100+ MAKERS AND MAVERICKS - 2014.
Each year we compile a list of the one hundred+ people that got us to utter those words ‘I wish I had done that, made that, invented that, thought like that, changed that’. These are the people who shone the brightest for us back in 2014.
Our Maker and Maverick of the 2014 was Elon Musk. Why? Because he started Tesla to help battle climate change. But the thing that sealed it for us was that he has given all his patents away for other car companies to use. So they can all fight climate change together.
CEO / Chief product architect
Elon Musk runs Tesla Motors. (Plus, one or two other things.) Tesla make electric cars with the aim to battle climate change. It has open sourced all its patents so other car companies can use them. Big man. Big thinking. Change maker.
Thom Yorke is lead singer of Radiohead. They’ve been together for 30 years but they all have side projects. He released his follow up to his first solo album — Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes - on BitTorrent. Never standing still.
Third Man Records
Diverse in his talents, everything from The White Stripes to running Third Man Records. His obsession with his craft has made him a pioneer in vinyl as well as his music. Vinyl is in good hands.
Emma Bridgewater pottery started in 1985 and has now created 250 jobs in Stoke-On-Trent. When everyone else took their manufacturing offshore, Emma showed you can make it here, and you can still make money. Stoke should be proud.
One of the last independent book publishers. Steidl maintains complete control and ownership of his publishing house for over forty years. A Legendary publisher and his books are considered to be the very best in the business.
Anna Jones worked for Jamie Oliver for many years helping her become the brilliant young cook and food writer she is today. Her first cookbook is a totally modern take on vegetarian eating based on how she likes to eat day to day. Yum.
Stanley released his new book Humour in 2014. He’s as inventive and irreverent with words as he is with his art. He continues to be amongst Britain’s most important artists. He’s responsible for all the Radiohead covers and poster art.
He’s best known for his cartoon Gapingvoid and his books including: Ignore Everybody. A new book is out in 2015. Hugh believes he can use art to change the culture of companies. And is working with top companies to show them how.
Elle Luna works out of her studio in San Francisco, where she paints, designs, and writes. Her book ‘The Crossroads of Should and Must’ is out in Spring 2015. This came from a piece on Medium which went viral. It’s a great read.
Photographer / Graffiti Artist
In 2014 he continued to fly-post large black-and-white photographs that fit into their environment on the streets which is the largest art gallery in the world. His latest work is a series of Photographs of a ballerina in Containers in France.
It all began as a personal project to keep her mums recipes safe, 14 years later, she has now published it as a book. Made in India. Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen. Her career took off as a result of the book’s success.
He lives and works in Bogota, Columbia. His most recent work that was shown at Saatchi Gallery was of swarming ants which on closer examination was made out of twigs and human skulls to depict on how the world often sees migrant workers.
He was born in Padua, Italy in 1960. He has no formal training and considers himself an ‘art worker’ rather than an artist. His new exhibition opens in Turin until January 2015. It’s called ‘Shit and Die’. Not an artist to sit on the fence.
Artist Katie Paterson planted a forest in Norway that in 100 years will be used to supply paper for an anthology of books. One text will be written each year and held in trust until the publish date of 2114. The piece is called: Future Library.
As a kid, skating was his love. Then as a teenager, he discovered art. And he loved that too. Then he put those two loves together. And he started doing art for skate decks. And things just took off from there.
In 1970 Michael Eavis began a festival on his farm. It has since become Britain’s biggest music festival. Glastonbury has raised money for charities from Greenpeace to Oxfam. He will step down in 2020 which will be its 50th year.
MailChimp is standing out in a very busy world. They backed an unknown podcast called Serial, which went on to be iTunes fastest podcast downloaded to 5 million users—quicker than any other in the history of iTunes. Kudos goes to Mark.
August Smart Locks
Someone had to do it. Bring the humble door lock into the 21st Century. One that works with your phone as well as a key. Oh, and it looks great too. August is going to change the home security business just like Nest is doing for the intelligent home.
Casey is an American film director, producer and Youtuber. Last year he was given $25,000 to make a film for a film studio and he went and spent all the money to help survivors of the strongest typhoon in recorded history in the Philippines.
He founded North Face with Doug Tomkins back in ‘68. They turned their store into what would become the North Face brand. His book ‘The adventure of leadership’ is a must read. Today he mentors startups with optimistic curiosity.
An outsider by instinct even now at 60, nocturnal by nature, living life by her own rules. We are living to a degree in a time that Nan Goldin created long before the digital camera and Instagram made it ubiquitous. Ahead of her time.
