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It Was 50 Years Ago Today… A Founder’s Story with Mark Sylvester

The Founder’s Story interview started as an audio interview and now has been listened to seven million times! We interview incredible entrepreneurs who are thought leaders within their industry. In today’s publication, we interviewed Mark Sylvester, known for his “See What You Think” strategic ideation methodology.

Mark has an incredible story and is truly making a name for himself in the technology industry. He has a passion for helping others and it shows! Let’s dive deeper and read his interview:


In 2003, Mark helped create the first social network for the TED Conference. Mark’s been on the leading edge of software development for more than thirty years. In 1984 he helped develop 3D animation software known as Maya, which revolutionized how the world is entertained.

Working with major production companies, game studios, and industrial designers, he introduced the world to computer-generated animation. He received many accolades including several SciTech awards and an Academy Award.

His “See What You Think” strategic ideation methodology, first presented in his 2018 TEDxFargo Talk, encourages entrepreneurs and creatives to collaboratively think laterally and orthogonally as they bring innovations to light and target precise go-to market strategies.

As the host of the TEDxSantaBarbara Salon series Making Waves: Conversations with Influencers and Disruptors, Mark is continually looking for ‘Ideas Worth Spreading.’ The Salon attracts talented global thought leaders to talk about the Pandemic, Social Justice, Technology, Creativity, and issues related to our new reality.

Mark is the Showrunner, Host, or Executive Producer of ten podcasts, including a new form of audio education, called a PodClass, developed with California Lutheran University’s School of Management.

Mark focuses on using Applied Storytelling to help brands and organizations develop communications to powerfully connect them with audiences as the Executive Producer of StorytellingSchool.com


Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in Southern California. If you saw American Graffiti or Licorice Pizza, you know about my high school years. I have always had some sort of business that was associated with Art. Whether it was designing tie-dyed shirts for fellow students (50 years ago), painting holiday designs on store windows, creating meals for 4 to 4,000 people, or helping bring computer animation software to the world – each business has been creative at its core.

How did you get started as an entrepreneur?

Creating things for fellow students, tie-dye shorts, a wearable ocean in bottle jewelry, and running the Art Production Service Center in my high school.

What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?

Learn how to meditate. You are not your business

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