Ishita Gupta asks the questions most people are afraid to ask: What are your biggest fears, failures, and mistakes? How can you use these to live a more courageous life?
In fact, Ishita’s built a magazine based on exploring the “grey” topics that most people steer clear of, and emphasizes them so we all understand: Fear.less profiles hundreds of thought-leaders, CEO’s, and business leaders on how they’ve overcome fear to build successful careers and lives.
Ishita was born and raised in metro Detroit and while she currently resides in New York City, Detroit will always be home and close to her heart. She is looking forward to seeing not the “bankrupt” Detroit people refer to it as, but the creative, visionary, and vibrant city she’s always known it to be. Detroit, to Ishita, is a great example of resilience and success.”
“No city, no success in life, nothing is built only on a stream of wins - it is always built on two steps forward and one step back,” she says. “It’s built upon failure after failure and I’m looking at Detroit from the lens of what true success means.”
Motorless in the Motor City
In 2012 Norman Witte found himself living in Detroit, unemployed with a dead car. With no means to replace it, Witte learned alternate ways to get around the city as he continued to look for employment. The process, he said, involved navigating the city’s public transportation system and learning to be a good cyclist.
More than a year later, Witte, now a web developer at Crain’s Detroit Business, is continuing his car-less life in the city, but this time out of choice. It’s a lifestyle, he said, and one he wants to share with others.
“It’s been both a learning experience and a challenge,” he said.
Witte has attended every TEDxDetroit conference since it began in 2009 and said his favorite talk was by Brian Mulloy, who spoke in 2011 of the history of Detroit and how the city’s original plans by the French can be applied today.
Witte is originally from Lake Orion and started to visit Detroit as a teenager to explore its music and art scene.
“Throughout the years, that’s what really kept bringing me back,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave. Eventually I realized this is the place I should be living.”
To make positive change, Witte said it’s about stepping outside your comfort zone.
“The idea is that status quo is not sustainable,” he said. “In order to move forward, you have to break some of the habits.”
The Age of Automated Driving is Already Here
There was a time when self-driving cars seemed like a concept from The Jetsons, but John Capp says advancing technology could make these cars available within the next decade.
“This is real,” he said. “There are things going on in the marketplace and in our industry that are going to enable it.”
Capp, director of Electrical & Control Systems Research for Cadillac, has worked in product engineering, specifically in automotive safety, for nearly three decades. In his talk, “The Age of Automated Driving is Already Here,” he will discuss the future of the automotive industry as computers do more and more driving, and how this change will impact society.
Capp was born and raised in Detroit and said his favorite things about the city are the auto industry, the downtown atmosphere, and the Tigers.
When it comes to positive change, Capp said it’s all about making a commitment.
“In order to have credibility around making positive changes, you really need to stick to your guns,” he said. “You need to make decisions and follow through.”
Research shows we have 60,000 thoughts a day! Most of us really don’t realize what we’re thinking, and we’re not aware that we’re making thousands of choices a day that are serving our purpose or not serving.
Mary Lore, founder and CEO of Managing Thought, LLC spends her days helping people and organizations develop self-awareness and change the way they think to attain long-lasting success.
In her interactive talk entitled, “Words Matter,” Lore will show how changing one word of a thought defines whether we are creative, inspired, energized or not.
“Words that we think and words that we speak are what we ultimately create,” she says.
When she isn’t on stage presenting during TEDxDetroit, Lore is most looking forward to the energy, inspiration and wonder that will be exemplified during the conference.
To find out more about Lore and Managing Thought, visit www.managingthought.com
Les Gold made his first sale at 7-years-old. It was a hydraulic jack. He started at $14, the customer started at $7 and they settled at $10.
Gold, owns the largest pawnshop in Detroit, American Jewelry and Loan. His family are the stars of truTV’s reality show “Hardcore Pawn.”
While owning a pawn shop has gained Gold and his family celebrity status, he doesn’t let it get to his head.
“At the core, I’m a pawn broker and I come to work every day,” he said.
This year, Gold will serve as the closer of TEDxDetroit and he plans to use his time to help motivate business owners or those aspiring to own their own business.
