Posts Tagged ‘creativity#8217;


Anxo Peréz: Linguistic Prodigy. Be True to Your Vision

Written on November 11, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Anxo Peréz is the founder of 8Belts which is an online service to allow people to learn Chinese in 8 months. He is well known as a language genius that he speaks multiple languages. He is also the author of 88 peldaños del éxito. Today, he tells us the essence of how to take a leap of faith to build your own life.

foto libro - Anxo Portada


1. First of all, for those who are not familiar with you, let us know more about you. You are well known as a polyglot. How did you get interested in languages so much?

AP: I am just a humble apprentice that still has much to learn. I became interested in languages when I was a child. However, my interest wasn’t what was important, it was the fact that I realized that language teaching constituted one of my oil wells. However, I’d like to stress that my abilities aren’t better than everyone else’s, they’re just different. As soon as I discovered that one of them was languages, I decided to strengthen this ability as much as I could. There are two ways to increase one’s value in the world. One is improving the bad. The other is taking advantage of the good. The key to success isn’t found in the first one, it’s found in the second.


2. When you speak different languages, what happens in your mind? Does it feel  like you’re a different person?

AP: Anxo Pérez is Anxo Pérez, whether he’s speaking Gallego, Spanish, Chinese, or English. It’s just like how you continue being yourself making lunch and writing an article for a blog, a person is the same person no matter what language they’re speaking. Me communicating with someone in one language or the other doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we communicate. I feel the same way in every language.


3. You often encourage people to take  action. Are you naturally an outgoing person or did you have a specific episode that changed you to become proactive?

AP: When I was fifteen, I realized that I wasn’t making the most of my talents and I decided to move to the US so I could better take advantage of them. While there, I was able to develop my language-learning and musical abilities. If I hadn’t decided to incite change at that time and in that way, none of the wonderful things that have happened throughout my life would’ve ever happened. Actions have strength. Not one thing in the world around us has come from someone’s indifference.

The world isn’t moved by people with ideas because everyone has them. The world is moved by the few that are willing the do something with theirs. This is why I defend the standpoint that there’s magic in action.


4. What was the motivation for you to help people learn Chinese in 8 months? Why it was Chinese instead of any of the Romance languages?

AP: Because I couldn’t find any other language that was as distant and useful as Chinese. I wanted to dispel the notion that Spanish speakers aren’t good at languages. If we were able to demonstrate that anyone could learn Chinese with the proper method, why couldn’t we speak any language, like English, in the same amount of time?

Our mission is to demonstrate, to Spain and to the rest of the world, that there aren’t any “bad” ways to learn, but that there are ways to teach that can be improved.  When people don’t learn, it’s not their fault, it’s the method’s. If you teach properly, everyone learns. Even Chinese.


5. How do you make yourself outstanding in such a competitive market: language learning?

AP: You can’t achieve more than anyone by doing the same as everyone. We offer a different method where there are no classrooms, no books, no teachers, no exercises, and no tests. We also offer different results: you learn to speak a new language in just 8 months. If you don’t, you get your money back. Up until now, we haven’t had to return anyone’s money, not even once, because 8Belts doesn’t work 99% of the time, it works 100% of the time.


6. For most people, it is very scary to take a leap of faith to change their own life. How they can get out of their comfort zone?

AP: With monotony, you don’t suffer, but without risk you don’t grow. There are circumstances in which life puts a “dare-to” moment right in front of you. In such a case, you have two options: stay in your comfort zone, the safe place where you’ll never suffer, or launch yourself into the unknown. If you choose the second option, you may win or lose, but you’ll always grow.


7. What would be the first thing that someone could do to change their life?

AP: Incite change. Do things that you’ve never considered doing, play a new sport, learn a new language, talk to people that you never thought about talking to,… shake things up and observe the repositioning of all the pieces that make up your current situation in life. Action is magic, and shaking things up multiplies your magic’s impact.


8. What is the most important thing you have ever learned in your entrepreneurial life?

AP: Be true to your vision. When you begin a project, there are a thousand people that “advise” you to stop, they say that it’s not worth it, or that you should give your idea a 180 degree spin to “make it better.” Resist these temptations. Accept advice, but always stick true to your project.


9. If you could make a call to a 20-year-old Anxo Perez, what kind of advice would you give him?

AP: Don’t let a day go by without getting closer, even if it’s just a little bit, to achieving your goals.


10. If you can leave one message to make the world a better place, what would your message be?

AP: Chase your dreams…




Foodist: Darya Rose

Written on December 22, 2014 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Darya Rose is the founder of Summer Tomato, one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites, and the author of Foodist. She received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCSF.Her mission is to change the perception of “health, diet, and eating”through her method based on her research: changing habits instead of relying on willpower. We found that this method is not only to have healthy eating patterns, but also to change your way of thinking to achieve your goals and missions. Do you want to form positive habits and change your life, or stay at your current place?portrait1-crop

Photo by Peter Samuels


M: To begin with, let us know more about who you are. How did you get interested in neuroscience and why did you decide to invest your time in taking Ph.D.?


D: That’s a great question. I didn’t have a lot of guidance from my parents in terms of my career. All I knew when I was in high school was that I just needed to go to college if I wanted a better life than my parents had. I got into Berkeley finally. I didn’t know what to study; I was sort of interested in Psychology, so I was taking some Psychology classes. I randomly ended up taking a class about neurochemistry. I don’t know why I decided though; I could do that after studying English and I was studying Italian as well.


M: A big change.


