It’s not every day you see a professional ballet dancer become a celebrated futurist and innovation strategist. Then again, Cecily Sommers is not your everyday kind of woman. As a result of making an early commitment to always having a distinct point of view, regularly seeking out new technologies, and consistently engaging in long term thinking, Cecily has carved out a truly distinct career. Today she shares her insights in light of how they relate to the media landscape, and much more.

Topics Include:

  • Developing foresight
  • Thriving in an unpredictable landscape
  • Creative destruction
  • Lessons on adaptability from The New Yorker
  • The power of interconnectivity

Cecily Sommers speaks, writes, and consults on emerging trends, markets, and technologies shaping our future. She is the author of Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next and the founder of The Push Institute, a non-profit think tank that tracks significant global trends and their implications for business, government, and non-profit sectors over the next 5-10-25-50 years. Cecily is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and a frequent contributor to Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and other media outlets. She was named by the Business Journal as one of twenty-five “Women to Watch,” and selected as one of Fast Company‘s “Fast 50 Reader Favorites.” Cecily lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Leora Kornfeld is a digital media researcher, teacher, former radio personality, and above all, one of the foremost experts on digital trends and online economics. In today’s episode, Leora delves into the unpredictable nature of the Internet and reveals why conventional practices rarely work in the digital economy. She also explores the social, emotional and financial dynamics of the web, and reveals how they impact traditional entertainment industries.

Topics Include:

  • Getting noticed in an oversaturated space
  • Why there’s value in expensive content
  • The boom in online funding campaigns
  • Why Facebook is a walled garden
  • Lessons on streaming revenue model from Spotify and Napster

Leora Kornfeld’s research looks at the role of digital, networked technologies in marketing and the economic structures of the Internet. She has a particular interest in the Internet’s effects on the media and entertainment industries, specifically the tension between the fragmentation of audiences and content on the one hand and the pull of consolidation and aggregation on the other. She blogs on this topic at demassed.blogspot.com and her work has also been published in Harvard Business School cases, journal articles, and research reports for industry associations.

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As Director of Photography at Pixar Studios, Danielle Feinberg does her best work at the crossroads of art and technology. Not only has Danielle used her magic touch to bring some of our favorite animated films to life for close to two decades, but she is a major advocate for women in technology. Today she tells us how she got her start at Pixar, and discusses how effective collaboration has become the most important criteria for success in the new media landscape. She also gives her thoughts on the importance of diversity in storytelling, and talks about the next frontier of animation.

Topics Include:

  • The supreme role of narrative
  • Women and authenticity
  • How social media has made people more tech savvy
  • Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the human artist

Danielle Feinberg began her career at Pixar Animation Studios in 1997, and has worked on many of Pixar’s award-winning films, including Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc, and Finding Nemo. A native of Boulder, Colorado, Feinberg’s love of combining computers and art began when she was eight years old, and first programmed a Logo turtle to create images. In addition to her Pixar work, she enjoys photographing the real world with its ornery, non-virtual light, and works with teenage girls, encouraging them to pursue math and science.

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Grant McCracken is a celebrated anthropologist who has studied the relationship between culture and commerce for 25 years. In his latest book, Dark Value, he explores how digital innovators like Netflix and Facebook are discovering (and profiting from) new types of value in their media. Today he reveals this hidden value and explains how it is revolutionizing the digital economy. He also discusses how other media players can get keep from being left behind, as well as some unique insights about how digital programming is transforming the American outlook.

Topics Include…

  • How (and why) we’ve become a society that’s obsessed with pop culture
  • Why television is more nuanced than ever before (and what that means for monetization)
  • Lessons on content from Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Smith
  • Why startup culture is taking over old economic models

Grant McCracken has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and worked for many organizations including Timberland, New York Historical Society, Diageo, IKEA, Sesame Street, Nike, the Ford Foundation and the White House. He is a long time student of culture and commerce, and has taught at the University of Cambridge, MIT, and the Harvard Business School. He also started the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, where he did the first museum exhibit on youth cultures.

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Michael Brooks and Philip McKenzie (co-hosts of 2 Dope Boys & A Podcast) explore branding – and the world at large – within a cultural context. In today’s episode, they talk about how to naturally tap into subcultures that can enhance a brand. They also discuss the soft power of content, explore new ways of cultivating talent, and reveal how emerging brands can harness the power of public backlash to foster a perception of authenticity.

Topics Include…

  • The partnership vs. predator model
  • Why we’re living in a post demographics world
  • Lessons on authenticity from the sneaker culture
  • Why we have to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable

Michael Brooks is a contributing host for the four-time award winning independent political talk show, The Majority Report. He appears regularly as a political and cultural analyst on outlets including Huffpost Live, SirusXM, AlJazeera English, CCTV and France 24. His writing has appeared in Al Monitor, Al Jazeera, the Washington Post, among others, and he has blogged for leading trend watch site PSFK. He is also known for his impressions of cultural figures from Donald Trump to Nelson Mandela.

Philip L. McKenzie is the Global Curator for Influencer Conference, a global content platform that brings together tastemakers in the arts, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and technology to discuss the current and future state of influencer culture. Prior to that he was the Managing Partner of FREE DMC, an influencer marketing agency that specialized in integrated marketing strategy, digital content creation, and experiential events. In his roles with FREE DMC, Philip created strategic experiential campaigns for Jaguar, Sprite, Remy Martin and Belvedere Vodka. He is also a writer, rabid music fan and accomplished DJ.

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