His talk will focus on asking Detroiters to consider – How bad do you want it?
“When you wake up in the morning, how bad do you want it? This will tell you how successful you’re going to be,” Gold said.
He says at the end of the day, you should want it (success) more than you did the day before.
His son, Seth, who is Les’s business partner, said with “Hardcore Pawn,” they helped make pawn shops “cool.” But Les thinks that same transformation is going to happen for the city of Detroit.
“I look at these places that have hurricanes, it blows away all the bad and you start fresh and that’s what’s happening here in Detroit,” he said. “If you go downtown there are people everywhere, before it was a ghost town.”
For more information on Les Gold, his family or American Jewelry and Loan, visit www.pawndetroit.com.
Wearable Computing and Getting Intimate with Your Devices
Computers are everywhere: in our phones, in our cars, and now… on our bodies?
In his talk, “Wearable Computing and Getting Intimate with Your Devices,” Jason Vazzano will talk about the future of technology and how it is incorporated into our glasses, watches and other accessories, and how these changes will impact social dynamics.
“It’s taking a look at the potential for wearable computing to be adopted in mass, how wearable computing is going to change how we interact with others around us, and what the potential is,” he said.
Vazzano is the co-founder of Vectorform, a Metro Detroit-based technology firm with offices all over the world.
He was born and raised in Detroit and said it was a world-class city.
“It’s filled with creators from artists to technologists who deliver world-renowned work,” he said.
When it comes to making a positive change, Vazzano said positivity must be genuine.
“Positivity must be authentic for it to grow,” he said. “Finding something in your life to be positive about is the first step.”
For more information on Vectorform visit www.Vectorform.com.
Help your Favorite Teacher with Chalkfly
Teachers in the United States spend over 1 Billion dollars every year on supplies for their classroom. We are asking these educators to equip our children for future success but we’re not equipping them with the basic supplies they need to do their job.
Enter Chalkfly. When Ryan Landau and his brother, Andrew, founded the company in 2012, they knew it needed to be about more than just profit. It needed to serve a larger purpose. Education is important to both Ryan and Andrew, plus their mom was a teacher, so it was natural for them to build a company that gives back to the people they feel have the most important job in the world. And that’s how the Chalkfly GiveBack was born: 5% of every purchase made at Chalkfly.com is given to a teacher of the customer’s choice.
Landau is originally from Detroit but moved to Washington D.C., after graduating from Michigan State University. When the idea for Chalkfly was born, he left his job in the capital and moved back to Detroit to be a part of what he describes as Detroit 2.0.
“The opportunities in Detroit, I don’t think you can get them anywhere else in the country,” he said.
Landau also believes Detroit has a bright future and will be a premier hub for young adults to live, work, and play.
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, Landau has some advice for you:
1. Start now! You’ll always have an excuse but, just start.
2. There’s no better place to start than Detroit.
For more information about Chalkfly’s movement, visit chalkfly.com.
Beyond the X Games
Photo by Ali Elisabeth
They may have lost the bid to host the X Games, but Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler say the experience is a testament to what’s possible when you dream big and take action in Detroit, an experience they now want to share at TEDxDetroit.
Earlier this year, the two friends took on the campaigning challenge of bringing the extreme sports competition to Detroit and lost the bid to Austin in July.
Now the two are using that momentum to create “ASSEMBLE,” a four-day festival set to take place next summer incorporating art, ideas, music and, of course, action sports.
“Assemble expresses the energy of a city rebuilding itself by showcasing its most essential tools,” Koehler said, “Which we think are creativity, action and determination.”
For Koehler and Krease, Detroit is more than just a city but a passion. Krease was born and raised in Metro Detroit and said the city is his home. Koehler, a Chicago native, said Detroit is a city where people live intentionally and where young people, especially, can develop a sense of place and community.
When it comes to the future of the city, Krease said it’s all about action.
“It’s not ‘where the city is going’, but ‘where do we want to take it?’” he said.
Changing the Narrative on Detroit
To those who think Detroit is closed for business, Avalon International Breads Owner Jackie Victor says think again.
Victor, who opened her organic bakery in Detroit’s Midtown in 1997, said she’s seen a lot of changes in the city during the past 17 years and more changes are still to come.
