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Guests

Hiroki Asai

Former head of Global Marketing Communications at Apple

Hiroki Asai is responsible for much of Apple's simple and elegant aesthetic. During his 16-year career at Apple, Hiroki was the head of Global Marketing Communications and Executive Creative Director of graphic design. He supervised hundreds of artists and designers responsible for all of the packaging, retail store graphics, website, online store, direct marketing, videos, and event graphics for Apple’s international market, before retiring from Apple last year.

Sara Blakely

Founder and CEO of Spanx

As the youngest ever self-made female billionaire, Spanx founder Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to provide a smooth look under white pants. Armed with scissors and sheer genius, she cut the feet off her control top pantyhose and the Spanx revolution began! Spanx has secured its place in women’s hearts and in pop-culture with daily mentions from CNN to SNL. As the sole owner of ‘Spanx,’ Sara always knew she wanted to help women. Though in her wildest dreams, she never thought she would have started with their butts.

Leslie Blodgett

Founder and former CEO of bareMinerals

As a kid, Leslie Blodgett was known to cuddle up with the obituaries while dreaming of the future obliteration and ultimate death of heavy, chemical-based makeup. A short while later, Leslie was CEO of bareMinerals / Bare Escentuals, which she founded, grew into a global beauty brand, and sold to Shiseido in 2010 for $1.7B.  A visionary recognized by WWD Beauty as one of The Big 10 Leaders in Beauty, Leslie credits her company's success to her therapy-inducing obsession with making women happy.

Brendan Boyle

Partner at IDEO

Brendan Boyle is a toy inventor, professor at Stanford’s d.School, and Partner at IDEO. He founded IDEO's toy-invention studio, the Toy Lab, to uncover kid-centered solutions to boredom. Under his leadership, the Toy Lab has invented and licensed hundreds of toys and apps, including the best-selling Jumperoo and Elmo Calls, respectively. He believes that play is the key to innovation and has spoken to creative leaders, entrepreneurs, and students about the importance of playful exploration and risk-taking. 

Daryn Dodson

Impact Investor | Board Member, Ben & Jerry's

Daryn Dodson is an impact investor and passionate advocate of social and economic justice. Daryn consults for the Board of the Calvert Funds and sits on the board of Ben and Jerry's. Previously, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Daryn co-created The New Orleans Entrepreneur Week at The Idea Village, a platform engaging leading private equity firms, business schools, and Fortune 500 companies to invest more than 50,000 hours and $2 million into New Orleans entrepreneurs. In his spare time, you can find Daryn – the consummate ice cream man – handing out free Ben & Jerry's pint coupons to brighten people's days.

Lee Eisenberg

Writer / Producer / General Wizard

Lee Eisenberg is a television and film writer, producer and director, and the co-founder of Quantity Entertainment. He executive produced, wrote, and directed for The Office for five seasons (where he was nominated for several Emmys and was voted “best looking writer” by Mindy Kaling in a very competitive race). He co-created “Hello Ladies” for HBO (where he was nominated for a few more Emmys but lost his “best looking writer” crown), and wrote the feature, “Bad Teacher,” starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake (which was nominated for no Emmys or Oscars, but helped him buy a house). Lee has a dog named Fitz, who silently judges him.

Oliver Emmett

Preschooler and Lecturer at Stanford 

My name is Oliver Emmett.  I am four.  I love my grandma. I love my other grandma. I love my mom and dad. I’m already at Oakdale, but when I’m older I would like to go to kindergarten and then college.  I would like to play and eat snacks in college. When I grow up I want to be a paleontologist and do Legos. What I love about myself is that my brain tells me funny things, like funny jokes.  My hobbies are making Legos and eating food. And my hope for the future is getting Donald Trump not to be president.

