Written by Adriana Chereji

Reasons To 2016: Witnessing talent at such scale…My life will never be the same again!

I attended the Reasons To conference for 3 days at the beginning of last week. And whilst it was last Wednesday evening when it all finished, I still vividly remember the great inventors standing there on those stages, utterly amazing us with their talent. I think it will take me a month or so for everything to sink in, but there are a few elements that star struck me straight away.

It was this guy called “Jared Tar… who?” Jared Tarbell?…Never heard of him before! I soon found out that he’s the co-founder of Etsy and pretty much one of the biggest nerds on Earth! His talk was about generative spaces and I was amazed by the endless fountain of creativity he possesses. He uses programming techniques to generate digital art, which, sometimes, he brings to life with the help of 3D printing – or other times they are simply beautiful digital paintings.


“Through using a self-discovered algorithm lines likes crystals grow on a computational substrate. A simple perpendicular growth rule creates intricate city-like structures.” – Jared Tarbell

He also organizes weekly open nights at the Levitated toy factory on the topic of technology.


In a similar fashion, but with a different unique twist to his personality, Joshua Davis, uses programming to generate animated geometrical elements. He uses music as an input and paints playful colours within geometrical shapes that pulsate on the rhythm. You must watch Fall in love by Phantogram to understand that he is a wizard of sorts! Simply powerful and engaging.

Seb Lester! Oh I was fascinated by Seb’s talk. I found his Instagram account a while back and I was star struck. Has anyone seen what he produces? But little did I know…

As I found out in the talk, Seb Lester invested considerably more time in doing calligraphy – starting in 2010, when his partner got a serious diagnosis and he needed to work from home. Every work of his is a piece of art! We found out that his partner is in recession now.

His typography appears on various famous covers like the GQ magazine, or at important events like the G8 Summit in 2007. He was involved in the design of a logo for SWOT (Surface Water and Oceans Topography) one of NASA’s missions that will launch in 2020.

After all these strong talks the message I got was WORK, WORK, WORK!

But what about the rest of the world? Us? People that are less of an alien race and more of a human one? Will we ever get the chance to achieve greatness?

All this seemed overwhelming for someone like me, that until a bit more than 2 years ago was only using computers for writing basic word documents, but was very eager to dig deeper into this mysterious world wide web. Please guys, have a bit of kindness and give us a bit of hope! We want to know that we can get there if we want to without first being abducted by aliens who insert some sort of alien structure in our brains that make us go totally bombarding in one digital direction or another!

But soon these positive messages I strived for were delivered to me.

“You must start somewhere, anywhere. Life is a set of immeasurable opportunities, if you choose to view it this way.”


“Talk about what you want to do.”

Take for example the case of Seb Lester, who, in an interview said he wanted to work on a big project like NASA. And so he did! Do you remember the SWOT project above?

“Progress is like a plate of spaghetti.”


Life is like a plate of spaghetti progress chart by Ben Newman

You discover you’ve got talent in a progressive upwards direction – but in order to nurture that talent there’s a lot of twists and turns, upward and downward directions. Our friend, Isocrates used to say “it is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.”

“Create, Repeat, Improve”

“Repetitio est mater studiorum” my teachers used to tell me. There is no result without practice and there is no practice without effort! Great advice. Thanks Ben.

“Stay focused and be persistent. Forget about work at the end of the day.”

What striked me the most was that the majority (if not all) of the speakers at Reasons To started off in their professional life without a specific objective. They are all very talented people who believe in their abilities and stayed focused. Everything else followed!

These were amazing pieces of advice for someone like me.

Then, after all this talent displayed, and after these pieces of advice, I needed a bit of foundation to support the wise lessons I got from Reasons To. And now I will paraphrase Stefan Sagmeister and ask why does all this matter? Because we, as inventors create beauty, and with it we change the world.

The High Line in New York, that opened in 2011 had close to no crime since the time it was opened. The Yes project under the guidance of Stefan Sagmeister that was transformed from a very unwelcome underpass to a place where people get married.


How many elephants is a strong protect that conveys nothing short of a strong message. 96 elephants are poached every day for their ivory in Africa. That is 35,040 elephants a year. At this rate the elephant will be extinct by 2020. Holly Budge will showcase her campaign in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong in the coming months. Because there is still hope! We can change the outcome of this devastating crisis.


Now as a conclusion I would only say: believe in yourself, find what makes you tick and focus on that. Everything is possible!