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!

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.

What’s Your Best Piece of Advice?

At the last CreativeMornings/NewYork we asked: What’s your best piece of advice. Here are some of the answers.

All photos by the wonderful Katherine 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.

Big Giant Bacon

Today we had our extra special Benefit CreativeMornings with two thoughtful talks by Jason Santa Maria and Simon Collison. The talks were nothing short of fantastic and I can not wait to share them. And how much fun was it to sip Mimosas at 9am and indulge in some photobooth fun! Check the photos here.


CreativeMornings Video: Erik Spiekermann

Ever since Jürgen Siebert started the CreativeMornings/Berlin chapter I have been secretly hoping for Erik Spiekermann to honor our humble organization with one of his talks. I happened! And it’s in English! Score! Hooray!

Please Support My CreativeMornings Kickstarter

I am just so excited to be able to share our Kickstarter Campaign with you, that literally JUST launched!

After attending several conferences over the past few years, I felt like there had to be a more accessible event that was really just about bringing likeminded people together. So, I started CreativeMornings. One Friday morning a month, people in the creative community gather to hear a speaker share their story. The best part is that the coffee, the breakfast, the lecture — everything is free.

CreativeMornings was in four cities only a year ago. Now we are at 34 chapters and span six continents, thanks to our hard working hosts all around the world.

So here’s the problem. 34 chapters means 34 talks every month. We never planned for CreativeMornings to grow like this. We’ve been taping these talks all along, but as of now they are spread across the internet. It kills us that there are videos from hundreds of leading designers, artists, chefs, entrepreneurs, and no good place to see them all.

Here’s why I am turning to Kickstarter. We have the potential to create a growing archive of stories, ideas and advice from remarkable creative minds across 34 cities, but we need to start building it now.

Your support, no matter how big or little, will help us build a new home for all of the CreativeMornings content.

Please consider supporting my Kickstarter Campaign and help me make CreativeMornings better.

pssst: Check out our rewards, they are quite something.


Kelly Dobson is the mastermind behind the ingenious ScreamBody, a portable space for screaming. When a user needs to scream but is in a situations where it is just not permitted, ScreamBody silences the user’s screams so they may feel free to vocalize without fear of environmental retaliation, and at the same time records the scream for later release where, when, and how the user chooses.

Can’t wait for Kelly Dobson’s CreativeMornings talk this Friday, at the Rhode Island School of Design PopUp Chapter. Sign up, if you live close by! See you there!

Twenty-Nine Cities, One Global Conversation

June is going to be a big month for CreativeMornings, a free breakfast lecture series I started a little over three years ago here in NYC: For the first time, all 29 CreativeMornings chapters will be hosting their events under one common, unified theme: The Intersection of Arts + Technology, presented in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

The arts are often seen as a “nice to have,” especially amidst tight budgets. Yet, CreativeMornings believes that it is through mixing arts and design with other disciplines that society can foster the next generation of creative doers and makers. In an effort to stir up a global conversation, CreativeMornings has partnered with John Maeda, President of RISD and their STEM to STEAM initiative to recognize the magic that bubbles up when Arts and Tech intersect.

As part of this first-ever themed month, there will also be a special RISD pop up chapter in Providence, Rhode Island with speaker, Kelly Dobson.

Below is a short conversation we taped between John Maeda and myself when we visited RISD a few weeks back:

I feel like this themed month is pushing CreativeMornings to the next level and really ties all the 29 chapters together. And what can I say, I am thrilled for the partnership with John Maeda and his team at RISD. There’s nothing better than collaborating with people who’s work you admire, is there?

For more details on all the june events, visit

CreativeMornings Video: Bre Pettis

Last week’s CreativeMornings/NewYork was with Bre Pettis, co-founder and CEO of Makerbot, a company that produces robots that make things. He spoke on his passion of all things DIY and how you simply can’t say no when your friends say “Let’s quit our jobs and make robots!”

A big giant thank you to Ben Hallman for filming and editing the talks. We heart your intros!

CreativeMornings Video: Simon Sinek

I am extremely excited to share last week’s CreativeMornings talk by Simon Sinek. His talk was a touching one, definitely getting under my skin. Simon’s message is an important one and I can assure you that watching his talk is 20minutes well spent. Simon believes in a world in which the vast majority of people go home everyday feeling fulfilled by their work. Amen to that.

A big giant thank you to our videographer Ben Hallman.

Responsibility at Work

“Your responsibility at work is to help people achieve more than they know they are capable of.”
– Simon Sinek

A quote by Simon Sinek during today’s CreativeMornings talk. I will be sharing his talk next week.

CreativeMornings Video: Aaron James Draplin

Portland/CreativeMornings – Aaron James Draplin from CreativeMornings/Portland on Vimeo.

The speaker at the March 2012 Portland/CreativeMornings was Aaron James Draplin.

Many thanks to Pro Photo Supply for lending the Portland chapter the gear to capture the talk and to Paul Searle for shooting and editing this video.