Andrew Evans

Magician and Design Lead at IDEO

As a professional magician of 17 years, Andrew Evans doesn’t care much for tricks. Instead, he prefers to create wonder. He has designed, built, and performed one-of-a-kind illusions while also consulting for other performers and theatrical productions. When he's not sawing women in half, Andrew is in search of new ways to bring magic to the world as a Product Designer at IDEO. He also travels the world speaking about the intersection of design and magic – and ultimately, how to design wonder.

Mike Farah

CEO of Funny Or Die

Mike Farah is the CEO and former President of Production for Funny Or Die, the premiere comedy website founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Mike produced the award-winning "Prop 8: The Musical," the Ron Howard directed "Presidential Reunion," and the Emmy-nominated "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis." He is also the executive producer of "Billy on the Street" airing on Fuse, "@midnight" airing on Comedy Central, and "American Muscle," the upcoming sports-documentary series for Discovery.

Dana Fox

Writer / Producer / General Wizard 

Dana Fox is a television and film writer and producer and, since the EEOC got involved, probably a director.  Among her credits, Dana is known for her features The Wedding Date, What Happens in Vegas, Couples Retreat, How to Be Single, for directing an episode of New Girl on the day the first female president did not get elected, and for writing/producing/showrunning Ben and Kate.  Dana graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English and Art History, and then went on to get her MFA in film and television producing from USC Film School's Peter Stark Producing Program. She is the mother of three amazing young children who are all funnier than she is and she firmly believes that a woman's place is in the resistance.  If she's not too exhausted to have sex with her husband, she's binge-watching something on Netflix. Hobbies include: trying to wait until 5pm to have her first drink.

David Hornik

Partner at August Capital

David Hornik was the co-founder of the now-defunct Stanford humor magazine, “Actual Malice." It has been all down hill since. He became a lawyer. He became a home owner. He bought a minivan. He got fat. Now he’s a VC at August Capital <www.augustcap.com> and rarely tweets anything funny @davidhornik. He’s still fat.

Nikhil Kalghatgi

Venture Advisor at Vast Ventures

Not Aziz Ansari. Nikhil is an entrepreneur turned venture investor in over 50 startups, most recently focused on world-positive moonshots.  Prior to the last 8 years investing out of SoftBank Capital and Vast Ventures, Nikhil was an engineer in the US military intelligence, led business at Localytics, founded Partner6 hedge fund and completed his MBA at Harvard Business School. He is also the co-host of the Necker Summit to encourage for-profit impactful businesses. Nikhil was also in a boy band.

 

Michael Kives

Motion Picture Agent with CAA

Michael Kives works at Creative Artists Agency where he represents actors, singers and world leaders including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Eisenberg, Bruce Willis, Katy Perry, Mikhail Gorbachev and Warren Buffett. Kives graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford, where he was Captain of the Stanford Debate Society. As a high school student, Michael became the first and only person ever to win the World Debate Championships twice, thus earning the title “World’s Most Persuasive Teenager,” which eventually allowed him to lose his virginity. At the age of 18 he appeared on “Politically Incorrect” with Bill Maher, after several guests cancelled. He lives in LA alone with no pets or even a plant.

Dan Klein

Lecturer at Stanford

Dan Klein is the head of improv in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford, a lecturer at the GSB, and on the Faculty at Singularity University. Dan has taught acting and improvisation at the American Conservatory Theater, Academy of Art University, and Dominican University. A former dean of Bay Area Theater Sports (BATS) School, for over a decade Dan delighted audiences as a Mainstage Player with BATS Improv. He is a founding member of the award-winning comedy group Kasper Hauser. Dan earned his degree in Cognition and Creativity from Stanford University. When Dan first started giving talks, he recognized that if everyone reached for their phones, it meant that he was being boring. Now he knows, if everyone reaches for their phones, he just said something profound. There is a fine line between boring and profound. Hold up. Listen to that again: There is a fine line... between boring ... and profound. #dankleinwisdom.

