Every day, as his every move is monitored in Beijing, Ai Weiwei does not silently suffer the blows of being an enemy of the Communist Party. “I have a voice,” he says, “and I have a lot to say before going to my grave.”
Having reinvented himself a few dozen times, he clearly feels the occasional need to destroy something beautiful. And it’s his knack for creative destruction that earned him a spot as one of our 100 Most Creative People 2012. He joins us today to talk about the three businesses he’s hatched, all of which have a shot at shaking up entertainment as we know it.The One & Only Golden Tickets is a Willy Wonka approach to online concerts, offering all access to digital VIPs. His digital ticketing business, VyRT, is the more like the general admission component—don’t call either sophisticated service “streaming,” though. On the artist side, he’s forged The Hive, a powerful social media consultancy based on best practices he picked up with his own band and their rabid social followers.
“Fred Armisen and I are obsessed with the minutiae of a situation. What is fomenting the most discomfort in a relationship? It’s usually where someone’s belief system kind of goes off the rails. That’s where we want to start exploring, because that moment is where you feel almost your worst.”
His band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, once invited fans to submit photos of themselves, for a chance to be on the band’s next album cover; it yielded 2,000 different fan covers. He realized, “I’d prefer 1,000 followers, friends, and fans that actually meant something, rather than 10 million that weren’t engaged.” So, he launched: The Hive, which runs social-media management and digital marketing for his band and others such as Jessie J and Semi Precious Weapons.
Welcome to our annual celebration of business innovators who dare to think differently. They’re the ones taking risks and discovering surprising new solutions to old problems. This year, they tell you exactly how they do what they do.
Here is the trailer for Rodman Flender’s documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. The doc landed a multi-platform distribution deal within 24 hours of its premier at SXSW this year. It should land in a theater near you soon.
We just launched an iPad app for the Most Creative People in Business! Check it out here. It’s full of video interactive goodies and we hope it inspires you to get creative! Tell us what you think of it by responding to this post or tweeting to us @fastcompany using the tag #MCP11.
In these audio outtakes, Conan tells senior writer Chuck Salter about the process of creating his nightly show. The last video shows the hijinks that ensued during our cover photo shoot, in which Conan portrayed everyone from Einstein to Madonna.
Here’s an exclusive look behind the scenes of our cover shoot for our Most Creative People issue starring Conan O’Brien! Some of the best and brightest make the list this year from Jack Dorsey and Rachel Sterne to Tina Fey and Bruno Mars. The issue goes live tomorrow on FastCompany.com and hits newsstands soon.