Thousand Network Blog

Voting on the final logo!

After an in depth analysis of the narrative and core values, the visual branding team created a logo concept using a rigorous development process. Now, we’d love your help to finalize the process and obtain a final logo and color scheme. Please check the pdf and vote with the link below!

Brand narrative:

Thousand Network is a mobile society of remarkable young people. We cook up molecular gastronomy, perform pop sonatas, build social empires, and craft radical policy. We bridge geographies and disciplines, designing opportunities for meaningful conversation, collaboration, and discovery. We are bound by our curiosity and creativity, and a value system that emphasizes kindness and integrity as much as ambition and accomplishment. The world is our lab, and altruism is our currency. With over 900 members in 40 cities on 5 continents, we’re connecting tomorrow’s global leaders today.

  • curiosity
  • audacity
  • generosity
  • playfulness
  • vulnerability

We began with explorations in texture and color, which, through multiple feedback rounds within the branding working group, eventually led to a more symbol-driven motif. The logo had to be a symbol that could resonate with a global demographic, was ethnically ambiguous, and gender neutral.

 We first explored different potential concepts:

  • Exploration 1: Circles > warmth and playfulness
  • Exploration 2: Building blocks > support
  • Exploration 3: Thinkers and doers > lateral thinkers, vertical expertise
  • Exploration 4: Nations and flags > global identity > 30 nations > 30 patterns
  • Exploration 5: network > cross-overs > intersections > asterisk

To pursue the process, the branding narrative and visual teams voted and chose:
“Exploration 5: network > cross-overs > intersections > asterisk”.

From there, the visual team went back to the drawing board to draw this concept out into 4 stages:

  • Exploration 5a: development of pattern and texture, to create an ID that represented the dynamic quality of our group. Intersection of Depth and Dynamism
  • Exploration 5b: Refinement of ID, digging deeper into the symbolism behind the motif, and color concept development
  • Exploration 5c: Narrowing down over 200 different iterations, typeface study in parallel within working group
  • Exploration 5d: Bring concepts down to 2 options and 3 color palettes



An animated .gif that shows the logo exploration process.


 The logo concept we designed revolves around the asterisk. Created through intersecting paths, the asterisk evokes a sense of curiosity, playfulness and audacity, which resonates with our core community values. In written language, we put an asterisk next to something when we want to emphasize additional depth. Through a symbolic layering of polygons at its center, the motif speaks to the rich layering of diverse backgrounds, super powers, and experiences of our members.



Now we need your help!

To choose the final logo, we’d love for the community to:

  • pick one of the two asterisks – A or B
  • pick one of the three color schemes – 1, 2 or 3

Key consideration as you help make a final decision:

  • Is this legible, scalable?
  • Can the symbolism be misconstrued in any way?
  • Is this identifiable within your regional context?

A Thousand Hugs,

 Visual Branding Team
Aisha Sheikh
Eoin Bara
Steve Tam
Thierry Blancpain


By-laws draft, v.1 (with survey results)


This post follows Tia’s post a couple of weeks ago on building our by laws.

To enhance the draft, we put out a survey on 19th Feb to the community to get a pulse for how the community felt on some of the questions we are facing. As we mentioned, the survey was by no means a decisive vote – simply a way to see where the engaged members of the community stand on those key issues. Survey results are now in and we’d like to share those with you, as well as an updated draft of the bylaws, edited with those results in mind.

Basic survey outcomes:

Participants: 263 – or 26.6 % of the community


Age limit & alumni 60% of participants think we should have an age limit, v. 30% think we shouldn’t.70% think “alumni” should remain within the same community There was a good consensus that our community isn’t really about our age, but more about our mindset and values. Age becomes a factor in recruitment to make sure the community stays “young” and “fresh”, but once a member, always a member.
Class v. rolling apps 56% prefer the class model v. 36% prefer rolling applications The class model favors a higher quality of members with tighter selection, more of a community feel & fosters strong bonds when new members join (small group within the larger group). Also helps with timelines and application management from ambassador standpoint.
Removing inactive members 48% of participants would support a process to remove inactive members, 35% think we shouldn’t remove them Generally, there seems to be a feeling that we’re bound by our engagement as well as our values, and apathy / inaction towards the community becomes destructive. However, removal can only happen if there is a well-defined criteria beforehand.
Full-time team 70% believe we need to have a full time team to run the community However, would need to happen with 100% transparency on salary.
Member fees 52% support having membership fees, while 30% don’t. Most people seem to be supportive of a membership fee to support a full time team. Four comments stand out: 1) a clear delineation of the benefits, 2) total transparency on how the budget is used, 3) necessary to have some financial aid for those who can’t afford it, and 4) the need to start with a lean team