D: Yes, I know. I took a neurobiology class, and I found it so cool! I learned about the brain, how the neurons in the brain fire signals, how drugs impact the brain. I felt “oh I was more interested in the biology side of psychology”. So I started taking more courses and thinking I was just going to study neurobiological psychology. When I started taking biology and hardcore science, I started getting As and A+s every single course. Then I realized I like Biology more than Psychology and that I like the brain and neuroscience. I was interested in neurodegenerative diseases, and I wanted to help those people. However, then I learned that there is no cure for those diseases, and there is nothing you can do except diagnose them well or maybe give them medicines to delay it a little bit. To me, that sounded very unrewarding. So I decided to go into research instead, and tried to find cures or prevent those illnesses. That’s how I got into neuroscience, and that’s why I decided to do a Ph.D. in neuroscience. In general, I’ve always been very curious about everything and interested in finding the truth in everything.. That’s why my blog is all over the place. I used to be a ballerina. I used to study calligraphy. I used to do gymnastics. I love NBA basketball. I was just sort of all over the place.


M: That’s an interesting story. I have never met someone who has experience in ballet and decided to take a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Your profile is very different from typical scientists.


D: You know that’s probably why I didn’t stay in academics. I felt it to be very limiting. You have to super super specialize. You work and work, and finally you get a paper published. It’s like this tiny little thing. I like to make faster progress than that and make a bigger impact on people. I just didn’t feel like that was happening when I’m sitting in a microscope room looking at interneurons in mice. On top of that, I was in Silicon Valley. Everyone around me is changing the world every day and they can do it at a much faster pace with the new technology. So I thought I should do something on the Internet. That is how I sort of shifted to thinking bigger. I always wanted to think bigger, but I finally had a way to do it and to reach a lot of people very easily. Basically, it’s free to start a blog. I was like, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” I might waste time but at least I’m trying something new.



M: Did you think about monetizing or did you just want to share your ideas and to connect people with the same interest?


D: I never expected to make money, but I knew that some bloggers made a lot of money. I had friends who could pay rent with a blog, and that for me was good enough. My number one goal was to do something that I felt was impacting the world more than I was doing before. This has been my goal from Day 1 at Summer Tomato. That’s what I want to change. When you ask anybody how to get healthy, they will say some version of dieting: eating less, moving more. The reason that diets trick you is that they do work for a little bit. You think, “If I could keep doing it then, I could solve the problem.” But that’s not true. It’s like an illusion. I need more people doing what I’m doing to succeed and tell their stories, and so that’s my new focus. The next year or two, I will be working specifically with that goal.


M: I think you can change the perception of the consumers first.


D: Yes Exactly. And you can do that by showing what I do. One of the things that I do, for instance, is show quality over quantity. I can give you strategies that you will still get to taste the food and enjoy it, and you won’t overeat because you’ll know what to do to stop. And most people would say yes! Give me that. I want that strategy. It’s just that right now people don’t know it.


M: So it is not just about what to eat, but also how to deal with your desire and mental issues?


D: Huge! That’s a huge part of it. So the first step is changing what you eat because what you eat can actually really impact how satisfied you are. Vegetables require much more chewing than McDonald’s meal. Then you will eat slower, you will eat less, you will enjoy the food more. Once you have real food with real flavor that actually tastes amazing, that’s actually good for you, it becomes silly to choose the bad thing. And so once you sort of overhaul what you’re eating, for most people that is what will change their lives. But some people will still overeat because we have a lot of bad habits that have been developed over decades.


M: I’m wondering how do you convince people to start hearing about your method and opinion


D: Well first of all I tell my story. That’s how I get their attention. Then they listen. That’s Step 1. Step 2 is saying that you’ve been focusing on deprivation. You’ve been focusing on willpower and NOT doing things. Let’s try to start doing things. You would run into different complaints like “I don’t like vegetables”. I’m like “well okay, have you tried this kind? Just give me chance”. Then, they go “Well, I don’t know how to cook”. “Well neither did I, I didn’t know how to cook either”. But when you start with good ingredients, they already taste good. So you just add a little salt, little garlic, little olive oil. So they’re like Okay “I can do that”. Then suddenly people start changing. It’s not like you have to eat less sugar or go torture yourself at the gym. Start with positive things people can do. Show what they’re missing out on. Then you can start layering in other things. You start shifting before you know it.



M: So they unconsciously experience a dramatic shift in their minds, especially their eating habits.

D: Yes, it’s just that you need to do the steps in the right order. You know when you win the body, then you win the mind. And that’s when nobody goes back at that point. I couldn’t just say “hey shop at the farmer’s market, everything will be better”because they didn’t really know how to change their habits as they were so stuck in the ways they were already behaving. So I started studying human behavior and behavior change and habit change. I realize the reason people think they don’t have time. We all have the same number of hours in a day. There’s not a single person on earth who doesn’t think that they’re too busy to do something new. The reason for that is anything new feels hard, and anything you do all the time feels easy. And that’s habits. That’s just habits. So what I try to tell people now, is to stop using your will power to try to stop eating sugar. But try to use your will power to change habits. Because once a habit is formed; it only needs willpower in the beginning, and then it doesn’t need willpower anymore. It’s automatic. It’s going to be hard a little bit at the beginning. But eventually it’s not going to be hard. It’s going to be rewarding and great because that’s how habit works. Habits work with reward that is a totally different model than depriving yourself, which is punishment. You switch the whole paradigm of getting healthy from doing stuff you don’t want to do, to doing stuff you do want to do. And that’s why it works because it’ll last forever once you do want to do it. Because it becomes a habit and goods habits are just as hard to break as bad habits, you just need to form them.


M: I think it can be applied to many different fields. Not just, about eating habits, but also business and life.


D: Bingo. It’s exactly how humans work. It’s just that I focus on food because that’s a complicated one. Because it’s not just one habit, it’s about 20 habits. And so I help people to form habits. But you’re right. I use these same exact strategies for everything I do, for getting my work done, for dealing with my family, for dealing with my friends. Just about all the things in life that are hard. Also with money it’s very similar. You know financial stuff. It gets hard to start to get saving, to invest and things like that. It’s just work in the beginning but once you set it up, it’s automatic. It’s exactly the same principles.


