By Craig Hatkoff
Honoree David Hoffman sent me the following letter today and I asked him if I could share here on our website:
Today I sent a group of select colleagues the letter (via e-mail) that you see below. I thought you might enjoy reading it.
On April 25 in NYC I am receiving a most unusual and spectacular award, the 2014 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award. The award celebrate individuals those whose ideas have broken the mold to create significant impact in the fields of healthcare, education, international development, politics and advocacy, media, the arts and entertainment.
This makes me proud and excited. This is something special to me, and it has got me thinking.
Looking at myself, I am certainly innovative and have been all my professional life. I created all kinds of different artistic ventures, 3 unique businesses, the first women’s greeting card company, dozens of books, CDs, LPs, hundreds of television shows and theatrical movies, and I aided other successful innovators by creating “guerrilla media” approaches to communicating with their audiences.
But the 2nd part of this award is “disruptive” and that something very different. As Tribeca perceives it, disruptive means shaking up society with something that is radically important and beneficial. I see myself as more challenged here.
I have missed appreciating major disruptive opportunities that were presented to me — like cable television. I was the 1st filmmaker documentary filmmaker hired by Discovery Channel and I told that I didn’t believe cable would work–“how could they put cable lines across the United States.” Impossible. And I thought that Blockbuster was a sure to fail business idea. How could they make money from renting VHS videotapes for $2?
But my wife Heidi points out one way in which I certainly am deserving of this award. Every where that I have worked with success – with Tony Schwartz on Guerrilla Media – with Herb Schmertz at Mobil, with Harry Gray at United Technologies – with Tony Quinn (actor) – with Bob Kavner at AT&T – with Pat Mitchell at Turner – with Jennifer Lawson at PBS – with Jeff Bezos at Amazon, and with John Johnson at Verizon among others, I have been given the opportunity to speak express my gut instincts. And time and again, that dialogue has provoked others toward greater disruptive innovations. Many of you that are receiving this are colleagues who have allowed me to be me and made use of the results. So I will be accepting this award in part to give thanks to you all.
My new venture is Executive Producer for LabTV – using video to provoke young people to become medical scientists, especially women and minorities. My partner in this effort will make meaningful disruption real for me. He is LabTV’s founder and chairman, the truly disruptive innovator, Jay Walker. Jay has created 3 businesses that affect tens of millions of people and done so much more. Jay and I setting up LabTV so that it’s videos will reach and motivate tens of millions of young people. His guidance is allowing me to give the best of what I’ve got with a great disruptor by my side.
I want you to know that time and age have not slowed me down. I remain open to your ideas and if you need an attentive ear, I’d love to hear about any disruptive innovations you are considering.
If you would like to get tickets to the awards the event kicks off at 11 AM on Friday, April 25, at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
And here is a link to my award page. Please comment on the page if you are so inclined.