PopTech Blog

Slash series: Eddie Opara, design/tech/strategy

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: Eddie Opara, partner at Pentagram, is a multi-faceted designer whose work encompasses strategy, design and technology. He’s won numerous awards, including a Gold Cube from the Art Directors Club and honors from the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), D&AD, and I.D. magazine. In 2012 and 2014, he was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Opara has work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and he’s a visiting critic at the Yale School of Art.

What's one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio?
I'm British Nigerian. I'm an avid Tottenham Hotspur fan.  

What does hybrid mean to you from the perspective of your work?
The combination between the print world and digital.

My ideal hybrid of a person would be:
The intellect of Malcolm Gladwell, the humor of Chris Rock, the creativity of David Adjaye. 

What are you reading?
Malcolm Gladwell’s "What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures."

What are you listening to?
Spotify, Mos Def, Shalamar, Metronomy, Kele. 

What are you working on at the moment?
A lot of things. But if I had to name one thing a book on high yield.

Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak at PopTech?
Maira Kalman, Phillip Tiongson and Ben Fry.

Word association: Maine...
Green, blue and pink.

If you could pick one historical figure to watch give a PopTech talk, who would it be?
Martin Luther King, Jr. talking about the future.

The words you live by:
"To Dare is to Do" - Tottenham Hotspur's motto. 

What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
Don't do web design!

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
Yes, Michael Jackson's anything from the Off The Wall album. 

Slash series: Giorgia Lupi, design/data

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: Giorgia Lupi is an information designer. Her work in information visualization frequently crosses the divide between digital and print, exploring visual models and metaphors to represent dense and rich data-driven stories. She is co-founder and design director at Accurat, an information design company based in Milan and New York.

What's one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio?
I don’t code. I work with data and data visualization but I don’t code. I am obsessed with drawing.

What does hybrid mean to you from the perspective of your work?
Matching art and science, exploring how data-driven experiences can connect people, how they can be human and warm if well designed. Data is more than numbers. It always stands for something else, representing real life. It can be a snapshot of the world in the same way that a picture catches small moments in time.

My ideal hybrid of a person would be:
Open-minded and passionate like a kid, experienced and wise like a grandfather.

What are you reading?
“An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth,” by Chris Hadfield.

What are you listening to?
Kormac – “Wash My Hands.”

What are you working on at the moment?
/ Dear Data, a personal project dealing with data, drawings, and a series of weekly postcards exchanged across the ocean with data illustrator Stefanie Posavec.

/ Visu, a web-based tool to allow non-designers to create high-end custom data visualizations.

Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak at PopTech?
Maira Kalman and Sputniko!

Word association: Maine...
Lighthouse.

If you could pick one historical figure to watch give a PopTech talk, who would it be?
John Cage.

The words you live by:
Make things, a lot of things. Make time for side projects and silly ideas. Dare and have fun.

What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
You don’t need to have everything figured out to be happy.

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
Yes! Go-to song: Nothing particular, will wing anything if I can read the lyrics. :) (More fun.)

Slash series: Ti Chang, design/engineering

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: Ti Chang is the Co-Founder and VP of Design of CRAVE, a San Francisco-based company specializing in discreet and beautifully designed luxury sex toys. The DUET, Ti’s first design at CRAVE, debuted through a crowd-funding project, which ultimately secured over $100K from over 900 donors and become the world's first crowdfunded sex toy.

What's one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio?
I am an introvert and I tend to shy away from large gatherings. 

My ideal hybrid of a person would be:
Tina Fey's humor, Judge Judy's sense of justice and Angelina Jolie's philanthropy & beauty.

What are you working on at the moment?
Removing cultural stigma from self-pleasure.

Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak at PopTech?
Sputniko!

If you could pick one historical figure to watch to give a PopTech talk, who would it be?
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel aka Coco Chanel

The words you live by:
"I'm a hustler baby..." - Jay Z 

What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
Korean skin care regimen.

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
I am pretty much tone deaf. So, no.

Slash series: Amy Bruckman, tech/social science

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: Amy Bruckman is Professor and Associate Chair in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on peer production of content online. She studies how to create a motivating and supportive context for creation and sharing, and learning through this process.

What's one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio?
I gave a talk at PopTech in 2002 called "After the Hype: Users as Creators of Content on the Internet.”