M: Definitely. You can use it for many different things. Perhaps, you are good at making system that would be beneficial for you which is difficult for most people.


D: I think you’re right. I think that’s something that I do naturally. I think that’s why I help people with that. I think one of the reasons I am good at that is because I don’t mind failure. It’s like I try something new, and it doesn’t work, I’m like “Oh that didn’t work”. And I try something different. I very much remove myself emotionally from what I’m trying to accomplish. So if I don’t get it right the first time, I don’t give up. I keep plugging. I just try something new. I am a scientist, right? I keep testing my hypothesis until I get my result.


M: It’s very interesting because you started your blog when you were still taking Ph.D. right? I have some scientist friends, and they are working around the clock. So I was wondering how did you manage your time? I don’t think you worked 24 hours. I think you managed yourself, and you had a very effective and efficient system.


D: Yes. You’re not allowed to have any other thing in your life when you’re in grad school. They make you sign a contract saying you can’t have any other job. But you know, part way through I was like I want to try this other thing. I read a book called ‘The Four-Hour Work Week’by Tim Ferriss. And I love the book, and it changed my life. Two things I learned that help me a lot. One, it helped me solidify my ideas about health. His idea was why we are working so hard for a future distant retirement that may or may not come? Why should we care about money in the future? We are young now. We should be happy. And I feel like I had been thinking about this sort of idea before in terms of dieting, but it struck me. I was like, “Why are we in this fear? Why are we depriving ourselves now and unhappy now? What’s the point of life? We should be enjoying life, not dieting.” That helped me. The other thing that helped me is that he applies this to business. He talked about 80/20 Principle, Pareto’s Law. He said 80% of the results you get come from the 20% of the work you’re doing. So look at your system, your workload and ask yourself from where your benefits are coming. And what is the 80% that is wasting your time. So I went to my workflow at lab, and I realized that I was spending a ridiculous amount of time reading emails and a lot of papers. I just decided to stop doing all those things. I stopped. I gave two days a week where I would check my emails from my school. I completely stopped reading papers that were not relevant to exactly what I was working on, and I stopped reading news altogether. If something important happens, my friends will tell me. Also, I went from working from 9am to 6pm to working from 9am to 2pm. I cut 4 hours from my day by just eliminating email and news, and it worked well. Tim Ferriss is a friend of mine now, and I told him when I first met him that I owe him a nice bottle of wine for getting me through my Ph.D. program.


M: I will definitely read his book. I think it’s very interesting because you can be whatever kind of person you want to be by using technology and the Internet. However, it’s still hard for most of the people to take some actions.


D: My whole thing in life, just do what works. If something is not working, figure it out. For example, when I was in graduate school it was very busy but I refuse to not work out at the gym. For me, it’s meditation. So I decided to go to the gym 5am before class. It was hard and exhausting but eventually I learned a trick. Why don’t I want to get out of bed right now? First of all, bed is cozy and warm and outside it’s freezing and not cozy. What I did was packing my gym bag the night before and putting everything in my bag right by my bed. Thinking,“I have to go to the gym, I have to commute by train for like 30 minutes and then go work out”sounds horrible. But thinking, “Can I slide out of bed and put these pants on?” Yes, that’s fine. “Can I put those shoes on?” Yes, that’s fine. “Can I grab my bag?” Yes that’s fine. “Can I walk out the door?” Yes, that’s fine. I broke them into small steps that I couldn’t say No to and then by the time you get to the gym, you’re never mad that you’re there. For me, it just comes down to identifying the small barriers that tell you “this is impossible”and proving that they’re not impossible, making it so small and so easy that you can’t say “No”and that’s how I approach everything. Every success is a process.


M: What do you mean by that?


D: People don’t magically become successful. Most people that are successful do it in slow incremental consistent changes. They just tackle little things one at a time. It’s just so simple. However, most people can’t implement it. Instead of saying I can’t, I can’t for 10 years, how about you say“I can do this small thing, I can do this other small thing, I can do this other small thing”. You read about like Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, and business successes all the time. These people are just relentless and just making sure they get results. They do the small works that seem insignificant but when you add them up over 10 years it becomes a success. People often look at the sky and they think they have to be up there but really they just need to go get the ladder. It’s like they keep looking at the problem wrong. It’s called framing, it’s the psychological term for that. It’s basically saying instead of creating a story where it says it’s impossible, let’s create a story where you have to succeed. What would you do? If you had one day to make a huge change, what would you do today? Refocus and reframe your behavior, as opposed to thinking it is impossible. This is far more effective to actually get you there.


M: And how did you come up with it? I don’t think any education system tells you to think like that. Everybody tells you what to think, and they never teach how to think like you.


D: Yeah I know. Some people do, and this is what Tony Robbins teaches. Nobody teaches it but at the end of the day, everything we do, these little-automated scripts that run in our brain. The problem is thinking your way through the world takes a ton of energy. Our brain uses 20% of calories every day. That’s an energy intensive process, so our brains naturally want to do that as little as possible. It wants to store energy whenever possible and so you need to understand that your brain is doing that automatically, and that is called habits. So your brain automates systems to make it easier, so your brain doesn’t have to think through everything you do. And so what I’ve focused on is understanding things that drive my habits. I have this excellent quote at the beginning of my book from Aristotle and it says ‘You are what you repeatedly do; excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.’And so it’s the same thing, to get success you have to do things to get you there and because most of the stuff you do is automatic and triggered by your environment and your internal stresses, you need to manage that if you want to consistently change your behavior and consistently do things to create success. Because it takes us so much energy to do something outside of our habits. So we don’t naturally want to do it. Most of us form habits completely unconsciously. We are just at the whim of our environment, and most people have this mishmash of very random habits. Some are very productive, and some are not very productive. Once you realize this is how we are, and we all are like this, you can work consciously to create those habits that are way more beneficial for you. So it’s not a matter of being lazy.