Commissioning Editor for Op-docs
New York Times
The brains behind New York Times innovative & acclaimed Op-Docs initiative for short opinion documentaries by independent filmmakers. He is rethinking video and the future of media using old fashioned good journalism and courage.
Soho House was founded as an antidote to stuffy members’ clubs and aims at people working in “creative” industries rather than “suits” in the City. Now global and growing Jones always pays attention to detail at his House’s. His book ‘Eat, Drink, Nap’ looks at those little details that makes Soho House work.
Unbound is changing UK’s publishing industry. It uses the future author to sell it to his and her crowd. And it’s working. And the publishing industry are looking on nervously. Their big hit in 2014 was Letters of Note by Shaun Usher.
Whole Larder Love.
His book “Whole Larder of Love” shared his passion for food and his philosophy for a simpler life by living off the land. Now he is setting up a nursery project to get Australia eating healthier. A new book is out this year. A real force of nature.
How do you overcome the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration?Catmull talked about this in his book Creativity Inc that explains how a company that has creativity and story telling at its core, makes sure it stays that way.
The rise of Instagram has seen the emergence of a series of new stars. Varun Thota uses Instagram creatively. His series ‘My Toy Plane’ has been particularly popular, in which he plays with the scale of the plain to good effect. Clever stuff.
This is no ordinary Stanford professor. First he redesigned the Frisbee. Then he took aim at the coffee world. The result was the Aeropress which is as simple as it can be. And yet makes a truly great coffee. It costs around £30.
A photographer based in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, who is making it globally. He is renowned for his big and beautiful landscapes. He has built up a huge Instagram following by insisting to only post his best work; even if that means he doesn’t post often.
Gehry Partners, LLP
He has been called the most important architect of our age by Vanity Fair. He is best known for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa. In 2014 he completed the Foundation of Louis Vuitton. People don’t always love his work. But by heck, he’s brave. The older gets the more risks he takes.
What started as Jacks Gap year Vlog turned into a YouTubers with over 3 million subscribers. They are amongst the most creative Vloggers in the UK and beyond. Their love of travel and good design will no doubt see them do other great things.
Re-inventing the fridge. How a walk around a frozen lake gave Sure Chill an idea that is changing the future of the fridge & saving lives. By making sure vaccines never go above a certain temperature that would render them useless. Beyond cool.
Ben Edmonds forges hand-made perfectly balanced knives for chefs and kitchens from his workshop in Derbyshire. They’re as every bit as beautiful as they are sharp. Ben brings his design background to the fore for the knives he now makes.
How do you get to where you want to get to but quicker? Shane Snow’s book in 2014 gives you some clues. Opening our minds to looking for ‘Smartcuts’ that gives insights that will change the way we think about living and want to see.
Sundog has been set up to tell stories that matter and use online to disrupt how the stories get out there. Their idea is to build in ‘shareability’ from start of every production. They are pioneering important stories in the digital world we live in.
Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade started life in West London as a record store. Today’s Rough Trade has 3 stores: London, Brooklyn and now Nottingham. They understand the importance of the curator in this world. Music+ all our other interests.
To make the best mountain shirts in the world is the aim of McNair shirts. They are made in England. They are using merino wool to make their high end shirts and are keen to use sustainable fabrics. They offer a bespoke service too. Quality.
Active Private Equity
It’s relatively easy to raise money for a good idea. But it’s hard to find money that understands it takes time to build something. Nick’s patience has paid off with its investment into Rapha. And now with Finisterre, the cold water surf brand.
He is best known for starting Zappos, which he sold to Amazon. But, his next project was to try and revitalise downtown Las Vegas. It has been ambitious project, with lots of learning along the way, but he has backed his beliefs. Kudos.
Aesop was founded by hairdresser Dennis Paphitis in 1987 in the city of Melbourne. In addition to skincare, Aesop also produces hair care, soaps and fragrance. The Product is beautiful. The stores are beautiful. Here’s to beauty.
Made in Ghent
This is a family farm on 75 acres of land, 35 acres of pasture land in the Hudson Valley, NY. All flanked by the snow capped Catskill Mountains. They are setting the standard for simple, local and responsible. They made their dream happen.
Alec started life as a graphic designer but quickly turned his attention to making. Alec’s company is called Trakke and they make bags for the adventures we go on. From cycling to treks across the mountains of the world. Handmade in Glasgow.
Patagonia turned their attention to food last year. Patagonia Provisions came to being. Its aim is to re-think the food chain. We may buy a jacket every couple of years. But we eat every day. Even when take a new path, they stay on mission.