Here are the full results of the survey:

Additional responses:

Again those results aren’t decisive – they simply paint a picture of what our most active quarter of the community thinks. We nonetheless find them telling and we are keen to make sure the bylaws reflect the sentiment of the community.

With this in mind, below is a draft of the by-laws we suggest. As a reminder, this was drafted over several months with input from many members – as Tia explained in her post.

We’d love for you all to read over those, and submit comments for each section in this google form. We’ll collect all answers, share results, and revise the bylaws accordingly, before sharing a second version for us all to vote on.

Timeline moving forward:

  • March 29: comment on bylaws
  • April 5: final bylaws draft
  • April 6-12: bylaws review
  • April 13-19: community vote

Thanks for all your efforts so far – excited to see this through! 

Again the key links here are:


Look out for a more detailed post on the Membership Fees soon!


Transition Team




Who are the members?

Rahaf and I were catching up over falafel in Paris. It was August, 2012, and this was one of the only restaurants still open during the vacation month. We shared stories of international travel, updated each other on our wide-ranging projects, and conferred about the challenges of maintaining healthy relationships and close friendships in light of it all.

At one point, she smiled at me and said, “Do you know what I love about this group? It reminds me that we’re normal.”

Two and a half years later, the members of our community are as diverse as ever. We’re writing books, building companies, performing concerts, organizing festivals, reinventing industries, traveling the world, and more. Rather than present a collection of bios and hint at who we really are, here are some of my favorite shared qualities that bring us together as family:

Growth – We believe that anything is improvable through hard work. Life is an opportunity for learning.

Presence – We believe in showing up and truly listening to each other. 

Vulnerability – We believe in letting ourselves be seen. We let the professional guards down, and ask for help when we need it.

Abundance – We believe that life and relationships are a positive-sum game. We delight in helping each other succeed.

Curiosity – We love exploring new ideas and meeting new people, not purely for the sake of novelty but rather because it is meaningful.

Adventure – We all have our own version of the status quo that we have left behind. We cross borders and find home and community wherever we go.

We all are at different points in our lives. Some of us are undergoing a phase of expansion, when we seek inspiration and broaden our understanding of what is possible. Others are experiencing a phase of distinction, when we discover our voice and begin to make a name for ourselves in our chosen fields. Many members have already started to achieve a measure of distinction in their projects, and are seeking opportunities to deepen their influence in the community. (We’ll elaborate more on these phases of growth in a future post!)

We all have our own stories of shared adventures and life-alteringly meaningful moments with members of this community. Together, we get to celebrate being more than our polished bio of our professional life. We are friends. We are family.

We all have our own favorite qualities we seek, and reasons why we get to feel “normal” with each other.

So what are your favorite qualities of members?

Evan Samek

Bylaws working group

Bylaws…the beginning

Hi Friends

As part of our mandate, we are meant to construct the Bylaws for the community. This is a document which Thousand Network members agree on to represent the values, mission, objectives and operations of the community. It lays the foundation for any legal and financial arrangements and the processes that underpin the engagement, accountability and responsibilities of members.

This is a short note to let you know what we’re up to next and what you can expect to hear about in the next few months. Time to have a good chat about what we want this community to be. This post will bring you up to speed with the Bylaws, which the Transition Board hopes will be the foundation for Thousand Network going forward.


