28: Tiffany Shlain


In this episode, I talk to übermensch Tiffany Shlain about brain power, the science of character, what connects us as human beings, and the always important “weekly date night.”

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century” and singled out by NPR on their list of best commencement speeches ever, Tiffany is also the founder of The Webby Awards and a filmmaker whose work explores the intersection of humanity, technology, science and culture

“What’s covering the airwaves right now are all these political debates and all these things that separate us, and I’m always interested in what connects us.”

—Tiffany Shlain


Her feature length film Connected examines “everything from the Big Bang to Twitter” and her AOL Originals series The Future Starts Here was nominated for an Emmy in 2014.

While Tiffany is undoubtedly curious about all things tech, she still makes it a habit to unplug and power down. Along with her husband and two daughters, they turn off all screens every week for 24 hours. They’re now on their impressive 6th year of practicing Technology Shabbats.

To learn more about Tiff’s collaborative filmmaking efforts with enthusiasts from all over the world, visit Let It Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change.

Tiffany Shlain

Photos: Top portrait of Tiffany by Lisa Wiseman. All other images courtesy The Moxie Institute.

Show Opener: Salt-n-Pepa, Pharrell Williams (with Justin Timberlake), Melanie and
Stream of Consciousness (Skratch Bastid Remix) – Afiara Quartet
Delirious – Prince
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) [Original 7″ Mix] – Dead or Alive
I’ve Seen All Good People: A. Your Move, B. All Good People – Yes
Daily News – Maps & Atlases
Where Is the Line? – Björk
Show Closer: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Tricky, Dusty Springfield and Isaac Hayes

Reading List
Expanded Cinema, by Gene Youngblood
Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light, by Leonard Shlain
The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image, by Leonard Shlain
Sex, Time, and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, by Leonard Shlain
Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius, by Leonard Shlain

Watch List
The Future Starts Here, AOL Series
The Making of a Mensch
The Adaptable Mind
The Science of Character
Connected the Film
Brain Power
A Declaration of Interdependence
Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness


3 Makes A Trend

photo (1)This was too good not to share.

On leaving the house early this morning for a grueling (but oh so worth it) Soul Cycle class, I spotted yet another bit of exercise machinery left in front of a neighbor’s house!

I want to ask “Can you believe it?” But at the same time I will simply smile knowingly and re-state all the points from my previous blog post.

Here’s to a spectacular 2015, and more of this generous – and kind of hilarious – gifting.

Happy Monday!


Clear Out The Old, Make Room For The New


It’s the last day of 2014, and a funny thing happened while walking in my neighborhood this morning.

I passed a house with a “LifeStyler by HealthRider” out front, left for the lucky at-home-cyclist-wannabe who finds it first.

It wasn’t this alone that struck me as funny though; it was the fact I’d experienced this exact thing on the last day of 2009, while walking through the Mexican city of Puebla.

Uncanny? No way.

With the dawn of a new year just a handful of hours away, many of us seize the opportunity to purge the old in preparation for the new.

Two people, thousands of miles away, experienced a similar thought: “Hey, I’ve had this clunky piece of equipment taking up space in my home for too long. I don’t use it, but I bet someone else out there would appreciate it more than I do. Someone with the new year’s resolution to exercise more at home.”

Or something to that effect.

So both of these individuals gave their exercise bikes away – with the hope of their junk being someone else’s goldmine. Different countries, customs, habits, personalities, with the same win-win instinct. (One releases, another gains.)

Seeing these instances, years apart, allowed me to experience the connection we share as humans on this planet. Yes, a tiny, fleeting instance of interconnectivity, but it felt powerful nonetheless.

It’s little reminders like this that motivate me to think anew, create anew, and write/speak/teach about behavior patterns that inspire design; about human quirks and stories; about our potential to be generous and serve those in need, as well as delight those we serve.

Continue reading…


Urban Planter, Boat Bumper


These shots were some of my very first workaround photos, taken in 2005 in Toronto. I’m digging into the archives to bring you the some of the best and will share when inspiration strikes. Enjoy!


Share some of the workarounds you see when out and about in the world. I’d love to share on my blog!