Carl Smith is the Chief Keeper Upper of nGen Works and irreverent ditcher of the nine-to-five.
Owner and founder of nGen Works, Carl Smith runs an unconventional distributed team that works with businesses to redefine their identities and ideals. Carl has made a name for himself in the web industry by creating a new framework for how we get things done, and by enabling us to realign our creative communities. When he’s not conducting business experiments with his nGeneers or consulting for global trendsetters, he’s busy sculpting a new face for the world of work.
Visit Carl’s team page to learn more about his other quirks, including his love of ’70s television and fear of tarantula invasions.
I’ve seen Carl speak once, and can’t wait to do so again. He was equal turns engaging and educational, hilarious and informative. Carl is keenly passionate about improving how and why we work, and I look forward to learning from him in the future.
– Ethan Marcotte, author of Responsive Web Design
Your Money AND Your Life
Most businesses are built on a broken operating system. One that believes in old concepts of carrots and sticks. For decades we’ve ignored research that shows the path to a better culture, product and bottom line involves abandoning the notions of the past. It’s time to embrace the reality that the needs and ambitions of the human beings we surround ourselves with can fuel a brighter tomorrow. Carl will share examples of sustainable change that improves every aspect of a company through adopting a management philosophy of doing less.
Tailored to fit any audience from entrepreneurs to client services to not-for-profits, Carl offers clear messages and a no-BS approach to business. Discover how each of these talks are designed not only to shift the way we work, but to turn our concept of work into something better.
“Being able to choose means answering only to yourself.”
Our lives are made up of choices, both good and bad. What is critical to remember is that we are the ones who get to make these choices. We should never be swayed by what the masses tell us to do. We should never follow the status quo. Carl explores the influence of both the angels and assholes of our history and how their choices show us what’s important in business and in life.
What People Are Saying
“All of #frontendconf just yelled “asshole” at a picture of Edison. Nicely done, @carlsmith. #nerds“
“Choose! Always try, trust yourself and stop listening to others. #trythebananas @carlsmith #frontendconf“
“Two Portal references in one #frontendconf? — Magic. Thanks, @carlsmith.“
“Most inspiring talk today by @carlsmith. Tough to top! #frontendconf“
Ambient Accountability: The Jellyfish Work Model
“A jellyfish is simple. It’s a transparent system designed to get things done. So is this work model.”
Ever wonder how a jellyfish gets things done?
It’s transparent, simple, and isn’t governed by a bossy brain (it doesn’t even have one). All its parts function fluidly in tandem and it is propelled to touch everything in its world. The jellyfish only lives for a short time, but it blooms by the millions in every ocean; in fact, it thrives in broken, compromised environments. You might just say the jellyfish redefines its ocean landscape.
Now imagine the Jellyfish Model of work. A distributed team temporarily connected by a common vision: a group of people who are accountable to each other to get things done. They create their own system, refine their roles, and transform the human landscape by counting on the fact that the whole world is watching. Using practical application and real-world examples, Carl reveals the potential of this revolutionary model and uncovers how it has the ability to change the face of work—and the world—as we know it.
- Explore the definition of ambient accountability
- Examine the shift towards distributed teams
- Customize this model to make it work for you
- Generate big ideas that make the world a little better
Trust At Work
“Trust is making yourself vulnerable for the promise of something better.”
In business, everything you say or do is a promise for something better. Using real-world examples, Carl explores the fundamentals of how to understand, establish, and maintain trust with your team and your clients. You’ll learn how a system of rules to make people do things can be replaced by a system of people that work to make the world better while trust is busy at work.
Learn How to…
- Define trust
- Establish trust
- Avoid the pitfalls of breaking trust
- Recover trust when you break it
Finding Better Clients
“Before you can find better clients, you need to define what ‘better’ looks like.”
If you want better clients, you have to be ready for them. Carl walks you through the process of establishing your desired identity, choosing clients that are right for you, and creating realistic strategies on how to land them. Using relevant examples and practical advice, Carl shows you that the best way to seek out better clients is to charm them with your true self and be willing to create some serious fun.
- Identify your dream clients
- Learn how to promote yourself authentically
- Grow your business intelligently
Making Better Mistakes: How To Survive In Spite of Yourself
“Learn from your failures. Or don’t—it’ll just hurt more if you don’t.”