Kids grow up fast. And they outgrow their shoes fast too. So the shoes have little wear before they are retired to the shoe cupboard. Camilla frustration with this was a catalyst to start Sal’s shoes. She sends good hardly worn shoes to kids in Africa. Thousands and thousands of them. Inspiring.
In 2005, Dale launched Make Magazine. And it has been the catalyst for the worldwide Maker Movement that is transforming innovation, hands on learning. The first Makers Faire was held San Francisco in 2006. And now it is global.
Julien Millot and Tancrede Melet
The Flying Frenchies came to everyone’s attention with the film ‘The Flight of the Frenchies’. If you don’t like heights, skip it. They lived free for a couple of years. No mortgage. No babies. No need to earn money. Last year they brought out the ‘Fjords’. Gravity was made for them. Oh boy, they know how to have fun.
In 2012 Matt puts up a one page website explaining his idea for a beer club and subscription service. If 20 people signed up in the first week he would turn it in to a business. Over 250 people sign up in the first 24 hours. And BeerBods began. Things have gone crazy for them since. Gordon Stovin joined as his No 2. Boom.
I saw her speak at Brooklyn Beta in 2014. She invented Sugru. Imagine a play-dough for fixing things. A patented silicone technology that cures just by exposing it to air. They now employ 30 people and their ‘Fixers Manifesto’ was a big hit.
Saddleback Leather Co
In 1999 David knew as much about what goes into making a quality bag as his dog knew about what goes into making a quality cat trap. In 2014 his video taught counterfeiters how to knock off one of his bags. Very brave. But worked.
Pete Seeger (RIP)
An American folk singer and activist who sadly died in 2014. He had a string of hit records in the 1950’s as member of The Weavers.. He used music to protest. He wanted all of us to use our voice as he believed we all had a powerful voice.
Lele was born in 1980 in Rome. And now lives in New York. He is a street photographer. And he is king of the Zine doing his the old school way of no computer, just a photocopier. Newsstand is his new pop-up Zine shop.
cabinet maker turned screwdriver maker
Holmes is a cabinetmaker in England who was fed up with being unable to find a set of screwdrivers that met his requirements for comfort, quality and simplicity. So he made his own. ‘Screw the competition, this is the best driver out there’.
Jack Trench Ltd.
Award winning bespoke cabinet maker and joiner. They make from his workshop in London. Jack Trench makes award-winning beautifully crafted kitchens, bespoke cabinetry and architectural joinery for over a decade. Top quality.
Substituting a paintbrush for an old typewriter, he created a 200-foot-long illustration formed by hundreds of thousands of individual letters. Pablo Gamboa Santos developed a series of 300 drawings, titled Qwerty, using an old typewriter.
One morning Steve Ells woke up and realised the company he started was part of the problem. So he began to change it. And change it fast. He changed the sourcing practices: free range. local farms etc. And once he liked his company again, he told the world it had changed with some remarkable films. Now in London.
Ninch Inch Nails.
For some being in an iconic band would be enough. But not for Trent Reznor, who released the Nine Inch Nails album Hesitation Marks last year, and in 2014 helped create streaming service Beats Music.
A lot can happen in six seconds. Within a month of posting his first Vine, he netted a million followers and a deal with United Talent Agency. “A lot of Viners do more relatable stuff, but I try to stay away from that,” he says. Six million followers.
In 2005 Chad Dickerson started a peer to peer ecommerce website that was focused on creating a market place for handcraft makers to sell their goods. It worked. It turnover $1 billion. Etsy represents a new way of connecting handcraft makers to buyers and it’s working, globally.
Memories of rolling wind toys in the outskirts of Kabul in Afghanistan with his brother when he growing up, provided him with the inspiration to design and build Mind Kafon, a wind-powered object to detonate land mines.
Battling everyone last year from Thom Yorke to Kim Dotcom to Taylor Swift. Love him or loath him, Ek has changed the music landscape. The problem this and services like it raises is that if the record labels don’t make enough money they can’t re-invest into new bands. And that doesn’t bode well.
As you’d expect from an xx- User Experience Evangelist for Apple, Mark’s has built Storehouse and it is so easy to use and look at. An app that wants to tell your stories with using pictures and words. Could really take off in 2015.
Nick Gray loves museums but hates how most museum tours are given. He founded Museum Hack, a company of private tour guides offering unconventional museum tours. His non-traditional renegade tours have really taken off.
Self taught from the age of 19, Jeremy is now one of the most revered artists of his time. He mastered his skills by traveling and working in some of the best studios around the world. He is now working in Paris. Glass blower. Team builder.
