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Bill Taylor

Entrepreneur; Co-founder, Fast Company; Author, Simply Brilliant New Ways to Compete, Innovate, and Succeed

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Massachusetts
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Bill Taylor is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur who has shaped the global conversation about the best ways compete, innovate, and succeed. As cofounder of Fast Company, Bill launched a magazine that won countless awards and earned a passionate following among executives and entrepreneurs. Ove the last two decades, Fast Company has become one of the world’s most influential voices on game-changing innovation, high-performance organizations, and technology-driven change.

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Bio

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. 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.

Speech Topics

In an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the most urgent work for organizations everywhere is the work of making meaningful, deep-seated change. When customers have higher expectations than ever, digital technologies and new business models create more choices than ever, determined rivals are more numerous than ever, then familiar strategies and established ways of working are 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. But how do you break new ground when there is so much pressure to avoid mistakes? How do you keep people focused and confident in a world that seems so uncertain? In short, how do you unleash long-lasting, positive change in turbulent, fast-moving times?


In a world being remade before our eyes, 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 in the organization, high-impact leaders exude both originality and utility—provocative thinking that energizes their colleagues, a roll-up-the-sleeves approach to work and culture that shapes how everyone shares ideas and solves problems. Put simply, the best leaders are the most insatiable learners and the most effective communicators. In this keynote, Bill Taylor offers hands-on thinking gleaned from the most extraordinary leaders he’s studied over the last 25 years.


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.


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 technology field or a more traditional, slow-to-change industry, your organization can’t be exceptional in the marketplace unless it creates something exceptional in the workplace. In this strategic and deeply human talk, Bill Taylor draws on his access to some of the world’s most high-performing and creative workplaces to explore how organizations can unleash and sustain a culture of fierce execution and nonstop innovation. His ideas, lessons, diagnostics, and case studies are a pragmatic guide and cutting-edge agenda for recruiting, evaluating, organizing, and retaining talent.


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