley Association is located in Columbia County in New York’s Hudson Valley and includes Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 400-acre biodynamic farm. A holistic approach to sustainable living, biodynamic farming develops the earth, plants, and animals in concert to create a self-nourishing system that produces no unused waste and employs no artificial chemicals.
The Hawthorne Valley Farm encompasses a full dairy herd, with onsite dairy processing, CSA and market garden; GreenMarket stands at Union Square and Inwood Markets, as well as a lacto-fermented vegetable processing kitchen, organic bakery, and full-line organic grocery store. It operates the Visiting Students Program and Summer Camps, a residential program welcoming classes of school children during the academic year, as well as children during the summer, for a week or more on the farm; the Farmscape Ecology Program, conducting on farm research, education, and outreach combining an understanding and appreciation of the natural world with a realistic approach to agriculture; and the Farm Learning Center, offering farm apprentice and training programs through Farm Beginnings®.
The Association also oversees the Hawthorne Valley School, an independent day school offering Waldorf education grades Nursery through Twelve; the Center for Social and Environmental Responsibility, researching new social and economic forms that foster social responsibility and environmental sustainability; and Free Columbia, a quest into the heart of artistic action and the relationship between money and art.
Martin has been at Hawthorne Valley for more than 20 years. For much of that time he taught practical arts in the High School and for 14 years was director of facilities and served as project manager on several million dollars of new construction projects. For the past seven years as Executive Director, he has balanced his time developing the working relationships amongst the Association’s diverse enterprises (and the 150 co-workers who carry out those initiatives) with cultivating collaborative relationships between Hawthorne Valley and other organizations in the Upper Hudson/Berkshire region as well as like-minded initiatives nationally and globally.
Hawthorne Valley Farm’s Martin Ping talks about the value of “servant leadership” and how to align your inner vision with your outer work.
As an interaction designer, Josh Rubin is always looking for both creative inspiration and an understanding of the way people do things. In 2003 he decided to start a catalog of what he found and haphazardly named it Cool Hunting, a phrase synonymous with finding inspiration. Some people think this site is about trends, but it is more about cataloging the best in creativity and innovation.
In addition to editing Cool Hunting, Josh consults for select clients on strategy, content and design for digital products, services and publications. His clients have included Apple, Adobe, Vodafone, Nike, Google, and MTV among many others.
Jay O’Callahan has performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, National Theatre Complex in London, the Olympics, Lincoln Center, Boston Symphony Orchestra and in venues in Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and China. The Associated Press trumpeted him as “a theater troupe inside one body.” Time Magazine dubbed Jay “a genius.”
Jay writes the plays he performs. The hallmark of his talent is the passion he brings to big and small dramas of ordinary life. He slips into the souls of his characters and captures the wonder and sparkling sense of life welled up inside them, creating a magical world of hope, courage and dignity.
With the sweep of a hand, the flex of a muscle or the hushed click of a word, Jay gives voice to the small town clerk in Village Heroes, the puzzled son coming to terms with his father in The Dance, or the young woman growing up in Nova Scotia during World War II in The Herring Shed.
Jay has just completed creating Forged in the Stars, a story commissioned by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for their 50th anniversary. He is currently performing it at NASA locations around the country. Jay is working on a story commissioned by the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee and the National Storytelling Network. It will be completed the fall of 2010. Other commissioned works include: The Myth of Billy the Kid (National Public Radio), The Spirit of the Great Auk (Quebec Labrador Foundation), Peer Gynt and the Hary Janos Suite (Boston Symphony Orchestra), Edna Robinson (Town of Harvard, Massachusetts for their 250th anniversary), The Bread and Roses Strike (Massachusetts State Department of Environmental Management), Pouring the Sun (Lehigh University), and Father Joe (College of the Holy Cross).
The National Endowment of the Arts awarded him a fellowship for solo performance excellence. Jay has received awards for his performances, books, audiotapes and videos from the National Education Film Festival, Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals, Parents’ Choice, NAPPA, New England Theater Conference and UNESCO, to name a few. He also is a regular contributor to National Public Radio and leads creativity workshops for corporations and other interested groups.
“Stories are people, place, and trouble,” says veteran storyteller Jay O’Callahan. Describing NASA’s first moon landing, O’Callahan shows how stories can free our minds and our imagination.
Jake Nickell is a young, entrepreneurial mad man that programs community websites non-stop. He is the founder and CSO of skinnyCorp and Threadless.com, along with countless other side projects.
