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Featured on Dec 03, 2010

Cindy Gallop

"Facebook = social graph. Twitter = interest graph. IfWeRanTheWorld = action graph."


My background is brandbuilding, marketing and advertising - I moved to New York from London in 1998 to start up the US office of ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and in 2003 was named Advertising Woman of the Year. I am the founder & CEO of, a radically simple web-meets-world platform designed to turn good intentions into action, one microaction at a time - currently 9 months old in beta. I am the founder of which I launched at TED 2009. I also consult for brands and clients who want to change the game in their particular sector - I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business. :)

You live a 3,500 square-foot space within the old Chelsea YMCA that is entirely black and that you have appropriately have titled "the black apartment." From what I've read, the apartment is full of a fantastic collection of art and items that you've picked up at junkshops and flea markets around the world. What is your absolute favorite object in your apartment?

It's very hard to pick, but I think on balance it would have to be Rikki Tikki Tavi - the stuffed battling mongoose and cobra that sit on my coffee table. I bought it in a street market in Penang, Malaysia for $20, and I love it to death. It's so beautifully and sculpturally taxidermied.

Two part question… You were born in Britain, worked in London and Singapore, and have done a great deal of traveling in between. First, what's your favorite country to visit? And second, how did you decide to settle in New York?

My favorite country to visit is Japan. I love the design, the food, the service, the politeness, the order, and the way everything works.

I moved to New York in 1998 to start up the US office of the ad agency I used to work for, BBH. But I realized very soon after I moved here that I was here for life. I love this city. I love the energy, the pace, the dynamism. I can't imagine a better place to live.

Back to the black apartment. I've read that you love showing the DVD of the Nelly, Diddy, and Usher video "Nasty girl" that was shot there to your guests. Have any of your guests noticed that it was your apartment in the video before you showed them? And what's the first thing that most guests notice when they visit?

No - Diddy staged a hiphop party for 100 people in my apartment in the video, so it's pretty hard to see much of the apartment! If you know in advance it was shot in my apartment, then you can recognize things like Nelly taking a bath with two gorgeous models in my bathtub :)

I always hear the same two reactions from everyone who visits my apartment for the first time: a) 'I've never seen anything like this', and b) 'I could spend hours here.' I like that!

Your talk in 2009 at TED where you released was one of the most talked-about at the conference, and this year you're launching Can you give us a hint at what we can expect from Cindy Gallop in 2011?

Well, IfWeRanTheWorld is my full-time startup. We're just 9 months old in beta, but we have a big vision - if Facebook is the social graph, and Twitter is the interest graph, IfWeRanTheWorld is designed to be the action graph. We're trying to do something much more difficult than Facebook and Twitter - get people to actually do shit in the real world: to turn their good intentions into action via microactions. So my full focus for 2011, together with my team, is to grow the IfWeRanTheWorld community; to turn more and more intentions into networked social action; and to prove our business model, where brands pay us to activate their values into Action Programs that do good and make money simultaneously, and deliver Return on Action.

So in 2011, I want to help deliver a lot less talking and a lot more doing, from individuals and companies alike!