Behind the Scenes CreativeMornings/Vancouver

Check out the video below that the CreativeMornings/Vancouver chapter, led by Mark Busse put together. It is giving us a fantastic behind the scenes look at the volunteers and overall effort of organizing the monthly lecture series.

This video put the biggest smile on my face and fills me with so much gratitude for all the CreativeMornings volunteers all around the world. Thank you Team Vancouver!

Yes to the Idea of an Indoor Park

Today’s CreativeMornings/NewYork with Charles Renfro was generously hosted by Park Here, a gallery turned indoor park. It was packed and seriously fantastic. What a fun venue! A big giant thank you to the team at Open House Gallery for hosting us. Here’s a short video about the space and the idea behind it all:

Parke Here is only open for a few more days. They are starting to break it all down on the 15th, next week. If you’re in NYC, make sure to stop by asap.

Why I started CreativeMornings…

A few weeks ago I traveled to Atlanta to hear Ben Chestnut’s CreativeMornings talk. Ron Dawson of Dare Dreamer Magazine interviewed me briefly, asking me a few questions on why I started CreativeMornings. And just now, he sent over the link to the above video.


So excited and thankful for Ron to put this together. CreativeMornings is entirely built on such generous gestures. We have now 22 chapters, run by close to a 100 volunteers and backed by numerous sponsors. A humbling and inspiring network of global creative types that believe that we are all contributing to something valuable – human connections.

Thank you Ron.

10am Girl Walk // All Day Dance Party

Photo by Emily Gilbert

Today’s CreativeMornings talk by Jacob Krupnick was followed by a Girl Walk // All Day movie screening which turned into an impressive dance party. Who says you can’t have a dance party at 10am?

Girl Walk // All Day is a 71 minutes dance video / love letter to NYC. Watch it here.

CreativeMornings Video: Ben Chestnut

A few weeks ago I traveled to Atlanta to see Ben Chestnut, co-founder of Mailchimp speak at CreativeMornings/Atlanta. That was the best money I’ve ever spent on an airplane ticket. Ben talked about the history of the company and what he does as a manager to cultivate the infamous Mailchimp culture. If you are running a creative business do yourself a favor and watch the talk!

A little background info: Ben Chestnut is the CEO and co-founder of, one of the most successful e-mail marketing companies around, with over 1.2 million users. They were recently featured in “Fast Company” for their non-traditional corporate culture and creative environment. Ben is one of my all-time personal rolemodels when it comes to running a creative business. Meeting him was my highlight in 2011. (Yes, I am a fan!)

A big giant thank you for the CreativeMornings/Atlanta team, especially Blake Howard, for organizing the morning and Dare Dreamer Media for taping and editing the talk.

CreativeMornings LA/NYC Dec 16th

To celebrate the end of an exciting year for CreativeMornings, we sent out an open call to our amazing audience members to find 6 inspiring CreativeMornings-goers to take the stage in NYC and LA.

Sure enough we received *a lot* fantastic video applications. It was hard to narrow it down to only three per chapter. We caved and added one more speaker to the line up in NYC. Our speakers at next week’s CreativeMornings in LA/NY are: *drumroll*

Edward Boatman of The Noun Project
Shannon Flaherty of Hustle Up
Paul Scrivens of Drawar

Prescott Perez-Fox of Your Business Card Sucks
Catherine Mulbrandon of Visualizing Economics
Larry Legend of
Dan Provost of Studio Neat

For more info on the speakers, head over to our CreativeMornings blog.

Sign up for the NYC chapter opens on monday, december 12th at 11am over at and at 11am Los Angeles time over at

Yay for experiments and for a truly inspiring 2011!

Each of us is unique.

We just discovered this gem of a promo video that the team of CreativeMornings/Atlanta put together. I am humbled. What a touching thought and execution. Thanks to Rick Anwyl, the first time-attendee Paul Stechmesser and Dare Dreamer Media!

Become a CreativeMornings speaker (LA or NYC)

To celebrate the end of another fantastic 2011 CreativeMornings year we thought we’d do something special and turn the mic to our audience.

We’re inviting anyone interested to apply to be a December CreativeMornings speaker in New York City or Los Angeles. Three people will be chosen (for each chapter) to give an eight minute talk.

To apply: submit a quick 60 second “talk-to-the-webcam” video telling us about you, your talk, and why you’d love to speak at CreativeMornings.

The application deadline is Nov 20th, 9pm EST. Hooray for experiments!

More info and short video with our siberian tiger, Kurt.

Apply here

CreativeMornings Video: Sharon Ann Lee

Our CreativeMorning speaker at the September 2011 Los Angeles event was trend analyst/author Sharon Ann Lee.

One of her slides in her deck really made me think. On it she asks: What quadrant are you in on this work/happiness map?

Her talk is on the topic of the growing trend called (DYO) Design Your Own Success. She wonderfully explains how important it is to say no and to smartly allocate our time and energy.

Watch it here:

Many thanks to Chris Ganser for shooting and editing this video.