I love the power of a great story
From fireside chats, songwriting and
Shingerviews video series. The two
the written word to immersive cinema,
highlights inside are the Grammy
the Web and augmented reality, the art
award-winning musician Imogen Heap
of storytelling is a shapeshifting form.
and the Oscar award-winning polymath
Technology will continue to evolve at
Kevin Spacey.
hyper speed. But it’s heartening and
humanizing to know that regardless
Other stories are from the talented
the form of transmission, great stories
editorial teams of AOL, such as The
always last.
Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget,
Stylist and AOL On. Each story is an
At AOL, we also love great stories
online native, but I decided they deserve
and the editorial teams here create
a life offline.
a universe of content covering many
of my loves including art, design and
So go on, turn the page and
feel the love -- curated by me,
distilled for you.
These pages represent a handpicked
selection of stories that celebrate
Embrace the joy of the new year and as
creativity. Some of these stories
Katharine Hepburn said, “If you obey
are mine in the form of ideas or as
all the rules, you miss all the fun!”
complete conversations with incredibly
inventive people in culture who I have
had the privilege to meet through my
Musician Imogen Heap
Daper Dude Scott Schuman
I am with the brand
Arianna Huffington Speaks
Polymath Kevin Spacey
Jeans I wear
Stylist Advice
Maker Gloria SteInem
Andy Spade on Stylist
Twitter BY TechCrunch
BLackberry BY Engadget
AOL in review
Meet the boss
Meet the ads bosses
I would still be making things. I would be finding maybe certain types of
fabrics or new kinds of materials that might interest me to either maybe
make some crazy clothing up or make some instruments out of them. For
me, technology, it’s a kind of a conduit to get me to a place in my mind
that I have an idea and technology often helps me get there quicker, and
takes me by surprise because often new technologies, you don’t know
how they’re going to work and so there’s a lot of happy accidents that
can happen when you try out a piece of gear for the first time, or if you’re
making a piece of gear. I’m very lucky to be developing, with an amazing
team of people, a pair of musical gloves.
With the gloves, I can do all the things I do inside the computer when I’m
making music, but I can do them on the fly and I can do them walking
around with no wires through gesture, and through movement, through
taking those sounds, those virtual instruments inside the box, or those
functions, those actions that I might use like record, or pan left and right.
These are kinds of things now which I can kind’s almost like going
into technology and trying to come back to the human, trying to take
these amazing tools that we have, amazing technologies, but actually
engineering them more to be human again. Almost bionic.
I quite like the idea of one day having my
When did you start
phone or stuff inside me - I wear it all the
to discover technology?
time anyway. Why not just have it inside
me? People got used to pacemakers.
I suppose in a way the pianola was
Maybe we can get used to phones inside
my first introduction into music and
our arms. These gloves are like an
technology. Even though I didn’t sit and
extension of me. I think when technology
play and go, “Okay, let the piano do the
becomes that, rather than something
work,” that was my first introduction to
you have to feel like your thinking about,
it. I suppose that’s where I began - was
it becomes a natural part of daily life.
with piano - and there you have melody,
When you can integrate it and you don’t
and you have harmony, and you have
have to think, it becomes like a second
rhythm, and you have all of these things
skin. I think we’re getting to that point
all together.
now with wearable technology and it’s
very exciting.
The great thing about the piano is even
though, of course, it can be difficult to
play, but it can also be very easy to play.
And just by putting your foot on the
pedal and playing any of the white notes
it just sounds great, or any of the black
notes, it sounds great. It’s a welcoming
instrument and I like instruments like
that where you can get a really great,
complex sound out of it without really
knowing very much about it.
Then, later, I wanted to learn. I wanted
to learn more instruments I wanted to
learn about all the kind of layers of an
orchestra. So I learned the cello. I tried
the violin and it wasn’t working out so I
went for the cello because you instantly
look cool. Then I went onto the clarinet
to learn about the woodwind. I did try
the trumpet because I really fancied a
trumpet player at my school, but that
didn’t work out, so I never learned a
brass instrument, but I love the trumpet
Do you encourage
and wish I could play.
Fan participation?
From a very early age I was very
March the 14th of 2011 was also the
interested in multitracking in a way
day my niece was born. I know that
by kind of scoring out parts for the
because her heartbeat sound is on the
orchestra at school, [so pretty rubbish],
record, before she was out into the
and understanding these different lanes
world. She was actually born on that
of kind of going from the beginning of a
day, and my brother sent me the sound
melody idea and then seeing how it all
of her heartbeat while she was still in
connects. I’ve always been very interested
[Kate’s] womb. Then she came out by
in that, like taking things to pieces and
the evening and she was already in the
putting them back together again, or
making things, also with houses like
having a train set of my dad’s that I used
What I wanted to do with the record was
to play with. I just like making things.
capture the spark of the fans. I wanted
to turn it on its head, so I wanted them
to give me a kind of baton to run with.
both fit in perfectly. There was this kind
At six o’clock in the morning I opened
of magical timing thing, so I decided that
the SoundCloud flood gates and I said,
was definitely the tempo, because they
“Right for this hour, I’m going to be
both fit.
taking samples.” I didn’t specify anything
actually, but I suppose they know me so
From there, somebody sent in this really
well now.
amazing sound [actually of a ukulele just
going through a granulation effect], so it
I wasn’t looking for chords, instruments,
was just like one chord, I loved the sound
you know, melodies; I was looking for
of it. I improvised live, I kind of pulled
everyday sounds like [making rubbing
the beats and pulled together some stuff,
noise], somebody scratching their jeans
a kind of sound world of things that
ended up being you know part of the song,
I really liked out of about 800 or 900
and somebody going [biting teeth noise]
sounds. I chose them all that day. Then,
ended up being on the song. Somebody
live on camera, my brother was watching
opening their patio door [mimicking
and I was like, “[Charles], you’ve got
whoosh noise] ended up being the main
to listen to Robin’s heart beat in song.”
part of a song, a dishwasher door opening
And I realized right, I’ve never done this
[mimicking creaking noise], became a
before, and I wasn’t planning on it but it
big, long reverb which in turn became
just came.
first things I really loved was the Slinky.
Somebody sent the Slinky going down the
and I’m going to sing the first thing that
stairs, and then at the 12:00 o’clock slot
comes into my head, and that’s going
for this hour [because I did four of them
to be if first idea for the song. I haven’t
for every time zone], and my brother sent
done it yet because I’ve just been piecing
in the sound of Robin’s heart beat. They
together.” So I played the piano and I
the chorus.
With all of these I just wanted to see
where it took me. I wanted to see what
would happen, so I began... one of the
nd I said, “I’m just going to play
the first thing that comes into my head,
sang something, and it ended up being
It takes me, sometimes, to places I
the verse.
wouldn’t expect. Also, it gives me the
freedom to dream and to bring things
It was really exciting for me to share that
to life as there were so many things
moment - that beginning kind of foggy
I thought were out of my bounds. I
thing that’s coming from somewhere
actually went to the MIT Media Lab, and
in the back of my head and out. It was
I saw all this amazing technology they
really exciting for me to be able to do that
were playing with and it gave me this
over on the Internet with people kind of
awareness that, wow, there are actually
looking in and sharing that moment,
young people out there who have access
which is usually a very deeply personal
to this kind of stuff in the real world as
moment when you’re kind of on your own
well, not just the MIT Media Lab.
and you’re waiting for this idea to come
pop into your head.
There’s these kind of half labs, or makea-spaces which are, kind of, blooming,
blossoming everywhere. I haven’t yet
A lot of people fear
tapped into that as much as I’d like.
technology. It seems to give you
During this period now where I finish
confidence. What does it do for
my record, I’d actually really love to go
you creatively?
regularly to my local mix place and learn
to do things like circuitry and sewing
circuitry - like what we’re doing with the
gloves - because it feels like it’s a common
language now for so many young people.
I’d like it to be my common language, too.
I’d like to know, “oh okay, that’s how you
fix that thing, or that’s how you do that.”
I want to do that myself. In the past
you’d think, “oh, I can’t do that; that’s for
somebody else to do because they’re all
technologically minded.”
I mean, who would’ve thought in five
Gestural language and wearable tech... It
years, just from the last five years,
enhances your life without you knowing,
we would have things like wearable
without you having to think too much
technology? I feel like for me there’s been
about it.
a period where technology’s at
this place where maybe it’s not as easy
It might be clothing that tells you now
to interact with, it’s not as fluid as you
it’s time to go to bed, you’re tired, or
would like it to be.
give you information about whether
you need to go for a run in the next 20
I think we’ll start to see a kind of gestural
minutes or keep your back straight when
language that will begin, like a universal
you’re slouching. Smart clothing, smart
language that we’ll have to learn, or that
everything, basically. Smart buildings,
we’ll come to learn. It’ll be natural.
smart clothing, smarter us. All round
smarter better informed people.
technology is that, our clothes will be
powered by the sun, or kinetic movement,
or all of our systems will be somehow
integrated into our clothing that we
won’t need to plug in power; instead,
we’ll just hover something over and it’ll
just charge it up.
I think
To me, it makes sense, music and art
could be the
and film, these are all so vibrant, and
new patrons
people are watching and listening all the
time. It’s all around us, and people want
the arts.
good content. There’s so much rubbish
out there. I feel, yeah, if anyone wants
What do you
to sponsor me. It’s a difficult thing, I
think about
suppose, to find the right sponsor, to find
the one that fits with you. If many brands
were more open to many more things,
and then as an artist you restricted to
certain brands that you thought wouldn’t
be, “Mmm, I don’t know about the way
they conduct themselves in certain parts
of the planet,” and things like that. I
I think that’s absolutely where we
don’t know if I want to be associated with
should be going. I license my records to
them, but they may be the only people
the record company because they’re the
who want to help you.
only people that would give me money.
Because when I go to a bank and I’m
I mean, for me, there’s always a bit of
like, “Hello. I’m Imogen,” and they’re
a tricky thing if you’re writing music
like, “Okay, get out of my room already.”
for a brand because then I think “Well,
“I need some money to make an album,”
where’s the me in that?” But if there’s a
and they’ll be like, “Do you have a job?”
collaboration, if there’s something that
Well that’s my job but I need some
you’re working towards together where
money in order to make some money to
I can still be the musician, and I’m
make the music, and they’re like, “Yeah,
interested in something that the brand is
but when you get a job, and then we’ll
working on - a piece of technology, or the
lend you the money.” But I don’t need
next mission to Mars, or whatever, then
it then, do I? Because then I have a job
I want to be involved so I could write
and I won’t be able to make the music
about something about that. I think it
because I’ll be busy doing my job.
would make sense.
are all these new technologies
the Himalayas for a film in Bhutan.”
and platforms changing
“Yes, I want to help the local war garden
your art of storytelling?
come back to life,” and all of these things
have become songs, so actually it’s all in
a way, it’s very conceptive. It’s very like
this is a song about neglected spaces,
which is the one in the war garden
nearby, so I wanted the voice of an old
neglected space.
What this is now becoming is people
are starting to kind of like this piece
of music, so now I’m doing a couple of
Yes, they are. About three years ago I
shows where I’ve asked, to have, the
finished my last record, “Ellipse”, when
film playing behind me when I perform
it was quite a solitary experience. I
with an orchestra in Seattle. I’m going
was down in my studio for basically
a version of this song called Neglected
a whole year. Doing engineering and
production and all that stuff your own
has its advantages, but it also has its
And I said if people could send in images
disadvantages because you lose out in
of neglected buildings or abandoned
social engagement with people, or your
spaces in Seattle and show them behind
family. There’s always this pressure
me when I play, then it kind of creates this
to just do this record so every morning
whole new dialog between the community
you just wake up going, “I’ve got to do
in Seattle and these abandoned spaces.
my record,” and you have to say no to
And maybe it might trigger people to
start taking care of them more, to make
This last album I wanted to be able to
the local government of that area to take
say yes. I wanted to say, “Yes, I want to
note and commit to sorting this out and
go to China and write a song in a city I’ve
filling them so they’re not just sitting
never been to.” “Yes, I want to go climb
You never know where things can go.