In her talk, “Changing the Narrative on Detroit,” Victor will speak on witnessing the transformation of a city viewed as “closed for business” to becoming a trendy place of opportunity for young people. As the city continues to change, she will highlight the tensions that emerge as new Detroiters, focusing on business and artistic opportunity, enter a city with a rich cultural and political history, as well as deeply-rooted issues of racism, poverty and economic disenfranchisement.
“I came to Detroit not just to solve problems but to be part of a transformational city,” she said.
Victor said she loves the sense of intimacy and warmth being in Detroit and described it as a city of innovation where the American dream can still be realized.
When it comes to positive change, she said it’s all about starting small.
“You start where you are,” she said. “You start with the community, you start very local.”
For more information visit http://www.avalonbreads.net/.
The Man Behind the Music
While he won’t be on the main stage at this year’s conference, TEDxDetroit board member Hubert Sawyers will continue an important role in the annual conference.
He’s the man behind the music.
Since 2010, Sawyers has been the TEDxDetroit Director of Music, responsible for bringing the Detroit breakout artists like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., I Love Lightning Bugs and Invincible to the conference, among numerous others.
“The thing I like about TEDxDetroit is the excitement,” he said. “I love the energy.”
Though he is the so-called “music man” of TEDxDetroit, Sawyers is a digital marketing strategist by profession and founder of SorSaw Enterprises.
In the past, Sawyers has been involved in Animal House Party, a fundraising event geared to attract young people to the Humane Society, and TWEETEA, a weekly networking meet-up for social media enthusiasts.
When it comes to Detroit, Sawyers said to love the city is to truly know the city.
“It’s family,” he said. “It’s a part of my social construct, I can never get rid of it. It’s kind of like my third parent.”
($)5,000 small things to be the next big thing for Detroit.
($)5,000 small things to be the next big thing for Detroit.
That’s the topic for Detroiters Amy Kaherl and Elizabeth Garlow, who will give a joint talk during this year’s TEDxDetroit conference.
The two women know a thing or two about making a positive impact in Detroit.
Kaherl is the founder of Detroit Soup, a unique crowd-funding organization where participants pay $5 to attend a monthly soup dinner to hear new business presentations. Participants then vote on their favorite idea, which then receives the proceeds of the evening’s dinner.
Garlow is the Executive Director of Michigan Corps., a non-profit organization that connects Michigan citizens worldwide to opportunities to support social innovation in the state. Through Michigan Corps., she is also involved in Kiva Detroit, which provides micro-financing to small businesses in Detroit.
Together, the women will share their knowledge and experience on nurturing ideas from a grassroots level to make positive change in Detroit.
Kaherl has already been a featured as a TEDx speaker, giving a talk on her experience at Detroit Soup at TEDxRedding in California last year, while this will be Garlow’s first time speaking at a TEDx conference.
When it comes to making a positive change in Detroit, Kaherl and Garlow stress the importance of listening to the needs of the community and collaborating with those who are already involved.
“Together we can do more than we can do individually,” Garlow said.
Everyone Can Be a Neuroscientist
According to Greg Gage, everyone can be a neuroscientist.
That’s the idea behind Gage’s talk, “Low-Fi Devices for High-Tech Education,” where he will share knowledge and resources on how to make neuroscience accessible to people of all ages. His demonstrations, including a live vivisection on stage, are guaranteed to be eye opening.
Gage has a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan and is the co-founder of “Backyard Brains,” an Ann Arbor-based company established with partner Tim Marzullo that makes graduate school-level science projects for K-12 students.
“We’re trying to make low-tech tools that are affordable for people to make high-tech breakthroughs,” he said.
Gage was a speaker at this year’s TEDGlobal conference in Scotland and last year’s TED conference in California, but said he’s excited to be able to share his ideas at home. Michigan’s strong work ethic and craftsmanship are some of the things he loves most about his home state.
When it comes to making a positive change, Gage said talk is cheap, and it’s about putting those words into action.
“I’m from the Midwest,” he said. “We just do things.”
For more information on Backyard Brains, visit www.BackyardBrains.com.