What does it take to be a genius?

Posted by Mike Walsh

Apr 15, 2018 12:04:45 PM

Melissa Schilling


If you have ever been fascinated by the lives of brilliant people like Einstein, Tesla, Curie or Musk - you might have wondered how exactly they were able to do what they do. And, more to the point, what drove them to such impressive achievements? That is a question that Melissa Schilling, a professor at NYU Stern, and author of the bestselling book ‘Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World’, seeks to answer. I had a coffee with Melissa on a recent trip to New York, and we spoke about what makes these serial innovators tick, and in particular, the personality traits that lead to breakthroughs. What we might think of as impossible - for these people - is simply a place to begin.


CATEGORY: Innovation, Arts & Culture

Is there a future for reading in a digital world?

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jan 22, 2018 4:26:16 AM

Molly Flatt.jpg


I first met the writer Molly Flatt in Bogota, Colombia a number of years ago, but to continue our discussion on the future of books and publishing, we arranged to meet in an equally interesting, although somewhat less exotic, bar in Fitzrovia, London. A prolific journalist and researcher into digital trends, Molly is the Associate Editor for FutureBook, Digital Editor for PHOENIX magazine and Associate Editor for the Memo, and writes regularly for publications such as the BBC and the Guardian. Her debut novel is entitled The Charmed Life of Alex Moore.


CATEGORY: Technology, Arts & Culture

Transformation, teleportation and the secret history of America

Posted by Mike Walsh

Nov 6, 2017 11:32:15 AM

Peter Clines.jpg


I was in LA over Halloween, and so took the opportunity to look up one of my favorite genre-bending, sci-fi authors - Peter Clines. Peter has a number of brilliant books including ’14’, ‘The Fold’, and his latest, ‘Paradox Bound’, which he originally pitched to his agent as a cross between Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ and ‘Cannonball Run’. Growing up in Stephen King's hometown of Maine, his first epic novel at the age of eight was ‘Lizard Men From The Center of The Earth’. In the bright glare of the LA sun, we spoke at length about a wide range of geeky topics from time-travel to teleportation, evil stars to parallel universes and of course, the secret occult history of America. 


CATEGORY: Innovation, Arts & Culture

Courage, resilience and photographing humanity

Posted by Mike Walsh

Apr 10, 2017 4:39:35 AM

David Jay.jpg


I met David Jay many years ago, at a cafe on Bondi Beach. Originally from California, he had moved to Australia for work, and for the last 20 or so years, had made a name for himself as a fashion photographer, whose work had been featured in international editions of Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Style and Shape among others. Then, about eight years ago, everything changed when a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Soon after, David began The SCAR Project which documented survivors of breast cancer. Following this series, David continued to dedicate his work to capturing often unseen aspects of humanity, including The Unknown Soldier, The Alabama Project, Grief Camp, and Naked Ladies. Jay’s photography has been published in the New York Times, BBC, LIFE, Forbes, USA Today, and countless other publications throughout the world.


CATEGORY: Culture, Arts & Culture

Wildlife, freedom and the secret joys of idleness

Posted by Mike Walsh

Mar 25, 2017 9:31:30 PM



Bradly Trevor Greive is an extraordinary person. He has written 25 books, which have sold over 30 million copies in 115 different countries, several of which have appeared in the New York Times bestseller list, including his classic title, ‘The Blue Day Book’. But that is only a small part of a resume that reads more like the bio of the world’s most interesting man. A certified Cosmonaut, a former Paratrooper Platoon Commander in the Australian Army, a Polynesian Rock-Lifting Champion, and a survivor of 17 surgeries to date - comedian John Cleese once described his life as ‘one long suicide attempt’. Meeting up in LA, we spoke on the importance of conservation in his work, why Bertrand Russell’s essay in praise of idleness is so important in the 21st century, and the challenges of surviving Hollywood.


CATEGORY: Culture, Arts & Culture

Cycling through Siberia, walking home from Mongolia and finding moments of adventure

Posted by Mike Walsh

May 27, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Rob Lilwall


One day Rob Lilwall, an ordinary geography high-school teacher, decided to drop everything to cycle from Siberia to London via China, Australia and Afghanistan. The journey took 3 years, covering over 50,000 km. He didn’t stop there. Soon after, he attempted another trip from Mongolia to Hong Kong. 5,000 km. In winter. On foot. An adventurer, author and motivator - Rob and I caught up to talk about overcoming obstacles, the call to adventure, and how to survive being chased by bandits in Papua New Guinea.


CATEGORY: Leadership, Arts & Culture

Photographing pandemics, the faces of teenage martyrs and the power of the image

Posted by Mike Walsh

Apr 15, 2016 12:00:00 AM



Kristen Ashburn is an award-winning documentary photographer and humanitarian, whose photographs and stories from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa have appeared in many publications worldwide. She began photographing the impact of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa in 2001 and released a book of this work in 2009 entitled I Am Because We Are with a forward by Madonna. Ashburn's work has also taken her to Iraq a year following the US-led invasion; Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, New Orleans after Katrina, Haiti after the quake and Russia to cover the spread of MDR-tuberculosis in the penal system. Over coffee in Miami, Kristen shared with me the story of how she went from shooting fashion in New York to capturing images of global crisis, and why, even in this age of Instagram, the photo retains a persistent power to give voice to the voiceless and inspire collective action.


CATEGORY: Global, Arts & Culture

Art and brands in the age of Instagram

Posted by Mike Walsh

Oct 15, 2015 12:00:00 AM



Art and fashion maven Hikari Yokoyama, is one of the world’s leading thinkers on the intersection of the art world and technology. A curator and art consultant, she was part of the founding team at online auction house Paddle8, the news platform Art Observed, and in her advisory business, connects artists with brands like Audi and Miu Miu. Over coffee in London, we spoke about the impact of globalisation on collecting, the evolving relationship between art and luxury brands, the death of art movements and how, in a digital age, the way we consume images is changing.

CATEGORY: Arts & Culture, Customers

Sculpting with data, earthquakes as art and the hidden algorithms of emotion

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 1, 2015 3:33:00 AM



Refik Anadol sculpts with data, not stone. When he frets about permanence, he is not concerned about the effects of wind and rain on his structures, but whether his algorithms and data sources will continue to be relevant as things change around them. Refik is foremost of a new generation of 21st century artists that have begun to creatively interpret a data-driven world, using its native protocols. Originally from Istanbul but educated at UCLA, he is best known for his recent collaborations with Frank Gehry, Microsoft and the LA Philharmonic to stage an immersive orchestral performance that projection mapped the inside of the Disney Hall, based on real time musical data and the live movements of the conductor. I visited Refik in his new studio in Silverlake where we talked about computation in art, the challenge of designing algorithms that stand the test of time, the beauty of a hundred years of seismic data, and how one might make emotions visually manifest with a little help from a 48 channel EEG and a team of neuroscientists.



CATEGORY: Technology, Arts & Culture