M: I totally agree and everybody can apply it to his/her life. What is your ultimate goal?


D: Yes. That’s interesting. Until I turn on TV or listen to people talk on the streets and they stop talking about diets, this is still going to be my goal, to change the way everybody thinks about health and weight loss. I hope to create some kind of system or something where I feel confident that anybody who really cares, anybody who really wants to be healthy and to feel good about their body and have good relationships can do what I suggest and have a truly profound, long-term change of their lives. I’m not interested in a three months success story. I don’t know how long it’ll take. I hope it doesn’t take 20 years. Another thing I’m really interested in nowadays is female psychology. Because I’ve known one of the things that makes me unique is I’m really systematic and not very emotional. So when I tackle problems I don’t get hung up on a lot of things that a lot of people can get hung up on. I’ve noticed that it’s much more common in men than it is in women. So I am interested in helping women specifically and learning to manage their psychology and get better results in that way. That’s more of a fun side project, not a business plan.


M: Last question. If you could make a call to 20-year-old Darya, what would you say to her? What advice would you give to her?


D: I think I would tell Darya, Well first of all, don’t diet. Stop dieting right now. Second I would let her know that she should start working on people skills. Because one of the problems when you’re like me and you don’t have tons of emotions is that it’s hard when other people do have a lot of emotions and it’s hard to understand their point of view. And I would tell that Darya to study empathy and people skills. I wish I would have known earlier how much work it was for me in particular. Because I don’t require much empathy and it’s hard for me to understand why other people require so much empathy. For instance if I’m having a tough time, a terrible thing happens or whatever. And someone comes up to me and goes, “Oh my gosh that’s so awful. I’m so sorry.” For me, I’m like I don’t care. Like obviously it sucks, but do you have advice? What should I do? To me, I just want to know what to do. And I’m learning that most people just need you to be there and say, “Oh my gosh I understand that’s horrible.” It’s very strange for me. So that’s been a skill I’ve had to learn, and it doesn’t come to me naturally because I don’t need it. And I wish I had learned that 15 years ago when I was 20.







©Masaaki Hasegawa


Future, Innovation, Technology, Creativity

Written on May 29, 2014 by mhasegawa in News


Shawn Pucknell is the founder of FITC, a company that produces international design and technology conferences focused on Future, Innovation, Technology, and Creativity. Since 2002, he has organized 85 events in 22 cities, including Toronto, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Francisco, Chicago, Seoul, New York and Los Angeles. You may have joined either a conference or workshop focused on creativity or entrepreneurship – but, have you ever practiced it? Shawn shares his experience and the valuable knowledge he has gained from both his business ventures, as well as the voyage of life. This is not just a fancy story, but the story based on reality and truth. It will encourage you to not only think, but take action.


 1. Why did you start FITC?

Back in 1999-2000 I was a Flash developer and I didn’t know many people using the software. I felt like I was working in a vacuum, not really connected with others to talk shop. Sure, there were a few online forums at the time, but it’s not the same as face to face. Around that time, I was asked to speak on a panel at an event in San Francisco called ‘Flash Forward’, the first-ever Flash conference. It changed my life. There were 2500 people from around the world. I met a ton of amazing people who were just as passionate and interested in this new area as I was. So when I came back home to Toronto, I wanted to continue that feeling, and I started inviting anyone I could out for drinks once a month. I spammed online forums, emailed people I didn’t know, and a few I did, and these monthly ‘gatherings’ as we called them, took off like wild fire. We went from 10 people to 30, to 50, to over 100, all in the span of a few short months. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one interested in getting together to talk shop and meet others. It was during this developing community that a number of us talked about having a festival, a conference, about Flash, in Toronto. So I took it upon myself to lead it, and ‘Flash in the Can’ (FITC) was born.


2. Why did you decide to focus on Future, Innovation, Technology, and Creativity? Why are those important to you?

We started as a Flash conference.  I was attracted to it as it was one of the only pieces of software at the time that allowed either designers, or developers, to create something amazing. Most other tools and platforms were for one or the other, but there was always a unique creativity and vibe from allowing these two sides into the same area. Coming from an advertising background, the ‘tech’ and the ‘creative’ were always different departments, and it was frustrating personally and professionally as I always felt I was neither. I was a bit of a hybrid, interested and skilled a bit in both, but advertising companies weren’t really set up for people like me.

As the industry matured, we started to see other technology and interesting people that we wanted to include at the events, but they weren’t ‘Flash’, so we started to expand what we showcased at the event. Processing, After Effects, HTML, hardware, motion graphics, creativity, art, film, it was all cool stuff that we wanted to include. So we started calling it FITC instead of ‘Flash in the Can’ as it wasn’t just about Flash anymore. Then, after the decline in interest and public support of Flash, we decided it was time to rebrand what those letters stood for, and set out to break down what we had evolved into, what our focus was, and the new ‘Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity‘ FITC name and logo was launched.


3. What was the first step you took to make FITC happen? Did you plan, build a strategy or have a mentor?

I had a bit of background starting companies, including a nightclub and a Flash development company, so I had a bit of background in starting things. But I had no idea how to run a conference, I just learned as I went. There was not a great master plan or a long term strategy, I just felt it would work, and that I could do it, and that it was something that was needed. I think that’s the key to its success…there was a need for it, an audience, a community to support it. I’ve seen other events come and go over the years and that’s the main flaw I’ve seen with some of them. As for FITC, it was key to have the support and help from others in the community, I had a lot of help with those first events, both from friends, associates, and local companies, all coming together to do what they could to help it happen and be successful.



4. It seems that a conference focused on “Creativity” was not popular when you started it. Was their difficulty at the beginning?

