Former Tech Executive | Bestselling Author
Nilofer Merchant is a renowned business strategist and innovator on a mission to reinvent work so that it actually works. A bestselling author, TED mainstage speaker, and recipient of the “Future Thinker” Award from Thinkers 50, Merchant says few companies will survive unless they understand what she calls “onlyness” — the experience, talent, perspective, and purpose lying untapped in the workforce. Through her impactful talks, she reveals new ways of connecting our ideas to the world, and empowers leaders to unlock the vast source of innovation too often overlooked in their own people.
During her 25 years in technology, Merchant personally launched more than 100 products, netting $18 billion in sales. She helped launch the first Internet Server at Apple, grew division performance at Autodesk by 50 per cent, and created product and pricing strategies for Adobe that grew the company from $2 billion to $5 billion. In 2009-2010, she waged a competitive battle with Microsoft and triumphed, saving Symantec’s Anti-Virus $2.1B annual business. Her experience as an operating leader is why boards and CEOs of IBM, JP Morgan, and Walmart seek her advice.
Merchant is also the bestselling author of three books — The New How, The New Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, and her latest book The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Might Enough to Dent the World. She was named one of the top 25 smartest women on Twitter by Fast Company, and is regularly quoted or published in the media, including top outlets such as Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, TIME Magazine, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal.
Called a “visionary” by CNBC, Merchant’s TedTalk “Got a Meeting? Take a Walk” ranks in the top 10 per cent in the world. She’s been invited to hundreds of leadership events by prestigious organizations including Google, Gartner, and GE and has headlined alongside Malcolm Gladwell, Simon Sinek, Arianna Huffington, and other inspirational individuals.
An MBA graduate of Santa Clara University and Applied Economics at the University of San Francisco, Merchant has taught strategy, management and leadership at Stanford University and Santa Clara University, and guest-lectured at Yale. She has also served on corporate boards for Nasdaq-traded and private companies, as well as on public governance boards, and was a Fellow for the Prosperity Institute out of Rotman in Canada.