Jake dreamed up the Threadless concept in 2000 after winning a tee shirt design contest on a short-lived online design forum. The idea of sharing designs and opening them up for fellow artists’ critiques appealed to him; he thought Threadless would be a way to give back to the community by creating actual goods out of the submitted designs.
He lead the growth of Threadless, which has culminated in more than 900,000 online users and two physical retail stores in Chicago, and has a number of other projects in the works.
I’m your average 29-year-old tattooed metal-head with an eye for design and nose for tomfoolery. The focus of my work as partner and chief creative officer for the Chicago-based, community-business-centric skinnyCorp is design and strategy for their numerous community-based web projects. These projects range in scale from Threadless, a multi-million dollar tee shirt business and ongoing open-call for tee shirt design submissions which sells more than 100,000 tees per month and has over 900,000 registered users, to YayHooray, an invite-only, just-for-fun design and technology community site with only a few thousand members. My work has been published numerous times, and I’ve had the pleasure of speaking all over the world from MIT to the University of Copenhagen to CNN and NPR.
The Detroit Bus Company
Andy Didorosi is a 27-year old entrepreneur and Detroit native. As a college dropout with only a high school diploma, he became the founder of The Detroit Bus Company, Eight & Sand, Paper Street, Thunderdrome! racing series, and a handful of other successful small businesses. He currently lives in Detroit in the Boston Edison neighborhood. The Detroit Bus Company is an innovative transit company based in Detroit.
Founded in 2011, they employ web-based technological solutions and unparalleled customer service to create efficient solutions to public transportation challenges in Metropolitan Detroit. With a unique fleet of custom-painted bio-diesel busses, the Detroit Bus Company also programs a full roster of public shuttles, tours and day trips to help metro Detroiters and out-of-town visitors gain familiarity with the rich, vibrant personality of our city. Their primary project right now is their Youth Transit Alliance which gives kids in Detroit access to development programs and summer activities free of charge.
As a Principal at Continuum, Craig works with a wide range of industries from national retailers and restaurant chains to healthcare and financial services. He understands how to translate the emotional needs of the user and the functional needs of the brand into one holistic, ownable experience that connects organizations and the people who rely on them.
Immersive research and empathetic journey mapping are integral to Craig’s approach. This allows him to understand the functional and logistical baseline that must drive the design while providing a first-hand understanding of the emotional experiences of the user. He believes that designing for employees and back-of-house needs is just as important as the consumer experience. Each space, object and message must work for the organization, the employees and the end user. The result is a complete experience that forms a powerful connection between the brand and people.
Craig has led programs for a multitude of services: designing a consultative retail service and space for the Canadian diamond chain, Spence Diamonds; reinventing Captain D’s, a struggling Midwest seafood chain, with a successful new restaurant experience; creating a streamlined experience that works best for both patients and healthcare providers for Quest Diagnostics.
Prior to Continuum, Craig spent 8 years as a Studio Director at WalkerGroup, where he created retail experiences for brands as diverse as Cardinal Health, Busch Gardens, Tim Hortons, Playboy, Lladro, Motorola and Pepsi, among others.
Masamichi Udagawa is a partner at Antenna Design New York Inc., which he co-founded with Sigi Moeslinger in 1997. Antenna’s design projects range from public and commercial to experimental and artistic, typically spanning object, interface and environment. Among Antenna’s best known projects are the design of New York City subway cars and ticket vending machines, Bloomberg displays and interactive environments, such as Power Flower, an installation in the windows of Bloomingdale’s activated by passersby. Antenna’s work has won numerous awards, including recognition from Business Week/IDSA, I.D., Fast Company and Wired magazines. In 2006, Antenna received the United States Artists Target Fellowship in the Architecture and Design Category. In 2008, Antenna won the National Design Award in Product Design.
Before forming Antenna, Masamichi was a senior designer at Apple Computer Industrial Design Group in Cupertino, California. He also worked at the Yamaha Product Design Laboratory in Japan. Masamichi holds a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BE in Industrial Design from Chiba University in Japan.
Krista Donaldson is the CEO of D-Rev and has worked in international development, product design and engineering for more than 15 years. As D-Rev’s CEO, Krista has led the design and scaling in emerging markets of Brilliance, radically affordable treatment for babies with jaundice, and the ReMotion prosthetic knee, now worn by over 5,500 amputees. She has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the 50 designers shaping the future and the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.