Creativity was always a part of it. We were bringing in well-known Flash designers like Joshua Davis, Brendan Dawes, and Erik Natzke for the very first event. But it is true that the majority of the presentations were technically focused. I think one of the reasons for this was that it was simply easier to have and find someone to present on the tech side… i.e. how to do this in Flash, how to program this, etc. Creative presenters were harder to find, partly due to the industry still being in its infancy. And also, it was probably an easier sell to get your boss to send you to a technology conference rather than a creativity event.


5. What was the biggest failure in the past and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest failures was our FITC San Francisco event. We just couldn’t sell tickets to it, and still to this day I have no idea why. It was one of the strongest line-up of speakers we had ever put together, but tickets were not selling anywhere near where we had projected. It’s a very expensive city to do events, so we ended up losing a ton of money. Running events is a hard way to make a living, it’s an incredibly volatile and unpredictable industry. Anything can happen, and we’ve had a lot of crazy things happen that we didn’t see coming and had to deal with, but it also keeps it exciting and us on our toes!

We’ve done 85 events now, in 22 cities, across 13 years. I feel that our biggest success is simply that we’re still around and doing events!


6. How did you get enough amounts of people together and how did you raise the capital to invite speakers at the beginning?

We hustled everyone we knew to either buy a ticket or help spread the word. We worked the phones, pounded the pavement, emailed everyone, we were hungry, we were excited, and we did everything we could think of to get the word out about the event, and it paid off…we were sold out that first year.
As for financing it, my mother had past away the previous year, and I had a small amount of money from her life insurance. I was planning on using it for a down payment on a house with my fiancé and our daughters, but I instead invested it in that first event. Luckily it paid off, and I got almost all of it back.



7. When you select speakers, what are criteria? What are the important factors?

It starts with the work. What have they created, that is either technically or creatively amazing, ground-breaking or pushes the industry. After that, we look at what do they have to say? It’s one thing to be able to create something, it’s another to be able to speak about it, specifically something that has value for attendees and is not just a slideshow of your work. What is your message? The best presenters we’ve had are the ones that allow themselves to be vulnerable, to really open up to an audience and talk about it all, the good, the bad, the ugly, the failures, and the successes. It’s a lot to ask, and not all people can do it.


Lastly, and one of the hardest to master, is can you speak comfortably in front of a crowd. This is hard to judge with a potential speaker if we’ve not worked with them before. But luckily, we have a pretty good track record of picking amazing people to be part of FITC events over the years. We also look at how you are at the event itself. Do you talk to the attendees after your talk, do you watch other presentations, are you part of the event? Its all part of a vibe we strive to create; one of openness and sharing and having the brightest and best people a part of it.


8. What was the turning point in the course of expanding the conference around the world? 

After the second year, we started to get interest from people in other cities that asked about having an FITC event in their city. It started with Hollywood, then Seoul, then Amsterdam, then Tokyo, and then many others. Once we were doing a couple events a year, I realized that not only did I really love doing it, but also that I could focus all my energy on it and turn it into a full time job for myself and a small team.


9. Why do you focus on the live conference instead of other means such as publishing books and broadcasting the conference online? 

I’ve always enjoyed in person stuff more than anything else. There is nothing that will fully replace a face-to-face meeting. I think there is value in books and videos and other things, but it’s not the same value as a live event. There’s an energy and an excitement that comes with bringing passionate people from around the world together for a united purpose, that can’t be replicated yet by any technology. As for video, we’re continuing to explore how we can leverage that with FITC.


10. What are the key success factors to organize the conference do you think?
I think it’s a few things:
The Experience
We focus on the experience of each of our stakeholders, from start to finish. Attendees, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, even the staff, we look at their experience. From the first contact, to leading up to the event, to the event itself and then after, what is their experience like, and how can we make it as positive as possible.


My Team
There is a team of people that actually make the events happen. Working with passionate, dedicated people has allowed FITC to be successful.

The Details
We spend a lot of time on very small details. Things that most people won’t notice, but things that make everything run super smooth. As they say, ‘the devil is in the detail’.

The Content
We spend a LOT of time looking at potential speakers. Not only finding them, reviewing them, but also finding the right balance and mix for each of our events.


11. What is your future vision and how do you plan to develop FITC?

We are always working on new initiatives, but unfortunately nothing I can share just yet!  What I love about what we do is that it’s always changing. New speakers, new technologies, new cities, it doesn’t get stale.


12. If you can send a message to when you were 20 years old, what do you want to tell to yourself?

When I was younger, I struggled with what I would do when I grew up. I didn’t have a clear vision, or a specific job that I was attracted to, so I wandered and did a lot of different things. So far, I’ve had 27 actual jobs, and I’ve started 8 companies. So my message to myself would be this:

“It’s not the destination as much as the journey. Don’t sweat it too much, you’ll find your way.”


13. What are your priority and the most important value in your life?

I find it interesting to see how my values and priorities have shifted over the years, its an evolution for me. Right now, my priorities are to continue to pursue the areas that interest me, and to continue to offer value to people. I’m also focused on continuing to evolve both my business and the areas we cover.

As for values, I believe that people should treat others as they wish to be treated, and I have no patience for rudeness, arrogance, or intolerance.


14. Do you have a message to young people who dream of being an entrepreneur?

• Follow your passion. Find it. Nurture it. Embrace it. Own it. It is yours.

• Don’t waste your time with people who don’t help you move your ideas forward. Focus on finding and spending time with people who have passion. People who have skills and experiences that you don’t.
• Talk to as many people as you can about your ideas, and be open and honest as much as possible.
• Don’t work with assholes. Life is too short to waste your time with them.

• Be flexible, be adaptable, be nimble.

• There is value in the journey. It is not just about the destination.



