Create Your Own Opportunities
The coolest thing for me has been the relationships and the connections that I've been able to cultivate over the years. And what's happened with some of those. We saw these amazing colleagues that came up here on stage and the kind of work that we do. Really fun work to do, impactful in a lot of ways. And then sometimes projects come along that are super meaningful, and here's an example. Remember Andrew Black, Nike Entertainment, business guy, then he went to Lego, then he went to some other companies. We've stayed in touch all the time and we work on projects here and there. He brought the Awake thing to us, for instance. Now we're working on, we have another company together. So he introduced me to the founder of this company, this brand called Free the Children, Me to We. It's an amazing story. This is Craig Kielburger, I encourage you to look him up. As a 12 year old, he read about a carpet worker in India who'd been killed by his boss and he said we gotta do something about this...
. He's from Toronto, I think he's 29 now. So he started this whole organization when he was 12 years old and now it's a global organization just helping thousands and thousands and millions of people and it creates this whole experience a whole village where they go to Africa and India and Central America and they do water projects and education and medical and all this. But the most impactful thing that they do is they hold these We Days. They had a couple in Seattle and they have them in different cities and middle school and high school kids can attend that. The only way that they can get in is by doing volunteer hours. They have to do a certain amount of volunteer hours. Their volunteer opportunity of choice and then they can go see Desmond Tutu, Macklemore, Prince Harry was at the London one, so. All these amazing celebrities who are now asking to be part of this because they feel the difference that they are making. So, when Craig came and told me his story, you know it was very emotional. You cry when he's talking to you. I wanted Tether to be involved in this. So they had several organizations. They had Free the Children, Me to We. They had programs We Day and other things. But they had all grown up over the years and they all had different identities. And so what we did, is we created a consistent identity. So it all looked like it came from the same place. Free the Children, Me to We, We Day and you see this graphic system that we have. And then we started applying that to everything. We redesigned the packaging. These are products that the Mamas in Africa and Kenya they make these products and then they're sold at Nordstrom and other places. Then the profits go back to those women. And then the We Days that I mentioned, with amazing celebrities and activists that show up and the kids get so inspired. And they've found that there's all these amazing statistics that those kids are more likely to go on and vote do volunteer and just be better citizens because of it. And we've done these fun things like this Giving Tree where you can buy something for someone. Bracelets and others and then it contributes back. So as we've worked on this, it's had a big impact on our studio as far as the difference that we can make. Me, personally, this is over in Kenya. I went over there and worked in a village. It was an amazing experience. I mean when's the last time you walked with a Maasai warrior you know across the plains in Africa? It's pretty amazing, a pretty amazing experience. Both the helping others part of it, but just as much, you know, helping me. And realizing that what we do can have an impact. Cutest kids in the world, oh my gosh. And here's another example. And here's another really meaningful example. This producer came to us, Jane Charles. She's based here in Seattle and they were going to make a movie about child slavery. And they were gonna raise money, Emma Thompson and some others were involved in it and they wanted to raise money and so they asked us if we could help them raise some money for it and we said, we'd love to and so, knowing what we do best is creating that emotional connection and telling that story in a visual way, we made this little video that they could show people about child slavery. (sad music) So that movie is out now and I'd encourage you to watch it. It's pretty amazing. So back to the creative playground. I'll try to finish on a little upbeat. That was heavy. So I've been so blessed all the places that I've been able to work and the people that I've been able to work with. I'm an old man now, I get emotional. I cry at any turn now, sometimes I'll just be in the studio and I'll just see something beautiful and I'll start crying. Because we make amazing stuff. I as I've traveled the world, and met all these amazing people, I just think of the opportunities that we have, us creatives of bringing people together. So you see the impact, something like that sold, Me to We, the impact that you can have to tell a story. You can do amazing things. Yes, we're all consumers, we buy stuff. Chips and soda and all those different things. Motorcycles, we don't have to have any of that stuff. But that's part of who we are, and that's part of a proud heritage that we have. Design and advertising, that's part of who we are. In the world now and certainly as Americans, we're consumers, we're a consumer centric society. But the good things that we can do through our creative talents. Remember that Tilo Telo drink a while back, a couple episodes back? So it's funny how this whole circle comes. I was walking through the international district in Seattle, and I thought of this idea for that drink. I thought you know a lot of Europe and Asia they use the 24 hour clock I thought it's 14 hundred and 18 hundred is the time there, and I thought that's so much better as far as knowing what time it is in the day, how much you've used, how much of your time in the day you've used, then, getting a sense of place and space and all that. So I started thinking about that in terms of that particular project. Again, having a goal in mind in my head, a problem to solve. So I thought of a 24 hour clock, I thought, oh, okay, here's the drink idea. Every hour there's a different drink. There's 24 drinks and each one, you know Camomile at night, you know Ginseng to get you going in the afternoon and all that. So after I did that, after we did that at Tether, I thought, there could be a bigger idea there. 'Cause I love when I fly internationally, and I cross multiple time zones, you leave Asia and you get here at the same time you left or an hour before you left. It always blows my mind. I thought wow, what could you do with that besides you know, try to monetize that. So as you're flying over those time zones I see all those people sleeping down there, metaphorically. They're asleep while I'm awake and I'm creating while they're asleep, and they're creating while I'm asleep. I thought wow, what if we could bring all those people together, virtually, so when I go to sleep, I have to go to sleep two in the morning, I have to stop this project. What if I could put it up online and someone could keep working on it while I was asleep? Someone who is equally passionate about whatever that thing is. So it could be a non-profit type thing. It could be we're all gonna solve world hunger. Okay, I'm gonna start on it and then you pick it up and then it's like the ultimate mash-up. People just keep adding to it. So that's a concept that we started working on. And it's something that we're still passionate about and are continuing to think through how that could work. This is more of a creative entertainment way of looking at that. So you think of when I'm asleep someone else can be creative. So this is taking that 24 hour, that Tilo Telo to that creative mash-up, global level. So here's a video that we mocked up to show how that could work. (new age music) Okay, as you're watching this, you can see that it's pretty cool that you can go online and you can see that people have inputted. Someone from China they put some illustrations in there. Someone from Afghanistan they put some text in there. And then so all this global mash-up of ideas. And then you put those all together and it comes out the other side as this globally sourced, globally created content. And then you can start creating things from those. So you have these unique, uniquely designed by a global audience, a global audience of creatives and you can start applying that to products. You can start applying that to experiences. So we got really excited about this idea, and it's something that we're continuing to work on. You think of, there we are with Tilo Telo has come back on that one. It's a full circle. So that idea of everyone using what they're passionate about. So on the creation front, there's some of us that have a lot of experience in creating things. And we have skills, we can do video editing or we can do photography or something, things like that. But there's others, that just want to be part of the creative community. On this Tilo Telo, you can go on and you can just choose from all the different areas of illustration, photography, text, etc. And they're all in different languages or different styles and then it will do a unique mash-up every time that you press that button. So there's these unique global creations. So that's just a fun idea of putting together all this stuff that I've talked about today of story-telling, of creation, and the whole idea of what if. Don't be limited by what you are right now, what you do right now. If you have a vision, if you have excitement about doing something, start investigating that. It's not gonna happen overnight. You've seen my journey in the one day here. You've seen 20, almost 27 years that's 27 years of a journey. That didn't happen overnight. It was about all these little connections and all these little paths. Some of the paths were dead ends but they led me to something unexpected and I tried something else. Thank you very much for hanging out and joining me on my little journey.