John Jacobs | Co-Founder and CCO (Chief Creative Optimist) of Life is Good

John Jacobs

Co-Founder and CCO (Chief Creative Optimist) of Life is Good

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Boston, MA, United States

John Jacobs

Keynote speaker John Jacobs is co-founder and CCO (Chief Creative Optimist) of Life is Good, which spreads the power of optimism through inspiring art, a passionate community, and groundbreaking nonprofit work.

John and his brother Bert launched their business with $78 in their pockets, selling T-shirts in the streets of Boston and at college dorms up and down the East Coast. Today, Life is Good is a $100 million positive lifestyle brand sold by over 2,000 retailers across the US and Canada.

Early on, John and Bert were inspired by stories of people, mainly children, facing great adversity. These stories illustrated that optimism is most powerful in the darkest of times and fueled the creation of a fully integrated business model dedicated to helping kids in need. Life is Good donates at least 10% of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to positively impact over 1 million kids every year facing poverty, violence, and illness.

John provides the creative vision to guide the art and messaging direction of Life is Good to inspire optimism in everyone the brand touches. John enjoys outdoor adventures with his family, awkward dancing and diving into the water to catch things.

To inspire others to choose optimism and grow the good in their lives, John and Bert wrote Life is Good: The Book/ How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride, published by National Geographic in September 2015.

John has been awarded honorary doctorates from several universities for entrepreneurship, business innovation and philanthropy. He and Life is Good have been featured on CNNMoney, CNBC's Business Nation, ABC News' Nightline, NBC's The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and Men's Health Magazine, among others. John and Bert are the youngest of six siblings from Needham, MA. They credit their mother as the first powerful optimist in their lives, and the inspiration for Life is Good.

John Jacobs
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Redefining the Role of Creativity in Business

As Chief Creative Optimist, John is responsible for the iconic branding and imagery behind the $100 million retail brand, Life is good. Moreover, aside from creating the famous “Jake” logo from scratch and keeping it fresh and universal 25 years later, John has demonstrated that creativity has as fundamental a role in the accounting department as it does in the design department, with the sales team, human resources, senior management, and beyond. And not just at Life is good, but at any company, organization or non-profit that is seeking to create a unique culture, grow as a unified group, or add an element of brand awareness and public loyalty that can only be created via creativity and new-school thinking. John expertly demonstrates how creativity is not confined to art, and is rather a fundamental building block for innovation and practical problem solving in any aspect of business.

In this singularly unique talk, John shares a quarter-century’s worth of experience weaving creativity across all areas of business and work, tailoring each presentation to the needs of the audience. He delves into the best strategies and settings for incentivizing creative thinking as well as open communication and complete transparency - which he argues to be essential components of the creative process and key markers for success in the 21st century economy. Taking aspects of business that are commonly seen in black-and-white and injecting them with a colorful perspective that is rarely seen in corporate settings, John is able to help audiences look at projects and challenges from an entirely new mindset toward collaboration and growth. Caution: an open mind is advised.

Optimist for life

What it means to be a rational optimist and how this mindset can change lives for the better.

Corporate Social Responsibility/ Giving Back

Corporations have immense power as agents of social change—when they conduct ethical business and make philanthropy a priority, they can implement positive change on a huge scale.


Optimism can be an incredibly useful tool for innovation, especially in times of change and uncertainty. Having the ability to focus on the good can make teams and businesses more productive—more open to new ideas, more creative at problem solving, and more willing to take positive risks.

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John Jacobs

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