Arianna Huffington

 From Surviving to Thriving: Redefining success and innovating the architecture of our lives

Arianna Huffington, President and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Media Group, opened her session saying: “It is an amazing time to try and bring together this explosion of data. 90% of data has been created in the last two years.” And yet, there’s still a need for wisdom, intuition, and strength. Arianna spoke about burnout and how we’re losing connection to ourselves. In the second year of Huffington Post’s development, she described her wake-up call. She collapsed in her kitchen from exhaustion and broke her cheekbone: “When I came to in a pool of blood, I had to ask, ‘Is this what success looks like?’” She noted that when people are operating on empty, they’re not going to get their best work done.

Key takeaways:

  • Leadership is about seeing opportunities that others don’t see. When people are burned out, opportunities are harder to see.
  • When we are more connected with ourselves, we have our best ideas.
  • We need to be willing to fail; if you are determined to get it right the first time, it’s unlikely that you’re going to invent original things.
  • Great research is about always finding the nugget that is significant.

Her advice for the C-Suite: No one lives in the zone all the time. It takes small microscopic steps to get there. When you’re recharged, you’re going to be better at knowing where you need to go. The reason that all our best ideas come to us in the shower is because “Nobody has developed a waterproof cell phone. The minute the Apple watch is waterproof, it’s all over.” We are hyperconnected to our devices and losing some connection to ourselves. Right now we take better care of our smartphones than we do of ourselves.

At Huffington Post, they made the decision “to also put the spotlight on the good things happening—what works, solutions. By putting the spotlight on solutions we can create copycat solutions instead of copycat crimes.” And now other brands are following. “Every brand wants to be about wellness content.”

How did Huffington Post move from becoming necessary to indispensable? People have longing to live the lives they want, to reduce stress in their lives and find greater fulfillment. “We’ve launched 26 sections devoted to that. We even have a section called, ‘What’s Working.’ “We are missing out what is working in the world.”

When asked about how she handled research, she answered, “Great research is about finding the nugget. What are the nuggets that are really significant?” People are looking for engagement, authenticity, sense of humor. The kind of content that people like to share tends to be what inspires them, what works, good news.

Today Huffington Post has 100,000 bloggers. “We’re now going to be investing in technology to bring you millions of bloggers.” The challenge is to find what is actually actionable and what is relevant.


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