What we’ve done so far:

On the 16th January I posted on our Facebook Group to ask who would like to work on the Bylaws with the Board, calling for those who have the time and the experience. Many members, who were interested in applying their knowledge, got in touch via FB and email. After checking-in with all responders individually on Skype, to collect opinions and suggestions, the following people were kind enough to offer their support and have thus become a working group offering helpful advice to the Board. These are: Kostas Grammatis; Evan Samek; Michel Bachmann; James McBennett; Richard Hylerstedt; Andreas Brenner; Denis Baranov; Sartaj Anand; Alvaro Guirao López; Tiziano Galli; Dominic Llewellyn; Claudio Limacher and Denis Baranov. The boys have stepped up – are there any girls interested in joining?

Based on these discussions, on the 21st of Jan a brief for the Bylaws was written and sent to the committee, advancing on Kosta’s version. The committee responded, and within 2 weeks there were many helpful suggestions, which took us a month to reflect on and digest. Some questions needing a pulse from the community were included in the following survey (deadline 5th March).

Next up:

1. After the 5th of March, the results of the survey will be available in our Google Docs for your perusal. I’ll be using these and further suggestions from the committee to construct the first draft of the Bylaws. These will be available for you to suggest alterations to on 16th March. You will have till the end of March to respond with any suggestions and improvements.

2. We will aim to have the second draft of the Bylaws by mid-April.

3. Meanwhile, to aid us to put the Bylaws into practice, we are brainstorming the content of an Implementation plan. This will include the ratification of the Bylaws and guidance going forward for our community. Please let us know if you would like to be a part of the team to do this. Early April the Implementation Plan Draft_1 will be available for your comments.

If you have a better suggestion, or have previous experience of this process, please get in contact. There are some crucial questions we need to discuss and I hope you will use this blog to comment on how you feel about the process, or to give constructive comments, send me an email on /FB message me.

Helping Each Other Apply to Singularity University

This summer in Silicon Valley, the amazing GSP program by Singularity University will take place. It’s a ten-week program at the NASA Reseach Center in Palo Alto to learn about the capabilities of technology and how we can apply it to solve the world’s biggest challenges in areas such as healthcare, education and others. There’s 80 spots available and probably thousands of applicants. A couple of weeks ago, Google announced that they would pay the tuition fee for any admitted student. At $30,000 (US), I’m sure that this further majorly increased the number of applicants since it’s now only the application process that serves as the barrier to entry.

So how could I maximize my chances to get in amongst all these applications?

Singularity University has been very active across social media and because it has such a vast faculty, an enormous amount of information on it can be found on the Internet. A successful application then depends on your ability to efficiently boil it down to the most valuable pieces you can find online and communicating an engaging story that relates to these fields to the recruiting team at Singularity University. As no applicant can know everything, your application also likely benefits from other applicants or even program alumni reviewing your application.

So about 12 weeks before the deadline, I realized that this task was way too big for me to handle all by myself. There was so much information out there, I couldn’t possibly read and watch all of it myself in the time I had. I also realized that I could never catch every important detail since I’d definitely miss some websites. I needed to team up with others and access their knowledge. Inevitably, this meant sharing my own learnings and knowledge, but that’s something that you have to give in order to get.

How our individual members’ applications suddenly became a group effort

I posted on our Thousand Network Facebook group if anyone would be interested in such a collaboration. The response I got was mind blowing. Over 40 past GSP alumni as well as future applicants raised their hands and wanted to get involved. Suddenly, it was a goup effort. It took me a couple of days to put all my knowledge on paper. My goal was to curate a guide on everything around Singularity University. Using a simple Google doc containing my knowledge as a starting point, I invited our community to crowd collaborate on this guide. I also set up a Facebook group for alumni and applicants so that we could help each other out with any questions that would come up while filling out the application.

What did all of us applying members get out of it?

The results have been more than I could have asked for.

While not being perfect, the Thousand Network guide on Singularity University (access it here) now contains over ten pages of succinct information and resources around Singularity University collected by Thousand network members and will be continuously improved by the help of the global crowd.

The Facebook group really helped in removing a lot of uncertainties around any member’s application. By being able to exchange directly with GSP alumni (even if you’ve never met them), us applicants could ask questions on topics that we weren’t sure about. More importantly, we could ask them directly to people who often had answers (as opposed to guessing) and if they didn’t know they could point us to places where we would find the answers. Hence, I think it’s fair to say that it greatly increased the quality of all our members’ applications.