Prior to D-Rev, Krista was an economic officer at the US Department of State where she worked on economic policy and the reconstruction of Iraq’s electricity sector, and as a design engineer at KickStart in Nairobi, Kenya.
A native of Nova Scotia, Krista holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.
Sigi Moeslinger is a partner at Antenna Design New York Inc., which she co-founded with Masamichi Udagawa in 1997. Antenna’s design projects range from public and commercial to experimental and artistic, typically spanning object, interface and environment. Among Antenna’s best known projects are the design of New York City subway cars and ticket vending machines, Bloomberg displays and interactive environments, such as Power Flower, an installation in the windows of Bloomingdale’s activated by passersby. Antenna’s work has won numerous awards, including recognition from Business Week/IDSA, I.D., Fast Company and Wired magazine. In 2006, Antenna received the United States Artists Target Fellowship in the Architecture and Design Category. In 2008, Antenna won the National Design Award in Product Design.
Before forming Antenna, Sigi was an Interval Research Fellow at New York University. Prior, she was a senior designer at IDEO in San Francisco. She holds a master’s degree in interactive telecommunications from New York University and a B.S. in industrial design from Art Center College of Design.
Michael Wolff and Company
A founder of Wolff Olins, among the world’s most iconic design companies. Now, as Michael Wolff and Company he works with clients around the world both as a designer and creative advisor. Amongst his recent clients are The Ministry of Sound and The UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board in the UK, Citigroup in the US, and a Bank called Pyjom, or “let’s go” in Russia.
A former President of the CSD and the D&AD, Michael has given talks and interviews in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Latvia, The Netherlands, India, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Singapore. He’s a visiting Professor at Central St Martins (The University of the Arts in London) and at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Cape Town South Africa). He’s a Senior Fellow at the RCA (The Royal College of Art), a member of the UK’s faculty of Royal Designers for Industry, and is the ‘Inclusive design champion’ for the UK Government.
Soraya Darabi leads marketing and partnerships for location-based mobile application Foodspotting, which was named a TIME Top 50 Website and an “app of the year” by WIRED magazine and Apple in 2010. She regularly consults on digital media for ABC News, providing the research and strategic insight that guides the network’s online communities. In 2011, Darabi became the first digital ambassador to The United Nation’s technology group Global Pulse.
Previously, Darabi served as Product Lead at drop.io, a real-time online sharing and collaboration service recently acquired by Facebook. She began her career as Manager of Digital Partnerships and social media at the New York Times, where she successfully led the drive to syndicate NYTimes.com news and video across multiple social-media platforms. In June 2010, Fast Company featured Darabi on the cover of its annual “Most Creative People in Business” issue.
Scott Heiferman is Co-Founder & CEO of Meetup. Each week, 50,000 Meetups are self-organized by millions of people “using the internet to get off the internet.” The company is pursuing a long-range goal of a “Meetup Everywhere about Most Everything” — so that everyone has access to local community about what’s important to them. Scott lives in NYC and graduated from The University of Iowa. He was named the 2004 MIT Tech Review “Innovator of the year” and is focused for the long-haul on Meetup revolutionizing local community everywhere. He’s @heif.
Back to the Roots
Nikhil Arora is the co-founder of Back to the Roots, an urban mushroom farm in Oakland, California. He and co-founder Alejandro Velez created the company during their senior year at the University of California, Berkeley from a belief that business can be used for good. After graduating summa cum laude in 2009, they founded the mushroom farm that now makes grow-your-own Mushroom Gardens using entirely recycled coffee grounds as the soil – an idea upon which he and Alejandro came across in a business ethics lecture.
Arora was always interested in sustainability and job creation, and during college worked in Ghana for six months to implement a profitable recycling program at the 30,000+ student University of Ghana campus. He has been named one of Inc‘s 2012 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs, a CNN Generation Next Entrepreneur to Watch, Forbes‘ 30 Under 30, and one of BusinessWeek‘s Top 25 Social Entrepreneurs. The company has grown from a handful of employees to 31 employees, and was honored in Fall 2012 with an Empact100 award from the White House, recognizing Back to the Roots as one of the top 100 entrepreneurial companies in the US.
The Mien Shiang Institute
Patrician McCarthy is the first Mien Shiang expert to translate this ancient science for the mainstream American public. She founded The Mien Shiang Institute to teach the Taoist technique of Medical Facial Diagnosis, Wu Xing (the Five Element philosophy), and Face Reading. In 2000 she created the first university Certificate Program on these teachings in the United States. She has served on the faculties of Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles, and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica, California.