Do you encounter people
Certainly the ease of communication and
out there who are afraid
the rapid dialog that I’m able to have
to embrace technology?
with my fan base makes it so much more
playful, fun and inclusive.
As a musician, (technology) often takes
I suppose my mum, in a way, is quite
me in a totally new direction because I’ve
afraid of some of the technology that I’m
got quite a few people interacting with
using. She worries about radio waves,
me online in various different things,
and she worries that it’s somehow
and you never know... It could be the
making me lose a part of me. I try to
smallest, weirdest thing that might just
explain to her, to me, but also it’s good to
spark me off and go, “Wow, I’m just going
have the question because I do feel like
to go down that crazy road now because I
technology can be bad as well as good.
never would’ve thought to add a London
Underground in this song.” It’s a very
Wearable tech isn’t giving you the right
exciting time, very exciting.
information in certain ways it can really
alter the way you live your life. I have
It’s difficult to shout above the millions
altered the way I live my life because I’m
of other people that are also making
now aware of my sleep patterns, which
music the same time as you. I think the
I never was really aware of. I’m aware
next thing is curation, which the web
of how much I walk, which I was never
needs more of. There’s so much content.
really aware of. I never really thought
There are so many amazing things that
about the fact of walking anywhere. I
are going unheard and disappearing.
never actually walked just for fun or just
I hope there will be, better curation so
to kind of clear my mind.
that people like me could find music that
I really love, or be able to connect with
I think one of the things which could be
people locally that are like-minded.
encouraged is occasionally turning off
your technology, to just be without it.
Not because it’s bad to always have it
on, but it’s sometimes good to just power
empowerment that technology gives us
down and just be disconnected. Equally,
to be able to have those conversations,
imagining a life without tech now would
those vibrant conversations.
be a shame. Technology is enabling us
to approach the point where people are
I mean one, [of these conversations] even
solving problems, massive problems, like
just on the music level which needs to
poverty or questions about [big data].
happen, is what do we do about the fact
People are aware of conversations, and
that music isn’t being paid for? It can be
people are more aware of each other and
harmful but it also can also be beneficial
are able to connect the dots over the web.
because many, many more people are
hearing about my music. Maybe they’re
There are all these kinds of groups of
not all paying for it yet, but perhaps
people, whereas maybe in the past you
we could address a holistic view of the
would think, “Oh, well we’ll leave those
system in which service providers are
kinds of conversations to the government,
essentially sending this information
because that’s what they do.” Actually,
back and forth. [The question is] should
now there’s this freedom and this
they be apportioning some part of that
to the artist or whatever content they’re
Also all this effectively pulls us away from
being here. How can we (use technology)
to interact better with natural rhythms
Or should people have all that stuff on
of the light, and the moon, and how we
a cloud or something where everything
can maybe go to sleep, or have better
is micro transactions, so people can use
sleep, or eat better food?
technology or use data freely, like water?
They don’t think hey won’t leave the tap
running for five extra seconds because
it’ll cost me naught or 1 pence. They just
leave it running and that would be the
same with music hopefully in time, and
any kind of information that we share in
his, is the kind of information
which the party who made it needs to be
that things like wearable technology
paid back in some way.
could actually help you with. The people
who were designing the tech, have a very
With all these kinds of questions, we
scary and strong position to do the right
are in a big transitional phase, but it’s
thing because if they do the wrong thing,
exciting because it means we can direct
lots of people will go and do the wrong
it and go “oh, let’s go this way, and this
thing. If good people are thinking about
makes sense, let’s try and go here.”
how we integrate with our environment,
Things can also happen very quickly. So
and with people, and with our sleep
much technology. So many gadgets, like
patterns and our health, and if we can
every single week there’s so many new
somehow learn to teach ourselves this
gadgets, so many new programs, so much
information by interacting with wearable
information. It’s just, overwhelming. I
technology, and data then we can become
suppose there’s our fear of missing out
on the good stuff because it’s difficult to
find, to find that needle in the haystack
of the really good stuff.
Yeah, hugely. Actually I was with a
it’s not explained exactly what all those
gang conference just discussing this idea
columns are. If that information could
of big data because New York is being
be shared and made open and obvious,
wired up. The city has been wired up
then people like myself could go in there
to the extreme without people knowing
and look at this data and write a song
that it was being kind of wired up and
out of it and create a piece of art from
gathering all this data. What is it doing?
data. It could be observing something
Who is collecting that? Wouldn’t be
for cancer stats. I might want to write
amazing if we got it, if we got our own
a song about that. Or I might want to
data, like what do we shop at when we
write a song about the environment.
go online? If we got that data we could
Or I might want to write a song about
really use it. We could know, we could
pollution in certain parts of the city, or
see our patterns - our good and our bad
whatever I might want to write a song
about. If that information was online,
and again, curated in a way that people
like myself who aren’t data analysts
data being gathered but it’s not being
could understand and get something
outputted in the best way. I know that
from, then there’s a way to share this
the US government has a website and
data and make something out of it.
they’ve got all this data on there but
Scott Schuman / The Sartorialist
Founder / blogger / photographer Scott Schuman
began The Sartorialist with the idea of creating a
two-way dialogue about the world of fashion and
its relationship to daily life.
He tells amazing urban stories through his
distinct photographs, in a style which rightfully
has crowned him the king of “on the street”
Follow Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist, from the
streets of NYC to the capitals of Europe on his
quest to photograph and document the best in
culture and fashion. Whether shooting the striking
uniforms of Spanish bullfighters in Madrid or New
York City’s iconic street style, Schuman shows
us how the richness of our maaterial culture
expresses who we are.
Updating and refreshing a corporation’s
brands in the past making subtle moves
identity to reflect the change in the
to refresh their logo.
marketplace and the character of the
business is a delicate but much needed
We have even seen some other
act. We all do it, but the approach varies
companies take a revolutionary
greatly -- from evolution to revolution.
approach to make bold moves to
radically change their brand identity.
Let’s look at evolution. Most companies
Taking this approach without
seem to take an evolutionary approach
explanation and context can cause a
making updates to their brand to
whole bunch of consumer backlash in
modernize it even if their core business
the meantime. The most recent one is
does not change. Brands like Ford,
Gap, whose launch of their new brand
Warner Bros, Shell, Starbucks and
to “bland” was quickly reversed back to
Coca-Cola come to mind. Even Apple,
the original logo. Their customers took
which went from the original Isaac
to social to voice their hatred toward
Newton sitting under a tree logo
bad design and it was an example of
launched in 1976 to the iconic rainbow
not showcasing the brand in the new
logo, the silhouette of which is still used
context. One of the problems was that
today. However even that logo has been
their product did not change so why
updated and simplified again to reflect
should the brand change so radically?
their innovation and brand use. So we
Also, perhaps they lost sight of the
have definitely seen many examples of
importance of brand ownership by their
customers, who were confused by the
originality. As AOL is content, it made
radical change and were not shy in
sense to invent an identity that acted
expressing their feelings. Explanation
as a platform for content and we chose
is needed to help them ease into the
Wolff Olins to lead the design work.
context of the new identity. In Gap’s
We generated positive buzz with 65%
case they did not apply context so the
of people recalling the new ads feeling
backlash was fierce.
more positive about the AOL brand.
However, I think Fast Company
Taking a revolutionary approach and
summed it up best at the launch of
making a bold statement when you
the new AOL brand identity, stating,
reveal your new brand identity and
“AOL’s new brand is from the future...
the subsequent reaction is part of the
They just created the first completely
fun. In December 2009 when AOL
user-contributed, 100% flexible,
spun off from TimeWarner we chose to
invisible logo.” As AOL continues to
radically change our identity to reflect
evolve its portfolio so does the AOL
our reinvention of the AOL brand as the
brand rapidly evolve to reflect our
next generation media company fueled
brand ethos, one that is open, relatable,
by creativity and defined by original
flexible and fun -- just like most people
content. The strong design approach
online today.
to the iconography created a forwardthinking brand identity that reflected
It has been very interesting to watch the
the importance of creativity and
30 days of Change by Yahoo! however, I
am confused. Their new brand campaign
rich design sensibility for brand identity
seems to be stuck in the middle (which
and stand for a point of view then to
is funny because they are midway
lean away from it. There are many
through the 30 days where they reveal
companies whose name are a word-
a new version of the Yahoo! logo). They
jam-mash-up-ideation-thingy ending
are neither evolving the logo or making
with .ly or .me so their name alone is
a radical revolution change. They are
not going to drive brand awareness.
trying to do both, and I get it, to create
Clearly their high quality products and
30 days of excitement before the reveal.
services will set them apart and drive
But if you have been watching the logo
user loyalty, but combining that with
reveals for the first 2 weeks, the change
a strong identity will also help greatly
is so flippant that it fails to showcase
in the long term. It seems that Yahoo!
their identity innovation (apart from
has forgotten to give us a reason for the
color and exclamation point). From what
new logo, instead choosing to simply
I can tell, they have essentially changed
share a random logo design on their
the color by adding some blue to cool
existing properties and services. It lacks
down the purple which was introduced
excitement especially on their daily
in 2009 (an update they made to their
update page where you get to experience
iconic logo from 1997).
all the brands revealed so far. This is a
typographer’s nightmare. Even over at
It is especially important in this
99 Designs a bunch of freelancers have
ubiquitous digital landscape to lean into
at least taken time to develop a different
approach to the Yahoo! brand. However,
I would recommend they stay away from
crowd sourcing their final design.
erhaps their 30 days of Change
brand reveal will culminate in a
radically different approach to their
iconography and this will be reflected
in the context of new products and
services launched in tandem; otherwise,
it feels like a bunch of designers have
just visited 1000 Free Fonts each day
to reveal another safe interpretation of
the Yahoo! brand. Until then, however,
we will just have to wait a couple more
weeks of looking at boring purple logos.
Originally published August 2013.
Arianna Huffington, president and
editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post,
delivered the commencement address at
Smith College Sunday, where she dared
the graduates of the all-female college to
change how they define success.
Success has largely been determined by
money and power, Huffington argued,
but we need a third metric. That should
include be one based on “well-being,
wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to
give back,” she said.
In her speech at Smith in Northampton,
Read the entire speech,
Mass., Huffington told graduates not to
“Redefining Success: The Third
settle just for breaking through glass
ceilings, but to change the system by
“going to the root of what’s wrong.”
Thank you so much, President Christ,
the Board of Trustees, distinguished
“Don’t buy society’s definition of
alumnae, members of the faculty,
success,” she said. “Because it’s not
devoted parents and friends, and
working for anyone. It’s not working for
especially the fabulous Smith College
women, it’s not working for men, it’s not
class of 2013. Congratulations. You
working for polar bears, it’s not working
have reached the light at the end of the
for the cicadas that are apparently
tunnel. And I’m sure that when you first
about to emerge and swarm us. It’s
arrived at Smith you never would have
only truly working for those who make
imagined that at the other end of that
pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes,
tunnel would be a lady talking to you
heart disease, sleeplessness and high
from behind a podium in a funny accent.
blood pressure.”
