TBG's Top 10 Influencers

March 9, 2016 | See All Top 10 Posts

At TBG, our credo is "always thinking." Our individual areas of expertise and approaches to problem-solving foster a rich conversation that adds incredible value to our projects, and makes for an engaging and fulfilling work environment. We’re not content with the status quo; we’re always collaboratively thinking about how to do things better. To give some insight into what inspires us, we've come up with a list of influencers/inspirational gurus (not in any particular order), whose genius helped shape our thinking, approach and philosophy to our current work. Picking just 10 was tough! 


Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller

Why We're Inspired

Buckminster Fuller embedded in my brain in the 9th grade, when I did a presentation to my Geometry/Analysis class about geodesic domes. My dad being an architect, my choice was not a coincidence; the slides with beautiful, old black-and-white photos were culled from the RTKL archives. I was struck by the simplicity of that solution—a structure based on simple geometry that created something new but so perfect that it seemed that it should have always existed. Beautiful design, in 3D or 2D, still or in motion shares that trait. In designing and art directing for the Web, as in any medium, you know a good solution when it seems like it should have always existed—when it creates a sense of a visual language that has always been there, discovered rather than invented.

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Creative Director & Cliffhanger

“My top Bucky quote: 'There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.'”


Chris Coyier

Why We're Inspired

An inspirational Web designer, Chris Coyier has been a reference and inspiration since I was in school. Since 2007, he has frequently blogged tips and tricks for designers and front-end developers via his website CSS-Tricks. But his influence doesn't end there! He works for digital agency Codepen and podcasts for Shoptalk. His frequent and helpful updates are essential tools for front-end developers who are trying to stay on top of the latest and greatest in Web design.

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Interaction Designer & Marathon Man

“Chris Coyier is the guy who taught me that front-end development/design could be fun and a career—and all with a great attitude!”


George Herbert Mead

Why We're Inspired

American philosopher, sociologist and psychologist George Herbert Mead contributed to the theory of social constructionism. His philosophies are central to the theory of social constructionism or the idea that people interacting in a social system create, over time, concepts or mental representations of past experiences and interactions. This theory guides our design thinking in that the Web is a social system, and user needs and expectations are social constructs. We use mental models—a model of what users know (or think they know) about a system (like your website)—to guide information architecture and user experience design decisions. It's exciting to me that, as website designers, we get to contribute and influence users’ ever-evolving mental models and push the envelope of interaction design.


Senior Information Architect/Web Strategist & Girl on Fire

“My love affair with user experience design began when I read Mead’s work in an undergrad class 'Theory and Models of Communication'. ”


Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Why We're Inspired

Business magnate, engineer, inventor and investor Elon Musk is the founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors; chairman of SolarCity; co-chairman of OpenAI; co-founder of Zip2; and co-founder of PayPal. Musk's entrepreneurship is driven by his mission to improve society and humanity around the globe. Specifically, his endeavors are motivated by his goals to decrease global warming, which explains why he invests in sustainable and energy-efficient products. Some of his notable ventures include the Tesla Powerwall, a solar-powered battery for the home, and the Hyperloop, a high-speed electric transportation system that utilizes pressurized capsules to move the train-like vehicle in a large tube.


Scott, Senior Developer Jedi Master & Part-time Sim Racer

“Musk's ambitious goals to change humanity and the insane work ethic he employs to accomplish them inspires me to strive for greatness in the work I do at TBG.”


Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck

Why We're Inspired

Carol Dweck is a social psychologist at Stanford University who studies how our understanding of intelligence impacts our lives. A Growth Mindset, as Dweck describes it, is that intelligence is developmental (that we can make ourselves smarter if we work hard at a task) and a Fixed Mindset is that intelligence is something that one either has innately, or doesn't. Each mindset deeply impacts how we work, treat ourselves and empathize with others.



Senior Web Strategist/UX Architect & Futbolista

“It's much smoother sailing with a Growth Mindset—particularly in a fast-paced agency environment—and one that I take very seriously in my work at TBG!”


Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron

Why We're Inspired

A Buddhist monk who excels in showing how Buddhist principles can enhance our activities during our daily routine, Pema Chodron frequently talks about being “hooked," by which she means our predisposition toward predisposition. By observing ourselves in stressful situations, we can notice our habitual reactions to these situations and begin to react in calmer, more thoughtful ways.

Dave M


Senior Web Developer & Seeker of the Truth

“Following Pema's suggestions on reflecting on ourselves during stressful times is quite helpful when dealing with the pressures of agency life.”


Deb Perelman

Deb Perelman

Why We're Inspired

Founder of SmittenKitchen.com, Deb Perelman is a contemporary food blogger and cookbook author. Although in an entirely different industry than digital, Deb Perelman approaches amazing dishes with an uncomplicated process that showcases the natural flavors of the ingredients. Her popularity, however, might hinge on the fact that she is as open about her successes in the kitchen as she is about her failures. Her recipes also appeal to the young, urban cook who is just starting out; Perelman's accounts often include ways to deal with navigating a small kitchen in a cozy apartment.

Brittany Y


Account Manager & Epicurean Extraordinaire

“I follow a similar process in that I don't add clutter to my project management style at TBG that isn't neccessary. Instead, when you start with a solid foundation, the pieces meld together naturally and allow the final product to shine.”


Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McCluhan

Why We're Inspired

Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan's ideas are the backbone of modern Media and Communications studies. Most famous for the expressions, "the medium is the message" and "global village," McLuhan viewed the media as an extension of the human body and humankind in general. Although this might seem more obvious nowadays (and with the Internet and social media networks), it was a revolutionary and cutting-edge idea in the 1960s. As a part of this discourse, he recognized and drew attention to the dark side of technology, for example, the pollution emitted from cars and the fact that people were watching more TV and connecting less with one another. Through his inquiry, he also predicted the World Wide Web 30 years before its existence.

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Production Ace aka Punk Rocker

“I read and wrote a whole lot about McLuhan in college, and his ideas stuck with me, especially in thinking about the impact that the Internet has and will continue to have on society.”


Jay Nusholtz

Jay Nusholtz

Why We're Inspired

Jay Nusholtz is a Director and Product Design Specialist—and he's my dad! My father is my first and most important mentor in my life, and ultimately my career. The lessons I learned from him growing up—both by example and by instruction—have immeasurably helped in my career as a project manager over the past 16 years, and throughout my life in general. I'd call my dad a "creative realist" who is able to think outside the box to solve issues but still has a firm grip on important realities like limitations of time, potentially bad outcomes, and how to deal with different types of personalities to get the best result. He's also a hard worker and I attribute much of my good work ethic to the example he set as I was growing up. He was always around and always ready to have fun but still worked hard and expected us to as well.

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Senior Account Manager & Toddler Wrangler

“My dad taught me that the solutions to problems might not always seem straightforward, and sometimes you have to get creative to solve an issue. Perhaps basic approaches, but his helpful direction, creativity, and dedication are invaluable as I manage accounts at TBG and everything else in my life!”


Michel Gondry

Michel Gondry

Why We're Inspired

French Filmmaker and Video Artist Michel Gondry helped to define the contemporary music video genre. He directed a number of surrealist videos and movies that most of us have seen, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the video for Daft Punk's "Around the World," and a number of Björk's music videos. Whether it is his use of visual repetition and pattern in the White Stripes video "The Hardest Button to Button," or his juxtaposition of disparate elements such as office desks on the beach or a person being cast from their own shadow in a video for Beck, Michel Gondry's creations are as visually interesting as they are inspiring.


Senior Art Director & Hot Pocket Hero

“My first introduction to Michel Gondry's work were the music videos he directed for Beck and the White Stripes. I was instantly intrigued by the way he reinterpreted the natural order of the world as we know it. For me, he took the art of the music video to a new level.”

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