Stephen Perrot, the third generation guardian of the family business, Perrot Bespoke Printing. Founded in 1926 by his grandfather with just a baby weight machine and a passion for the craft. They still print the same way today. Quality.
Ernest Wright & Sons of Sheffield.
Sheffield was the city of steel. But no more. Ernest Wright are the last makers of scissors in Sheffield. A family business that started in 1902. Cliff is the man who literally ‘puts’ together scissors for Ernest Wright & Sons of Sheffield.
It’s Nice That.
It’s Nice That was founded in 2007 by Will Hudson while he was a student at the University of Brighton. And it took off. In 2009 Alex Bec joined as co-director. It’s Nice That continues to grow by sticking to its intent: To Celebrate Creativity.
2014 was his year. Happy went global. As we write, it has been watched over 550 million times. He wrote big hits ‘Get Lucky’ for Daft Punk and ‘Blurred Lines’ for Robin Thicke. And when not touring, he just goes skateboarding.
In 2014 he rode a printing press to Germany. Printing postcards along the way. He started a printing press in Bristol to preserve the craft of letterpress printing. And when he is not doing that, he is one of the best designers out there. Legend.
Scott started Behance in 2010. It created 99U which is a website, conference and a set of books to help ideas people make their ideas happen. Throughout 2014 its website kept helping creative make ideas happen. Focused. And super useful.
The 25 Mile Supper Club
For 4 years he played along side George North in the Scarlets rugby youth team. Then he got injured. And that dream ended. His second love was food. In 2014 he set about getting the 25 Mile Supper Club to launch in 2015. To celebrate the growers and cooks we all have on our doorsteps. His mission is to create a global movement to honour local food.
Two hours North of San Francisco, is small town called Hopland. Gary and Anna are on a quest to put it back on the map. They have turned Campovida into a much sought after corporate retreat for events like The Do Lectures, The Girl Effect Accelerator with the Unreasonable Group and Nike. They are bringing change makers to Hopland. And slowly, Hopland is changing too.
Inventor of The World Wide Web
Sir Tim may be best known for inventing the World Wide Web. But he is proving to be its strongest defender of it too. Advocating to keep it open and free. So people can carry on sharing knowledge and spread ideas that change the world.
In 2014 Monocle cemented its reputation as one of the most important men’s magazines. Tyler Brule is creating an old fashioned media empire on good journalism, good design and understanding the zeitgeist for ‘less but better’.
From a farmer’s viewpoint, his mission is to educate chefs. If he can change their behaviour, they will make a big change. What ingredients are good for the planet, and bad for the planet? That is what he is getting the chefs to think about.
In 2014 Google bought Nest. They also introduced their intelligent smoke alarm. It sits well with its learning thermostat. His quest to make an intelligent home will now be backed with Google’s money. Plus his design ethic. Big plans afoot.
Online Performace Artist
In 2014 he reinforced his reputation as one of the most human Vloggers. He was a pioneer of the Vlogging format and is considered one of the most influential and visionary people in the field, inspiring such shows as the vlogbrothers, Philip DeFranco and Wheezy Waiter. He is currently the Executive Vice President of Video at BuzzFeed.
Last year was 37 signals 10th year in business. They took that milestone to take the company back to one product: Basecamp. They changed their name from 37 signals to Basecamp. Basecamp was their best and biggest idea. Do one thing well.
Late in 2014 his new book came out: What To Do When It’s Your Turn. Of course, he bypassed established publishing houses. It is perhaps his most inspiring work to date. Inspiring words + images to help you to make something that matters.
2014 was another big year for Y Combinator. Y Combinator continues to change the world of Startups’ and has funded over 550 startups including Dropbox, Airbnb, and Codeacademy. It’s starting in London in 2015. It will fly.
Designer/Senior Vice President Of Design
Apple the watch maker. Who’d have thought? But if anyone can make wearables happen, it will be Apple. His Zen like focus on resolving complexity into intuitive devices is what they do best. Apart from proving the doubters wrong.
Perry Chen / Yancey Strickler / Charles Adler
In 2014 they kicked on again. A crowdfunding site which puts together creators and backers to help projects come to life. Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform. It is changing the way creative projects are funded. Without a bank.
In 2014 Grenson started G-lab. It gives you the chance to make your own Grenson shoes. Choose the fabrics, colours, soles and hadwritten messages on the lining. There maybe an 8 week wait, but good things just take time. Always one step ahead.
Founder /Online Curator
After all that relentless hard work, Maria is quite rightly being recognised as one of the most important online curators. Her audience is engaged. And Maria is their “curator of interestingness”. Expect big things from her in 2015.