This accent, incidentally, was the bane
of my existence -- until, that is, I moved
to New York in 1980 and met Henry
Kissinger, who told me not to worry
about my accent, because you can never,
in American public life, underestimate
the advantages of complete and total
I’m so grateful to be with you at this
enthalpy contributions to the chelate
special moment in your lives, and I want
effect -- I wanted to give you the gift
to start by taking a moment to honor
of hearing that said in a Greek accent.
President Christ, your magnificent,
I’ve learned about the three seniors who
viola-playing, Victorian poetry-quoting
were part of the basketball team, which
president, who is retiring after 11 years
made the Division 3 NCAA tournament
of service, leadership and inspiration.
for the first time -- a historic
accomplishment to add to your already
You don’t know it but I have spent
historic status as the birthplace of
the last several weeks stalking you
women’s basketball. I’ve learned about
-- on your various Smith websites, on
the many Smithies who will be the
your Twitter feeds, on Facebook, on
first in their families to graduate from
Instagram, on Tumblr -- so I could get to
college, like Massiel De los Santos, who
know you better.
began her journey in the Dominican
And here’s what I’ve found:
you’re fascinating and curious
Getting to know you has made me feel
and quirky and asking the
very protective of you, especially since I
big questions and worrying
have two college-aged daughters myself.
about the little things, and
But I know you don’t need protecting.
solving the cosmic riddles and
You are prepared and ready to take on
agonizing about what to have
the world -- and if you have attended
for lunch, which some of you
the Wurtele Center for Work and Life,
then take a picture of for the
you even have a Passport to Life After
world to see.
Smith, with the opportunity to learn
things like job interviewing skills, how
I’ve learned about Smithies writing
to balance a budget, cook a healthy meal
honors theses on subjects that I not
and even change a tire.
only don’t understand but can’t even
pronounce. Like Lisa Stephanie
So you can consider my speech today
Cunden’s thesis on entropy and
a continuation of the Passport to Life
After Smith, though in the interest
of full disclosure, I can’t cook and
definitely cannot change a tire. But part
of life after Smith will be deciding what
are the things you want to put your
energy into and what are the things you
don’t. I was personally very relieved
when I realized that you can complete
a project by dropping it. That’s how I
completed learning to cook and learning
German, becoming a good skier, and a
list of other things too long to recite.
Commencement speakers are
traditionally expected to tell graduates
hat I urge you to do is to
lead the third women’s revolution.
how to go out there and climb the
ladder of success, but I want to ask you,
The first was led by the suffragists
instead, to redefine success. Because the
over a hundred years ago, when brave
world you are headed into desperately
women like Susan B. Anthony and
needs it. And because you are up to it.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought, among
Your education at Smith has made it
other things, to give women the right
unequivocally clear that you are entitled
to vote. The second women’s revolution
to take your place in the world on equal
was powerfully led by Smith alumnae,
footing, in every field, and at the top of
Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
every field. But what I urge you to do is
They fought -- and Gloria continues
not just take your place at the top of the
to fight -- to expand the role of women
world, but to change the world.
in our society, to give us full access to
the rooms of power where decisions are
And while the second revolution is still
we need to include the third metric.
in progress, we simply can’t wait any
In 2004, President Christ gave a speech
longer for the third revolution to begin.
that was really ahead of its time. It was
And I can’t imagine a place where I
titled “Inside the Clockwork of Women’s
would be more likely to find the leaders
Careers.” To me, it’s very much a third
of that revolution than right here at
women’s revolution call to arms. She
spoke of the need to dispel myths about
ambition and success, chief among them
At the moment, our society’s
the myth that success and ambition look
notion of success is largely
like a straight line. Now I guess it’s no
composed of two parts:
big surprise that the image of success
money and power. In fact,
created by men would be, yes, a long,
success, money and power
phallic-shaped line.
have practically become
But if we don’t redefine success, the
personal price we pay will get higher
But it’s time for a third metric, beyond
and higher. And as the data shows, that
money and power -- one founded on
price is even higher for women than it
well-being, wisdom, our ability to
is for men. Already, women in stressful
wonder, and to give back. Money and
jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased
power by themselves are a two legged
risk of heart disease, and a 60 percent
stool -- you can balance on them for a
greater risk for diabetes. And in the
while, but eventually you’re going to
last 30 years, as women have made
topple over. And more and more people,
strides and gains in the workplace, self-
very successful people, are toppling
reported levels of stress have gone up 18
over. Basically, success the way we’ve
defined it is no longer sustainable. It’s
no longer sustainable for human beings
Here’s another fact that will
or for societies. To live the lives we
likely be no surprise to you: the
want, and not just the ones we settle for,
Millennial Generation, aka you, is
the ones society defines as successful,
the most stressed generation of all,
outranking Baby Boomers and the
Three Mile Island -- all were at least
gently euphemistic “Matures.” Right
partially the result of decisions made on
now, America’s workplace culture is
too little sleep.
practically fueled by stress, sleepdeprivation, and burnout.
According to researchers at Walter
Reed hospital, the only thing that gets
Another Smith graduation speaker,
better with sleep deprivation is “magical
Alistair Cooke, notoriously told the class
thinking” and reliance on superstition.
of 1954 that their way to the top would
So for those of you majoring in fortune
be determined by whom they married.
telling, go ahead and burn the midnight
oil. The rest of you: not so much.
I want to do old Alistair one better, and
tell you that you don’t get to the top
by marrying someone. A much simpler
way is to sleep your way to the top.
Right now I imagine President Christ
is thinking she probably should have
vetted this speech.
But no, I’m talking about sleep in the
literal sense. I know of what I speak: In
2007, sleep deprived and exhausted, I
fainted, hit my head on my desk, broke
my cheekbone and got four stitches on
my right eye. And even as it’s affecting
our health, sleep deprivation will also
profoundly affect your creativity, your
productivity, and your decision-making.
The Exxon Valdez wreck, the explosion
of the Challenger Space Shuttle, and
the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and
The Huffington Post’s office in New
him bluntly,” you’re not taking care of
York sports two nap rooms: at the
you. Your business might have a great
beginning our reporters, editors and
bottom line, but you are your most
engineers were reluctant to use them,
important capital. There are only so
afraid that people might think they’re
many withdrawals you can make from
shirking their duties. We have to change
your health bank account, but you
workplace culture so that it’s walking
just keep on withdrawing. You could
around drained and exhausted that’s
go bankrupt if you don’t make some
stigmatized. I’m happy to say, our nap
deposits soon.” And indeed, not long
rooms are now always booked. Although
after that, the man had to be admitted
the other day I was walking by and I
for an angioplasty.
saw two people walking out of one of the
nap rooms. But, hey, whatever it takes
When we include well-being in our
to recharge. Just don’t tell HR, ok?
definition of success, another thing
that will change is our relationship
What adding well-being to our definition
with time. Researchers have come
of success means is that, in addition to
up with a term for our stressed out
looking after our financial capital, we
feeling that there’s never enough time
need to do everything we can to protect
for what we want to do -- they call it
and nurture our human capital. My
“Time Famine.” Every time we look at
mother was an expert at that. I still
our watch it seems to be later than we
remember, when I was twelve years old,
think. I personally have long had a very
a very successful Greek businessman
strained relationship with time – more
coming for dinner. He looked rundown
in line with a certain PhD from Oxford,
and exhausted. But when we sat down
in English Lit, actually -- Dr. Seuss.
to dinner, he told us how well things
were going for him. He was thrilled
“How did it get so late so soon?” he
about a new contract he had just won
wrote. “It’s night before it’s afternoon.
to build a new museum. My mother
December is here before it’s June. My
was not impressed. “I don’t care how
goodness how the time has flewn. How
well your business is doing,” she told
did it get so late so soon?”
Does that feel familiar to anyone? Or,
the Prime Minister Edward Heath to
more likely, to everyone? The problem
dinner. My mother was in the kitchen,
is that as long as success is defined by
where she could be found most of the
just money and power, climbing and
time, talking to the plumber, who had
burnout, we are never going to be able
come to fix a last-minute problem. She
to enjoy that other aspect of the third
asked the plumber what he thought
metric: wonder.
of the prime minister. “Not much,” he
said, “he hasn’t been good for working
I was blessed with a mother who was
people.” “Let me go bring him here so
in a constant state of wonder. Whether
you can tell him directly,” my mother
she was washing dishes or feeding
replied. And that’s how the prime
seagulls at the beach or reprimanding
minister ended up in the kitchen talking
overworking businessmen, she
to the plumber.
maintained her sense of wonder,
delighted at both the mysteries of the
Well-being, wonder, and now
universe and the everyday little things
I’d like to talk about another
that fill our lives. And whenever I’d
indispensable W -- wisdom.
complain or be upset about something,
my mother had the same advice:
Wherever we look around the world, we
“Darling, change the channel. You are
see very smart leaders -- in politics, in
in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the
business, in media -- making terrible
bad, scary movie.”
decisions. What they’re lacking is not
IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise,
One of the gifts this attitude to life
since it’s never been harder to tap into
gave her was the ability to cut through
our own wisdom. Because in order to
hierarchies. One night, when I was in
do so, we have to disconnect from all
my twenties and still living in London,
our ever-present devices, our gadgets,
a Tory member of Parliament I was
our screens, our social media, and
dating at the time (it might have
reconnect with ourselves. Your very
been one of those decisions brought
own, very wise Smith sophomore, Erin
on by sleep deprivation) had brought
McDaniel, wrote in the Sophian about
her decision to disconnect from all her
convinced about two fundamental truths
social media. “We have eschewed real
about human beings. The first truth is
social connections in favor of superficial,
that we all have within us a centered
technology-bridged ones … We have
place of wisdom, harmony, and strength.
become, in many cases, nearly as
This is a truth that all the world’s
(socially) robotic as our computers.”
religions -- whether Christianity, Islam,
Judaism, or Buddhism -- and many of
Or, as Smith’s Buddhist adviser
its philosophies, hold true in one form
Ryumon Gutiérrez Baldoquín said,
or another: “The Kingdom of God is
“people want to engage in something
whole-heartedly in order to find
The second truth is that we’re all going
to veer away from that place again and
Back to my mother. The last time she
again and again. That’s the nature
got angry with me before she died was
of life. In fact, we may be off-course
when she saw me reading my email
more often than we are on-course. At
and talking to my children at the same
The Huffington Post, we even came up
time. “I abhor multitasking,” she said,
with an app, called GPS for the Soul,
in a Greek accent that puts mine to
that helps us get back to that place. I
shame. In other words, being connected
know there is something paradoxical
in a shallow way to the entire world can
about using technology to disconnect
prevent us from being deeply connected
from technology, but the snake in our
to those closest to us -- including
digital garden of Eden has been hyper-
ourselves. And that is where wisdom
connectivity with technology. And we
lies. Don’t worry -- you don’t have the
have to be more wily than the snake,
head of a digital news operation telling
hence using technology to help us
you to disconnect from technology
disconnect from technology.
altogether. What I’m saying is: learn to
regularly disconnect from technology in
When we’re in that centered place of
order to connect with yourself. Learn
wisdom, harmony and strength, life is
to unplug in order to recharge. I’m
transformed, from struggle to grace,
and we are suddenly filled with trust,
the elements of the third metric become
no matter the obstacles, challenges
part of a virtuous cycle.
and disappointments. Because there
is a purpose to our lives, even if it
Of course many of you already know
is sometimes hidden from us, and
that. Smithies have given back in
even if the biggest turning points and
countless ways, near and far: working
heartbreaks only make sense as we look
with Chinese schools and NGOs through
back, not as we are experiencing them.