For more than twenty years Patrician has applied the power of this discipline to the modern world. Through her private practice she has studied thousands of faces and told their owners the most intricate and personal details of their minds, emotions, health, and spirit. Her workshops have helped many to discover their life’s passion, find their right partner, resolve conflicts, and much more.
It’s easy to take our natural gifts for granted. In this talk, Patrician McCarthy shows how the ancient practice of “face reading” can reconnect us with our innate strengths.
Author, The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman is a British author and journalist living in Brooklyn. His most recent book is The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (2012), which looks at the upsides of uncertainty, failure and imperfection, exploring unconventional approaches to flourishing everywhere from the barrios of Mexico City to the world’s largest collection of failed consumer products. He writes a popular weekly column for The Guardian on social psychology, productivity and the science of happiness, which formed the basis of his 2011 book, Help! How To Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire and Slate.
Named to MIT Technology Review‘s TR35 list of the top 35 innovators in the world under 35 in 2011, Dr. Sorcar is the founder and CEO of TeachAIDS, a nonprofit social venture founded at Stanford, which creates breakthrough software used in over 50 countries. Funded by UNICEF, Barclay’s, Google, Yahoo!, and other organizations, the TeachAIDS software addresses numerous persistent problems in HIV prevention, and provides the most effective HIV education tools to schools, governments, and NGOs worldwide — for free.
Dr. Sorcar began the research to develop TeachAIDS in 2005 as part of her graduate work. Today, she leads a team of world experts in medicine, public health, communications, and education, to develop versions of the software for new languages and cultures. She is the author of numerous articles and has been an invited speaker at many universities, including Caltech, Columbia, Tsinghua, Utrecht and Yale. She holds degrees in Economics, Business and Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an M.A. in Education and Ph.D. in Learning Sciences & Technology Design from Stanford University.
Speed isn’t everything. Nonprofit founder Piya Sorcar (TeachAIDS) describes how measured growth and iteration can benefit startups dealing with sensitive issues.
Harvard Business School
Teresa Amabile is a professor and director of research at Harvard Business School, and coauthor of The Progress Principle (2011). A psychologist, Teresa studies how everyday work life can influence people and their performance. Her research encompasses creativity, productivity, innovation, and inner work life — the confluence of emotions, perceptions, and motivation that people experience as they react to events at work.
Amabile’s most recent discoveries appear in her book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work. The book, based on research into over 12,000 daily diary entries from over 200 professionals inside organizations, illuminates how everyday events at work can impact employee well-being and performance. Published in 2011 by Harvard Business Review Press, the book is co-authored with Amabile’s husband and collaborator, Steven Kramer, Ph.D.
Amabile was awarded the E. Paul Torrance Award by the Creativity Division of the National Association for Gifted Children in 1998, and The Leadership Quarterly Best Paper Award by the Center for Creative Leadership in 2005. She has spoken to dozens of groups in business, government, and education around the world, and has taught courses on creativity, leadership, and ethics at Harvard Business School. Before moving to Harvard, she was a psychology professor at Brandeis University.
Amabile was the host/instructor of Against All Odds: Inside Statistics, a twenty-six-part instructional series originally broadcast on PBS. She has served on the boards of Seaman Corporation and other organizations. Amabile is the author of Creativity in Context and Growing Up Creative, as well as over one hundred articles, chapters, and case studies.
Could keeping a daily diary be the key to unlocking happiness at work? Creativity researcher Teresa Amabile explains the unexpected benefits of tracking daily progress.
Laura Guido-Clark is a designer whose passion is to make the human response to products more meaningful through color, material, finish and pattern. Through her trademarked process, Climatology, she researches and tracks relevant changes on the social, political, economic and emotional fronts. She distills these collective traces of the consumer consciousness into a thesis about their needs and unfulfilled desires — figuring out what people really want and why, often before they even know it themselves.
Her multiple disciplinary design studio, with locations in Berkeley, CA and Milan, IT, collaborates with companies like Kodak, HP, LG, Mattel and Toyota — as well as start-ups across industries such as automotive, consumer electronics, and home furnishings. Her textile and pattern design include work for HBF, Pallas, FLOR and Uncommon. As a result of her expertise, Laura has been invited to speak both nationally and internationally on design, and was an expert design blogger for Fast Company magazine.
