While Assembly Required: Creatives in Tech is still a few weeks out, we want to introduce you to a few of our speakers. This week, meet Christopher Stapleton and Christina Troitino. As you learn about their interests and insights, we hope you enjoy reading their responses as much as we did!
Meet the Speakers
As a pioneer in the practice of creating and evaluating Mixed Reality, Mr. Stapleton stimulates innovation for location-based entertainment, education and enterprise applications. His work in developing theme parks for Universal, Disney, Nickelodeon and Sanrio has honed his expertise for the ultimate consumer and user experience. As a designer and author, he leverages the interplay of storytelling, serious play and gamification to evolve transformative experiences.
With advanced research sponsored by NASA, National Science Foundation, Department of Education and Defense, he is able to transcend commercial, academic and civic research and development communities. As an Innovation Broker, he guides global, entertainment, technology companies such as HTC Vive, Canon and IBM, towards innovative applications
1. What is a habit you think everyone should make?
Give the benefit of the doubt to others and have clear, motivating expectations to measure and inspire improvement. Everything else works out for the better from there.
2. What do you think is the most important development in technology in the last 5 years?
Our research, of course. It’s about StoryTroves (Conversational Story Creation) that is increasing human connection and social engagement with mixed reality that we are doing for cognitive rehabilitation and the astronauts in deep-space. It is to address the epidemic of isolation. Isolation has been determined to be as harmful of a health risk as obesity and its 100% preventable. Even though we are more connected that we have ever been in history, we need to do better with social media and asynchronous communication. Social isolation and sensory deprivation is one of the three major developments that are keeping us from human habitation of Mars.
If it was the last 50 years, I would say VR, but that is old technology. I would say the most important technology is blockchain (NOT BITCOIN). Blockchain is going to be able to leverage the creative capital of the world by rewarding the creator, not the profiteer. All hell is going to break loose, especially with Virtual Worlds due to interoperable standards and creative, peer-to-peer value exchange.
3. What advice would you give yourself at the outset of your career?
“Screw what people think, go for it! You know more about what is possible because you DON’T know what can’t be done. Remember, if they say ‘it’s never been done before,’ or ‘you will never work in this business again,’ those are the first signs of success!”
4. You’re limited to 5 items, what do you need and why do you need it? (Clothes, food, and shelter are provided, this is not a survival question)
Human Connection: We need each other to help transform experience into a memories.
Social Engagement: We would die inside without the ritual and spontaneity of our tribe.
Unconditional Love: It’s the only way you can survive being original and creative.
The highest art form of natural food, exercise, air and deep sleep.
Liberation from limiting questions like this, because I have an aversion to click bait mentality.
5. What is a belief that you have that others may challenge you on?
Think Big, Start Small, Act Now. Limitations are the root of creativity and innovation is EVERYBODY’s job.
Christina Troitino is a tech marketer, writer and creator of online media. Christina currently works as a Channel Marketing Manager at Facebook where she leads strategy on scaling and targeting messaging to help small and medium businesses achieve their business goals. Christina is also a Contributing Writer at Forbes where she covers food/agriculture economics.
Christina also runs food website Pâté Smith as well as a music news site Mind Equals Blown. Previously, Christina worked at General Assembly where she led #GALive, a livestreaming program with participation from leaders including Richard Branson, Eric Ries, Daymond John, etc. Prior to GA, Christina worked as a Merchandising Manager for Amazon’s Books team.
1. What’s one habit you think everyone should make?
Everyone should ritualize goal setting. A lot of people fail to meet goals because they are unable to break down a goal’s incremental steps. If you can take a goal day by day, you are much less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to feel a sense of reward as you take steps towards achieving it.
I set daily, weekly and longer-term goals for myself. Every night before bed, after mood journaling, I write down what I hope to accomplish the next day. Every Sunday, I do the same practice but for the entire week. Once a month or so, I’ll check active progress on longer term goals and adjust those daily and weekly goals accordingly.
2. What advice would you give yourself at the outset of your career?
Relentlessly pursue your curiosities. This is now the hard tenet that guides my decision-making and energy investments, but I only learned this after burning myself out as an undergraduate by taking on 5+ back-to-back internships in college, at times working full-time on top of class in the pursuit of experience. In this process, I lost a bit of touch with my true interests which probably held me back from more rapidly discovering what I love to do.
Now I advocate for my peers to have hobbies and side hustles to inspire their day-to-day roles and career plans–a world of difference from the specialist mindset I had when I was younger. I believe those who are ravenously curious will ultimately be the most successful in today’s constantly changing business landscape.
3. What do you think is the most important development in technology in the last 5 years?
I feel like the expected answer here will be something along the lines of advances in VR and machine learning, but at an aggregate, it is absolutely CRISPR–the gene editing technique that began testing in 2013. Recent trials have been focused on eradicating major diseases like HIV and select cancers, but I don’t think the masses and general media narrative are taking the time to reconcile the profound impact gene editing will have at large in years to come.
4. Who inspires you, and why?
René Redzepi, the Danish chef and co-owner of Noma, one of the most celebrated culinary institutions in the world. He perfectly embodies the materialization of curiosities, a principle that is very important to me. To push the boundaries of the food world, he encouraged the opening of the Nordic Food Lab, and most recently worked on Noma Mexico. On top of all of these pursuits, I admire his desire to encourage others to engage in discovery, through the way he runs his projects to his founding of such knowledge-share programs as MAD Symposium.
Danish culture has a definitive sense of knowledge for knowledge’s sake, and children there are raised to enjoy the pursuit of curiosity for its journey rather than its outcome. I do not think it is a surprise that some of the most important culture in the world comes out of Denmark for this reason. There is a lot we can learn from Redzepi and his contemporaries, both in terms of business and life at large.
5. What is a belief that you have that others may challenge you on?
Focus on experience rather than formalized (undergraduate) education. I constantly get contacted by marketing / business administration majors who ask about how they should navigate their way to their first roles after graduation. As a marketing professional working in tech, I have rarely worked with individuals who formally studied business in college, and believe that hard skills, often acquired through internship experiences, are infinitely more valuable.
We’re ready for February 23 when we’ll dive into tech with these awesome speakers at Assembly Required: Creatives in Tech! We hope you enjoyed getting inside the heads of some of our speakers and are excited to hear from more of them coming soon!