the Smith China Project, spending time
So we might as well live life as if -- as
in the community with people with
the poet Rumi put it -- “Everything is
disabilities through the Best Buddies
rigged in our favor.”
program, tutoring children in Holyoke,
and using digital storytelling to start
We’ve talked about well-being, wisdom,
conversations about health issues in
and wonder. And now, the last element
of the third metric of success: empathy,
compassion, the willingness to give
So as you leave this beautiful campus
today to follow your dreams and scale
great heights in whatever profession
The founding fathers wrote about the
you choose, I beg you: don’t buy society’s
pursuit of happiness, and if you go back
definition of success. Because it’s not
to the original documents -- as I’m sure
working for anyone. It’s not working for
all of you have done -- happiness did not
women, it’s not working for men, it’s not
mean the pursuit of more ways to be
working for polar bears, it’s not working
entertained. It was the happiness that
for the cicadas that are apparently
comes from feeling good by doing good.
about to emerge and swarm us. It’s
I was at a neuroscience conference
only truly working for those who make
this week in Madison, Wisconsin, with
pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes,
the Dalai Lama, and there was plenty
heart disease, sleeplessness and high
of scientific data provided that shows
blood pressure.
unequivocally that empathy and service
increase our well-being. So that’s how
So please don’t settle for just breaking
through glass ceilings in a broken
corporate system or in a broken political
system, where so many leaders are so
disconnected from their own wisdom
that we are careening from one selfinflicted crisis to another. Change much
more than the M to a W at the top of
the corporate flow chart. Change it by
going to the root of what’s wrong and
redefining what we value and what we
consider success.
nd remember that while there
So find your place to stand -- your place
will be plenty of signposts along your
of wisdom and peace and strength. And
path directing you to make money and
from that place, lead the third women’s
climb up the ladder, there will be almost
revolution and remake the world in
no signposts reminding you to stay
your own image, according to your
connected to the essence of who you are,
own definition of success, so that all
to take care of yourself along the way, to
of us -- women and men -- can live our
reach out to others, to pause to wonder,
lives with more grace, more joy, more
and to connect to that place from which
empathy, more gratitude, and yes, more
everything is possible. “Give me a
love. And now, Smith College class of
place to stand,” my Greek compatriot
2013, onward, upward and inward!
Archimedes said, “and I will move the
Listen, I’ve been so kind of truly amazed at, I went to Edinburgh to
start the conversation at the MacTaggart lecture. They’ve never asked
an actor. And I thought, there was a real chance to be in a room with
a thousand or so, mostly creative, people who write, produce, direct
and a lot of people who commission. And I thought, maybe there was
a chance, in a statesmen like way, to throw the gauntlet down and say
that, if it hasn’t completely changed, it’s changing rapidly. Very, very
quickly, audiences are evolving faster than networks, maybe even faster
than advertisers are.
We have had these examples through the history of this particular
medium. And all of these new platforms that are in many ways sort of
sending these incredible, maybe warning-signals over the bow. Some of
which we might pay attention to. Some of which we won’t pay attention
to. I remember my business partner, Dana Brunetti, who runs my film
company, Trigger Streets, said at some techy seminar about maybe
eight years ago... He held his phone up and said, “You’re going to be
watching movies on this in not too long.” And everyone laughed. No one
took him seriously.
That’s what I think has surprised me most about the reaction to the
MacTaggart was the amount of conversation that has started and also
the debate. Look, there is going to be
Well look, there is no doubt that I, and
some push back with any new platform
maybe every network we went to had
or paradigm shift or form. It always
their own version of data. But certainty
takes awhile for the fear factor to settle
I think Netflix has the most advanced
algorithms and data that any, to my
knowledge, any company has. And yes,
People realize that this actually is a
they factored in (the question) what
really incredible time of enormous
does a series directed by David Fincher
opportunity but a lot of things weren’t
mean to an audience? What does a film
taken seriously when they first
that I might be in, or the potential idea
of a series that I might be in look like?
I’ve taken some [stick] for talking about
So I think it has taken television
original content when in fact what we’ve
a good 50 years almost to be taken
done is re-branded a very, very, well
seriously as an art form. And I truly
done original British series.
think that if you look at the work, the
incredible work of the creatives over the
And we’re delighted that series existed
last 15 years, a revolutionary kind of
because I think it did help us in making
programming has happened. There is no
the argument for not wanting to do
doubt in my mind that it’s an art form.
a pilot. That was sort of our big deal
breaker for our show runner and our
head writer and David and myself. We
just didn’t want to have to audition the
idea. We felt that it had been a proved
idea. David and I had a pretty good
So with the House of Cards, is
track record. And that we just wanted
there some comfort knowing
to start telling the story and to some
that insights was very much
degree that’s really the lesson.
part of the DNA of this? Or
was it something that was a
It’s not about, “Oh does it change the
wonderful afterthought?
way you do something because you are
going to be streamed or you’re going to
minutes establishing all the characters
be on this platform which is going to be
and introducing them to an audience.
viewed this way by an audience?” And
And then create arbitrary cliffhangers.
in fact, I don’t think it does. I mean,
We were able to say we’re starting the
that camera that’s filming me right now
story here, this is going to be a very
does not know that’s an AOL camera
complex, multi-layered show with
that is filming me for what we’re doing.
characters that you can’t necessarily pin
It’s just a camera. And so, just in the
down who are constantly evolving. And
same way that it doesn’t know it’s a
relationships that will need space to
motion picture, it doesn’t know it’s a
explore and to, you know, roll out.
webisode, it doesn’t it’s a TV series,
it doesn’t know it’s streaming. So it
That was the biggest change for us. We
doesn’t change the creative impact of
were able to start at a place and know
how we go to work everyday and try to
that we had a huge arc of time to tell a
our best work and try to tell the story
story and in many ways it doesn’t feel
we believe in.
episodic, it feels like we’re doing a really
long film.
I know obviously and recognize that
we were in quite a unique position. Not
everybody is going to get a 26 episode
order from a place like Netflix, but the
way they do in Britain I think is far
more cost-effective than the way they
do it in the United States. They’ll order
four, they’ll even order seven, they
might order eight, and sometimes they
might go to 13.
And that’s what changed the creative
experience for us that we didn’t have
to do a pilot where we had to spend 45
Did you feel like you had
Yeah, that’s just the fact of it. I think
enough confidence in that it
there is a whole number of factors that
wasn’t going to fail, or was
played into our good hands and our good
there a gut instinct that says,
“Hey you know what? this is
Part of it has to do with what is
happening in the world. Part of it has to
Look, I had been around long enough to
do with what we’ve seen since box sets
recognize that you could bring together
became the thing where suddenly you
the most extraordinary talents in the
talked to anybody and you know, “Hey
world and still produce a turkey.
what did you do this weekend. Did you
go out?” and like, “No, I stayed home
and watched three seasons of Dexter.” “I
stayed home and watched two seasons
of Breaking Bad. I stayed home and
I watched,” you know. The amount
that people are watching, binging and
adoring and begging for great material
and great stories has been going on for
a while, so the idea that people would
want to binge was not a new idea. What
was new in our situation was that I
believe it is the first time in the history
of television that the entire first season
of a show has been put out on the first
And in a sense just basically saying to
the audience, “Treat us like you’d treat
a book. Treat us like you’d treat novel.”
You get to put it down when you want
to put it down. You get to pick it up
[Steve Bochco], the show runner and the
when you want to pick it up. Putting the
creator of that show. And so, NBC had
audience in control, being able to say
a list of concerns entirely based on an
to them, “Look, to some degree, maybe
audience poll. When you read this memo
we’ve learned the lesson that the music
which was sent out (and this is 1980),
industry didn’t learn.” Give people what
every single one of the concerns that
they want, when they want it, in the
the network had end up being a kind
form they want it in, at a reasonable
of unwitting blueprint for the last 15
price and they’ll more than likely buy it
years of revolutionary programming in
and not steal it.
television. Characters had flaws, story
lines were too complicated, there were
Now I’m notgoing to say that there
too many characters, people weren’t
aren’t some people who are going to
particularly good at their jobs, their
steal it, because that’s true. But I do
personal lives were a mess. And I mean
think we have a chance to take a little
it just goes on and on.
bite out of piracy, as well.
All the models we see. And it’s just very
A lot of programming is built
interesting that if the network had its
from audience feedback as
way then, the road wouldn’t have been
they go back and forth and
paved for where we are now. So I think
reiterate based on reaction.
that what it said was consumers are
You didn’t have to do that. was
dying for incredibly complex stuff. Now
that a confidence moment for
I do think one of the reasons for this is
because the motion picture has moved
away from character-driven drama.
Yeah, there’s a great story about what
happened with Hill Street Blues. It
And it makes sense to me that, the
was a great illustration of how NBC
best writers, directors, actors and
was very nervous about the pilot of Hill
producers would end up going to a more
Street Blues before it aired. Now, Grant
fertile ground that is really giving it to
Tinker had gotten total autonomy for
them, allowing them to sort of create
what they want to create, that the film
to lose it all to television. Television will
industry hasn’t. It doesn’t mean that
take over.”
you can’t occasionally make really good
character-driven films. I’ve been very
Now he said that in 1990 and nobody
lucky with the Social Network and now
listened, nobody paid any attention to
Captain Phillips. I mean we’re quite
that warning and it would only be eight
pleased that we’ve managed to convince
years later that the Sopranos would
Sony that these are worthwhile films to
debut on HBO.
And it would forever change really the
Generally, there has been a shift -
history of the medium.
certainly since I was making movies on
a more full-time basis in the late ‘90s. I
happened to been invited to go see the
AFI Lifetime Achievement Award at
David Lean. It was a kind of remarkable
night and understand this was in 1990.
And David Lean dedicated his entire
acceptance speech to urging the studios
to spend more time and effort and
money on promoting emerging talent.
Finding the trailblazers in this industry
and you know, he said, “Look at the list
of all of the people who had won this
award. And these are the trailblazers.”
Kevin, what’s your creative
And he said, “I feel that we are in a
process? I’ve seen you in
very dangerous time where we’re not
theater, I’ve seen you in films.
doing it.” And he said, “If we do it, if we
When you look at this as a
support the emerging filmmakers, then
new era of change, has your
this film business is going to go up and
creative process evolved as
up and up. And if we don’t, we’re going
well with that?
I believe so much in the fact that we
You understand the consequences of
don’t do it alone. The best work that
going in that direction or this direction.