Provided by

Masaaki Hasegawa

Tim Zahner






Written on July 30, 2013 by Begoña González-Cuesta in News


Virtual Master Class – ANDREW McCARTHY

Consultant, manager, designer and associate professor of the Master in Visual Media at IE School of Communication

DATE: July 30th *17:00 *Madrid local time REGISTER:

Today there is no dichotomy between thinking and design in multinational corporations. The market isn’t asking for choices. It is asking for options. Some companies want only strategy, some only design, many want both. There is a stronger demand among companies in Asia for design and a growing demand among organizations in the US and Europe for the design of brands and strategy. But again, most companies want both.
-Bloomberg Business Week

If you want to hear about the latest trends on Design Thinking, we invite you to participate in the Virtual Master Class conducted by Andrew McCarthy. He is a professor of Design Thinking, a creative consultant, manager, designer and a professor of the Master in Visual Media at IE School of Communication.


Andrew Peter Wallace McCarthy is a designer, innovation consultant and Design Thinking facilitator. He studied philosophy, political science, and the history of science and mathematics before becoming a creative director. Andrew has worked in his native New York and internationally as an art and creative director in multinationals and advising corporations on creativity, strategy, innovation processes, and Design Thinking. He also teaches the same as an Associate Professor at IE in Madrid, Spain. Andrew is an innovation, design, and user advocacy officer with a handful of startups and tech development companies. He speaks and moderates at conferences and his voice has been featured in ads and audiobooks.


Ken Segall  (

 “Insanely Simple”

 Closely working with Steve Jobs for both NexT and Apple, for over 12 years, Ken Segall is credited for the person who put the “i” in iMac and led the awarded legendary campaign “Think Different”, and is the author of  “Insanely Simple”, that is about how simplicity influenced on Apple to innovate and develop. Masaaki Hasegawa, student of Master in Visual Media, had a chance to explore the secrets behind the concept of “Insanely Simple”.


MH:  Thank you for giving us to have this interview with you. First of all, let us know more about you. How did you come to work in advertising industry?

KS: It’s a long story! Before I went to college, I took an aptitude test that suggested I had an aptitude for advertising. I chose advertising as my major, but moved to a different major in my very first year. It wasn’t until seven years after I graduated college, after trying my best to make it as a musician, that a friend suggested that I should look into advertising. So I took a job in the production department at Chiat/Day in Los Angeles. Only then did I discover that there was such a thing as a creative department, and that I might be a good copywriter. I took two night courses to put together a portfolio of ads and moved to New York to get my first job as a writer. It’s ironic that after all those years, I ended up in the very profession that my college aptitude test suggested.


MH: You are known as the person who created the “Think different” campaign for the Apple.. It is very impressive because this TV advertisement did not try to appeal through products or to persuade consumers to buy, but stimulated people to make action, and change their behavior. It seems that you applied the concept of “Think different” to this campaign itself too. How did you get this idea?

KS: The “Think different” campaign was born of the efforts of a small, talented group of people. Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple as the “interim CEO” and the company was in dire financial condition. There would be no new computers for at least six months, so the first order of business was to put together a brand campaign that would tell the world that the spirit of Apple was alive and well. To us, the spirit of Apple was based in creativity. Never “one of the crowd,” Apple was for people who didn’t think like everybody else. That led to the idea of a campaign that celebrated people who changed the world because they had the passion and the drive to “think different” — to push the human race forward. We (the agency and Steve Jobs) believed that you can tell a lot about a person by the people they admire, and that was the principle of this campaign. By showing the world who Apple admires, we would say a lot about the company itself.


MH: Did people who were working for Apple that time, except for Steve Jobs, easily accept the idea of “Think Different”?

KS: Absolutely. The campaign was as much for the people who worked inside Apple as it was for the company’s customers. When Steve Jobs returned, he told us that he was thrilled to find that so many of Apple’s talented people had stuck around during the years when Apple seemed to be floundering. They still believed in what the company stood for and they had remained in their jobs in the hope that one day it would regain its momentum. When the “Think different” campaign launched, Steve sent out a companywide email explaining the campaign. He asked everyone — no matter what their position — to “think different” about their jobs and find new ways to do things better. There was an unmistakable feeling inside Apple that it was on the road to recovery, and thinking different was a big part of that.


MH: This ad was made when Apple was facing a severe situation. Did this campaign and ads also change the people in Apple who were working with you?

KS: We only worked with a small group of people inside Apple — Steve Jobs and the people he trusted to be involved in the marketing. Everyone in this group believed in Steve’s vision and was eager to be part of the effort to turn things around. I don’t think that the campaign necessarily “changed” them, but it helped all of us focus on the mission. It became a theme for us all.


MH: People thought differently from others when they were children, but they came to think similar to others through education. A lot of companies may think differently but become similar to other companies as they get bigger. 

KS: Very true. It is my belief that “processes” are to blame. Every company is a startup at some point, and at that time they behave very differently. They create processes in order to “institutionalize” success. They want to be able to repeat their successes in the future, and ensure that they can continue to succeed while employees come and go. The problem is, as companies get bigger, processes tend to take over. Some people are actually paid just to make sure that the processes run smoothly. That’s a big problem when creativity is a part of your business, because the process should never become more important than the idea flowing through it. Apple didn’t have that problem. Steve Jobs refused to act like a big company. He didn’t think that great ideas were born at big companies, so he snuffed out big-company behaviors whenever he encountered them. In the areas of innovation and marketing, he purposefully kept things very small.


MH: You mentioned that it is difficult for large companies to change the corporate culture inside because the existence of complex systems, and thus the CEO is the only person who can change it. In that respect, how Steve Jobs is different from other CEOs?

KS: Steve was very, very different from most CEOs. He refused to relegate responsibility when it came to the things he was passionate about — and marketing was one of those things. I’ve dealt with quite a few CEOs during my advertising career, but none of them even came close to the level of involvement that Steve demanded. He wasn’t dictatorial about it. That is, he didn’t bark commands and have all of us run off to do his bidding. He simply wanted to be a part of the marketing team, and be involved in the process. There were quite a few healthy debates. Sometimes Steve would get his way and sometimes he wouldn’t. He had respect for the opinions of talented people (though he did often engage in energetic debate). What made Steve really different was that he found time for things that other CEOs did not. He was passionate about so many details, and doing things “the right way.” I have no idea how he found the time, because when I was working with him he was CEO of both Apple and Pixar — either one of which would have consumed an ordinary man. Plus, he insisted on taking time out for his family. He had that kind of inexhaustible energy and commitment.


