We’re excited to present a series of profiles on cutting-edge innovators. At Fahrenheit 212, we believe that the exchange of ideas and inspirations is a crucial piece of the innovation equation. We hope that each profile we share serves to inspire your own thinking.
This week, we profile Nathan Thornburgh, editor and CEO of Roads and Kingdoms. Nathan presented some of Roads and Kingdoms' work to the Fahrenheit 212 team at over lunch in June.
Who are you and what do you do?
Nathan Thornburgh, editor and CEO of Roads & Kingdoms.
Why do you do what do you do?
It’s a great time to be moving things forward in media, particularly in food, travel and foreign reporting.
What are the life moments that most influenced who/where you are today?
Having lived in a half-dozen different countries, not to mention Wyoming and Montana — any place that takes you out of your everyday. Those are humbling, eye-opening, hugely important challenges.
What is the first thing you do every morning? The last thing at the end of every day?
Morning: cook breakfast and lunch for four people. End of the day: bike home from a bar somewhere.
What do you never leave the house without and why?
Pen and reporters’ notebook.
What is the last book and why?
Two by Orwell: Animal Farm and Homage to Catalunya. Orwell should be required reading for all these days.
What is your favorite coffee shop and why?
No coffee shops. Just mainlining espresso at home and office.
What is your favorite app and why?
Via, because the subways are a mess.
What is your greatest life hack?
Get up an hour earlier than you have to.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
Scheduled a fundraising dinner after months of careful planning for June 12 in San Francisco, but the minute we sent the word out, I got simultaneous texts and shouts from West Coast friends and family pointing out that was Game 5 of the Finals and that we are idiots and Warriors-haters. Managed to change to June 13.
What do you think will be the next big wave in innovation?
Media with soul and a sense of identity.
What product, service, or industry do you think is most ripe for innovation?
It’s got to be Digital Advertising. So many readers and viewers, so little idea how to give them something useful.
What makes a great innovation?
It has to actually add value to society. A lot of so-called disruption has been glossy venture-backed reskins of existing industries—media, transportation, healthcare—that end up tipping those industries over without any idea of what comes next.
What is your favorite quotation?
“Tequila is a fucking vegetable.” —José Andrés