Entrepreneur & innovator; co-founder, Fast Company; bestselling author: Simply Brilliant, Practically Radical, and Mavericks at Work
Bill Taylor: Biography highlights
Bill Taylor shows business leaders a path to go from now to next in a world filled with nonstop disruption. As a young entrepreneur, Bill co-founded Fast Company, the bold business magazine that redefined the genre and chronicled the tech-fueled revolution that transformed business and work.
Full biography of Bill Taylor
Bill Taylor’s Background
Highlighting free-thinking leaders and companies that are upending their organizations and industries is Bill’s passion –and he had a front-row seat. After selling the magazine, Bill has continued to inspire a generation of executives and company-builders to think differently about leadership, change, culture, and the new world of work.
He’s written three bestselling books filled with examples of new ways to innovate and succeed: Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, Practically Radical, and Mavericks at Work. Bill also writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review. In a business environment where ordinary is not an option, Bill Taylor is a natural storyteller who inspires people to avoid the experience trap and not allow what they know to limit what they can imagine about the future.
Bill’s latest book, Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, offers a set of messages and a collection of case studies about how to unleash breakthrough creativity and cutting-edge performance in even the most competitive, hard-to-change fields. Simply Brilliant was published in September 2016 by Portfolio. The book was named “Best Book of 2016” by Leadership Now. Wharton professor Adam Grant calls it “a fascinating look inside companies that are rewriting rules of success.” Sir Ken Robinson says it “offers transformative messages for leaders in all walks of life.”
Simply Brilliant is a sequel of sorts to Bill’s popular book, Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself. Bestselling author Daniel H. Pink called Practically Radical “the most powerful and instructive change manual you’ll ever read.” Anne Mulcahy, former chairman and CEO of Xerox, called it “a handbook for successful transformation and a great tutorial for implementing your change agenda.”
Before Practically Radical, Bill co-authored Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. Just weeks after its release, Mavericks became a New York Times bestseller, a Wall Street Journal Business bestseller and a BusinessWeek bestseller. The Economist called the book “a pivotal work in the tradition of In Search of Excellence and Good to Great.” The Economist also named Mavericks one of its “Books of the Year” for 2006, as did The Financial Times.
Bill’s three books are just the latest chapter in a career devoted to challenging, conventional wisdom and showcasing the power of business at its best. As co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, he launched a magazine that won countless awards, earned a passionate following among executives and entrepreneurs around the world—and became a legendary business success.
Fast Company has won just about every award there is to win in the magazine world, from “Startup of the Year” to “Magazine of the Year” to three National Magazine Awards. In recognition of Fast Company‘s impact on business, Bill was named “Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance” by the American Society of Training and Development. Past winners include Jack Welch of GE and Fred Smith of FedEx. In less than six years, a magazine that took shape in borrowed office space in Harvard Square sold for $340 million.
A graduate of Princeton University and the MIT Sloan School of Management, Bill Taylor lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with his wife and two daughters.
Watch Bill in action
Kinney Group, All-Hands Meeting
“We could not have been happier with Bill’s keynote at our all-hands meeting. Bill arrived early and got to know our CEO. He really took the time to understand our event and even changed his content based on the presentations he heard before his lunch talk. And he stayed to sign books for the attendees, even though they arrived late. He really went the extra mile!”
“Bill Taylor knocked it out of the park! He had a great style and delivery, and the message was bang-on what we were looking for. He also did the best job I’ve ever seen of tying his message back to comments and examples from internal speakers that spoke before him.”
Helzberg Foundation Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program
“Bill gave the best keynote I have ever heard at the conference, and one of the best keynotes I have ever heard anywhere. He was energetic, told great stories, engaged the room, and was right on target. Outstanding!”
Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
“A fascinating look inside companies that are rewriting the rules of success. If you’ve ever wondered whether imagination beats knowledge or passion overcomes ambition, drop what you’re doing and read this book.”
Boston Children's Hospital
“Simply Brilliant is just that—real examples of the journey from ordinary to extraordinary. Bill Taylor challenges us to think differently about elevating our organizations to be truly distinctive in what we do and how we do it. His book inspires and equips us to accept that challenge.”
“Bill rocked the house at Boston Properties University. We loved the presentation, and we get great feedback every day from our colleagues and customers! Great messages, engaging stories, the presentation was simply brilliant.”
Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA)
“Thank you for speaking at the OESA Annual Conference yesterday. Your presentation was the perfect way to end the day! The audience was engaged and taking notes – which was amazing at the end of a long day. We distributed over 300 of your books at the reception!”
“The response to your talk has been off the charts! I alone have received two dozen ‘Bill was great’ comments from friends and colleagues. Huge home run, incredibly positive! And I can’t believe how many folks have your book on their desk.”
“Everyone enjoyed Bill’s engaging and down-to-earth style. His message was very timely and resonated with our leaders, and we found great value in the follow-up lunch discussion. We also appreciated the resources he provided. His book was a real hit!”
Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Manufacturing Alliance
“Thank you again so very much for sharing your message at Manufacturing First.Your thoughts inspired and energized the attendees, and the audience gave you rave reviews. You ‘knocked it out of the park.’”
