Joe Gebbia

How AirBnB Designs for Trust

As a designer, entrepreneur and the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia helped redesign the way the world travels and people connect.

Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb, bet his whole company on the belief that people can trust each other enough to stay in one another's homes. How did he overcome the stranger-danger bias? Through good design. Now, 123 million hosted nights (and counting) later, Gebbia sets out his dream for a culture of sharing in which design helps foster community and connection instead of isolation and separation.

Elora Hardy

Magical Houses Made of Bamboo

You've never seen buildings like this. The stunning bamboo homes built by Elora Hardy and her team in Bali twist, curve and surprise at every turn. They defy convention because the bamboo itself is so enigmatic. No two poles of bamboo are alike, so every home, bridge and bathroom is exquisitely unique. In this beautiful, immersive talk, she shares the potential of bamboo, as both a sustainable resource and a spark for the imagination. "We have had to invent our own rules," she says.

Cultivating the power of sustainable materials, Elora Hardy leads ​​Ibuku, creating​ ​​bespoke​ ​bamboo homes in her native Bali.

George Takei

Why I Love a Country that Once Betrayed Me

George Takei is known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series and films, but since serving as the helm officer on the USS Enterprise, he's become a pop culture icon here on this planet. To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career directed by Jennifer M. Kroot that premiered at Sundance in January 2014, will be released theatrically in August 2014.

Takei is a master of Facebook virality, and has written two books about it: Oh Myyy! - There Goes The Internet and Lions and Tigers and Bears - The Internet Strikes Back (known collectively as Life, the Internet and Everything, Books 1 and 2). He's also the host of the YouTube series Takei's Take.

Along with Lea Salonga and actor-singer-songwriter Telly Leung, he stars in a new musical called Allegiance (music and lyrics by Jay Kuo, book by Jay Kuo, Lorenzo Thione and Marc Acito). The musical is an epic story of love, family and heroism during the Japanese American internment.

Takei is an important advocate for LGBT rights; in 2005, he came out of the closet, and has been an active campaigner for the right of all people to marry.


Meklit Hadero

The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds

Meklit Hadero's music is imbued with poetry and multiplicity, from hybridized sounds of Tizita (haunting and nostalgic music) drawing from her Ethiopian heritage, to the annals of jazz, folk songs and rock & roll. Hadero describes her music as emanating from “in-between spaces,” and the result is a smoky, evocative world peopled by strong bass, world instruments and her soothing voice.

In the Nile Project, founded along with Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis, Hadero set out to explore the music of the Nile basin, pulling influences from countries along the river, from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and finally to Egypt. The project brings together hip-hop, traditional and contemporary music, with instruments and traditions old and new. As she says, "My work on a lot of levels is about multiplicity." Their new record is Aswan.

Janet Echelman

Taking Imagination Seriously

American artist Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight.

Janet Echelman builds living, breathing sculpture environments that respond to the forces of nature — wind, water and light— and become inviting focal points for civic life.

Exploring the potential of unlikely materials, from fishing net to atomized water particles, Echelman combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create her permanent sculpture at the scale of buildings. Experiential in nature, the result is sculpture that shifts from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in.

Recent prominent works include “Her Secret is Patience”, which spans two city blocks in downtown Phoenix,  “Water Sky Garden”, which premiered for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and “She Changes”, which transformed a waterfront plaza in Porto, Portugal.  Her newest commission creates a “Zone of Recomposure” in the new Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport. Upcoming projects include the remaking of Dilworth Plaza in front of Philadelphia City Hall -- turning it into a garden of dry-mist.

J. J.  Abrams

Unsolved Mysteries

Writer, director and producer J.J. Abrams makes smart, addictive dramas like TV's Lost, and films like Cloverfield and the new Star Trek.

As the Emmy-winning creator of the smart, addictive TV dramas Lost, Alias and Felicity, J.J. Abrams' name looms large on the small screen. As the writer/director behind the blockbuster explode-a-thon Mission: Impossible III, Cloverfield and the new Star Trek movie, these days Abrams also rules the big screen -- bringing his eye for telling detail and emotional connection to larger-than-life stories.

Abrams' enthusiasm -- for the construction of Kleenex boxes, for the quiet moments between shark attacks in Jaws, for today's filmmaking technologies, and above all for the potent mystery of an unopened package -- is incredibly infectious.


Dale Dougherty

We Are makers

A technology and publishing enthusiast, Dale Dougherty founded MAKE magazine and created the world's largest DIY festival, Maker Faire.

Dale Dougherty co-founded O'Reilly Media, a technical publisher and conference organizer known for its advocacy of Open Source and the Web. He coined the term "Web 2.0" while developing the Web 2.0 Conference. Dougherty started MAKE magazine, which brings the do-it-yourself mindset to everyday technology -- celebrating the right to tweak, hack and bend any technology to your own will.

Dougherty is the creator of Maker Faire, which leads a growing maker movement in New York, Detroit and the Bay Area. An early Web pioneer, Dougherty was the developer of Global Network Navigator (GNN), the first commercial Web site launched in 1993. He's a former publisher of Web Review, the online magazine for Web designers. Dougherty developed the Hacks series of books to "reclaim the term 'hacking' for the good guys," and he's the author of Sed & Awk.