I have ever done is because I had a
You sign off on stuff in a big sort of
director, I had a writer, I had fellow
general way. I don’t walk into that
actors. But there is one thing that
rehearsal room everyday and stick my
I’ve learned, in being at the Old Vic
finger in their pie and say what’s going
for the past ten years. It is my job in
on and why are you doing it that way
many ways as a producer, as an artistic
and why is he wearing that tie and
director to bring the elements together.
why...? “I go, I trust the people I hired,”
If you bring the right elements together
and I back up.
and you trust them to do their jobs meaning, if I bring the right director in
Sometimes that’s actually the role of a
for this particular play or this particular
producer that I’ve learned more than
film and I bring the right actor in and
any other. Sometimes when it’s going
the right cinematographer in, you allow
really well, the best job you can do as
them ... and look, you have enough
producer is to go, “I’ve got nothing to
meetings that you know whether you
say. It’s going really well.”
are on the same page or not. And if you
absolutely believe you are all on the
Now, that isn’t to say that you don’t
same page, you get it; you know why
recognize that, “Oh in that first preview
you are doing it. You know what you are
there is a problem or that performance
setting out to achieve.
isn’t quite working.” Yes, you go in and
you will make adjustments. But nine
to develop people in isolation. If you
times out of ten we trust the creatives
develop people together, you teach them
and that’s been the truth in this
about collaboration. You teach them
industry. In this medium we can now
about what it is actually like to produce
look back and say that we really have
something. To put it up, to have to work
three golden ages of television.
with other human beings as opposed
to going, “We’re going to give you
We’re in a third golden age now. And
some money, go off and write in your
if you look at it, it has always been
because of the trailblazers, it’s been
the risk takers, it’s been people not
And as a result of that, we start to see
just like Grant Tinker, but Norman
these sort of incredible partnerships
Lear. Go back to the ‘50s where they
that begin very, very early on. And one
had these incredible programs where
of the things that I’m proudest of in my
they were trying new things because
at time at the Old Vic, is watching the
it was a brand new medium and they
members of our New Voices program
didn’t know if it was going to work, or
who have gone out and are now the
how long this television was going to be
next generation of creatives. Be they
around anyway.
actors or writers, directors or producers
the level of work they have been doing
With total abandon there is something
(has won them) all kinds of awards and
to be said about trusting the creatives
attention. That’s what we’d set out to
and bringing them together. I often
do. I didn’t set out to create the program
think too many times, maybe in the film
to go, “Oh, we’re going to hoard all this
and television world, we isolate artists.
for the Old Vic. It’s all about the Old
We’ll develop a writer, but we want to
develop a writer with a director and
with actors and with producers and
It was about trying to be able to send
that’s what we did at the Old Vic. Was
(them) out into the world with a degree
we basically took, I took the point of
of training and understanding, learning
view that it makes no sense to me
what it’s like to collaborate, learning
what it’s like to work with each other.
And to send them out into the world. It
has been a very satisfying part of what
we’ve done.
In our world of pure digital, we
You know I think there are some
talk about open collaboration
basic things that will probably never
as art and science living
change. People who need to tell stories
together. So they’re not
and share them. And people who
mutually exclusive like
need to hear stories and experience
they used to be. BuILD some
them. And so between the storyteller
technology add some art to it
and the audience they is always an
and hopefully it all combines.
extraordinary important, potent,
indescribable, mysterious relationship.
Today it’s just a physical
combination of both.
I think (the storytelling) that I know
is from my work in the theater. The
You talked about attention and
experience of getting up every night
we believe this to be the new
and sharing with an audience, having
economy. It’s not just clicks;
that instant and immediacy, not just
it’s really about attention.
contact, but feeling. It’s like a breath.
Given you can now tell a story
And what you learn over time, what
in 6 seconds, or as you guys
you learn about performance, what you
have determined, 13 hours with
learn about an audience, when they’re
the House of Cards, Do you
paying attention, when you lose them,
think the art of storytelling
when they kind of get bored, the sense
is changing, evolving,
of energy and forward movement, how
you keep something progressing.
Keep an audience’s attention. I mean
program who went on to become great
that’s one of the most extraordinary
screenwriters, Sir Tom Stoppard or any
things about learning as an actor in the
other that you want to mention who
theater. The highs and lows, the almost
have learned something about the craft
heartbeat of a performance through the
of storytelling. That it’s based on what
course of an evening and how you want
they’ve learned in the theater. There is
an audience to constantly be doing.
a very different way of thinking. We’re
incredibly blessed that Bo William and
It’s very interesting to see actors who
our head writer on House of Cards is
aren’t trained in the theater. Who don’t
a playwright. He just thinks in a way
have that experience, who don’t know
that’s just different and the way in
what it’s like to start here at 7:30 and
which we work together is just amazing,
end up there at 11:00.
we’ve all come armed to be able to make
the artificial world of making film or
Who I’m pretty sure when you are
television come alive for us.
on the set and it’s looking like it’s
pretty intense and what they’re doing
is intense. And then they do another
scene and that’s also intense, you know.
That’s intense. But when you cut it all
together, it’s like a flat line. Because
they do not know what’s it like.
And that I think is one of the great
advantages of writers who come out
If Frank Underwood was
of theater who end up writing in film
literally addressing some of
or television. And we can go right
the best executives across the
back through the history of film and
planet in terms of how they
television. You can go right back to the
should spend their money in
Royal Court Theater. And look at all the
marketing today, what sort of
writers that came out of that incredible
advice would he give them?
I think what’s been very interesting to
watch over these last few years, I would
even say, go back eight years (looking
at these companies like AOL, a Netflix,
you see i-Tunes is doing it) - all these
companies are beginning to shift. And
they’re shifting into an area where
they are saying, “Look if we want to
compete, we’re going to have to create
our content.”
And it made sense to me that Netflix
eventually did it and did it in a big and
brave way. So I think that those kinds of
shifts are happening again. I think that
starting to see it now. More and more
shows are sort of being produced. More
content is being done, which means
more writers are getting hired, more
directors getting hired, more actors are
getting hired blah, blah, blah.
But I also think that the advertising
world is shifting, as well. I would not
be surprised if in the next decade we
start to see more branding. We start
to see more authentic sponsorship. I’m
going to sponsor the show. I would not
be surprised if we started to see a shift
toward a recognition that branding and
really key and smart marketing is just
as important as ratings used to be.
What I think is interesting
I mean this is what is so incredible
about the space of branding is
now. In the past, you had to go out and
A brand’s experience. So beyond
find the talent. Or you waited for the
the ad, if a brand goes out and
talent to come to you, you know? But
creates a movie, that is the ad.
now there is no porthole in which talent
It’s no longer about what i am
cannot emerge. The entry is open and
I trying to sell you. It’s now
people have to be willing to go out there
about the brand’s experience.
and seek it, you know? And all you have
Do you agree?
to do is showcase it, it’s right there at
our fingertips, you know? It’s there and
Yeah look, we’ve done this great thing
if we don’t grab it, if we don’t encourage
with Jameson as an example, a liquor
it, if we don’t take it, then what’s going
company that is sponsored us in this
to end up happening is that all the
sort of contest that we’ve done at
networks will miss out. Because all of
Trigger Street. Where we’ve gone out
those kids online are going to own their
and we found emerging film makers in
own material, they’re going to put it
South Africa, Russia and the United
out on their own. They’re going to self-
States. And we’re now going into our
produce, they’re going to self-publish,
third year of doing it.
they’ll going to self-film, nobody is going
to own it but them. And then that starts
First of all, it’s great ... for a long while
to get into an area where, “Gosh we
Jameson had supported a film festival.
could have had that.”
And then I went to Dublin and got
drunk with them because I was at the
But why would someone sign up if they
film festival and convinced them that it
already got an audience that’s growing
was a really good idea that they actually
and building? You see some of these,
get into the movie making business.
you know, incredibly talented kids
They actually don’t just support a
who’ve got YouTube channels who have
festival but support filmmaking.
huge audiences already.
Support the idea of giving opportunities
to emerging filmmakers.
And you’re thinking they’re doing it out
of their basement. And that’s the thing
that’s quite exciting: that no longer do
we live in a time when somebody has to
decide whether they are an actor or a
director or a writer or a producer. You
can be all of them.
Growing up today you can be anything
Has consumer behavior
you want to be. You can find your
shifted slowly? Has it been
audience and what I think people want
an evolution or was there a
is to be able to feel the emerging talents.
revolutionary moment for you,
And the talents are not all young,
when you woke up and thought,
because talent can come from any age
“Wow, the sands of time have
and any place, this is the landscape
of television and the Internet. This
playground is for you. It’s big enough,
There have been a couple of “oh wow”
ambitious enough for you to come and
moments for me. With respect to how
play in. And we have to be open and
things have been shifting and where it
willing to invite them in.
seemed that things were going. I mean
I’ve been talking for eight years about
one of these companies that’s making
gazillions of dollars being a porthole to
where it all seems to be going one day.
“Well, why should HBO be the only
one?” I always found it very interesting
when HBO launched ... let’s not forget,
they presented themselves and their
whole advertising campaign as (an
alternative to) TV.
That was their big way of saying we’re
Most of which are gone. I think there
not TV and I think that some of the
have been 56 that have been made into
interesting things now are that these
a series and are going to air this season.
notions of what is a mini-series, what is
It seems to me that’s a little bit of the
a webisode, what is a television series,
shot in the dark mentality. Where you
what is a film, what is a ... these sort
just close your eyes and hope to God
of calling cards, labels that people used
you hit something. As opposed to, let’s
just don’t mean anything to the viewer
just say, it was the other way around.
Of those 13 that you finally chose to
do, how many of those did you know
It’s about story, it’s about content.
that’s the one? How many of those
That’s all it is. The platform, the length,
creatives did you look at, not just their
doesn’t matter. I think it would be very
backgrounds and maybe their track
interesting if we end up seeing at some
records, but your instincts, what did
point a 13 hour film that has no breaks
you instincts tell you? And if at the end
built in.
of the day your instincts said, “That’s
the one I’d go with,” then maybe, don’t
You decide when the break is. You
make the others, but also (I think this is
decide when the act is over.
hugely important to say), don’t kill the
Do you think studios are still
scared of the newness?
This is a terrible thing that happens in
the pilot world. If we develop something
Look, it’s hard to know. It’s like saying
and then we decide we’re not going
why do we do a pilot season?
to do it, we kill it forever. We don’t
let you take that pilot to anyone else,
Everyone knows it’s madness. Everyone
because of course we don’t want to be
knows it’s an incredible waste of money.
proved wrong. That is a narrow kind
I mean, $300 to $400 million a year for
of thinking. That is a warped business
32 pilots, 14 of which will get renewed
for a second season?
The point is, if a show is an interesting
Who else is approaching
idea and your network doesn’t want to
creativity with total abandon?
do it. Let them do it somewhere else. I
mean one of the things that I always do
There is a lot. I mean, if you look at
within my own company is we look at
some of the programs that we’ve looked
our slate every six months. And there
at over the last 15 years where you see
are oftentimes when I say, “You know
an extraordinarily strong perspective,
what, I don’t want to hang on to this
point of view kind of stories that
project just long enough to make sure
someone wants to tell. If you look at
that it never gets made. Let’s let go of it.
all of these incredible talents who
Let’s let them take it somewhere else.”
have such a unique way in, and it’s
incredibly exciting to see that they are
If they get it on, we’ll talk about
being encouraged. I do have to say that
whether if we want to have some sort
there have been some brilliantly brave
of credit in it or not. But let’s not just
executives at a lot of the networks over
hang on to stuff and not allow it to
the last number of years. A lot of the
live somewhere else if we ultimately
cable networks in particular, who’ve just
decide we’re not the right element to
been willing to go, “Yeah this is a crazy
do it. I think it is a real shame that
idea, but let’s do this thing about a meth
there are some great incredible ideas
guy and ...”
that happened. Pilots that don’t work
for whatever reason never get on the
That is an incredible thing. It’s
air and they never see the light of day.
empowering to creatives. I think it’s
They die. It’s kind of weird. It’s sort of
hugely empowering to an audience. And
like the networks could have been so
at the end of the day, they are telling us
much more generous with their content
what they want. Audiences are begging
with respect to the Internet but they
for these incredibly complex, multi-
held onto it. And as the result I think
layered, long distance relationships that
they lost out. And that’s that same kind
they have with these characters in these
of mentality. It seems to me like that
stories. That’s what they want.
kind of stuff should fall away.
So, we’d have to be fools not to keep
So audiences want quality.
giving it to them and keep pushing the
Creatives want the freedom to
boundaries and keep trying new things
express. Money people need to
and keep experimenting and keep
make money to fund the cycle.
paying attention, because we cannot
Is there some confidence, now
presume we know how people are going
you are going into season two,
to want to watch things.
understanding that data has
nd we can’t presume
helped support the gut feeling?
