Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count

There is nothing more frightening than the moment we expose our ideas to the world. Author and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown shows us how to deal with the critics and our own self-doubt by refusing to “armor up” and shut ourselves off. “Not caring what people think,” she says, “is its own kind of hustle.”

From last year’s 99U Conference. Did you get your ticket for the 2014 99U?

The Never Talked About Side of Doing Good

What is it to give yourself to an idea? Where the thing you love is the thing that hollows you out. Dedicating yourself to something that becomes all consuming because you believe in the idea and the impact this has on yourself and your relationships. Finding something where you have to give up something of yourself and your relationships and not think about the problems this might create because you believe in the idea. Adil gives a heartfelt talk about his own very personal journey of making his ideas happen.

Lots of more fantastic talks to be found here, over at the Do Lectures Archive.

Designer as CEO?

Designer as CEO

I am honored to be part of next weeks Designers Debate Club. It is taking place on October 1st at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in NYC.

Craig Shapiro and I will be debating *for* designers leading companies while Gadi Amit and Rick Webb are debating against.

The four of us will be in the wonderful hands of ringmaster Debbie Millman. Come and join us! Get your ticket here.

What’s your thought on the topic? Should designers take on the role as CEO?

Creating an Environment for Creativity & Empowerment

A wonderful talk by Mailchimp co-founder Ben Chestnut on creating an environment for creativity and empowerment. I wish I could follow Ben around for 3 months. Just follow him and soak up how he runs Mailchimp.

Nearly Impossible Conference

Nearly Impossible

Nearly Impossible is a two-day Brooklyn conference for people who make and sell physical products. Happening this November, the conference will focus on the stories of how companies have tackled their biggest hurdles and the tools they used to make it all happen.

As someone who knew nothing about shipping physical goods 2 years ago and now ships Tattly to over 600 stores worldwide, I couldn’t be more excited to attend.

Some of the speakers include Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify, David Bias, VP of Impossible Project and Rachel Shechtman, Founder of Story. Congrats to Rusty Meadows on a great idea.

Nearly Impossible is taking place on November 7th and 8th in Brooklyn and costs $295. Register here.

CreativeMornings Video: Harley Finkelstein

Harley Finkelstein, entrepreneur, lawyer, and the Chief Platform Officer (CPO) at Shopify spoke at CreativeMornings/Ottawa in April.

Harley speaks on how “technology is eating the world” and how in an economy where everything is becoming democratized—fundraising, prototyping, selling, fulfillment—behemoth companies are going to find it harder to compete with the small, creative organizations. An excellent watch for large corporate CEOs and small business owners alike.

Find a CreativeMornings chapter near you.

CreativeMornings/Video: Chris Glass

At May’s CreativeMornings/Cincinnati, my dear friend Chris Glass got personal and shared what makes him tick and why design is ‘awesome’. (His own words!) Chris is one of my favorite people. You should watch his talk.

Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia

I am thoroughly fascinated by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. Yvon is a legendary climber, businessman and environmentalist.

I can’t remember when I last highlighted as many paragraphs as in his book Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman. Mr. Chouinard makes me think about my values and how I run my businesses. The world needs more leaders like him!

I would like to create an extensive list of entrepreneurs that have values we can look up to. I refuse to believe that in order to super-successful you have to be ruthless and unethical. I want to believe that (business) success can be built on respect, kindness and decisions that don’t always come down to money. Yvon Chouinard fits that category. Who else?

In this talk, Mr. Chouinard talks about his personal history, how he created Patagonia, and the philosophy he uses to run the company. He discusses how he has tried to minimize Patagonia’s impact on the environment, such as making fleece clothing from recycled soda bottles. He also talks about his One Percent for the Planet plan in which participating businesses contribute at least 1% of their net annual sales to groups on a list of researched and approved environmental organizations. I also recommend this article about Mr. Chouinard over at Inc Magazine.

Flow, The Secret To Happiness

In this TED talk Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, “What makes a life worth living?” Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.”

(Thanks Rob)

Explosion of Creativity

“The internet has resulted in the biggest explosion of creativity in history.”
— Andy Baio

Watch Andy’s CreativeMornings talk.

CreativeMornings / The Future

The FUture

This April, all of our whopping 49 CreativeMornings chapters around the world are hosting talks that address our theme “The Future”. It was picked by our San Francisco chapter host Erika Hall, and the talented Frank Chimero illustrated it.

Writer/artist Austin Kleon already spoke at our shiny new Austin, TX chapter. Other speakers include location software maker/explorer Amber Case (Portland), and Catherine Rohr, who founded an accelerator program for ambitious entrepreneurs with criminal histories (New York.)

To find the April event closest to you, keep your eye on CreativeMornings.com, or follow your local chapter on Twitter. As always, free tickets are available starting the Monday before the talk.

I would like to express my gratitude to Squarespace, our global partner for this month. If it wasn’t for the generosity of our sponsors CreativeMornings could not be free event series.

