Barry O’Reilly is an entrepreneur, business advisor and author who has pioneered the intersection of business model innovation, product development, organizational design, and culture transformation. Barry is the co-founder of Nobody Studios, a crowd-infused, high-velocity venture studio with the mission to create 100 compelling companies over the next 5 years. Barry is author of two international bestsellers, Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results, and Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale—part of the Eric Ries series, and a HBR must read for CEOs and business leaders. He writes for The Economist, and is faculty at Singularity University.
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About Keynote Speaker
Barry is the co-founder of Nobody Studios, a crowd-infused, high-velocity venture studio with the mission to create 100 compelling companies over the next 5 years.
Barry is author of two international bestsellers, Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results, and Lean Enterprise: How High-Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale—part of the Eric Ries series, and a HBR must-read for CEOs and business leaders. He writes for The Economist, and is faculty at Singularity University.
Finding my fit
While studying at university in Dublin, I was lucky enough to get work experience as a software engineer in San Francisco at the start of the .com boom with a company that almost merged with Elon Musk’s first company, Zip2. So Elon and I go way back… This gave me my first glimpse of how technology can improve business models and connect people.
My first real job was in Scotland as a software engineer at a pioneering mobile games development startup. We were a tiny team sitting in a little prefab building, but we had clients like Sony, Sega and Disney knocking on our door because we were some of the first people making multiplayer mobile phone games. Business was crazy and I was figuring out on the fly how to build, test and iterate using early Agile methods. This taught me how to shift our business mindset from a ‘can we build it’ to ‘should we build it’ and find ways to manage the uncertainties in building products.
Time to think
We just didn’t know how to scale a company, and eventually it sadly went bust. I spent 6 months backpacking around South America – a great learning experience. I was completely outside my comfort zone – traveling on my own in places where I didn’t speak the language. These experiences taught me the magic of leaning into the unknown and the confidence this gives you. I had time to reflect on what I really wanted to do next.
Learning through teaching
From South America, I went to Australia to see the Rugby World Cup, loved it, stayed and started working on an $800m Asia Pacific government-funded education initiative – essentially using digital gameplay to teach kids everything from math to languages. This gave me great insights into building and leading cross-functional teams across cultures and the power of purpose to inspire and motivate.
Exploring to stay curious
I travelled around Africa and Europe and then lived in New York for a short time before working again in Australia and then in the Philippines for the World Health Organization. I’ve always believed in working to live, and my experiences in these places gave me a really good perspective on the world and my place in it.
Engineering to enterprise
I joined ThoughtWorks in London, pioneers of technology and product development practices, and ended up running business transformation globally with huge brands like British Airways, Barclays and The Economist – working with and learning from some of the most talented people I’ve met. I could see many large corporations struggling to respond to changing market conditions and customer needs – unable to adapt their businesses and products to keep pace, especially at scale. These experiences laid the ground for Lean Enterprise. The book took off and led to work with senior leaders all around the world.
Enterprise to entrepreneur
I moved back to the US and started building my brand and working with amazing leaders in all types of companies. ExecCamp was born to help leaders understand and model change, and I joined Singularity University as a way of empowering an international community of leaders to address global challenges through tech. The more I worked with leaders, the more I realized that the biggest problem was not teaching them new skills, but helping them unlearn the ones that are holding them back. This led to me writing Unlearn.
Expanding as an entrepreneur
2018 to 2020
The publication of Unlearn opened doors to more consulting work and non-exec director roles at places like Just3Things, ThoughtForma and AgileCraft (bought by Atlassian). Whether at large global corporates or exciting new startups, I guide executive teams who are doing something I believe in – working with leaders in the US, Europe, and increasingly Asia. All of this, of course, feeds back into my writing and my work to help people grow and do good things.
Creating a crowd-infused future for venture building
2021 - now
As you’ve probably noticed, I’m constantly challenging you (and myself) on how companies need to innovate. The increase in technology change, market demand and customer expectations is accelerating—at a speed most can’t imagine. This reality led me to cofounder Nobody Studios, a venture studio that seeks to make entrepreneurship and venture building accessible for all. Our mission is to create 100 compelling businesses in the next five years. No one has ever attempted what we’re doing. So if you’re an impact-driven person like me, join the journey. Help change the world in a truly unique way, and shape the future of company creation for the better.
Keynote Speaker Topics
– Business advisor
– Pioneered the intersection of business model innovation
– Product development
– Organizational design
– Culture transformation.
"We knew that to truly become more customer-focused, we needed better ways of developing new products rooted in a more innovative and collaborative culture"