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Tony Deifell    

CEO & Co-founder at The Muse Factory / AwesomeBox

Tony Deifell is co-founder of The Muse Factory. He was recently featured in San Francisco’s 7x7 Magazine as one of the “The Bay Area Visionaries Shaping Our Future.

Previously, Deifell was managing director of Q Media Labs, which explored questions of how media, technology and business shape the world. The Lab’s clients included Google, The Media Consortium, The Democracy Alliance, UCLA and Community Wealth Ventures (Knight Foundation grantees) among others. Recent work includes The Big Thaw: Charting a New Course for Journalism and case studies about Brightcove, Mother Jones, AlterNet, and Sierra Club’s online-media business models.

Over the past two decades, Deifell has been an entrepreneur, organizational builder, strategist and futurist. He founded and led for eight years the Institute for Public Media Arts, a company that promoted “user-generated content” before there was a label for it. His work received recognition by the White House as a national model in diversity education. Deifell was a Leadership Fellow in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s National Leadership Program and has served on national boards including Active Voice and Social Enterprise Alliance where he co-chaired its public policy initiative. Deifell was a founding board member of KaBOOM!, a national market leader for children’s play. He also served as KaBOOM!’s Chief Strategist and led a $5 million dollar investment deal from the founders of eBay. As the architect of its growth strategy, he designed the organization’s national advocacy platform “Playful Cities USA” (now in 118 cities) and helped develop its online social-networking community. Harvard Business School published a case study about KaBOOM!’s cutting-edge, performance-measurement system that Deifell built.

In addition to strategy development, Deifell actively makes media. He created wdydwyd?™, an online community that challenges people to answer the question, “why do you do what you do?” WIRED Magazine said, “In Silicon Valley, (it) has become the hottest team-building meme since Outward Bound—and it’s spreading.” In 2007, Chronicle Books published Seeing Beyond Sight, Deifell’s award-winning book about blind photographers. It was covered in the New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times and other press. As unusual as “blind photography” may sound, Deifell retells the book’s inspiring stories to speak about leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. He challenges people to re-think what they see and don’t see.

Deifell graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard Business School where he started a national conference about leadership and values. In 2008, UNC-Chapel Hill acknowledged Deifell’s work by selecting him for its Distinguished Young Alumnus Award—a distinction he holds in common with former FCC Chairman, Congressman, founder of Hulu and sports star Michael Jordan.

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