My SXSW Talk

Here’s my SXSW talk in which I speak on my path of becoming a designer in Switzerland, making the transition moving to New York and establishing my various businesses. I speak on my 11 rules and values I live by, both in my professional and personal life. In fact, I speak on the fact that I barely distinguish between the two and that my kids have been my biggest career catalysts. Enjoy!

Also, here’s a Recap Rap by Saul Paul.


I asked the audience during my SXSW talk to do the wave for me. Why? I realized that there were more people in the room listening to me than lived in the Swiss village I grew up in. In this fleeting moment of authority, I figured I might as well see what it would look like if my entire village did the wave. And it worked! Dave Racine was sitting in the way back and took a vine. His perspective was such much better than mine from the stage! Thank you Dave!

ps: Watch my talk here.

SXSW Talk LiveStream Today

SXSW Keynote

I am currently in Austin, Texas, attending the massive SXSW conference. I have the honor to be be giving the Keynote for SXSW Interactive which will be live streamed: Tune in here for the live stream, at 2pm Austin time, 3pm New York time or 8pm Zurich time. Today, Sunday March 10th!

UPDATE: You can watch my recorded talk here.

Amanda Palmer: The art of asking

An absolutely impressive talk by Amanda Palmer. She believes we shouldn’t make people pay for music, but letting them pay. In this passionate TED talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan. Amanda Palmer believes we shouldn’t fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable — and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.



A quote from Ping Fu’s moving CreativeMornings talk last month.

CreativeMornings Theme: Money

creativemornings money

CreativeMornings is continuing with themes for each month. January was Happiness, and for February our Zurich host Daniel chose Money.

Amsterdam-based artist Tim Boelaars collaborated with us to illustrate the topic. And we are thrilled to have Squarespace as our global partner and help us make this month happen.

Jessica Jackley, the founder of Kiva, will be our speaker in New York on February 15th. RSVP will open on Monday the 11th, at 11am. More info here.

I can’t wait to see all the different interpretations of Money in relation to creativity. This will be interesting.

Did you see last month’s moving New York talk by Ping Fu?

CreativeMornings: Ping Fu

For our first global CreativeMornings theme of 2013 “Happiness,” we had the honor to have Ping Fu share her moving story with us.

Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for being born into a well educated family. To be deported and having to start over without family or friends.

She also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software innovator, a CEO and Inc magazine’s entrepreneur of the year. To give speeches that inspire and to advise the president of the United States.

Ping Fu’s story is a story of two worlds. A story of pure human resilience.

A big thank you to Ben Hallman for filming and editing Ping’s talk and to Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, Brooklyn for hosting us.

CreativeMornings introduces Themes

“Happiness” illustration by Jen Mussari

I am truly excited to announce that CreativeMornings will be hosting unified themes across our 40+ chapters in 2013. This month, over 5,000 attendees will meet up at CreativeMornings events on six continents for speakers that relate to our January theme, “Happiness”.

Imagine 40+ local conversations all contributing to a much bigger global conversation. I truly believe that this is what will set CreativeMornings apart from any other organization and that will connect our communities across the globe. I can not wait to see how our host cities interpret the themes. Exciting times!

A big thank you to Mailchimp for sponsoring the themed month!

Stop waiting.

“Stop waiting for something to happen or for someone to give you permission to do things.”
– Kate Kendall

A quote from Kate Kendall’s CreativeMornings/Melbourne talk. Watch it here.

Paula Scher speaking at AGI Open

I enjoyed listening to Paula Scher talking about how she went about designing the new Windows 8 logo.

CreativeMornings Short with George Lois

Design legend George Lois ended his fantastic CreativeMornings talk with powerful advice for us creative types: It’s all about being courageous. Watch it, it’s only 1:40min.

(What do you think of this new format of us sharing CreativeMornings Shorts?)

George Lois’ CreativeMornings talk at the Met

Last month, CreativeMornings/NewYork teamed up with Spectrum and invited advertising legend George Lois to the Met in celebration of the exhibition Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop.

Lois is perhaps best known for the more than ninety-two covers he designed for Esquire magazine between 1962 and 1972, but he is also a prolific art director and author. A fantastic talk, by a design legend, in a humbling venue. A magical morning all around.

The 500 people event took place in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Friday, November 16, 2012! George’s talk was filmed by Met staff and edited by Ben Hallman. You can see photos of the event over on Flickr thanks to Katherine Miles Jones.

CreativeMornings Video: Maira Kalman

Our speaker at the October 2012 CreativeMornings/NewYork was the incredibly charming, deep and thoughtful Maira Kalman. Maira is an award-winning artist, illustrator, and product designer. She has illustrated numerous covers for The New Yorker magazine and has written and illustrated more than a dozen children’s books. Her articles and illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Interview, and many other publications.

The event was generously hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

And it’s thanks to the generous filming and editing work of Ben Hallman that you are able to watch this talk online. If you would like photos of the event, please check our Flickr set. All photos by the wonderful Katherine Miles Jones.