IRS crashed your client meeting? Yep. Everyone quit on your company’s sixth anniversary? Yesiree. Doing it right means having it all go wrong at least once. An experienced business owner who’s been through it all, Carl exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of business with the humor of one who knows that failing is the most rewarding way to learn.
- Learn the mistakes new businesses make
- Build a plan for resiliency
- Find out how to anticipate and overcome future challenges
Carl brings such a high level of enthusiasm to his talks, it’s infectious. I put him as the first speaker of the day because I knew he would set the tone for the rest of our speakers. He projected a level of excitement and passion that was truly what we needed to get everyone going. It wouldn’t be the same without Carl!– Gene Crawford, Converge SE
Not only is Carl Smith a great speaker, he’s an excellent teacher. Carl’s presentations are what you’d call a triple threat—they’re educational, easy to understand, and most of all, entertaining.– Bruce Floyd, Social Media Consultant, University of Florida
Your Money AND Your Life
HD Couch Sessions
The Jellyfish Model
The Evolution of Succeeding Online.
Taking Criticism: View Source
Don't Be Afraid to Say No.
Carl consistently amazes audiences with his engaging presentation style, personality, and insights. Without a doubt, Carl is one of the best presenters any technology or design conference could ask for.– Andrew Powell, Solutions Architect, Universal Mind
- October 14-15, 2013 Digital PM Summit – Client Whisperer
- September 24, 2013 SmartWeb Conference – The Jellyfish Work Model
- August 14-16, 2013 Hybrid Conference – The Dark Art of Being Remotely Successful
- May 30, 2013 Remotely Relevant – Your Money and Your Life
- May 18, 2013 Web Afternoon, Augusta – Suck It Up
- Apr 29-May 2, 2013 Future Insights Live – Your Money and Your Life (Keynote)
- April 25-27, 2013 Converge SE – Choose! (Keynote)
- April 17-21, 2013 OneSpark – Your Money and Your Life
- April 3, 2013 Women In Tech – Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
- 2013 AIGA Memphis – Your Money and Your Life
- 2013 Design Orlando – Your Money and Your Life
- 2013 In Control – Your Money and Your Life (Keynote)
- 2012 AIGA Orlando – The Future of Trust
- 2012 Future of Web Design – Choose! (Keynote)
- 2012 Remix South – Choose! (Keynote)
- 2012 ExpressionEngine Conference – Psychology of Distributed Teams
- 2012 Converge Florida – Choose!
- 2012 Web Afternoon – Choose!
- 2012 UX Madison – Choose!
- 2012 Less Money – Less Discussion
- 2012 Front End Design Conference – Choose!
- 2012 Web Afternoon – The Jellyfish Model
- 2012 Future Insights – Future of Client Services
- 2012 Future Insights – Future of Trust
- 2012 Converge SE – The Jellyfish Model
- 2012 CoWork Jax – Business Founders Series
- 2012 Kaiser University – Choose Your Path Wisely
- 2012 AIGA – Presenting Creative
- 2012 University of North Florida – Choose Your Path Wisely
- 2012 InControl Orlando – Working Better
- 2011 Converge SE – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2011 Converge SE – Finding Better Clients
- 2011 RealEC – Making Things Easier
- 2010 Adobe DC – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2010 Adobe Atlanta – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2010 IABC – Making Better Websites
- 2010 Atlanta Web Design Group – The nGen Works Story
- 2010 American Advertising Federation – How To Survive
In Spite of Yourself
- 2010 University of North Florida – How to Promote
Your Business Online
- 2010 Adobe Seattle – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2010 Adobe Phoenix – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2010 Chase – Making Things Easier
- 2009 University of Texas – Panel with Razorfish
- 2009 University of North Florida – Fun With Contracts
- 2009 American Advertising Federation – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2009 BizConf – How To Survive In Spite of Yourself
- 2009 Atlanta Web Design Group – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2009 Adobe Orlando – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2009 Refresh Tallahassee – It’s a Matter of Trust
- 2009 Refresh Jacksonville – Usability Mistakes You Can’t Afford
- 2008 Refresh Tallahassee – Jazz & Agile
- 2008 University of Florida – Jazz & Agile