On the Fast Track at FC/LA
This week, Fast Company hosted their annual FC/LA conference in Los Angeles, a 2-day event that shuttled attendees to various locations of innovation and industry across the city and culminated in a celebration of FastCo’s ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ list. Our creatives behind Fearless Girl, Senior Copywriter Tali Gumbiner and Senior Art Director Lizzie Wilson were featured on this year’s list. Fast Company broke out groups of attendees by tracks according to neighborhood, which resulted in much more intimate sessions and better opportunities for networking. Some highlights from the downtown LA tracks at FC/LA:
Homeboy Industries: a gang intervention rehabilitation and re-entry program that employs former gang members through its multiple businesses in LA. Homeboy launched with a bakery and has expanded into markets and catering, and most recently, recycling. Conference attendees heard from Father Greg who founded Homeboy industries in 1988, as well as from its head of business and a former gang member who is now the manager at the recycling warehouse. For willing former gang members and law offenders, Homeboy offers services like education, therapy and tattoo removal, among others, to help them turn their lives around and become contributing members of society. By offering work and business opportunities within the Homeboy project, they foster a community for members and employees like no other.
Giphy: the Giphy office was everything you would think it would be – a giant warehouse space with slides, swings, screens and oversize games. We sat for a fireside chat with Giphy’s CEO, and their heads of content and brand strategy. Technically, the leadership describes Giphy as a “search engine distribution platform,” but we all know it as the website where you pull wacky looping bits of video and animation. The Giphy team views gifs as its own kind of language – something that people communicate with – and their partner strategy is to help content creators and brands become part of those conversations. In terms of expansion plans, the team is always experimenting with new ways to use gifs, leveraging data from search terms to develop original gifs. After the talk, we headed to the studio to watch a “reaction shoot” with comedian Al Madrigal who recorded gifs for emotions like: “that’s disgusting,” “mind blown” and “you suck.” It was pretty entertaining.
Hauser & Wirth: this international gallery devoted to contemporary art has made unique interactive elements central to its mission of expanding our relationship with art. Exhibitions are accompanied by activities in new scholarship, education, research, community and conservation. Their 1-year-old, city-block-size space in downtown LA includes a vegetable garden with chickens, venue rental spaces, a restaurant, book store and spaces for education programs like seminars, performances, workshops and special events. Hauser & Wirth describes it as “a place devoted to fostering community and catalyzing cultural dialogue.” Their mission across their locations in Zurich, Gstaad, London, New York, Somerset and LA is to reinvent how we interact with art -- and communities are responding.
On the last day of the conference, attendees blew off steam mingling with the Fast Company editors and the other honorees from the creative list over cocktails at United Talent Agency. It was an opportunity to rub shoulders with innovators from the worlds of philanthropy and politics, technology, health, transportation, media and celebrity. It was an inspiring group that we were humbled to be a part of.