Has it given you a different way
of thinking about approaching
series two?
No, as I say, there is nothing about
the platform and the way it’s going out
there that affects our creative process in
terms of the story that we want to tell.
We’re setting out to tell a story in the
that the things that are working this
way that we want to tell it. What’s great
year are going to work a year from now.
is having partners that get it, having
This ground is fertile and moving.
partners that believe in it, having never
had a single note asking us to water
something down. This is the thing that
I talk to actors about and I’ll be very
circumspect here because I don’t want
to give it a way or in anyway attack
Here’s why it works: When the creatives
are allowed to tell the story they want to
tell, it pays dividends to everybody.
Any predictions of where you
think technology is going to
head in the next, say, five years?
How does that landscape look
for you?
I can’t sit here and pretend to be
You walk into a room there is a big exit
any kind of soothsayer. I will not
sign and there is a big curtain. And they
be surprised by any technological
hand you a program and there’s people
advancements. I will not be surprised
around you. And then the lights go
by platforms that we could never have
down and 20 minutes later you could be
imagined. I just hope that in the end,
in another world. You can believe that
storytelling will remain storytelling and
world. And that happens on film, that
whatever form it takes, whatever its
happens on television, now it happens
length is, whatever we’re watching it
streaming. You go to these worlds and
on, all of that seems to be irrelevant. It’s
if we do these jobs right they reflect our
like, probably everyone feels this way.
world. And that’s the amazing thing
When I go to a theater, whether it’s a
about it. That I sees that eye and it
theater for the living theater or a movie
don’t lie.
theater or I sit in front of a big screen
and I watch something, I just want to be
taken away.
That’s beautiful. I would
be remiss if I didn’t ask this
question. Any little sneaky tips
on what’s going to happen on
season two?
I’m going to murder you right now.
wear skinny jeans and for a man they
are hard to find. I mean a pair that fit
well, comfortable and have a style that
wears well. Oh and I always customize
the jeans I love with fabric paint, bike
grease and stitches. I like my clothes to
have a story. Enter Acne Studios.
Acne is a Stockholm-based fashion
house with a multi-disciplinary
I’m a fan of founder and Creative
Director Jonny Johansson’s interest
in photography, art, architecture and
contemporary culture. What I love about
Acne is they truly reflect the multidisciplinary nature of this creative age.
Between The Raindrops
Three More Days
Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield
Ray LaMontagne
Barton Hollow
The Civil Wars
She Lit A Fire
Lord Huron
Dancing Shoes
A Song For You
Nicest Thing
How Come You Never Go There
Amos Lee
Gavin Degraw
Donny Hathaway
Kate Nash
Small Bump
Ed Sheeran
Agnes Obel
Make You Feel My Love
This Years Love
Almost Lover
This Must Be Love
Reason Why
Glory Bound
David Gray
A Fine Frenzy
Phil Collins
Rachel Yamagata
James Morrison
Martin Sexton
Flame Turns Blue
David Gray
Pink Moon
Nick Drake
Let Him Fly
Stop This Train
Blame It On My Youth
Love Song #2
Grade 8
Patty Griffin
John Mayer
Jamie Cullum
Ray LaMonatagne
The White Buffalo
Ed Sheeran
Everything But The Girl
David Shing
I dig varnish on dudes.
Good looking hands and feet are important to me.
So I naturally was into this story by AOL’s Stylist.
When you’re in your local nail salon
“It was just clear that we both felt
getting a manicure and a guy walks in
uncomfortable, and we talked about how
for a treatment, do you judge him? Do
uncomfortable this is. I asked a lot of my
you give him the side-eye because you
other guy friends about their experiences
don’t want any–eww–males in your
and realized I wasn’t alone,” Elliot told
serene space? Well, even if you don’t do
me. “I have always hated going to get
either of these things, guys who go to
a mani just because of that feeling of
nail salons feel like you do. That’s why
walking in the door and it seems like all
one LA entrepreneur is opening an all-
the women kind of look at you like, ‘What
male nail salon, called Hammer & Nails.
are you doing here?’ and it’s just awful.”
Screenwriter Michael Elliot (he wrote
Hammer & Nails, which opens on
Just Wright, a romantic comedy starring
Melrose Avenue in LA on November 9,
Common and Queen Latifah) had an
is designed to look like a man-cave. The
“a-ha” moment when he went to a nail
chairs are oversize leather, there’s a
salon in LA and struck up a conversation
vintage punching bag from the 1940′s,
with the only other dude in the place.
and everyone gets his own TV and
eadphones, complete with a
all involve just a buff or clear polish. “I
selection of premium sports channels.
do plan to offer [colored polishes] here.
(I guess guys aren’t into engaging in
It wasn’t my original plan until I read
nail salon gossip.) There will also be a
an article in the New York Times very
selection of free beverages. Elliot doesn’t
recently about this growing popularity of
have a liquor license yet, but the goal is
colors for guys,” Elliot said. “So I want to
to offer complimentary beer and scotch.
make that available here as well.”
The menu includes a standard manicure
for $25 and a pedicure for $30. He
American males to engage in regular nail
acknowledges that his prices are about
care. “There’s this misconception that
20% higher than an average salon–he
only metrosexual men would get a mani
says he’s going for a more luxury vibe,
or pedi, or only gay men,” Elliot said. “I
and it’s difficult to stay as competitive as
want to make nail care as common as
the more traditional salons do.
getting a haircut and I feel like creating
the right environment is key to that.” He
And the manicures won’t necessarily
thinks that there’s an untapped market
out there of men who have never had a
funded), he’s confident he has a winning
manicure because the typical nail salon
concept. He hopes to open another
is too intimidating, but who want to try
Hammer & Nails LA outpost within 12
months, and to start franchising in 2014.
He says he’s already received inquiries
T&A won’t be a part of the draw at the
about franchise opportunities.
salon, though. I asked him about hiring
Hooters-style nail techs and he said,
I actually think this whole concept makes
“Absolutely not. In fact the very first
a lot of sense. And I think you’d have
nail tech I hired has been doing men’s
more luck getting your boyfriend into a
manicures for 38 years.” Elliot’s goal is
place like this to get his disgusting feet
to hire techs who enjoy working on men’s
taken care of than into your standard
nails and who have a lot of experience
girly salon.
doing so.
While some of Elliot’s friends think he’s
nuts (the whole business venture is self-
it is tough to have a favorite
Maker. but Gloria Steinem on
her evolution from journalist
to activist, to launching Ms.,
and being an embodiment
of the women’s movement’s
verve is a glorious example of
Biggest Fear:
Being misunderstood.
Three Adjectives to
Describe Herself:
Hopeful, durable and laughing
Dream Interview Subject:
Someone who lived before there was
patriarchy, monotheism or nationalism.
Most Meaningful
Advice Received:
People are linked, not ranked, with
each other, with nature and with the
Groundbreaking writer, lecturer,
editor and activist, Gloria Steinem
has been looked to as the popular face
of the women’s movement for over
four decades. She was a buzzed-about
journalist in the late-60s, when her
political conscience compelled her to the
growing feminist movement and made
her one of its most visible and effective
leaders. She co-founded Ms. magazine
in 1972, and has spent decades
crisscrossing the United States and the
world as a speaker and organizer. She
has been a controversial, good-humored,
and inescapable public conscience on
issues of equality and social justice. She
has expanded the women’s movement to
celebrate non-violent conflict resolution,
the cultures of indigenous peoples,
and organization across socioeconomic
boundaries. Steinem probes and lays
bare the workings of gender roles,
of sex and race caste systems, and
of child abuse as roots of violence.
She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate
of Smith College and an Inductee of
the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Gloria Steinem is a 2005 Founder of
the Women’s Media Center. She lives in
New York City, and is at work on Road
to the Heart: America As if Everyone
Mattered, traces her journeys on behalf
of women—and of people—everywhere.
Sleepy Jones was created late at night
We are telling
in a half dream just months ago. My
you that it is
partners, Anthony and Chad, and I
okay to unplug
had been looking at photographs of the
and get inspired,
people we admire – artists, writers,
to leT your
designers, and musicians – and noticed
mind wander.
that most wore what was comfortable,
stylish and easy. Sometimes they wore
Pajamas and underwear seem to have
pajamas; sometimes they wore very little
been left behind as clothing design has
at all. Plimpton was known to roam the
evolved. To replace the boring basics
Paris Review office in boxers and Picasso
typically worn for lounging, we made
churned out masterpieces in little more
pajamas, shirts, socks and underwear
than shorts and a robe.
that are classic, comfortable and stylish
so you can loosen up, kick back, and
simply think. Sleepy Jones can be your
comfortable had for the people we
uniform for eating breakfast in bed,
admired and came up with the idea to
building blanket forts with your kids,
start a sleepwear and not-quite-ready-to-
running Sunday errands, writing your
wear brand that women and men could
novel and everything in between. Really,
wear to sleep, to work, to lounge, and to
how many great works of art were
play in. It’s all about the movement of
created in three-piece-suits?
non-movement and taking the time to let
your mind wander.
Andy Spade
By Matthew Panzarino
acebook’s Mark Zuckerberg tried to
‘build products that moved further
acquire Twitter not once but twice,
in [Twitter’s] direction’, a tactic that
through official channels and via co-
we’ve personally heard many accounts
founder Jack Dorsey. The details of the
of Zuckerberg employing. The implicit
efforts are revealed in Nick Bilton’s
threat: sell to us or we’ll clone your
new book Hatching Twitter: A True
Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and
I’ll have a full review of the book soon,
During the meeting, Williams
but I found one passage in particular
and Stone threw out a
worth noting. It was late October of
valuation: $500 million.
2008, shortly after Dorsey had been
Zuckerberg was not shocked,
ousted as CEO and consigned to a silent
as Dorsey had already
role as Chairman, with no voting stock
informed him that this was the
or operational control. Fellow Twitter
range that would be sought.
co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone
had been invited to visit Facebook for a
But the sale didn’t happen, and the
sit-down with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
reasoning behind the rejection was
The purpose? An acquisition of Twitter.
outlined in an email by Williams to
the board, which is partially quoted in
Zuckerberg, Bilton explains, had been
Bilton’s book.
working Dorsey for months to try to
arrange a buyout. But his plans were
It seems to me, there are three reasons
thrown into disarray when Dorsey
to sell a company, Ev wrote in an e-mail
was yanked from the CEO slot. An
to the board outlining why they should
email at one point to Jack had given
decline Facebook’s offer. 1. The price
a point-by-point reasoning on why
is good enough of or a value that the
Facebook+Twitter made sense. Among
company will be in the future. (“We’ve
those reasons was the customary
often said that Twitter is a billion dollar
threat that Facebook could choose to
company. I think it’s many, many times
that,” Ev wrote.) 2. There’s an imminent
on the company. Even with a crappy
and very real threat from a competitor.
infrastructure still wobbling under the
(Nothing is going to “pose a credible
weight of the users it did have, Twitter’s
threat of taking Twitter to zero.” 3.
leadership had faith.
You have a choice to go and work for
someone great. (“I don’t use [Facebook].
That faith extended to the fact that
And I have many concerns about their
there was no competitor, including
people and how they do business.”)