Majora Carter

A Tale of Urban Renewal

Majora Carter redefined the field of environmental equality, starting in the South Bronx at the turn of the century. Now she is leading the local economic development movement across the USA.

Majora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: "Green the ghetto!"

With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.


Mellody Hobson

Color Blind or Color Brave

Mellody Hobson handles strategic planning for the Chicago-based Ariel Investments, one of the largest African-American-owned money management firms in the United States. Beyond her work at Ariel, Hobson has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets and economic trends for CBS News, contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and writes a column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, she is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt study, 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities.

Hobson is chair of the board for DreamWorks Animation. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, providing Chicago teens with high quality out-of-school-time programs.

Isabel Allende

How to Live Passionately

As a novelist and memoirist, Isabel Allende writes of passionate lives, including her own. Born into a Chilean family with political ties, she went into exile in the United States in the 1970s—an event that, she believes, created her as a writer. Her voice blends sweeping narrative with touches of magical realism; her stories are romantic, in the very best sense of the word. Her novels include The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna and The Stories of Eva Luna, and her latest, Maya's Notebook and Ripper. And don't forget her adventure trilogy for young readers— City of the Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and Forest of the Pygmies.

As a memoirist, she has written about her vision of her lost Chile, in My Invented Country, and movingly tells the story of her life to her own daughter, in Paula. Her book Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses memorably linked two sections of the bookstore that don't see much crossover: Erotica and Cookbooks. Just as vital is her community work: The Isabel Allende Foundation works with nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area and Chile to empower and protect women and girls—understanding that empowering women is the only true route to social and economic justice.


Roselinde Torres

What it takes to be a great leader

BCG's Roselinde Torres studies what makes great leaders tick — and figures out how to teach others the same skills. The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose. In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.

Roselinde Torres is a senior partner and managing director at the consulting firm, BCG. A senior leader in the firm’s "people and organization" practice area, she is also the company's resident expert on leadership, a topic she has studied her entire career.

Questions she likes to ask include, "what innovative methods can help prepare the next generation of leaders?" and "how do we enable leaders to unlearn past modes and habits of success?"

Casey Gerald

The Gospel of Doubt

Casey Gerald chronicles the current state of the American Dream and explores ways to sustain it for a new generation.

Casey Gerald has witnessed every facet of the American Dream -- from his harrowing childhood in Texas, to his tenure at the heights of America's elite institutions, to his journeys through the cities and towns of the American heartland where he has spent his recent years as cofounder and CEO of MBAs Across America. Now his work as a writer, speaker, and business leader centers on the question: will the American dream survive another generation?

Arthur Brooks

A Conservative’s Plea:  Let’s Work Together

As president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks is changing the way conservatives think about poverty and opportunity.

When classical French horn player Arthur Brooks returned to the United States from Spain with no money and few academic credentials, he felt he was immigrating to his own country. Now, as president of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (and an author of many columns and books, including his latest, The Conservative Heart), he's injecting a much-needed dose of compassion into contemporary conservative discourse.

A tireless advocate of free enterprise, Brooks argues that "a conservatism that fights poverty, promotes equal opportunity and extols spiritual enlightenment" is what the United States needs to restore prosperity and happiness.


Theaster Gates

How to Revive a Neighborhood with Imagination, Beauty, and Art

Theaster Gates is a potter whose ambitions stretch far beyond the wheel and the kiln. In Chicago, his leadership of artist-led spaces has catalyzed interest and excitement in a formerly neglected neighborhood, as he uses culture as a transformational weapon.

Theaster Gates is helping to define the future of artistic place-based efforts, in research and practice. Beginning with interventions in small-scale residences now known as Dorchester Projects, Gates’ houses in Greater Grand Crossing in Chicago have become a nexus for globally engaged experiments in structures of individual and collective living, working and art-making. Launched into the international art world at Documenta(13), the houses embodied a new system of values and celebrated both a flexible use of space and provided a way for artists, visitors and students to connect and collaborate.


Adam Foss

A Prosecutor’s Vision for a Better Justice System

When a kid commits a crime, the US justice system has a choice: prosecute to the full extent of the law, or take a step back and ask if saddling young people with criminal records is the right thing to do every time. In this searching talk, Adam Foss, a prosecutor with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Boston, makes his case for a reformed justice system that replaces wrath with opportunity, changing people's lives for the better instead of ruining them.

As Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division of Suffolk County, Adam Foss has become one of Boston's leading voices for compassion in criminal justice. Recognizing that prosecutors have a unique opportunity to intervene in offender's lives, Foss co-founded the Roxbury CHOICE Program, a collaborative effort between defendants, the court, the probation department, and the D.A. to recast probation as a transformative experience rather than a punitive process.

In addition to his work with the DA's office, Foss is the founder of the SCDAO Reading Program, a project designed to bridge the achievement gap of area elementary school students.

Daniel Reisel

The Neuroscience of Restorative Justice

Daniel Reisel studies the brains of criminal psychopaths (and mice). And he asks a big question: Instead of warehousing these criminals, shouldn’t we be using what we know about the brain to help them rehabilitate? Put another way: If the brain can grow new neural pathways after an injury … could we help the brain re-grow morality?


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