Early Tuesday morning, more than a thousand marketers from around the world arrived at Lincoln Center for a day of keynotes and workshops on everything from building brand and creating content to launching satellites, genetic engineering, and the future of the media. If you weren’t amongst them, don’t worry. While you might have missed out on some powerful cold brew from Jack’s Stir Brew, you can still catch the highlights from Day One’s keynotes, workshops, and out-of-session action right here.

1. Artificial intelligence will be bigger than the internet

Blogger Tim Urban kicked off the day by predicting that artificial intelligence will transform our lives more than the internet already has. The question is – What do we do with it? Can we program AI to do good, and what does that even mean? While these are hard questions to answer, Urban knows one thing that people should do for sure – put money into AI safety, as well as the technology itself. 

2. City safety means breaking boundaries

Former NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan admitted that she faced a lot of very public protests when she proposed changes to New York’s streets and public spaces. During her time as commissioner, Janette introduced 400 miles of bike lanes, 60 new pedestrian plazas, seven new bus lines and the largest bike share in North America. “When you push the status quo, the status quo pushes back hard,” she said looking back on her administration’s fight. Yet, because of her efforts, the streets of New York are safer than they have been in a hundred years.

3. It takes discipline to grow a brand

Birchbox’s cofounder Mollie Chen reminded the audience that it takes discipline to grow a brand — and selectivity, even if it means making tough choices with your content. “You can’t be everywhere. Make choices,” Chen said. “Ask yourself why you need a blog. Be ready to step away if you don’t have the resources.”

 4. Respect other cultures

WeWork’s head of global policy, Jen Skyler, credits a lot of the company’s global success to being sensitive to other cultures while still maintaining the brand image. “In Amsterdam, we learned that folks like to eat lunch together,” Skyler said. “So, we bought bigger tables and fridges.” What seems like a simple solution is really the product of being thoughtful and culturally empathetic, something brands will have to master if they want to scale globally. 

5. Emotionally transform your customers

Writer and innovator James Buckhouse of Sequoia Capital knows that people don’t care about your app’s features. So you need to convince them. How? By changing their emotional state. If you can get people invested in your brand’s story, you’ll have interested eyeballs regardless of how much money you have.

6. Gawker might still live on

Nick Denton made his first public appearance since Gawker was shut down and sold to Univision. In his Q&A with Felix Salmon, senior editor of Fusion, Denton closed by saying, “I’m grateful to Peter Thiel for making the story more interesting.” In other words, the founder of Gawker is living the kind of life that his own company would want to write about. Mind blown.


Get ready for Day Two, where we’ll have speakers like Unilever CMO Keith Weed and Alex Ayling of BBC Worldwide, as well as Paul Speaker of the World Surf League. You could win a vacation courtesy of the WSL if you’re at Transition — just stay active on Twitter and Instagram, and the best social post will win. Don’t forget to use #Transition2016.