The Spirit Of The Times And Great Expectations

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Live in the desert.

It’s a place of possibilities. I’m always fascinated when urbanized environments flourish in a place that should – for all intents and purposes – kill humans. There is nothing there to sustain us. Yet, these areas have become populated, cultures have developed and they flourish. Whether it’s in the Middle East or a place like Phoenix, Arizona. I love Phoenix. Not just the dry desert heat and the pounding sun. I love the space. The views at night are breathtaking under the moon. The people. Everything. I’ve been coming here for a years. One of my annual pilgrimages is for a very exclusive event called, Google Zeitgeist. This invite-only multi-day event is one of the many ways that Google brings together some of our industries leaders. We learn, share, grow and get a glimpse into Google’s future. The desert is the perfect setting. A place where innovation, technology, creativity and more can – and has – flourished. I go there to take notes, learn, network and connect. 

Here is the highlight reel from this year’s Google Zeitgeist ’16.

Lots of celebrities, guests, world-changers, politicians and more.

Still, the most inspiring content usually comes from those that you have never heard of, doing something that you may have heard of, but have never seen for your own eyes. When I was growing up I loved comics. I still do. Not just comic books, but comic strips as well. I love the sparse space and the (usual) lack of color… and how it can drive so much thought, creativity and emotion. I also love it, because those that do it well must also do it very frequently. Many of these comic strip creators worked on intense daily deadlines. Growing up, it was hard not to admire The Family Circus by Bil Keane. He is considered a master. Well, it turns out that the apple often does not fall that far from the tree. His son, Glen Keane, is a genius artist, illustrator, cartoonist and storyteller in his own right having worked for Walt Disney‘s The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin, Tarzan, Tangled and more). His is considered a Disney legend. Having made the transition in his industry from newspapers to movies and paper to computers, he is now pushing the limits of art with the power of virtual reality, spatial and three dimensional art. Many will watch his presentation below and be mesmerized by the technology. For me, this talk was one of the more powerful presentations that I have even seen on how to think about creativity and storytelling. Without a doubt, this was my personal highlight of Google Zeitgeist, and the bar was set very high.

Watch this: Drawing Dimensionally – Glen Keane – Zeitgeist 2016.

(special thanks to John and Sam from Google for the very kind invitation).