Co-Founder, Endeavor, author, Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags
“We’ve all heard of the garage startup that becomes a tech giant like Apple or Google. But what about the startup that’s actually reinventing the garage? Simply Brilliant provides a roadmap for inspiration and innovation in the unlikeliest, most everyday places.”
Hudson's Bay Company
“I have followed Bill Taylor since the early days of Fast Company, and have used his ideas in the turnaround of Hudson’s Bay Company. I’m a believer!“
“It went great in all 3 cities. Very well received by the audience and a pleasure to work with onsite!”
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World
“Thank you for a terrific presentation to our brokers and managers. We heard so many great comments about your remarks. You intrigued, informed, and inspired us all, which added great value to our conference experience!“
Bill's speaking topics
Big Change for Fast Times
Transforming Your Organization and Challenging Yourself
In this era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, size doesn’t matter. It’s a world where the smart take from the strong and the most urgent work for every organization and leader is the work of making meaningful, deep-seated change.
When customers have higher expectations than ever, and digital technologies and new business models create more choices than ever, then familiar ways of working and competing become less effective than ever. That means even the most successful companies have to rethink and reimagine every aspect of how they do business and deliver results. One challenge is originality—not to be the best at what others already do, but to be the only one who does what you do. Another challenge is people and culture—in a world transformed by technology, infusing your organization with a deeper sense of humanity.
A third challenge is rethinking the logic of risk—recognizing that in an environment of constant disruption, “playing it safe” may be the most dangerous course of all. Armed with challenging ideas and in-depth case studies, Bill Taylor shows how organizations and leaders can unleash long-lasting, positive change in turbulent, fast-moving times.
Talent, Culture and The New World of Work
How to Unleash and Sustain Fierce Execution and Nonstop Innovation
Business today is about distinctive competitive strategies, game-changing technologies, and creative social media and marketing. But the most successful organizations, those built on fierce execution and nonstop innovation, work as distinctively as they compete.
The first question great organizations can answer is: What separates us from our rivals in the marketplace? But the next question is: What holds us together as colleagues in the workplace? In an era of brash ideas and disruptive business models, organizations that create the most extraordinary value are the ones that generate the most widely shared sense of commitment, connection, and compassion among colleagues.
Whether you’re in a fast-moving digital field or a more traditional, slow-to-change industry, your organization can’t be exceptional unless it embraces cutting-edge technologies and also puts a sense of humanity back into the business. Bill’s reveals how some of the world’s most high-performing and creative workplaces engage their people to unleash and sustain a culture of fierce execution and nonstop innovation. The lessons and case studies are a cutting-edge agenda for recruiting, evaluating, organizing, and retaining talent.
Simply Brilliant Leadership: The Art of Going from Now to Next
Don’t Let What You Know Limit What You Can Imagine
As the world is being remade before our eyes, the leaders who make a difference are the ones who can reimagine what’s possible at their organization and in their field, and who can turn bold strategies into relentless execution. And they’re not just CEOs; they’re executives running business units, managers in charge of key departments, engineers or marketers running project teams, entrepreneurs building a company from scratch. Regardless of their formal role or title, high-impact leaders make sure their expertise doesn’t get in the way of innovation.
They champion provocative thinking that energizes their colleagues, and create organizations where people get the chance to be at their best every day. Put simply, the best leaders are the most insatiable learners and the most authentic mentors. Bill Taylor offers hands-on thinking gleaned from the extraordinary leaders he’s studied over the last 25 years—leaders who are as competitive as they are human, and as creative as they are consistent.
Technology, People and the Future of Competition
The Human Side of IT Leadership
Big Data. Cloud Computing. AI. The digital revolution is reshaping the logic of business, work, and society. Companies use digital tools to reach more people in more places more quickly than ever. Social media and peer-to-peer communications reshape how brands communicate with customers and how colleagues collaborate with one another.
Startups unveil new business models that shift the economics and overturn the logic of long-established industries. While technology is driving dramatic change, what customers, partners, and employees truly value is a deeper and more authentic sense of humanity—organizations that create experiences that are as memorable as they are efficient, leaders who recognize that disruptive technologies are at their most powerful when they are embedded in a culture of collaboration and trust.
Bill Taylor draws on cutting-edge insights about technology and timeless truths about culture to show engineers, project leaders, and marketers the inexorable connection between technology and humanity -and why the most effective IT leaders are the most human leaders.
New Rules for Entrepreneurs
Succeeding in a World Where the Smart Take from the Strong
There has never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur, whether it’s building a company from a blank sheet of paper, launching or investing in a franchise, or starting something new inside an established organization. In the old world of business, the strong took from the weak.
If you had the deepest pockets, the biggest factories or labs, the best-known brands, you won by virtue of your power. In the new world of business, the smart take from the strong. The most successful entrepreneurs don’t try to out-compete their bigger rivals; they redefine the terms of competition by embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world filled with me-too thinking.
Thanks to the revolutions in computing, communications, and social media, along with an explosion of new business models and new sources of financing, smaller and smaller groups of people can do bigger and bigger things. In this keynote targeted to entrepreneurs, small-business leaders, and franchise owners and operators, Bill Taylor offers lessons from some of the world’s most successful company-builders.