What does hybrid mean to you from the perspective of your work?
To me, “hybrid” means bringing together computer science and the social sciences. As computers increasingly reshape our world, people with this kind of hybrid expertise are critical to designing our shared future.

What are you reading?
“Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson.

What are you working on at the moment?
A new information retrieval system for the people of Cuba.

Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak at PopTech?
My kids are a bit older now, but we still have our copy of “What Pete Ate from A to Z,” and I’m looking forward to meeting Maira Kalman.

Word association: Maine…
Lobster. My grandfather (who grew up in Maine). Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
Always wanted to try it. Can’t actually sing…would consider it if I had some practice time and a good collaborator. :)

Slash series: Jennifer McCrea, philanthropy/social change

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: Jennifer McCrea is a leading expert on fundraising, among many other talents. For over 27 years, she has partnered with philanthropists, board members and nonprofit leaders to think more creatively and collaboratively about ways in which to align strategic direction and resources. She’s a Senior Research Fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University and the co-founder and CEO of Born Free Africa, an initiative of the Millennium Development Goals Health Alliance that brings private sector resources and expertise to the goal of eradicating mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015.

What's one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio? 
For nearly 10 years, I've hosted a monthly salon where a small group of friends gather to talk about life's big questions: What is freedom? What does it mean to live an authentic life? What is your relationship to time? What is love?

What does hybrid mean to you from the perspective of your work?
Criticality: a recognition of the world's suffering and challenges; and hope: a recognition of the world's capacity for change.

My ideal hybrid of a person would be:
Someone operating from a place of wisdom, compassion and action. Any one of these characteristics on their own is inherently limited. Collectively, they are unstoppable.

What are you reading?
"Necessary Wisdom," by Jacob Needleman. Tom Reiss' "The Black Count" and the collected works of Frank O'Hara.

What are you listening to?
Krista Tippett's podcasts, Django Reinhardt, John Luther Adams and J Mascis.

What are you working on at the moment?
A new book focused on money and meaning, deepening my teaching and listening skills, and being a part of the global strategy to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV. 

Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak at PopTech?
I'm really looking forward to hearing from Alexa Clay.

Word association: Maine...
Chowder.

If you could pick one historical figure to watch give a PopTech talk, who would it be?
Plato.

The words you live by:
When something seems to go wrong, it's invariably part of a larger right.

What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
How to be both in and out of the game.

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
Absolutely. I own a karaoke machine! Go to song: Donna Summer's "I'm Coming Out."

Slash series: George Arriola, tech/design

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: George Arriola has a wide-ranging background with previous roles at Sony and Apple, to name a few. He’s currently Founder and CEO at a skunk_works product design boutique known as Minimalisms, and is a Founder, President, and Chief Product Officer at Monohm Inc. Monohm makes “heirloom electronics and technology that plays well with others.”

What's one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio?
Life long passion for study in designing women's fashion, dresses, shoes.

What does hybrid mean to you from the perspective of your work?
Hybrid to me is the ongoing learning and reflective practice and desire for acquiring new skills and disciplines for life. It's the ability to move between roles and expectations extremely quickly allowing one's hybrid agility to push one's craft and projects forward.

My ideal hybrid of a person would be:
The swagger and whimsy of Kristen Kish, the humor and tenacity of Margaret Cho, the creativity and grit of Thom Mayne, Christian Louboutin, and Ray Eames, the intellect of Kevin Flynn, and the prowess of James Bond.

What are you reading?
“The Martian” by Andy Weir. 

What are you listening to?
Jamie XX – In Colour and Clark - Body Riddle.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm between Kyoto / Tokyo / San Francisco finalizing commercial manufacturing and OOBE (out of box experience) for Runcible.

Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak at PopTech?
Ti Chang.

Word association: Maine...
Maple syrup.

If you could pick one historical figure to watch give a PopTech talk, who would it be?
Akio Morita (founder, Sony).

The words you live by:
Human. Simple. Authentic.

What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
Invest in life, work, balance.

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
Sure - why the heck not...Jamie XX – “Loud Places” (featuring Romy).

Slash series: Andrew Hessel, bio/tech

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: Autodesk Distinguished Researcher Andrew Hessel is a catalyst in biological technologies, helping industry, academics, and authorities better understand the changes happening in life science. He is also the co-founder of the Pink Army Cooperative, the world’s first cooperative biotechnology company, which is aiming to make open source viral therapies for cancer. 