What did I personally get out of it?

I believe for any group project to work, there has to be an individual benefit as well. For me personally I feel like this little side project has helped me on three levels:

  • Firstly, it created a community within a community, making all of us applicants feel less alone and lost while applying to the GSP.
  • Secondly, it definitely opened me up to this new world of crowd sourcing, which before, I had witnessed a lot but never made use of myself. On a very practical level, it showed me the value of this approach and I’ll be sure to use it in many different projects in the future!
  • Lastly, I really think that this undertaking helped make my application that much better and so I truly hope I will be among the 80 students who make it to Singularity University this year!

Announcing the Soft Launch of our Brand Narrative


Voting for Name Concept December – January
Developing Brand Narrative January – February
Developing Visual Identity February – March
Public Launch of New Brand March

Background on the branding process

In January, our community voted for a name concept that would convey our new identity to the world in a clear, strong voice. The community ultimately chose a weightier narrative that incorporates our brand’s warmth and edginess. The next step, which we are announcing today, was to incorporate your feedback and transform the ‘One Thousand’ concept into a final name and narrative.

The brand team combined your feedback with our professional knowledge, and tried our best to ensure the name and narrative are:

  • simple, searchable, pronounceable, understandable across geographies
  • consistent across all platforms (social media, web)
  • identifiable within a global context
  • steering away from rhetoric that could be perceived as elitist (i.e. the “One” in One Thousand)

Narrative and naming guidelines

The team developed a set of guidelines for our brand, that we believe strengthens and best reflects the concept we voted on last month. Please note that today is a soft launch of the narrative and name guidelines. The new brand will be officially launched with the visual identity next month and there may be small tweaks to what you see here in order to properly align this narrative with the forthcoming visual identity.

Written Thousand Network or 1000 Network or 1000
Pronounced Thousand or Thousand Network
Social Media @ThousandNetwork
Hubs written as Thousand Network/Tokyo
Why ‘Thousand Network’?

We settled on Thousand Network because it’s easy to own, easy to remember, easy to say, flexible, and globally identifiable. After much deliberation, we dropped the word ‘one’ as well as the slash (/) to make it easier to verbalize our name. The name emphasizes ‘thousand’ as an anchor and has symmetry when the full name is spoken or written. We decided on the word ‘network’ because it is accurate. We think ‘network’ best represents what the community means to different members (friends network, professional network). Network will resonate to external audiences, even if internally it seems a little dry. In the end, the qualifier in our name shouldn’t be something you have to explain, and network makes it easy to grasp.

Our Values

The first step in the narrative process was to nail down the values that represent who we are as a community, and thus would guide what the narrative should convey. All Thousand Network brand expression (written and verbal communication, web design, event experience, etc) should reflect these values as much as possible. Please use these values as a keystone when designing something for our community.

  • curiosity
  • audacity
  • generosity
  • playfulness
  • vulnerability
About Us Paragraph

Thousand Network is a mobile society of remarkable young people. We cook up molecular gastronomy, perform pop sonatas, build social empires, and craft radical policy. We bridge geographies and disciplines, designing opportunities for meaningful conversation, collaboration, and discovery. We are bound by our curiosity and creativity, and a value system that emphasizes kindness and integrity as much as ambition and accomplishment. The world is our lab, and altruism is our currency. With over 900 members in 40 cities on 5 continents, we’re connecting tomorrow’s global leaders today.


We decided that for the moment it makes sense to see how the community evolves and develops this organically. Whether we call ourselves Thousanders, O/Ters, Otters or, Onesies, the brand committee wants the community to create and own how it refers to itself. At a later point we may formalize it, but for now there are no guidelines for a demonym.


There are a number of options for hashtags. To give the governance team flexibility, we will also let this develop organically. Our recommendation is to use #ThousandNetwork for official posts, but to also get creative; i.e. #ThousandNetwork, #ThousandNET #1000NET #mille #ThNet #1000NYC

General Guidelines:
  • Name Usage: We ask the community to collectively drop the word ‘One’ and the slash ‘/’ from our name. Please see above for the rationale.
  • Hub Names: All hubs will refer to themselves as Thousand Network rather than translating the name into local languages. This will give the brand global consistency, cohesion and eminence. i.e. Thousand Network/SF, Thousand Network/Tokyo

What’s next?

