I just supported Make diabetes playful for kids on @ThunderclapIt // @diabetesbear


"There are a lot of new areas to tackle in the technology space, and in the industries and types of problems we tackle. I really believe we are just scratching the surface, and I can’t wait to see what Watson will transform next."INSIDE THE INVENTIVE MINDLeanne LeBlanc Product ManagerIBM Watson Solutions


"There are a lot of new areas to tackle in the technology space, and in the industries and types of problems we tackle. I really believe we are just scratching the surface, and I can’t wait to see what Watson will transform next."

Leanne LeBlanc
Product Manager
IBM Watson Solutions

Could you imagine? 


NASA’s satellite image of the snow covered east coast on January 3rd, 2013.

Sorry guys, it’s 70 and sunny here in LA :)

2013: The Year in Review

Almost a decade ago, I found myself in a skatepark in Sunnyvale, CA. Across the park I noticed a man in a wheelchair ripping around the park. Curious, I rolled closer, only to find that he was hosting a class for children in wheelchairs. He was teaching them how to participate in extreme sports. Having just received a pirated copy of photoshop from my godmother, I decided to leverage my newly acquired design “skills” to produce some stickers for his organization. Though I was only 16, this was a pivotal moment for me, as it was the moment when I decided what I wanted to do the rest of my life, and it was the moment I became a pro-bono practitioner. Flash forward to right now, Dec 21, 2013, I never would have imagined that all of this would have evolved into what verynice has become. 

I am grateful for my business partner, Bora Shin, for growing this vision with me over the past 2 years. We are both incredibly honored to have been able to work with such an amazing team in 2013 including Luca Barton, Chris Cherrie, Patrick Chew, Bryan Deras, Scott Fairbanks, Angie Fu, Cindy Hammond, Adrian Mendez, Alisa Olinova, Dasha Orlova, Kyla Rae, Lily Sin, Kate Slovin, Jarad Solomon, Aarti Vashisht, and Sheena Yoon. 

At the end of each year, I write down all of the studio’s milestones and accomplishments. Because 2013 was our most incredible year to date, I decided to make this list public by sharing with you some of our favorite highlights from 2013.

Media Recognition/Public Appearences:

  • 45 Publications including Forbes, GOOD Magazine, ESPN, PBS, MTV, and Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • 5 Awards/Honors including Taproot’s “Golden Root” award for outstanding commitment to pro-bono service.
  • 60 Talks/Workshops/Panels at venues and events including UCLA, USC, AIGA, Code for America, and Teach for America
  • 1 Live television appearance on Take Part Live 

Give Half Mission Milestones:

  • 250 Volunteers
  • $1MM Pro-Bono
  • 50K+ Volunteer Hours

Company/Business Growth:

  • Expansion to NY at the Center for Social Innovation
  • New LA office in The HUB LA “Media Lab”
  • 300% Staff Growth
  • 100% Revenue Growth

Top 7 Project Milestones:

  1. Successful launch of our biggest national campaign to date: NRDC Demand Clean Power
  2. Mobilized 10 volunteers to initiate a 24 hour pro-bono marathon in partnership with Createathon to benefit two Los Angeles organizations
  3. Pre-launch version of long-term collaborative project, “Map Your World" experiences a successful debut on PBS.
  4. Raised $10k on IndieGoGo to successfully self-publish “How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free
  5. Collaborative project with No Right Brain Left Behind secures a $100k grant to implement concepts in an LA-based Green Dot School.
  6. Partnership with the US Department of Justice + Not in Our Town to launch a new platform to assist police officers dealing with hate crimes.
  7. Sponsorship of “Clothed in Strength and Dignity”, a fashion show fundraiser, raises 200% of its goal to combat human trafficking issues in Vegas.

We can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring for verynice. On behalf of the entire team at verynice, and I, thank you all for your continued support of our efforts. Please continue to share our story and mission widely. Happy new year!

Matthew Manos
founder, verynice


@veryniceinstagram and @verynice_b speaking at #dco on how to give half your work away for free (at Pasadena)

Hooray! 10k twitter followers.

Hey now! Did you hear the news? We met our goal, but have a mew set of milestones! Please continue to give by spreading the word and / or donating today at http://igg.me/at/verynice

A doodle dedicated to @codeforamerica. It is a great pleasure to have been invited to workshop + mentor the 2013 CFA accelerator class! #socent #design

Quick thought: Innovation is not just for billionaires

Like many people on the social web, when I heard about Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, I jumped for joy. “You mean I can slide over to New York in 45 minutes? Sign me up!” was my first thought. In lieu of that very fast initial reaction, I will absolutely admit that I am personally fascinated by, and open to, Musk’s concept of the Hyperloop. However, upon deeper personal reflection (read: more than 5 minutes of kicking the idea around), I really could not, and can not, see a rational reason for investing in an innovation like this over other more pressing and immediate issues that go deeper than making cross-country commute and collaboration easier for those that don’t know how to use skype. 

Now… all of that said, this short post is not about the hyperloop or Elon Musk… instead, it is about an issue much bigger, one that our Steve Jobs idolizing society has really begun to dug ourselves into, likely without realizing it: the myth that innovation can only come from the most elite.

Mashable recently posted an article about Elon Musk’s “hyperloop dreams.” In the excerpt blurb posted on facebook, it read: “We need more billionaires like Musk to take on innovation challenges. Do you agree?” Now, I don’t normally get angsty and post comments on mass media facebook posts, but this time I really felt compelled to.

"That doesn’t give off such a great message, actually. He is brilliant, and a lot of billionaires are, but you don’t need to be rich to be innovative. Innovation can come from anyone regardless of age, gender, race, economic status, or religion." is what I left as a comment responding to the prompt: "Do you agree?"

In my free time, I enjoy mentoring young entrepreneurs, and startups that are operating in the social impact space. The first thing I hear from any of the dozens of individuals I have mentored over the years is a concern for needing money to succeed in business, and to be respected. This concern always crushes me. Unfortunately, society has painted a picture that has made it seem as though being a billionaire is a pre-requisite for being able to come up with life-changing, sustainable ideas. This is a shame because being “innovative” and thinking “creatively” is not at all a skill that is solely owned by the extremely rich.

The truth is that great ideas, as corny as it will sound, can come from anyone. You do not need to have a million twitter followers, a billion bucks, or a dozen cars to contribute to society. You just need a good idea.