All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

99U Conference 2014 Speakers

This year's lineup and some insights from the annual action-oriented conference's director

by David Graver
on 12 February 2014
99uLead.jpg

As regular attendees (not to mention current curation partners and co-founders with Behance back in 2009) we are excited to announce this year's line up for 99U's annual conference. The two-day event always delivers on the promise of actionable insights from creatives and creators. With main stage speakers, masterclasses, cocktail receptions and even optional offsite visits, no conference imparts relevant, high-value engagement like 99U. Julie Zhou (Product Design Director at Facebook) and Jason Fried (founder of 37Signals, now CEO of Basecamp) are just two of the individuals guaranteed to shed light on the world of entrepreneurialism. We spoke with 99u.com's Editor in Chief and conference director, Jocelyn Glei, about how it all came to be.

99u1.jpg

Beginning each year with a blank slate and limitless possibilities, a unifying idea formed in Glei's mind when going through perspective speakers for this event: "We are a good ten years into working in open-plan offices, working in a world of social media that's also become super focused on startups," Glei says. "We are now starting to see how unmanageable it all is; how busy we are, how focused we are with IPOing." With this in mind, Glei sought out people who were pushing back and recalibrating, while maintaining the conference's mission.

Glei calls out Joanne Wilson, an angel investor and speaker this year, as the perfect example. "Joanne observed this model: Let's build a business, sell it off but lose five years of our life in the process." She will address how a person can be an entrepreneur and have a life and a family. She also notes that speaker Jason Fried, "will touch on some of the thinking behind that; building simple elegant products while doing it in a way where his life and his team's lives are balanced." This has become a sub-theme present at this year's conference.

99u2.jpg

"Our mission is baked into the brand, from end to end," she says. "I think there are other conferences that have nebulous missions about creativity, but you do not know how." 99U focuses on the very specific. "We are really all about taking people have who accomplished a lot, and sharing pragmatic lessons learned from what they've done." It's visible through who will grace the stage—including Marc Ecko Enterprises' founder Marc Ecko, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of ModCloth Susan Gregg Koger, and author Josh Klein. Many other clever and creative CEOS, founders, photographers illustrators and action-oriented doers from a wide range of disciplines will share their insights. While the speakers are inspiring, Glei also finds that the audience contributes a great deal. "They have a really high level of intention and are super action oriented, ready to soak up some new ideas." An active audience paired with another strong lineup of speakers creates a vibrant energy—for which 99U has become known.

Glei also finds 99U's regular content production another beneficial asset. "Most other conferences are stand-alone, where we have a Webby Award-winning editorial website and a book series that we are constantly producing." It's all in line with their mission and their voice. Well-defined and tightly honed, this voice will grow even stronger thanks to this year's contributors. You can see a full list of the speakers at their website.

Registration for the 99U conference is now open online.

Images courtesy of 99U

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools
Loading More...