Facebook, who could pose a ‘credible
threat of taking Twitter to zero’. The
There are a few interesting points in
concept of Twitter, and its execution,
this passage, which we’ve emphasized.
was so unique that even a company with
First among those is that the board
Facebook’s resources was ill-equipped
saw Twitter as a billion-dollar company
to mimic its behavior and success. This
in 2008, and Williams saw it as many
is reinforced by another anecdote in
times that. In 2008, Twitter had fewer
the book about a possible $12 million
than 11 million users, and had yet to see
Yahoo acquisition, which was politely
the exponential gains that would come
declined very early on in Twitter’s life.
in early 2009 as a result of publicity like
The number, even with only 250k active
Ashton Kutcher’s public race against
users of what was still an Odeo side
CNN to be the first million-follower
project, seemed so low to Biz, Williams
account. Twitter’s current IPO filing
and Dorsey that it became a running
places a roughly $11.9 billion value
And lastly, Williams was also
dropping. Facebook took roughly three
uncomfortable about a culture mis-
years to clone Twitter’s core ‘follow’
match. The book as a whole drills
feature, launching Subscribe in 2011. It
down deeply into some very flawed,
was later re-named ‘Follow’.
very human characters. But a strain
that runs throughout is that the core
Dorsey, for his part, was ambivalent
creators of Twitter were all looking
about a Facebook acquisition, saying
for ways to democratize human
that “If the numbers are right, there’s
connections. That started with Odeo
a success story in either path.” At the
and continued through to the Twitter
time, he was fresh off of his removal as
experiment. Williams felt that Twitter
CEO, with little hope of getting any real
could be negatively impacted by
power in the company back. That turned
intermingling with Facebook’s company
out to be wrong, thanks to friendly
culture, and was willing to bet hundreds
investor Peter Fenton, but it’s not too
of millions of dollars that it would be
surprising that he saw the money as a
better without that influence.
fair trade.
We seem to talk more and more about
the mercenary nature of Silicon Valley
— and the popularity of ‘acquisition as
business plan’ — daily. But, it turns out,
there are still people making decisions
based on something other than the
seven deadly sins.
And one can’t discount the impact
that lightly veiled threats have on
negotiations. They can often lead to a
sour taste, and we’ve heard about more
ut the board agreed with
Williams’ reasoning and declined the
offer. Zuckerberg would then go on to
than one negotiation with Facebook that
court Dorsey heavily, but refuse to give
has been spoiled by this kind of hint-
him a head of product position. Dorsey
never went to Facebook, and when
largest and most recognizable social
Twitter IPOs, he’ll get his voting shares
networks. And an example of how it’s
still possible to mesh the concepts of
business acumen and moral code.
An interesting note: Williams actually
blogged about the offer, and the three
reasons, earlier this year but never
disclosed that it was Facebook. An
interesting quote from the piece:
At the time, the offer we had on the
table for Twitter—though a heck of a lot
of money and a huge win for investors
and anyone else involved—didn’t seem
like it captured the upside. Even though
we weren’t huge, and there were still a
lot of doubters, I believed our potential
was unbounded.
In the Twitter case, we had no desire
to sell. I had actually just become CEO
and was raring to go—as was the team.
Additionally, the company we were
having the discussion with didn’t seem
like one in which we’d fit particularly
well or the team would be stoked about.
The passage presents us with an
intriguing alternate reality where
Facebook acquired Twitter, establishing
an essential monopoly on the world’s
up: a brief
history of
fall from
By Jon Fingas
BlackBerry is in dire straits. The
smartphone maker was riding high
in market share and profits just a
few years ago, but it’s now having
trouble securing rescue money. It’s yet
again pinning its hopes on a new CEO
who’s tasked with saving a struggling
industry giant. How did BlackBerry
decline so quickly, though? And what
might happen to the company when
seemingly every option is on the table?
As it turns out, BlackBerry’s descent
into trivial market share figures and
sustained losses stems from a mixture
of hubris, sluggishness and misplaced
effort -- and there’s no clear solution in
If there’s any overarching cause for
BlackBerry’s woes, it’s that the company
neither anticipated nor responded
quickly to the threats posed by Android
and the iPhone. As The Globe and Mail
revealed in an interview with former
co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, the 2007-era
iPhone was a complete break from what
the Waterloo firm knew. BlackBerry
was focused on efficiency, keyboards and
security; Apple devoted its attention
to broadly appealing concepts like
performance and ease of use. Even if
BlackBerry’s criticism of the iPhone
at the time was marketing bluster, as
Lazaridis now suggests, it still reflects
a company that wasn’t taking its
competition as seriously as it should.
Despite having an initial edge in the
corporate world, BlackBerry was facing
an uphill battle when trying to court a
wider audience that didn’t care about
encrypted email or network bandwidth.
The tech giant didn’t just lose its grip on
the mainstream smartphone market; it
was also slow to acknowledge the Bring
Your Own Device trend.
BlackBerry was aware that it had to
adapt, but its first response -- 2008’s
Storm 9500 -- did little beyond graft
touch on top of an aging platform. The
Storm’s ultimate failure led Verizon
to give up on BlackBerry as a sales
leader and focus its attention on
Android handsets like the Motorola
Droid, which is widely considered the
platform’s first smash hit. BlackBerry
didn’t start revamping its OS in earnest
until it bought QNX in 2010, which
gave both Apple and Google a huge
opportunity to build market share.
And they sometimes did so in ways
that BlackBerry hadn’t expected. The
tech giant didn’t just lose its tentative
grip on the mainstream smartphone
market; it was also slow to acknowledge
the Bring Your Own Device trend,
which saw workers replace companyissued BlackBerrys with personal
any argue that Heins
revitalized BlackBerry by addressing
The company magnified its problems
cultural issues and narrowing
by squandering QNX’s technology.
development on fewer devices. There’s
Rather than concentrate on improving
some proof to back up the claims:
its smartphone platform and
the BlackBerry 10-based Z10 and
preventing customers from jumping
Q10 launched to positive (though not
ship, BlackBerry spread its resources
ecstatic) reviews, for example. However,
thin and built the PlayBook as a
there are also signs that Heins made
response to the iPad. The tablet was
mistakes of his own. The Globe and
billed as the end of Apple’s “amateur
Mail claims that the ex-CEO insisted
hour,” but it amounted to a poorly
on launching the Z10 first despite
executed distraction; BlackBerry
warnings that the handset wouldn’t
rushed the PlayBook to market without
stand out as well as a QWERTY
implementing its greatest advantage,
model, and it bombed. Heins also left
native email, and faced disastrous sales
BlackBerry with few alternative sources
as a consequence. Thorsten Heins would
of revenue, in part because he dropped
eventually scuttle the tablet strategy
a plan to replace SMS with BlackBerry
during his tenure as CEO, but by then
Messenger. The chat service is relatively
the damage was done. BlackBerry 10,
popular now that it’s available on both
the company’s overhauled smartphone
Android and iOS, but those additional
platform, was late.
platforms don’t generate money -- just
For now,
has to
fend for
So what’s next, now that Heins is gone?
patent battles or fast-track an in-house
In the short term, not much. While
project. They may sell or shut down
$1 billion in debt-based financing
whatever they don’t need. BlackBerry
gives the phone designer some relief,
is still an independent company, and
interim CEO John Chen hasn’t had
it may remain that way if it can get its
much chance to say what he’ll do to
costs in check and release devices or
turn the company around. Smartphone
services that enjoy some success. Should
production will continue. There are
someone eye a takeover, though, there’s
rumors that seemingly every company
a real chance that BlackBerry will share
from Facebook through to Qualcomm
Palm’s fate -- subsumed into another
is considering an acquisition bid,
company, with few traces left of its
but nothing has advanced past the
unique character.
exploratory stages. For now, BlackBerry
has to fend for itself.
Even if it does find a willing suitor,
there’s no guarantee that fans will like
the result. Rumored candidates like
Google or Lenovo have little incentive
to sustain BlackBerry’s hardware or
software businesses when they already
run their own operations. Instead,
they’re more likely to buy the ailing
mobile pioneer to either assist in
meet 2013 AOL in review
meet the boss
meet the ads leadership team
By Erika Nardini
Just a few weeks ago, AOL celebrated
its first full year of growth in almost
its fourth birthday since spinning off
a decade, and we are continuing to
as an independent, public company.
position ourself as a pioneering Internet
As we continue to pave our own way in
company, connecting the world at scale.
the digital media and tech world, it is
important to reflect on how exciting of a
In the first half of the year AOL Canada
year it has been for us.
launched, 3 global HuffPost editions
were announced, 15 new original shows
With countless product launches,
were unveiled, and we rebranded
impactful trade events, the first as AOL Networks.
ever Upfront event, and a successful
We acquired gdgt, debuted Engadget
NewFront event, 2013 proved to be
Expand, TechCrunch Disrupt NY, and
a huge year for the AOL Advertising
were awarded 4 Digiday awards and
sales and marketing teams, and for
nominated for 6 Webbys.
the company as a whole. AOL had
Refusing to slow down, the second half
and industry records.2 We are now #2
of 2013 saw the launch of HuffPost
in content views, reaching 73M unique
Partner studio and TechCrunch China,
visitors as we hit over 1.3B video views
the acquisition of, the relaunch
for the month.
of, the release of new
Autoblog and MapQuest apps, and AOL
The Huffington Post also had a record-
On signed a huge video syndication deal
breaking year, as they hit a record-
with ESPN.
breaking 84 million UVs worldwide in
October,4 with +44% of those visitors
As a sales team we served 653M ads
coming from outside of the United
across AOL in 2013, saw a 70% YoY
States.5 HuffPost Live’s video views
increase in Premium Formats Growth,1
increased nearly every month in 2013
sold 11 of our original shows, grew
and saw 510% year-over-year growth.
across video, network, and display, and
Native advertising revenue is projected
launched the Wanamaker Place Project,
to be up 47% year-over-year, and
rebranding our portfolio of premium ad
international revenue is projected to be
formats and introducing new ones to the
up 180% year-over-year.
In 2014, we will continue to double
From a video standpoint, it was an
down on our priorities – products,
explosive year as well. With more than
platforms, programs, and people –
800K videos in the AOL On library as
specifically focusing on the notion of
of today, we have secured the #1 spot in
humans and machines, committing to
video ads served hitting a high record of
programmatic ad buying, and investing
4B ads streamed, beating both Google
in the most premium products and
programming. 2014 will be a crucial
year for AOL, as we continue to rise
from the ashes, surpassing industry
records and expectations – we will be
the company to watch in 2014.
AOL Artist Jonathan Puckey
Tim Armstrong has served as Chairman and CEO of AOL since 2009. In December of
2009, he took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange. AOL serves over
200 million consumers a month and is one of the world’s biggest consumers brands.
Prior to joining AOL, Tim served as President of Google’s Americas Operations and
served on the company’s operating committee. Prior to Google, Tim served as an
executive of multiple internet and media companies, including Snowball, Disney’s
ABC/ESPN Internet Ventures, and Paul Allen’s Starwave Corporation. Tim also has
started or co-founded multiple companies during his career including Associated
Content (sold to Yahoo!) and Patch (sold to AOL).
He is a graduate of Connecticut College, home of the Camels.
