My name is Jon Levy, and I am a human behavioral scientist. The fundamental element that defines the quality of our lives are the people we surround ourselves with, and the conversations we have with them. Every episode of Influencers, we meet two inspiring and influential people who are shaping our culture and changing their industry. Together we will discover what lead to their success, and how you can impact yours. But there is a catch. The second interview is anonymous. And if you can figure out who it is before we reveal it in the following podcast, you can win a coveted invitation to the Influencers Salon. The winner will have an opportunity to spend an evening meeting the most important tastemakers and thought leaders in our culture. Now, prepare to be Influenced.
The Rise of Independent Films with Noah Cowan
The big rise of independent cinema occurred right in the 80s era. The 90s was when things shifted, and there were uncertain transitions happening. The studio still dominated every conversation about movies and the future of the film industry, but it was towards the end of that decade that the rise of independent films occurred. Noah Cowan, executive director of NSF Film, formerly San Francisco Film Society, puts on the San Francisco International Film Festival which is one of the longest running film festivals in America. Noah says they play a gate keeping role, particularly to changes that are happening in the marketplace. Among the things that concern NSF Film is how independent films have a truly independent voice, particularly these days. They want to know more about what is going on in the creative imagination of women and people of color and try to make sure that those stories are heard and get to be seen by as many people as possible to have a more global view of what’s going on.
The Art Of Visual Effects with Rob Legato
From Apollo 13 to Avatar, Hugo, The Jungle Book, and the iconic Titanic, Rob Legato has worked on some of the biggest and most memorable movies of all time either as visual effects supervisor, second unit director, and second unit director of photography. He has been nominated for numerous awards, including the coveted Academy Awards of which he won three. Rob talks about how he started out in the business and how he developed his methodologies, working with Martin Scorsese and James Cameron, and what it takes to not only make a name in the business but to continue to create stunning visual artistry successfully. Rob says in this day and age, with all the technological advances, there are no limits and you can create movies from a laptop and even your mobile phone. You just need to do it over and over and over again because you only really get good at something by practicing.
The Endangered Species Rehabilitation Project with Oliver Ryder
A new species of bird was discovered in Hawaii in 1978, only to get extinct ten years ago. Year after year, the list of endangered animal species is getting longer, and that is why Director of Conservation Genetics at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research Oliver Ryder is working hard on the endangered species rehabilitation project, or what is simply called the frozen zoo. Oliver and his team collect cells from critically endangered and extinct species to propagate and freeze and to eventually be able to repopulate these animals into certain environments or ecosystems. Oliver admits it’s a lofty goal and there’s a lot of science that lies between what they’re doing and that possibility, but one thing is clear. The most important thing we can do in our time is bank more of this material, foster the development of more frozen zoos, and expand the effort. For this to work, Oliver says we need to have a network of frozen zoos across the globe in regions that are rich in biological diversity and expand the science of how to grow cells.
The Future Of The Gaming Space with Mike Sepso
Almost everybody is a gamer under a certain age in some respect. Elements of gaming are now part of our everyday life and it is now a pervasive as part of our culture. Mike Sepso, Co-Founder of Major League Gaming and Senior Vice President at Activision Blizzard, says our concept of what gaming is has to widen a great deal because the whole gaming space is going to get much bigger and people will have different areas of play where they like to game. The technology that’s now being developed like VR and AR, like more powerful mobile platforms, create more pallets for great developers to think of new ideas and execute them. Mike adds that a lot of technology that’s developed in the gaming space becomes very applicable to other more mundane things or more interesting things in different industries. It’s a hotbed for innovation in the technology space, military industry and defense industry.
Women’s Wrestling : Winning The Gold with Helen Maroulis
Helen Maroulis is the 2016 Olympic Champion in Women’s Wrestling. Not only that, she’s the first woman in US history to win a gold medal. Helen has been wrestling for nineteen years and says it’s such a cool experience and everyone has been supportive. She adds when we love what we do, we will put in the work for it and don’t count the cost as much. Helen trains with a Russian coach in what he would call the beach Mother Nature’s gym throwing rocks on the beach, running in the sand, doing pull-ups on the trees, and wrestling on the beach every day. She shares what helped her focus on the gold has been a note she wrote herself which says, “Helen, anytime you want to mess up, ask yourself is it worth a gold medal and what does a gold metal taste like?”
Angiogenesis: Piecing the Health Puzzle Together with Dr. Will Li
They say our blood is the red river of life. Many of us may not know it but our blood vessel is a 60,000-mile system of channels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to every cell in our body. It’s connected to our immune system, our healthy gut bacteria, how our DNA behaves, and even our body’s ability to regenerate. Dr. Will Li heads the non-profit organization, The Angiogenesis Foundation, in the exploration of conquering diseases by looking at common denominators. He believes that the practice of medicine is all about putting together the pieces of a puzzle of someone’s health or sickness and trying to figure out what’s going on, and angiogenesis or blood vessel growth is a very important factor of that.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Jon Levy is an excellent host and engaging interviewer. Great questions, stories, and gives guests space. Really enjoyed the episode with Ready Player One screenwriter Zak Penn. And the mystery guest is a fun twist.
Most intersting guest
This is a fun and interesting podcast. It always has really interesting guest and the bonus is the anonymous section at the end. It's always fun to try to figure out the next weeks guest from the hints they give. There's a great diversity in the guest as well, with a wide range of careers and accomplishments. Always a good listen.
What a clever idea!
Jon is full of great ideas and I love the concept of this show! It adds an exciting game element beyond the normal straight interview!