Head Chef / Founder
In 2014 plans were made to take Noma to Japan for 2 months. To cook, for sure. But to learn as well. To immerse himself in their culture, their flavours, their techniques. Like all the best people, he accepts you are forever the student.
Lululemon/ Do USA
In 2014 joined LuluLemon to help build a community and culture that he knows builds incredible companies. Those rare brands that are alive, curious, playful, optimistic and as beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. He will make it more human. No better goal than that.
Tattly/Creative Mornings/Swiss Miss
Tina is an inspiration. She builds teams around ideas. And lets them fly. Creative Mornings is now in 104 cities. Tattly, a temporary tattoo is now in over 1,000 stores around the world. And they even make custom tattoos for Warner Bros.
Hootusite is fast becoming the number 1 social media tool to manage everything from your Twitter to Google+ to Facebook and everything else. He won fans for how he handled ‘haters’ when they launched their new interface. 10 million users.
Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake.
Frustrated by how hard it was to use a back end system for a snowboard online store, they built their own. Shopify now has over 100,000 users. If you retail online, they have changed the game. Simple. Affordable. Yup, game changer.
He’s on a roll. Love him or not, you have to admire his energy. His media company is becoming known as the people who understand social media like no one else. That’s probably because they are building their companies by using their methods.
He is best known as one of the co-founders of Blogger, Twitter and, of course, Medium. Medium is growing in importance each day. In late 2014 he launched Obvious Ventures. It is a purpose driven fund aimed at “world-positive investing”.
Fred Wilson continued to write one of the most influential blogs out there in 2014. Just like he did in 2013, 2012, 20111 etc. He is a founder of Union Square Ventures which focuses on tech investments. If they invest in you, it must be a big idea.
CEO/Entrepreneur/ Investor/ Innovation strategist
Net Power and Light
Tara Lemmey is co-inventor of over 40 US and International utility and design patents. She was named in Fast Company’s most creative people in Business. She looks at problems in a unique way. Her book is out in 2015. Can’t wait.
Sam and Rachel Holden
Hafod is a traditional hard cheese handmade by Sam and Rachel Holden on Wales’ longest certified organic dairy farm, Bwlchwernen Fawr. They only use the raw (unpasteurised) milk from our 65 Ayrshire cows to make Hafod.
Julian Vereker (RIP)
When your founder was a racing driver, a self taught engineer and an instinctive rule breaker, its no wonder he built a company through innovation largely by ignoring accepted wisdom. That ethos very much remains in tact today.
In 2014, a new think-tank began: Swarm believes in the near future the most loved brands will be built by the problems they fix not by the novelty they create. The time for networked creative collaboration and innovation to fix gnarly problems has arrived. Tom and Dan are true modern day pioneers.
What started life as a small gathering of friends around shared meals has grown into a blog, a book, and now a world wide community. The idea is to celebrate the traditions of food + community. The food is seasonally focused market fresh.
Actress & firecracker personality, Kendrick gained more attention when she turned to Reddit to learn the choreography to a song that would get her the part in Pitch Perfect. ‘When I’m gone’ has been watched over 175 million times. Give or take.
Campbell Cole make leather and canvas bags in Nottingham, England. Ian Campbell and Felicity Baggett are the designers behind it. They share a minimalist design aesthetic that is balanced with the importance of beauty. Simple is good.
They make sourdough pizza from the back of Land Rover. They ferment the dough for 24 hours. The slower the rise, the better the dough. They’re on a quest to make the best pizza. They went to Naples to learn from the guru’s. Next stop USA.
Voices of Industry.
Adele launched the ‘Voices of Industry’ to hand weaves each piece on her Ahrens Violette mechanical dobby loom in San Francisco, California. Voices of Industry works with 100% domestic fiber, farmed and spun in the U.S.
Lecturer/Author/Key Note Speaker
After a decade of lecturing + researching at Harvard University, he wrote a book called ‘Happiness Advantage’. Our brains are more creative when we are happy. Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Chase happy.
Bruce Poon Tip built G Adventures from nothing into one of the top adventure travel companies in the world. On that journey, he reinvented how a travel company could be run through great service, innovation and how he looked after his people and their customers. His book ‘Looptail’ is well worth a read.
Despite all the good activists do, a lot of people switch off the moment you mention the word. Sarah is on a mission to make activsm cool. Her craftivist collective uses crafts to change things. Modern. Witty. Change maker.
No one, VC or angel investor, has invested in more top startups than Ron Conway. And yet he is a super nice guy. He has kept his reputation by sticking to values. And that’s why people want to do deals with him.