2018 main stage speakers inspired us to tackle our biggest creative challenges, covering topics like leading with compassion, creating otherworldly experiences, and effecting social good.
John Maeda is an American executive spearheading a new convergence across the design and technology industries. He joined Automattic in 2016 as Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion and previously served as Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), a world-leading venture capital firm.
An internationally recognized speaker and author, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code, and Redesigning Leadership. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering + Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State U, and a PhD from University of Tsukuba in Japan. He has appeared as a speaker all over the world, from Davos to Beijing to São Paulo to New York, and his talks for TED.com have received cumulative views of over 2 million to date.
Maeda serves on the Board of Directors for wireless hi-fi innovator Sonos and the global advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy. Prior to his work in industry, Maeda was a tenured research professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and 16th President of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Maeda can be found on Twitter discussing technology, business and design at @johnmaeda, one of TIME Magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds.
One of our favorite creative doers and community galvanizers, Tina returns to the 99U Conference main stage following her 2014 talk that inspired thousands to 'Create, Don't Complain'. Among her many projects, businesses, and achievements, Tina is the founder of the global lecture series CreativeMornings, ubiquitous designer temporary tattoo brand Tattly, and beloved design blog Swissmiss.
Tea works on a range of projects with cultural organizations and practitioners to enable artists, writers, and performers to use digital tools to amplify or augment their artistic, theatrical, or musical practice. Her output includes seven books, 17 websites, six apps, a feature film, three plays, two concerts, four museum exhibits, and some teddy bears that talk. She is an AGI member, on the board of the Biennale of Sydney, D&AD’s 2018 Digital Jury President, and a mentor to young female creatives worldwide.
After breaking ground in national government as the creative director and digital strategist for the Obama White House, Ashleigh now leads the creative studio at Automattic, a company with the mission to democratize publishing and commerce. She is a fervent advocate for design's ability to break barriers and create positive social change.
Few 99U speakers have a better window into your psyche than Todd. A former filmmaker, Todd joined Netflix almost 12 years ago, and in his current role as Vice President of Product, he leads the team that leverages vast amounts of data, sophisticated algorithms, and best-in-class user interfaces across numerous viewing devices to create easy, compelling ways for Netflix members to find something great to watch.
Mona has attracted praise for her unique, illustrated presentations of data on everything from pay inequality to pet safety on airlines for the Guardian US. She previously worked with FiveThirtyEight and the Economist Intelligence Unit, hosted a regular data segment on NPR called The Number Of The Week, and co-created the Emmy-nominated video series Vagina Dispatches.
Jason is the creative CEO behind Super Heroic, a mission-driven business focused on providing quality play-performance footwear, apparel, and technology for children. An accomplished design leader, Jason previously oversaw products and innovations for the Jordan Brand as the Senior Global Design Director at Nike, and serves as an advisor to Stephen Curry’s Slyce platform, portfolio companies at venture firm Accel, and the College for Creative Studies.
The often humorous, sometimes dark work of the artist known as 'adamjk' can be seen everywhere from tote bags at New York's iconic Strand Bookstore to enamel pins on the shelves of Urban Outfitters. Adam frequently speaks and writes about the realities of creative work, notably in his latest book, Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives.
Audrey is the Director of Product Design for Driver and Growth at Lyft. In her role, she leads a multi-disciplinary team to define and craft the experience that more than a million drivers use.
She was previously the Director of Product Design at Thumbtack where she helped to build the team, redefine the brand, and chart a new vision for the product experience. Prior to Thumbtack, Audrey was Managing Creative Director at SYPartners where she lead the design of SYP’s self-branded product business and designed their very first consumer digital product, Unstuck. Simultaneously, she was also fortunate enough to lead product and strategic design efforts for clients such as Oprah, Kiva, and Starbucks.
Audrey believes in the power of design to change behavior and create positive impact in the world. When she isn’t busy working on digital products and building teams, she’s being a mom, making things by hand, and often outdoors.
Tiffany is a catalyst-at-large in the world of women’s leadership and the author of Drop the Ball, a memoir and manifesto on how to cultivate the single skill you really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go. Tiffany helped launch Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In initiative, and recently served as Chief Leadership Officer to millennial professional network Levo. Tiffany serves on the board of Girls Who Code and Simmons College and has raised nearly $20 million toward for women and girls worldwide.
Marcelino J. Alvarez is the founder and CEO of Uncorked Studios, a product design studio located in Portland, Oregon. Uncorked is a design studio that connects people, technology, and context to create meaningful change. Uncorked partners with the world’s top brands, including Google, Intel, Adidas, Diageo, Care.com, Samsung, Skype, the Bezos Family Foundation, Magnum Foundation, and more to build products with purpose.
Previously, Alvarez served as Executive Interactive Producer at Wieden + Kennedy. He produced the Nike Chalkbot, a robot that printed messages of hope and inspiration on the Tour de France in 2009 and 2010. He’s a cofounder of Safecast, an open data initiative to help residents of Japan report and understand the levels of radiation following the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster, and Incúbate, the first design-thinking workshop and incubator in Havana, Cuba.
Alvarez has spoken at the Concordia Summit, SXSW Interactive, Interaction 18, Mobile as a Platform for Change, Cre8Con, Techfest Northwest, Design Week Portland, Bonfire, TIE Oregon, and the InnoTech Conference, and has appeared as a guest on Think Out Loud, Up Next, and Conversion Aid programs. He sits on the board of the Freshwater Trust and Portland State University’s Center for Retail Leadership, and is an investor in the Oregon Venture Fund.
Scott Belsky is an executive, entrepreneur, author, and investor (and all-around product obsessive). He currently serves as Adobe's Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. Scott's passion is to make the creative world more productive, connected, and adaptive to new technologies.
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. After Behance's acquisition, Scott helped reboot Adobe's mobile product strategy and led Behance until 2016, when he spent a few years as an investor and advisor to multiple businesses. Alongside his role at Adobe, Scott is a Venture Partner at Benchmark, a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, an early-stage investor, and is co-founder and Chairman of Prefer, a referrals platform that empowers the careers of independent professionals (aka "Soloists”).
Over the years, Scott has pursued other projects to help organize and empower the careers of creative people. These include 99U, Behance's think tank and annual conference devoted to execution in the creative world; and a popular line of organizational paper products that help organize creative people and teams.
Scott is also the author of the international bestselling book Making Ideas Happen (Portfolio Imprint, Penguin Books, April, 2010).
99U and Behance cofounder Scott Belsky believes the earliest days of a product are its most critical. In this talk, Belsky outlines the key qualities that lead to a product’s early adoption and longterm success.
Will Allen is a Senior Director at Adobe where he leads Community Products, including Behance, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Talent, and 99U. Millions of people across the globe use Behance and Adobe Portfolio every month to showcase and discover creative work. Prior to Adobe’s acquisition of Behance, Will acted as Behance’s COO. Previously, he created strategic partnerships with global brands at TED and was co-founder of the consultancy Industry Digital Media.
We dove into new disciplines and frameworks over two afternoons with some of our favorite creative individuals and organizations. Hands-on workshops explored everything from animation and hand-lettering to effective feedback and innovative thinking.