Lavin Weekly #30: Lawson, Maeda, Allaster, & Grossman
In “An Insurance Salesman and a Doctor Walk into a Bar, and End Up at the North Pole,” New York Times bestselling author Guy Lawson writes a portrait of the Plaisted Polar Expedition to the North Pole: a crew trying to reach the Pole by snowmobile in 1968, and who “in reality may very well have been the first to reach the North Pole at all.” As the title suggests, the piece centers on Ralph Plaisted—“a natural salesman who … owned a thriving insurance business”—and other members of the rather obscure expedition, including Jerry Pitzl, John Moriarty, Art Aufderheide, and Don Powellek. As in all Lawson’s work—in books such as Arms and the Dudes, or The Brotherhoods—this New York Times article offers a fascinating and touching treatment of a curious incident, and reminds us that Lawson is one of our best long-form journalists.
2. John Maeda Talks Design at the SXSW Festival
John Maeda—Kleiner Perkins Caulfiend & Byers design partner, and one of Esquire’s 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century—returned to the SXSW Festival this year to present his much-anticipated Design in Tech report. As WIRED describes, Maeda argued that “big businesses want, need, and will pay for design” with eye-opening data on the integral relationship between top-notch design and the biggest tech companies. Beyond a repeat of last year’s presentation, Maeda offered “Three Kinds of Design”: co-dependent categories like “design thinking” and “computational design” that are constantly in flux and affecting how businesses seek, pay for, and implement their solutions. For more updates by (and from) Maeda, be sure to follow him on Twitter—he’s got one of TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds!
3. Stacey Allaster Returns to Tennis with the USTA
Congrats are in order for Stacey Allaster—The New York Times has announced that she’ll be joining the USTA (United States Tennis Association) as their new Chief Executive for Professional Tennis. This newly created post will allow Allaster to oversee the organization’s pro tennis division (and events like the US Open, the Emirates Airlines US Open Series, the Davis Cup, and more). She’s a natural choice for the role: as the former Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, she’s credited with generating more than $1B in diversified contracted revenues, and growing the brand internationally. And as a keynote speaker, her talks on leadership, motivation, and women in sports both ignite and inspire. “I can’t think of another person who has that background or those qualifications,” says the USTA’s executive director Gordon Smith.
4. Brad Grossman Boasts the Benefits of Slackification in WSJ
As the CEO of cultural think-tank Zeitguide, it’s Brad Grossman’s job to discover and track the trends in media, culture, and technology that are changing our everyday lives. In his latest Wall Street Journal article, he identifies a trend he calls the “Slackification” of the workplace—where tools like Slack, HipChat, and Lua use the mechanisms of social media to create online communities for collaboration and knowledge management. These tools free employees from their inboxes, improve productivity, and give even the most junior-level employees a platform to share ideas. Grossman presents a compelling argument for why companies should embrace Slackification, and explains how fostering transparency and improving communication can build purpose and community from within.
For more information on booking keynote speakers Guy Lawson, John Maeda, Stacey Allaster, or Brad Grossman for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.