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Digital and future thinker – go-getting go-to advisor – grows companies
Ranked among the Top 50 world’s most influential management and business thinkers on the 2021 Thinkers50 list, Nilofer Merchant is a prominent thought leader and strategist on the future of work in the social era, advocating for people in a technology-driven workspace. Called a visionary by CNBC, her ideas are shaping the future of organisations of all shapes and sizes.
Nilofer Merchant's videos
What Nilofer Merchant's clients say
"A rare combination: strategic, well-researched and actionable. Nilofer Merchant helps you see whats at stake in the connection economy"
"Fast wit and clear ideas... Nilofer got everyone engaged throughout her presentation and talking long after she left"
"Nilofer is one of the few people I know who can be described as truly brilliant, she has a deep commitment to culture and innovation as she has lived the walk"
Nilofer Merchant's 2023 biography
Even if you don’t know her name, Nilofer Merchant’s ideas have already shaped your world. Her TED Talk, “Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation”, has been referenced 400 million times, and is the reason the Apple watch has a “stand” feature. She shipped the first internet server (Apple) and the first WYSIWIG web-authoring software (GoLive), and coded the first media website (Time). During her 25 years in technology, she personally launched more than 100 products and services—many of which you use daily—netting $18 billion in revenues.
These results reflect the way Merchant thinks: always ahead, always building the shifts that lead to greater value, individually and at scale. She is ranked one of the most influential management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 and a top 10 HR thinker by HR magazine. Fast Company named her one of the “25 Smartest People,” and CNBC called her “visionary.”
Value is usually measured as a shit ton of money: prizing what can be pocketed or possessed. Yet that misses the intangible aspect of how we all create value and by what values—and what accounts for 80% of the S&P. As co-founder of The Intangible Labs, she’s working to define metrics for modern work. So we can make tangible the intangible and have the leading indicators that let us know when we’re doing our best work.
Merchant’s three books establish her as a leading thinker on value creation. In New How (Oreilly, 2010), she showed how to close the false gap between strategy and execution so the collective focus is on how to turn nascent ideas into new realities. In Social Era Rules (Harvard Business Review, 2012) she defined the critical shift from “competitive advantage” to co-creating value. And in The Power of Onlyness (Viking, 2017), she didn’t just argue that each of us matter, but decoded exactly how to use distributed networks to enable new ideas and higher value creation.
Merchant developed and proved her insights as a leader at major tech companies. She grew division performance at Autodesk by 50 percent, and created product and pricing strategies for Adobe that grew the company from $2 billion to $5 billion. She waged and won a competitive battle with Microsoft, saving Symantec’s Anti-Virus $2.1 billion annual business.
Many seek Merchant’s advice to construct their futures, including the CEOs of IBM, Nokia, and Walmart, as well as mid-line managers at Indeed, L’Oréal, and Société Générale. She’s been invited to hundreds of prestigious leadership events including Google, Gartner, and GE, and headlined alongside Bono, Gladwell, Simon Sinek, Amy Edmondson, and Brené Brown.
An MBA graduate of Santa Clara University and Bachelors of Science in Applied Economics at the University of San Francisco, Merchant has taught strategy, management, and leadership at Stanford University and guest-lectured at Yale. She has also served on corporate boards for Nasdaq-traded and private companies, as well as on public governance boards. She was a twice-invited Fellow for the Prosperity Institute out of Rotman in Canada.
Nilofer Merchant's 2023 speaking fees
- United States
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