SXSW V2V Announces First Keynote: John Maeda

Written by Christine Auten | Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014

Photo Courtesy of John Maeda

Yesterday SXSW V2V announced the first of three daily Keynotes for the July 2014 event. John Maeda of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers will take the stage on Tuesday, July 15, to kick off the day's activities and set the tone for the sessions to follow.

As a Design Partner at KPCB, John Maeda works with entrepreneurs and portfolio companies to build design into their company cultures. He served as the 16th president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) from 2008 through 2013, during which time RISD saw increased applications, fundraising, and career placements. Prior to RISD, Maeda spent 13 years at the MIT Media Lab as a professor and head of research. His career bridging graphic design, computer science, art, education, and leadership earned him the distinction of being named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire. It also makes him the perfect fit for SXSW V2V's stated purpose of highlighting the intersection between creativity and entrepreneurial innovation.

John took a moment to answer a few questions that we thought our community would like to know about his career, inspirations and thoughts on creativity and entrepreneurship. Below is a peak at what he had to say. To read our full interview and find out more about John Maeda visit

V2V: How are you creatively inspired?
JM: I experiment and fail a lot. I mean, a lot. I also don’t take myself too seriously. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take my work seriously. I’m a huge fan of John W. Gardner’s book on Self-Renewal – it speaks to the fact that in life we always need to learn new things, and to do so, we have to become someone new. Gardner’s thesis was that if we can renew ourselves, no matter how old we are, then we can live a more fulfilled existence. And to renew ourselves, it means trying new things and failing, until we finally succeed. My favorite quote along these lines is from Nelson Mandela: “Don’t judge be by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell and got up again.”

V2V: How important is creativity in entrepreneurship?
JM: If you look at the description of creativity above, it’s the exact same mindset people need to be entrepreneurs. The same fearlessness and willingness to dive in. I also think there’s truth to Edison’s maxim that genius is “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” -- starting a company is all about execution. Artists and designers, who are used to relentlessly pursuing a personal passion or vision, are perfectly suited to this endeavor.

Register for SXSW V2V now to see John Maeda and 100+ other amazing speakers and mentors at SXSW V2V 2014 in Las Vegas, July 13-16. Save $455 off the walk-up rate by registering before January 31, 2014.

Photo Courtesy of John Maeda