What's one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio?
My wife and I are obsessive compulsive. We see this as a feature not a bug. There is no "D" after OC.

What does hybrid mean to you from the perspective of your work?
In biology, hybrids are the offspring resulting from cross-breeding. With digital biology, the hybrids are mash-ups of electronic and living systems, or cyborgs and androids.

My ideal hybrid of a person would be:
It would be my daughter Ro. She's the hybrid of me and my wife (Hani Hong) and I think she's the most fascinating person in the world. We're still waiting to see what her particular obsession will be.

What are you reading?
“Molecular Biology of the Cell” (Sixth Edition). And “Hooray for Fish!” by Lucy Cousins.  

What are you listening to?
Sonos. Or wind rustling through trees.

What are you working on at the moment?
Scaling up automated design and manufacture of synthetic viruses. 

Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak at PopTech?
Ti Chang.

Word association: Maine...
Line.

If you could pick one historical figure to watch give a PopTech talk, who would it be?
Nikola Tesla.

The words you live by:
Faster, better, cheaper. 

What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
Who I wanted to have kids with.

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
Uh, no.

Slash series: Maira Kalman, author/illustrator

With PopTech: Hybrid just a few months away, we decided to ask our speakers a few burning questions. Take a peek inside the minds of this "slash generation" and sign up to be part of the Hybrid this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine.

Speaker: Maira Kalman, author and illustrator of numerous books for adults and children including “What Pete Ate,” “Looking at Lincoln,” “The Principles of Uncertainty” and “My Favorite Things.” She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New Yorker. 

What’s one thing you want the PopTech audience to know about you that's not in your bio?
That I held Abraham Lincoln’s watch and bible in my hand.

What does hybrid mean to you from the perspective of your work?
Hybrid is one thing leading to another in a natural flow of ideas and delight. Being ambi-curious. Being prone to not seeing barriers.

What are you reading?
Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past.” Jean Racine’s “Phèdre.” Kenneth Grahame’s “Wind in the Willows.” Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

What are you listening to?
Classical music. 

What are you working on at the moment?
Co-creating a ballet with John Heginbotham. Painting a mural for the Jewish Museum in NYC. Writing a book about dogs called "Beloved Dog" that will come out in October 2015. Traveling.

Word association: Maine…
Maine - Minsk. And the reason I say that is because I am going to Maine this summer and then to Minsk.

If you could pick one historical figure to watch give a PopTech talk, who would it be?
Gertrude Stein. 

The words you live by:
Noli Timere. Remember this moment. Poor everybody.

What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
I know less now.

Karaoke? Yes, no, curious. Go-to song?
Completely no. Let the others enjoy it without me.

Photo: Rick Meyerowitz 

New speakers added! Sign up by 5/19 to save $200

Today we’re thrilled to add 15 new speakers to the PopTech: Hybrid line-up! From famed illustrator and author Maira Kalman to renowned social entrepreneur Fred Swaniker, please meet the wide-ranging mix of hybrids who will take the stage this Oct 22-24 in Camden, Maine. 

Entrepreneur calls PopTech one of nine conferences worth your time and money in 2015. Join us to explore the possibilities and potential that emerge when disciplinary boundaries fall by the wayside. See how hybridity can be harnessed to solve complex problems in social, business, and global arenas. Delve into what it truly means to “do both” and no longer be rooted in a single field or methodology. Learn about the people, projects, and movements that embody hybrid thinking and action, all while spending a few days in beautiful Midcoast Maine. 

On May 19, ticket prices will increase to $2,000 so be sure to register before then to save $200! We can’t wait to see you in October. 

Get to know Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business

Earlier today, Fast Company revealed its 2015 list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. We’re proud to see some members of the PopTech community included on the list. If you aren’t familiar with their work, start by giving the talks below a listen. Congrats Matt, Dan, Catherine, & Marije!

Matt Mason, BitTorrent (also a former PopTech board member!) 
Watch his 2008 PopTech talk on piracy. 

Dan Schulman, PayPal (formerly American Express)
Watch his 2013 PopTech talk on financial inclusion.

Marije Vogelzang, food designer
Watch her 2009 PopTech talk on edible art installations. 

Catherine Havasi, Luminoso
At PopTech 2014, she partnered with Erin McKean to lead an offstage session on the future of language-driven technology. 

Image: Fast Company