MH: Please let me know about your recent book, “Think Simple.” How did you come to believe that thinking simpler is important?

KS: It wasn’t something that hit me out of the blue. It was something I noticed over a long period of time working with Steve Jobs on NeXT and Apple. And it was something that was reinforced by my time working with more complicated companies, like Intel and Dell. I came to understand that Steve Jobs had this love of simplicity that affected his thinking on so many different levels. He would see everything through this “lens of simplicity,” and then apply his common sense to it. He struck down the things that were more complicated, whether they were part of a product’s design or part of the company’s organization. His way of looking at things was refreshing and pure, and he refused to compromise for anyone. It was when complexities started to interfere with Apple’s ability to move forward that he became the “rough” Steve Jobs that we’ve all heard about. It wasn’t that he was a mean person — he had an extreme passion for what he was building.


MH: I totally agree with your the idea of Think Simple. However, a lot of people tend to think in a complicated way. What do you think what makes them not think simple?

KS: That’s the big question, isn’t it. In my opinion, human nature works for and against simplicity. As human beings, we have an instinctive preference for simpler things. However, as human beings working in a business environment, we also love to compete and prove that we’re talented and smart. So I don’t hold individuals responsible for making things more complicated as much as I blame organizations for creating structures that involve too many people. By creating a complicated process, they invite more people into the process — which results in a classic case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” In such circumstances, it’s difficult to keep things simple.


MH: Think Simple may require you to face the substance of things and to accept everything.

KS: For many people, this is scary because it is sometimes necessary to see what they do not want to see and face. A. I think that’s where leadership comes in. Not to denigrate other people’s talents, but business can’t be a free-for-all. Steve Jobs was a leader who had a vision. He led with strength and forced people to see the “truth.” Though it was difficult to work with him at times, it was also refreshing because he was asking you to put all of your effort into creating something great — and not worry about the things that distract other companies. Steve didn’t hide anything. He made you see the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might make you feel.


MH: Think Simple may be a courageous decision for many people. For example, Think Brutal is not easy for many people for fear of being hated by others. To be this way, it would be necessary that all the members in the team share the idea that they work to achieve a certain goal?

KS: You are correct when you point out that people don’t naturally like to be “brutal” to one another. Most of us want to get stuff done, but also be kind and respectful to our colleagues. So when I talk about being brutal, I mean it in special sense. I only mean that honesty is a vital part of moving forward. Steve Jobs was obviously very good at getting people to focus on a single goal, and it’s important for any organization to have that kind of unity. Opinions will always differ, but agreement can be reached on the greater vision and the guiding values. At as a foundation for all the work, people should all understand the importance and value of simplicity. It will help them become more productive and happier in their work.


MH: Steve Jobs said “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” And Mark Zuckerberg said “The biggest risk is not taking any risks.” Your idea “Think War” is close to taking risk in order to achieve goals?

KS: My “Think War” idea is actually more about not taking risk. It’s about knowing that the forces of complexity are always lurking in the shadows, and that you should take as few chances as possible — calling upon your most powerful weapons to ensure that your ideas emerge from the end of the process unscathed. But yes, at a higher level, I do agree that great things are never accomplished without putting yourself (or your company) at some degree of risk. Again, this is one of the things that made Steve Jobs special. He was willing to “bet the company” on new products that came with no guarantee of success. He followed his instincts.


MH: It is often the case that the people in large corporations lack a sense of purpose as one company and they focus on what is before them, such as promotion, pride, income and dignity. Think Simple sounds like sweeping all those things aside and finding what the most important is. 

KS: I think that’s true. If a company is good at practicing simplicity, everyone in the organization understands why they are doing what they are doing. They understand the mission and their role in that mission. But every company has a different culture and a different mission, so I try not to make blanket recommendations. I do believe that the love of simplicity can be a powerful part of any culture, and if it isn’t there already, it is well worth cultivating. Pursuing simplicity doesn’t mean putting aside other concerns — it means seeing everything through this lens of simplicity. If something seems too complicated, or lacking in common sense, it shouldn’t be ignored. Someone has to call it to others’ attention, or to try to fix it themselves.


MH: I think that the idea of “Think Simple” is not to think less, but think more about the core and essence of the things. For who have not read your book, would you please give me some hints to think simple?

KS: You are correct. Thinking simple is definitely not about thinking less. In fact, it’s usually much harder to distill one’s thoughts and efforts into something that registers quickly and clearly. This is what Steve Jobs was referring to when he talked about hard part of the process — “peeling away the layers of the onion” to get to the purest form of the idea. This takes a lot of thought and a lot of discipline. If I were to give out any hints, I’d start with what might be the most important one: rely on your common sense. Most of us can tell when ideas are being cluttered, or a creative idea is being whittled down into something mediocre. It’s our ability to keep ideas on track, and defend against the dark forces of complexity, that allows us to achieve simpler, more focused results. Equally important is our ability to minimize. This means not trying to do too many things at once, or to offer too many choices, or to accept an organization with unnecessary complexities. Understanding the importance of minimizing allows one to create a better organization, better products and services, and better communications.


MH: Thank you for taking your time to share your great ideas and experiences. We will share this interview with students from all over the world. 

KS: It is my pleasure! I’m happy to talk about these things with anyone, anytime. I can always be reached through the Contact form on my blog. Thank you, and keep flying the flag of simplicity!




