Jerry Michalski

Proven visionary; jaded optimist
Loves tugging conversations into deeper waters
Can back his ideas with the world’s largest mind map
Champion for humans - we are the ones we’ve been waiting for
MTP: Reconnecting Humans
Inquire About Jerry

Jerry Michalski (ma-CALL-ski) was on the front lines of the tech revolution for a dozen years as a tech-industry trends analyst during the dot-com boom. In that role, he guided on online communities and framed capacities that would later appear in the market, like smartphones, wikis, weblogs and instant messaging.

Amid 4,000 startup briefings and while advising corporate advanced-technology groups on whether and where to deploy exponential technologies like machine learning, Jerry realized the word “consumer” was a linchpin to understanding many of today’s dilemmas. This lead him to the concept of trust, specifically the many ways that consumer capitalism has broken trust.

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From this mix of movements and ideas, Jerry is creating Design from Trust, a process that generalizes these approaches and can be applied in many different domains.

One of the 4,000 startups Jerry interviewed had a useful mind-mapping app called TheBrain. Intrigued, Jerry began curating his, and 21 years later, you can consult his Brain online, here.

Jerry has used his external Brain as the backdrop for strategy improv sessions, bringing rich context and novel perspectives to other teams’ projects.

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Digital Transformation’s Soft Underbelly: Trust

Whether you’re hiring data scientists, building a new data lake or figuring out your mobile strategy, chances are that trust doesn’t play a big role in your digital transformation process. The chances are even smaller that you see trust as a lever to help you differentiate yourself from your competitors as you transform. Yet it can be—if you can hear the reasons why.

For example, The precision, secrecy and pervasiveness of digital advertising has put it under fire as part of the Stalker Economy, or Surveillance Capitalism. Those all describe breaches of trust that we take for granted. What if companies could be truly trustworthy instead?

Jerry will help you change your digital transformation process, so that you can create deeper organizational change and potentially flip the basis of competition in your industry. In a low-trust era, high-trust organizations will stand out.

#digitaltransformation, #change, #organizationalchange, #trust, #designfromtrust, #design, #differentiation

My Life as a Cyborg

I have two brains. The first one, like yours, is the wet one I was born with. The second is a software extension of the first: a mind-mapping app that I’ve been curating for over 22 years. (Think of a mind map as a diagram in which lines link related ideas: say, an author’s books under the author, but then each book under the general topic it belongs in, and much more.)

My Brain now holds over 400,000 items, linked by over 3/4 of a million links — the largest such mental map in the world. You can browse it now, for free, at

As the happy owner of a major technological extension of my human brain, this qualifies me as a cyborg, an augmented human. Along with creating a incredibly efficient, intuitive repository for everything I care about, developing this external Brain has also taught me many lessons, which I share in this talk, such as:

  • How does this external Brain work? What is its value?
  • Will we all need to become cyborgs? Why or why not? What would this look like?
  • What will be your particular cyborg enhancement?
  • What is a good strategy for getting started?

#cyborgs, #mindextension, #extendedself, #humanaugmentation, #knowledgemanagement, #amnesia, #discourse, #futureofwork

2020: A Generational Tipping Point

Greta Thunberg and School Strikes for Climate. The Parkland Students mobilizing around gun control. The Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. The Vlogbrothers, Nerdfighteria, Fighting World Suck and sincerity trumping irony.

Something big is afoot, and it is driven by the latest generation of youngsters.

  • What makes this new generation more powerful than earlier ones?
  • What role does the present moment play, especially technology and crises?
  • How can we help young folk connect and drive change?
  • What does this mean for existing institutions and your organization?

#youth, #generations, #leadership, #thefuture, #socialmovements, #change


Thriving in the Trust Crisis of 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic is only one of many crises we face right now, alongside the likelihood that human activity is destroying our planetary home, corporate debacles (think Boeing, VW, Wells Fargo), the global shift toward autocrats and fake democracy, and the threat that automation is taking us to The Great Unemployment instead of the lives of leisure we were promised.

Trust plays a strange role in this mix. While it may seem obvious that all these crises undermine trust, it may not be obvious that trust is also their common solution.

Jerry has been at the fifty-yard line of the trust crisis and its myriad conundrums. In this talk he will address:

  • How did we get here, specifically regarding trust?
  • What are appropriate responses to this multiple-trust crisis?
  • Why is it a sensible business proposition to follow a high-trust strategy?

#globalcrises, #trust, #designfromtrust, #politics


“Jerry Michalski understands the human side of technology better than anyone I know. He teaches how to reimagine management and service functions so that trusting relationships are formed with stakeholders. At the Institute and other Public Affairs Council events, Jerry continues to be one of our highest-rated speakers.”

- Doug Pinkham, President of the Public Affairs Council

“Once you see Jerry’s visionary and far reaching mind maps you say to yourself, wow – not only does this guy have great and compelling ideas but he has a unique tool set to help accelerate sense making and communication.  So by the end of his talks, you realize he is a true maestro orchestrating ideas, tools and concepts that stun and excite you to action.”

- John Seely Brown, co-chair, Deloitte Center for the Edge

“Jerry is the institution on trust, which plays an ever larger role in business and societal relationships. His insights and particularly the example-led perspectives on how to address or incorporate the human side of technology are enriching to business development and strategy processes at any stage.”

- Wolfgang Merkt, Head Coach, ExO Works

“Even though we had a fairly short conversation, the information and ideas that I gleaned was as if we sat and talked for four hours. Your vast knowledge of data and how people use data helped me ideate solutions for my particular situation.

I particularly enjoyed how you brought in new ideas or what you might’ve called “tangents“ but had me viewing the situation differently and even highlighted some blind spots for me!

Your wisdom and passion are vast! People could learn so much from you!

I look forward to our next conversation and my next “learning from Jerry’s Brain.”

- Christi Staib, founder, Silver Sail Wealth Advisors
Proven visionary; jaded optimist
Loves tugging conversations into deeper waters
Can back his ideas with the world’s largest mind map
Champion for humans - we are the ones we’ve been waiting for
MTP: Reconnecting Humans
Inquire About Jerry
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