The Grammy-nominated musician is helping Myspace get its mojo back.
Lots of stars hold fancy titles (creative director, chief innovation officer) for coolness-starved brands. But Kenna wants nothing to do with honorary positions and no-show jobs. Last year, the 34-year-old musician—whose career had already taken him from his birthplace in an Ethiopian village to a 2009 Grammy nomination for "Say Goodbye to Love"—accepted a job with Myspace at the urging of his good friend Justin Timberlake, a chief investor in the site's January relaunch. Kenna had one demand: Use him—really use him—or lose him. As the company's Chief Vision Officer, he's heavily involved with the creative team in building new tools for artists to connect with audiences. He came to the gig honestly: A seasoned codehead, he was one of the first musicians, in 2003, to recognize Myspace's potential as a buzz builder (it was also, he admits, "a way to find chicks"). And while the site has long since been supplanted by YouTube as the Internet's jukebox, "artists are still using the platform to promote themselves," Kenna observes. That's why he believes it still has unrealized potential as a means of connecting users with content, whether it's songs or art or video or something else altogether. "I couldn't care less if people come to Myspace to find their friends," he says. "I want people to come to Myspace to find themselves."
The Protégés of Apple's Jonathan Ive
Apple's head of industrial design has been hailed as one of the creative geniuses of his generation for his work on groundbreaking products like the MacBook and the iPhone. But Ive is also a great mentor. as these five Cupertino alums show, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Cofounder of the social-magazine app Flipboard
Wrote code for the e-mail, clock, photo, and SMS apps on the first iPhone; built parts of the framework to support third-party apps.
Cofounder and CEO of the photo-sharing and messaging service Path
Worked as a marketing manager in the education group (later, cocreated Facebook Connect).
Cofounder and CEO of the smart-thermostat manufacturer Nest
Developed 18 generations of the iPod (he is informally known as its godfather).
Designer and engineer of the Tweetie and Letterpress apps
Designed the page-curl and camera-iris animations for the first iPhone.
A vice president of hardware and software for the mobile-payment system Square
Built headphones, docking stations, and other accessories for iOS devices.
The Evangelists of Tumblr
David Karp, the 26-year-old founder and CEO of Tumblr, is smart, but he's not omniscient. That's why he hired a select group of "evangelists" (their actual job title) who have deep expertise in the influential platform's most popular topics to "support the community of creators" who maintain more than 95 million blogs. These specialists interact with bloggers, build community by hosting real-world events, and recruit well-known personalities and brands to the Tumblr universe. Here, six to know.
Number to Know: 17.2 million—approximate number of fashion blogs on Tumblr
Marquee Real-World Event: Bergdorf Goodman's 111th anniversary during Fashion's Night Out with 111 bloggers
Big-Name Bloggers: Rodarte, Mugler, CFDA
Number to Know: 97—museums that have joined in the past year
Marquee Real-World Event: Art Basel Miami Beach's GIF festival with celebrity jurors like Richard Phillips
Big-Name Bloggers: MoMA PS1, Lincoln Center, Christie's
Number to Know: 9—rules for getting "gastro-stoned," by food parodist "Ruth Bourdain"
Marquee Real-World Event: A Super Bowl party at Brooklyn Brewery with 15 of New York's top restaurants
Big-Name Bloggers: Anthony Bourdain, Eataly, Food Network
Number to Know: 60—book deals based on Tumblr blogs to date
Marquee Real-World Event: A National Poetry Month reading with former U.S. poet laureate Philip Levine
Big-Name Bloggers: Neil Gaiman, Heidi Julavits, Strand Book Store
Number to Know: 129 (and counting)—posts by the musician Moby about L.A. architecture
Marquee Real-World Event: "Explore L.A.," a guided tour of the city's overlooked attractions
Big-Name Bloggers: The Standard hotels, the Republic of Iceland, U.S. Department of the Interior
Number to Know: 96—celebrities who contributed to Dave Eggers' election-year Tumblr
Marquee Real-World Event: National Voter Registration Day meetup, which brought in 100,000 new voters
Big-Name Bloggers: Barack Obama, Chris Christie, The Daily Show