Friends of the High Line
Robert Hammond is a Co-Founder and President of Friends of the High Line. His organization bought the High Line, a 1.5-mile-long disused elevated rail structure on Manhattan’s West Side, from the brink of demolition, in 1999, to the start of construction, in 2006, on its conversion to a public park. The organization has raised over $150 million, and the first phase of the park is scheduled to open in 2008.
Mr. Hammond has worked as a consultant for a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors and non-profits, including the Times Square Alliance, Alliance for the Arts and National Cooperative Bank (NCB).
As a founding team member and then as a board member, Mr. Hammond helped to launch thebody.com, the largest online HIV/AIDS information resource in 1996. Thebody.com achieved profitability three years after its launch and remains one of the few consistently profitable health-related Web sites. In 1994 he helped launch and subsequently sell an in-hotel catalog company.
Mr. Hammond is also a self-taught artist. With work in private and corporate collections, his work can be seen publicly in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Battery Park, CraftSteak New York and Craft Dallas. From 2002 to 2005 he served as an Ex-Officio Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mr. Hammond holds a graduated with Honors in History from Princeton University. Born and raised in San Antonio, TX he has lived in the West Village since 1994.
Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line, shares insights on executing large-scale community projects, culled from his 10-year battle to transform a disused rail structure into an iconic public park.
Obama for America
Scott Thomas is constantly seeking the simplest answer to complex problems. Scott began his design pursuits studying architecture before bouncing to graphic design and web development.
Prior to moving to Chicago, where he set his sights on user-experience design, Scott called London’s Shoreditch home. From products to websites, Scott works to simplify the experience of use.
In 2006, he and five other creative types began a design collective, lovingly known as The Post Family. The group is devoted to supporting “family” member’s design habits-from silkscreen to letterpress, from illustration to blogging-in an effort to “get back to the hand.”
In 2007, Scott’s career took a dramatic leap when he was invited to join the New Media team at Obama for America. The chance encounter led Scott to becoming the Design Director of the historic Obama Presidential campaign. He is currently writing a book that explains how an obscure senator rose to the highest office in the land and celebrity status with the aid of branding and design.
Scott plans to continue designing for social causes that might just someday change the world.
Obama’s successful 2008 campaign marked the first time that branding and design played a pivotal role in a presidential bid. Design Director Scott Thomas talks about how it unfolded behind the scenes.
Eve Blossom is the Founder and CEO of Lulan Artisans, designers and producers of sustainable textiles that elegantly merge original contemporary designs with centuries-old weaving techniques. She works in partnership with more than 800 weavers, spinners, dyers and finishers – in small workshops in Cambodia, India, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Blossom seeks to empower these artisans through an economic engine and celebrate their spirit, talents and traditions – giving them a stronger voice for their future. Lulan Artisans integrates Blossom’s design sensibilities with her yearning to create social change and the company is charting new territory as a for-profit social venture. Lulan works closely with these individuals, paying sustainable wages, creating economic stability, growing local economies and assisting in other social benefits – such as education, housing, healthcare – as well as opening up new markets for their products.
Frequent lecturer on design and social change, trained-architect Eve Blossom is not only committed to environmentally responsible design, she is also intent on changing business methodologies to create economic options for artisans whether in Southeast Asia or in the U.S. She received her Masters in Architecture from Tulane University and has undertaken graduate studies in Business Administration.
After witnessing the horrors of the sex trade in Southeast Asia, entrepreneur Eve Blossom set out to create a new breed of collaborative business.
Radio Producer & Writer
Starlee Kine is a radio producer and writer. She is a regular contributor to the public radio show This American Life. Her dispatch on sad break-up songs won the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s Gold Prize for best radio story. You can also hear her on the CBC show, Wiretap.
Her writing has appeared in WIRED, Gourmet, and the New York Times Magazine. With The Thing Quarterly, she created a limited edition cutting board, specifically meant to be used to chop up onions. She has performed live for the Moth Mainstage and is co-creator of The Post-It Note Reading Series. She is finishing up her first book, It IS Your Fault, about her adventures in the self-help industry.
“This American Life” contributor and producer Starlee Kine talks about what making ideas happen has to do with Little Orphan Annie and Phil Collins.
UX Instigator & Yoga Teacher
Irene Au is dedicated to raising the strategic value of design and user research within software companies through better methods and practices, processes, leadership, and quality. Irene led User Experience at Google for six years, where her team was responsible for design and user research for all of Google’s products worldwide. Prior to Google, Irene established and led the User Experience and Design team at Yahoo! for eight years. She now advises and consults for companies on all matters UX and teaches yoga and meditation.