SMWLA Advisor Spotlight: Conn Fishburn

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

Welcome to the 7th in our Social Media Week Los Angeles Advisor Spotlight Series, where we sit down with members of the SMWLA Advisory Board and other prominent members of the Los Angeles social media community to get a better understanding of how they’re influencing, shaping, and working in social media.

Today we’re talking with Conn Fishburn, the founder and CEO of F3, a company that advises every company from international brands to small start-ups.  For more information, you can check out his full bio here.

Who are you? What’s your business?

I’m Conn Fishburn and I’m the founder of F3, a strategy and innovation firm based in LA + NY. We help our clients who include large companies, early stage start-ups and investors by making sense of the world around them, especially as it relates to how human behavior is changing and what that means for their business.

I named F3 after 3 of my heroes: Fibonacci, the 13th century Italian mathematician who discovered the Fibonacci sequence, a naturally occurring sequence of numbers that predicts it’s own growth; Federico Fellini, the Italian writer and director known for his fantastical storytelling and social critique; and Benjamin Franklin, the practical American statesman and inventor. We try to bring a combination of these three great men – the organic nature of Fibonacci in predicting growth, the storytelling and cultural narratives of Fellini and the practicality and inventiveness of Franklin, into everything we do.

What’s your preferred social media presence and why?

I’ve been involved in social media both personally and professionally for a long time and have been a particularly heavy user of Facebook since early 2006.

That said, my usage of Facebook is waning and I’m finding I’m using LinkedIn much more than before. For me, social media does three main things: it provides a medium for a degree of self expression (which can sometimes be delightful, sometimes regrettable and mundane), it provides an automated narrative about the things you care about and, most importantly it allows you to participate in others events even if you’re not there. That’s the magic part of social; it’s the ability to connect over something that wasn’t actually shared, and make that a shared experience.

How do you stay current on what’s popular?

Watch the kids. Take a look at how a young child interacts with the world around them, how they test things by touching them, pushing them, biting them. The ability for a 2 year old to pick up an iPad and get it going is astonishing. In terms of what’s popular, I try not to get caught up in what’s popular but rather what I find interesting. I have a morning ritual of reading a variety of sites related to technology, entertainment, science with the occasional guilty pleasure of gossip.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

There are several things I enjoy about work. I like thinking about the future, and I also enjoy working with entrepreneurs and visionaries who are literally changing the world in astonishing ways. Plus, there’s also the variety of people and projects we encounter.

What do you do to recharge?

Travel. I love to unplug and discover a place for the first time. Exercise and physical activity also help. Also reading because very few things beat a great novel to get one inspired.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Staying focused and remaining patient. I’m excitable by nature and love talking about ideas. We see a lot of deals and are exposed to a huge range of interesting opportunities. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a good idea but important to remember it might not become a reality (in the form we want it) for 12-18 months.

What’s your dream panel, fireside chat, or Q&A? Tell us the topic and who’s on it.

Fibonacci, Fellini and Franklin and maybe Darwin discussing whether social is driving positive evolution of our species or destroying us.

Social Media Week’s theme for 2012 is Empowering Change through Collaboration. How are you seeing that play out in LA specifically and within the entertainment industry overall?

Collaboration is a key tenet of social in general and I’m most excited about what it’s doing in the fund raising space for companies like CrowdFunder or what’s really the advance purchase space like Kickstarter.  It’s also been particularly exciting to see the rise of the accelerators in LA and the excitement that’s happening around home-grown innovation. Most of the accelerators help each other out and are collectively raising the profile of LA entrepreneurialism.

Be sure to follow Conn Fishburn on Twitter and if you’d like to get involved with him and/or our other Social Media Week Los Angeles Advisory Board Members in planning an event for SMWLA, let us know.

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