Senior Vice President
AOL Advertising
With over 20 years in the media business, Jim
Previous to AOL, Jim spent 3 years at Google,
is responsible for advertising sales for the entire
most recently as National Sales Manager for
AOL brand portfolio, including The Huffington
Google’s Agency Activation team, which he
Post, Engadget, StyleList, AOL Networks,
launched and built a small regional team into
AOL On and MapQuest. He also leads the
a national team covering over 180 national
sales of all cross platform marketing solutions,
advertising agencies. His team sold and serviced
including display/Project Devil initiative, video
the full suite of Google advertising products
and mobile. Jim joined AOL in 2009 as SVP,
including search, display, YouTube and Google’s
AOL Advertising’s Advance Sales team, which
TV and Radio products. Jim began his Google
focused on national and regional advertisers
career as Senior Account Executive on the
across all categories, as well as new business. He
National Tech BtoB Team servicing many of the
was also VP of Product Sales working with AOL
leading global tech marketers.
product teams on maximizing their offerings to
advertisers, including MapQuest, Patch, AOL
Prior to his digital career, Jim worked in a
Mail, AOL Video and Mobile. He also managed
variety of traditional media sales and marketing
AOL’s Search and Sponsored Listings business,
roles, including 4 years as Sales Manager at
and helped launch and manage AOL’s self service
Tribune Broadcasting’s WLVI-TV (Boston’s
advertising platform, Ad Desk.
WB), radio ad sales at Kiss 108FM and brand
marketing at Miller Brewing Company.
A lifelong Bostonian, Jim is a ‘Triple Eagle’,
having graduated from BC High, Boston
College (BA, Communications) and BC’s Carroll
Graduate School of Business (MBA, Marketing
and Technology). He lives in Cohasset, MA with
his wife, Katie, and their sons Jack, Ryan and
Charlie. He spends most of his free time at a
Little League or soccer field, hockey rink or hoop
court while discreetly eyeing his phone for the
latest scores of Boston sports teams.
David Shing is AOL’s Digital Prophet. He spends
most of his time watching the future take shape
across the vast online landscape. The rest he
spends talking to people about where things are
headed, and how we can get the most out of it.
He also identifies new areas of opportunity
for AOL and collaborates with the agency and
marketing teams to develop creative brand
Shing has spent most of his adult life in the
digital world working for both large and
small creative companies. He served as AOL’s
European Head of Media and Marketing before
taking on his current mantle in New York City.
He lives in New York with his wife Lia.
david shing
Digital Prophet
As Chief Marketing Officer, Erika oversees
all internal sales communications and B2B
trade marketing. She previously served as Vice
President/Head of Marketing Solutions, where
she led marketing and creative strategies for
AOL’s advertising business. Erika is an industry
Erika Nardini leader who has worked with major digital brands
CMO, AOL Advertising to drive advertiser and ad product innovation that
@ekanardini connects with the global consumer.
Prior to AOL Erika worked at Demand Media,
where she served as Senior VP of Sales and
Marketing and helped develop brand partnerships
with marquee brands. Earlier in her career, Erika
was the VP of Brand Packaging & Solutions with
Yahoo!, Inc., where she managed the marketing
strategies and publishing capabilities across the
company’s leading properties and products. She
also spent time with Microsoft building the global
capabilities of its branded entertainment and
experiences business while opening several offices
for that unit across the globe.
Erika graduated from Colby College with a BA in
Sociology and Philosophy. She and her husband
reside in Pound Ridge, NY, with their two
children, Cannon and Turin. A die-hard Patriots
fan, in her downtime Erika can be found walking
her Bernese Mountain Dogs, Tahaa and Zoe, and
adding to her collection of LL Bean tote bags.
Head of Agency and
Industry Relations
As Head of Agency and Industry Relations, Jack
Bamberger leads the AOL’s global relationships
with it’s largest advertising customers, the global
advertising agency holding companies and their
agencies to build innovative solutions across
platforms and identify new revenue opportunities
for agencies and their clients. He also drives
AOL’s industry relationships with the 4A’s, IAB,
ANA, AAF and plays a leadership role with AOL’s
Digital Content NewFronts.
Prior to joining AOL, Jack was the President
of Digital in North America for MEC where he
was responsible for the agency’s offerings across
digital, social, search, mobile and emerging
platforms. Previous to MEC, he was at Dentsu
America as Chief Consumer Engagement Officer,
where he established the digital and social media
practice in the U.S. for the agency.
Jack graduated from the University of MissouriColumbia with a degree in Journalism and is a
walking IMDB and IDBD due to his love of movies
and theatre. A die-hard St. Louis Cardinal fan and
adventure traveler, he and his partner Bradley
are the proud fathers of their two-year old son
Lucas and their four-legged other son, Dexter.
As Head of Sales Strategy & Operations,
Marta earned her M.B.A. from Leonard
Marta Martinez leads and manages
N. Stern School of Business at New
sales strategy and operations for AOL
York University and Master in Science
Advertising including AOL’s specialist
in Business Administration from
sales teams, and the development and
ESADE in Barcelona. She and her
packaging of advertising solutions for
husband reside in White Plains, NY
clients, as well as the development of
with their two children. Marta loves
innovative sales force effectiveness
traveling around the world and likes to
initiatives. Marta is an industry leader
ski, bike, and do yoga.
with a proven ability to innovate
(and simplify) complex advertising
technology solutions and has worked
with leading international advertisers
and media agencies.
Prior to AOL, Marta worked at
MediaMath, where she served dual
Marta Martinez
roles as Senior Vice President Business
Head of Sales Strategy
Development & Operations and Chief
AND Operations
Marketing Officer, leading business
development, marketing and strategic
partnership initiatives for the major
brands and agencies. Earlier in her
career she was SVP, Global Corporate
Development at Havas Digital where
she led the group’s executive and
operational management in identifying
and executing strategic development
As Head of Sales Strategy & Operations,
Marta earned her M.B.A. from Leonard
Marta Martinez leads and manages
N. Stern School of Business at New
sales strategy and operations for AOL
York University and Master in Science
Advertising including AOL’s specialist
in Business Administration from
sales teams, and the development and
ESADE in Barcelona. She and her
packaging of advertising solutions for
husband reside in White Plains, NY
clients, as well as the development of
with their two children. Marta loves
innovative sales force effectiveness
traveling around the world and likes to
initiatives. Marta is an industry leader
ski, bike, and do yoga.
with a proven ability to innovate
(and simplify) complex advertising
technology solutions and has worked
with leading international advertisers
and media agencies.
Prior to AOL, Marta worked at
Marta Martinez
MediaMath, where she served dual
Head of
roles as Senior Vice President Business
Sales Strategy
Development & Operations and Chief
& Operations
Marketing Officer, leading business
development, marketing and strategic
partnership initiatives for the major
brands and agencies. Earlier in her
career she was SVP, Global Corporate
Development at Havas Digital where
she led the group’s executive and
operational management in identifying
and executing strategic development
Brad Elders
Senior Vice President
East Coast Sales
He oversees sales, account management
Prior to Function(x), Brad served as the
and marketing on the East Coast and
Vice President of Video Sales for AOL;
is responsible for building advertising
Chief Operating Officer of TidalTV;
solutions for major advertisers in New
and SVP of North American sales for
York, Boston, Atlanta and across the
IPTV provider Joost. Earlier on in his
eastern seaboard.
career, Brad ran national sales for
Massive Incorporated, a video game
With over 20 years of experience in
advertising pioneer, and built and led
media, Brad most recently served
a new business development team at
as Senior Vice President, Sales at
MTV Networks dedicated to diversifying
Function(x), where he was responsible
MTV’s advertising business.
for developing the company’s go-tomarket strategy and building a national
Brad is a frequent industry speaker
sales team to support Viggle, the
on topics that include online video and
company’s social television platform.
emerging media platform monetization.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History
from Dartmouth College and lives in
Darien, CT with his wife and three
Tim Richards, Senior Vice President
national advertisers such as HP, Apple,
of Sales for AOL’s Western US Region,
Oracle and Cisco. He was named
oversees sales, account management
FORTUNE’s top producer in 1999. Tim
and marketing in the Los Angeles and
also served as Director of Business
San Francisco offices. His teams are
Development for the Seattle-based
responsible for building advertising
business portal,, where he
solutions for major West Coast
developed business alliances with deals
advertisers, including Experian, eBay,
with CNN, Hertz and Yahoo, among
Toyota, Sony Pictures, Apple, Intuit and
others. In addition, Tim led Onvia’s
small business content syndication
Tim began his career with American
City Business Journals, working his
way up from local sales in Seattle to
National Sales Director positions in
Chicago and San Francisco. During
his time at the national Network of
City Business Journals, he broke all
company sales records for monthly,
quarterly and annual sales.
Tim then served as Vice President
of Corporate Sales for Time Inc.
In this role, he was responsible for
developing integrated programs for
major advertisers, using Time Inc’s
50 domestic brands and their digital,
mobile, print and video platforms. He
was also the region’s primary liaison
with the Time Warner sister divisions.
Prior to joining corporate sales, Tim
served as Northwest Advertising
Director for FORTUNE and FORTUNE
Small Business (FSB), managing a team
of sales and marketing professionals
focused on key relationships with
Tim graduated from Miami University
in Oxford, OH. He serves as Board
Chairman for the Bay Area Advertising
Relief Committee (, and
is also a member of the Bay Area
Interactive Group, and ThinkLA. A
native of Waukesha, WI, Tim lives in
Tiburon, CA ,with his wife Michele and
children Paige and Grant.
Senior Vice President
Western US Region SALES
Wendy Falk MacGregor is AOL’s SVP,
Sales for the Central region. She began
her career as a media buyer, switching
later to account service at Leo Burnett.
She became VP, Marketing at Hyatt
Hotels, then SVP, Marketing at Starcom
Worldwide, and SVP, Chief Marketing
Officer at Feeding America before
joining AOL.
Throughout Wendy’s career, she has
Wendy has had the opportunity to work
remained engaged in digital media,
with a number of blue-chip marketers,
leading the initiative behind the first
including Kraft, ConAgra, P&G,
internet rate guarantee and search
McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, General Mills,
initiatives at Hyatt Hotels. Later,
Makers Mark, Best Buy, Wal-Mart,
she developed digital capabilities and
Discover Card and Morgan Stanley. For
became a leader in the social media
this, Wendy was named an Ad Age Top
space at Feeding America.
Marketer, and has received The Cause
Marketing Forum’s Golden Halo award
as well as several Addys.
Wendy and her husband have three
children, Madison, Sophia, and PJ. She
also loves to run, do yoga and cook.
Wendy holds a journalism degree from
the University of Wisconsin.
Wendy MacGregor
Senior Vice President
Central US SALES
Space is emptiness.
Nothing. The void.
Over the millennia, humans have learned to
turn this emptiness into a different type of space.
Each one designed for a specific, static purpose. A
confessional. A meeting room. A concert hall.
Today, we have a chance to build
a new kind of space here at 770.
A “Living Space.”
A space that’s alive, organic.
A space that evolves, that adapts, that becomes
what it needs to be in the moment.
A space that tells a new story
with every passing second.
A space that embodies AOL’s push into “Open”.
In our Living Space, the walls remain incomplete
– because the people who occupy the space
complete it in a different way every time.
The seating comes in all shapes and sizes, so
every person can find their perfect fit.
The space is a fashion-show runway, a chat
program, an executive lounge, a presentation
hall, a VIP reception area, and anything else we
can dream up – all at the same time.
The Living Space is dynamic, not static.
The Living Space is genuine, not artificial.
The Living Space is the future, not the past.
In the Living Space, life happens and there’s
plenty of space for everyone.
The Living Space is pure potential.
770 broaDway New york 10003
The Shinger magazine is a proof of
concept and is not intended to be sold
or used for commercial purposes beyond
celebrating creativity with a few friends.
Copyright 2014 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved. All
Content Copyright and other rights reserved by its
Respective Owners. No Content May Be Duplicated
Without Express Written Consent.
Any content, trademark(s), or other material that may
be found in this document that is not AOLs property
remains the copyright of its respective owner(s). In no
way does AOL claim ownership or responsibility for
such items, and you should seek legal consent for any
use of such materials from its owner.
Congrats, we’ve made it to the end