The career arc of John Maeda includes stops at some of the geek world’s most lofty venues and institutions. Currently a Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, he also chairs the eBay Design Advisory Council, serves on the boards of Sonos and Wieden+Kennedy, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership. Previously, Maeda spent 5 years as president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and, prior to that, he amassed 13 years of service at the MIT Media Lab as a professor and head of research.
His life-story makes for quite an impressive resume. But what really makes this design visionary tick? Read this in-depth interview in The Great Discontent to learn a lot more about his background, his process, his insights and his overall creative philosophy.. One of our favorite answers comes when his is queried about the correlation between creativity and self-confidence. Maeda’s confessionary response is brilliant:
I like to say that creative people are confident in only one thing: their own doubt. I think there’s a huge lack of self-confidence in a creative person because, by nature, the definition of a creative person is someone who is trying to make something new. They know, if they are professional creatives, that the likelihood of doing that—making something new and significant—is hugely unlikely, so they build within that city of doubt. From doubt, they get to iterate and work extremely hard, hoping to find something new; it’s all about hope. I’ve never met anyone who is good at what they do creatively and is super-confident. Maybe they pretend to be confident in front of their agent or the media, but I’ve never been confident in that way.
Want to hear more of John Maeda’s insights? Then see him keynote at the second annual SXSW V2V conference in Las Vegas. Scheduled July 13-16, SXSW V2V re-imagines the startup-related programming that has been so popular in March in Austin — but in a much more intimate environment. Register to attend SXSW V2V before 11:59 pm CDT on Friday, April 25 and save more than $250 on the walkup price.