Kelly Leonard

Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improv at The Second City

Kelly has hired and produced tens of thousands of shows with a lot of funny people, like Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Steve Carell, Keegan Michael Key, Amy Sedaris and more. He wrote a semi-funny book “Yes, And” for Harpercollins and he has achieved the low bar status of funniest person on campus at The University of Chicago in his position as co-director of a new initiative with the Center for Decision Research that looks at behavioral science through the lens of improvisation.

Anne Libera

Director of Comedy Studies at The Second City

Anne Libera oversees the only BA in Comedy Writing and Performance in the country at Columbia College Chicago and The Second City. Her book The Second City Almanac of Improvisation (NU Press) appeared in Tina Fey’s first American Express print ad. Anne has directed and taught many astonishingly funny people including Aidy Bryant, Adam McKay, Jordan Peele, Ashley Nicole Black, Kristen Schaal, and Steve Yeun (yes Glen from The Walking Dead ) but is not known to be funny herself. When Anne was Second City box office manager and Jeff Garlin and Stephen Colbert were on her staff.

Mickey Meyer

Co-Founder of JASH

Mickey Meyer, is the cofounder of JASH, a comedy community and studio with roots in both the digital and television world and featuring such clients as (time for the name drops) Adam Carolla, Norm Macdonald, Sarah Silverman, Tim & Eric, Reggie Watts and Michael Cera.  Mickey is also a founder of "Can't Do Nothing," an effort to create action through content around various non-profits. He has met with former President Obama (best name drop yet) and various other White House officials such as Joe Biden and Valerie Jarrett as part of the White House’s Entertainment advisory group.  Mickey has been named to Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” list as well as the Hollywood Reporter's “Next Gen executives under 35” list. He has won Sundance, multiple Cannes Lion's in the advertising space, and a Streamy for his work with the White House.  Prior to JASH, Mickey was the head of the Comedy Network and then Executive Producer at Maker Studios, Inc. where he created content for YouTube channels like Epic Rap Battles, Bad Lip Reading, Good Neighbor and Kassem G. All of this means that he's a real person in your eyes now, right?

Seth Meyers

Host of Late Night with Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers hosts Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he helps us breathe (and laugh) each day as he brings us A Closer Look at the new American political reality.  Seth is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, media critic, and television host. He was previously a cast member and the head writer for Saturday Night Live, where he also hosted the show’s news parody segment, Weekend Update. In 2011, Seth was the keynote speaker at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and in 2014 Seth hosted the Emmy Awards.

David Nihill

Founder of FunnyBizz

David is the bestselling author of Do You Talk Funny? and the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series helping content creators access top comedic writing talent.  As a storyteller, David finished runner up in The Moth’s largest storytelling competition and has won multiple Moth Storyslam competitions. He has performed stand-up comedy at leading clubs like the Comedy Store, the Improv, the Punchline, and the Upright Citizens Brigade even though he strongly denies being a comedian and is well aware most people don’t understand his Irish accent.

Jon Sherman

Writer / Producer / General Wizard

Jon Sherman has been a television writer and producer for more years than he can count (which is why he majored in English rather than math at Stanford, where he was the manager for the LSJUMB, Gaieties head writer, and a Stanford Daily columnist known for his overly-long parentheticals). Jon created MTV’s first-ever scripted series, Dead at 21, and has written for Frasier, Royal Pains, and Bill Nye The Science Guy. He lives in Venice with two cats, one dog, two boys (his) and one wife (also his). He currently serves as the Co-Executive Producer for the upcoming TBS comedy The Cops from Albert Brooks and Louis C.K. 

Gregg Spiridellis

CEO and Co-Founder of JibJab

Back in ancient times, 1998 to be exact, two brothers bore witness to an animated dancing doodie streaming over a 56K modem and it changed their lives forever. They scraped together a few thousand dollars and started JibJab in a Brooklyn garage. Since then, Gregg and Evan Spiridellis grew JibJab into a nationally recognized brand by being obsessed about the quality of the programming and products they produced. Today, they are expanding their mission by creating StoryBots, a set of educational apps and books inspired by the five children from ages two to eight that they have between them.