Written on June 10, 2013 by Begoña González-Cuesta in News

Have you seen the latest Master in Visual Media video? Listen to what students and professors have to say. You can learn about our program, professors and vision in less than four minutes!

For further information, please visit

IE School of Communication Challenges

Written on May 9, 2013 by Begoña González-Cuesta in News












IE School of Communication Challenges. 4th Annual Global Communication Challenge

IE School of Communication is pleased to bring you the 4th Annual Communication Challenge, available to applicants of master programs for the October 2013 intake.

This year, once again we challenge individuals to test their creativity and storytelling skills on a topic that relates to the program they are applying for: the Master in Corporate Communication, Master in Visual Media and Master in Digital Journalism. You will need to elaborate your view in the format specified for each challenge.

The winner of each competition will be granted a publication of his / her submitted work, along with a scholarship award applicable towards the tuition fees of the program you have applied for.

Choose the challenge that relates to the program of your interest and be part of The Challenge experience!

Good Luck!

End date: Friday, 30th of June 2013

Please, take a look at the website here:


Inside the creativity

Written on March 12, 2013 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

“Being creative is a source of tremendous power and sense of well being”. This conception has an owner: Denise R. Jacobs.

She is an author, speaker, web design consultant, and an true creativity evangelist. Based in Miami, Florida, she is the author of The CSS Detective Guide. She also co-authored InterAct with Web Standards: A Holistic Approach to Web Design and the newly-released Smashing Book 3 1/3. Masaaki Hasegawa, IE´s student of Visual and Media Communication Program, has interviewed her.

Enjoy it!

Denise Jacobs

MH: How have you started to give workshops about creativity?

DJ: After I wrote my book, “The CSS Detective Guide”, I had realized I am the creative person that I wanted to be. I thought it is good, during the period of time that I wanted to be able to share that feeling with people. So, I started this workshop and started focusing on the creative process, because I wanted to start helping people converse more on their creativity and feel empowered about their creativity.


MH: Are you much more creative than others by nature?

DJ: I do not think I am intrinsically more creative. I think I have more focused on creativity than other people. Being creative is like a drug for me. It is like a feeling that you get rushed when you create something or bring something into the world. For me, I keep having that feeling and keep seeing what come through me into the world; what I can bring it to be in the world. So, I think everybody is creative, and all in different ways, everybody has a creative genius of some sort. Some people are more in touch with it than others. I am happy with helping people who are not in touch with it.


MH: Do you really think everybody can be creative?

DJ: I think everybody is already creative. If you really think about it, every act of living itself is intrinsically creative. Every day, you have a new set of experience that you haven’t happened before, and you interactive with people and say things that you didn’t say a day before, and in ways that you hadn’t said before. It makes you a new person. So, every moment you are actually creating your life. Some people are aware of that and make certain choices based on that, and some people are not aware of it that they may feel lives are being creative for them.


MH: Being aware of it is the most important thing to determine whether you are creative or not?

DJ: Being aware that you are creating every moment potentially helps you make different choices that have potentially different outcomes. Some people are being aware of and are more in charge of their life. Feeling a part of choices that they are making and realizing that they can affect the outcome of situations to the degree that they want are important.


MH: Some people insist that handwriting and hand drawing are important to enhance their creativity. Do you think digitalization prevents people from being creative?

DJ: I do not think so. For example, in my case, typing allows me to get different ideas from handwriting and using Photoshop and Illustrator lets me get different ideas from hand drawing or sketching. Thus, digitalization just has brought us different media to reach our creativity.


MH: In order to be creative, sometimes it is necessary to face your deep inside, which is scaring for some people. How they can overcome that first barrier?

DJ: One thing that is important to remember is that fear is actually a construction of your brain. It is not necessarily a real thing. It is usually an acting of your response, that you think it is going to happen in the future or something that happened in the past.  But, usually it does not have anything to do with what is happening in the present moment. Because of that, I think people can have the kind of perspective where they realize that it is something that their brains are doing. You can separate what your brain’s reactions to certain thought, and then therefore change the thought and change the brain’s reaction. It is very empowering that you can do a lot more because you know you actually control it. When you feel fear, there is actually a chemical and bioelectrical reaction that dumps in your creative and generative impulses. So, if it is getting on top of your fear, then you can create more.


MH: Do you think people will start concentrating on what they really like to do, using their creativity, in the future?

DJ: I think they will. There is definitely kind of a socially cultural shift that people come to different generation that they have a different set of goals, a set of how they want to live or structure their life, and a set of what is possible. I do think we are actually coming into a place for generation of new workers and people who are interested in entering and working in industries to start challenging those ideas, and who are starting to question why it has to be the way it has been. And, actually we are forging and creating a new path.


MH: Many people cannot find what they want or like to do. How can they find it?

DJ: I think they can start with small things, because that issue comes from habit of suppressing your likes and desires for a long, and they are even not in touch with it anymore. That is why they can start with small things such as what they like to eat or who are people that you want to be around you, really focus on it, and find how do you feel about it. Once you find it, try to think about how and what can keep that reinforcement: dopamine, and then increase the complexity as you go.


MH: Once they find it, how they can follow it?

DJ: In most of cases, it is very rare that somebody actually tries to keep you away from what you really want to do. There is nobody who grabs your close to stop you going your direction. So it is giving your self-permission and trusting that there would be something that you are suppose to experience. And life is not actually supposed to be hard or duties but to enjoy and follow your good feelings. Good feeling happens because you are trying to get more good feelings. Sometimes, people imagine something bad will happen if they follow what they like to do, but it is often the case that it ends up happening better things. You usually meet people who want to be around or get the job that you do want to do, because you are being who you really are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.


MH: Do not try to find permissions by others.

DJ: That is it. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if I do the things that other people want me to do, then I will be more valued and get more love. The irony is more who you are more you are valued, and more love you get. If you are wearing a dog costume to be liked by others though you are a cat, take that dog costume off, and be a cat.

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