PSFK 2017 Innovation With Purpose: 5 of the Most Inspiring Speakers

Source: PSFK


So many great speakers at this year’s event – from many different industries and all parts of the world.

  • The one I missed seeing is the one I hear was most inspiring: Coss Marte, CEO and Founder of ConBody. He’s an ex-con (former drug kingpin in my neighborhood!) who totally turned his life around through fitness. But I did see him at the Sak’s Wellery last week doing a bootcamp training session. He also has a TED Talk that I am going to check out based on the rave reviews he got at PSFK.

Here, are the 5 speakers that I did see – all absolutely stellar:

Jan Chipchase, Anthropologist & Author of The Field Study Handbook

  • He calls himself a Cultural Clairvoyant but I think he’s like the Anthony Bourdain of Insights.
  • He, and a small team, travel to godforsaken parts of the world to live in tandem with the people they’re studying.
  • These untapped, edge-of-grid markets range from Afghanistan to villages in China without running water or addresses.
  • Clients include corporations, non-profits and governments.
  • Very impressively, he just did a kickstarter for his new book, The Field Study Handbook. His intention was to raise $25K. He raised $250K in 9 days. Well done, sir!!

Read on below for more.

Mike Lee, Founder & CEO Studio Industries

Mike’s backstory is awesome:

  • He grew up in Detroit (after his grandfather moved there from Hong Kong to open a restaurant)
  • Going to the annual auto show became a tradition for the family.
  • Seeing how fabulous the concept cars were vs. the production cars inspired him to keep his ideas big and audacious
  • Mike has taken the vision he saw in the concept car world and applied it to the work he does in food (as a future grocery store prophet).
  • His goal is to get big food companies to institutionalize “dreaming big” vs. incrementalism which he feels is not ambitious enough to survive in today’s market.


Christina Agapakis, Creative Director, Ginkgo Bioworks

  • This biotech design visionary is a very engaging speaker – even if I don’t understand the how and the why of what she does.
  • She collaborates with engineers, designers, and social scientists to explore the connections between microbiology, technology, art and popular culture.
  • She gave great examples but all I remember is the poop.


Clare Jones, COO what3words

  • Clare leads the global expansion of this UK-based company that has divided the world up into 57 trillion 10-ft by 10-ft squares and given each one a 3-word address.
  • 75% of the world has no addresses or barely viable ones
  • With what3words, now available in over 170 countries, it’s simple for anyone to describe their exact location – and it’s literally saving lives. There are parts of the world where an ambulance might take a day to find someone
  • An 80 year old woman in Mongolia just received her first ever letter delivered by the post office to her 3-word address
  • Even in places like NYC, what3words can identify where exactly you can meet your friends in Central Park or at which stadium entrance you’ll find your friends.
  • It’s a free app to download for both Apple and Android.


Colin Beavan, No-Impact Man & Author, How To Be Alive

  • LOVED his talk about figuring out what’s really important to you and making the necessary changes so you can  live in a way more alinged with what you really value – which, for most people, boils down to friends and community.
  • I’m going to write a whole piece about him and what I got out of his talk later this week – it was FANTASTIC!!


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