Over the next few weeks the brand committee’s visual team will create our visual identity strategy. This is where stylized versions of Thousand Network will begin to take shape (i.e. 1/000). If you have comments and input, please continue to bring them to our attention on the blog or via Facebook and email. Building a brand is inherently an iterative process, and we’re so excited to share the evolution of our community’s story with all of you.

Thanks for your enthusiasm and input!

The Brand Narrative Team
Radha Mistry, Melissa Richer, Stella Tran, Robert Bolton, with guidance from Michael Mayernick

Moving from a name to a brand

Now that we have a new name, we’ll move on to creating a memorable and suitable brand narrative and identity. To accomplish this, we’ve asked some branding experts in our community to put together a timeline for achieving the following:

  • Core narrative (including messaging and naming details)
  • Brand strategy (including digital and PR approach)
  • Visual identity & guidelines with logo, type + color, and digital (website guidelines)

Specifically, Melissa Richer (San Francisco), Robert Bolton (Toronto) and Sagarika Sundaram (London),  will be working on story and narrative, while Thierry Blancpain (Zurich), founder of Grilli Type Foundry and the designer of the Sandbox logo, Eoin Bara (Dublin), founder of V7, and Steve Tam (Toronto), founder of, have all kindly agreed to submit design proposals. Radha and I will facilitate the process with both groups.

Here’s the timeline we’ll follow:

Feb 1 – Work commences on One Thousand brand narrative and visual identity

Feb 23 – Brand team to update community on narrative/PR/naming details

Mar 8 – Brand team to share visual direction in a blog post + town hall for feedback

Mar 31 – Brand team to share final visual direction and final narrative

At each juncture, we’d love to get your feedback on the ideas that are coming out. At the end of March, we’ll have a new visual identity, a story to tell and brand guidelines.

Get ready. History is in the making.


Get involved early

Our recent debates over naming have served as a good reminder of the diversity of opinions in this community. As an example, in the midst of the naming process, we would receive contradictory emails from members. “Three names is too much, you should just propose one name and let’s go for it” wrote one member a few minutes before another member told us: “we have to vote on all names, that’s the most democratic.” At every step of the way, we got contradictory feedback. On the same evening, I spent 1.5 hours on the phone with a member who passionately defended a specific name that another member had, one hour earlier, called “pathetic.” Even with the three names the Branding Committee had proposed, opinions diverged: “I personally like Wayfare a lot” wrote someone on the Facebook group, before another responded: “I don’t get it.” Some loved the “warmth” of Canopy, others find it “bland.” Some loved the symbolism behind One/Thousand, others thought it was “elitist.”

Those differences partly result from the diversity of our individual experiences within this community. Some hubs have tight-knit groups of members who meet on a weekly basis; others only meet a few times a year. Some members are surrounded by their closest friends in the community; others are alone in their hub. Some members travel the world to create bonds of friendship across borders; others rarely attend local dinners. Some members consider our community as a place for authenticity and growth; others leverage it largely as a professional network. As a result, everybody comes to the table with different expectations. It’s heartening to see so many members care deeply about the direction we are taking. At the same time, it’s important to keep this diversity in mind in our discussions and acknowledge that (as another member highlighted) “we will never be able to satisfy everyone.”

As a transition board, sensitivity to this diversity of thought is our primary mission. We do not feel empowered to make decisions on behalf of the community. Rather, we seek to listen to those who want to provide their input, and facilitate a discussion as well as a decision-making process based on those inputs. Process seems to us to be the most important word here. To transcend the diversity of thought our community represents, a collaboratively-designed process becomes our collective ally. Only by agreeing on a process ahead of time can we then move beyond our differences and agree on the outcome, even if we disagree with the outcome at face value.

Moving forward, we’d like to extend an opportunity for every member to get more involved in the initial stages of decision-making – when we’re determining the process. Once the process is engaged, we are charged with taking the community forward following that process. In the interest of rest of the membership as well as time, it becomes difficult (even unfair) for us to change the process in favor of individual suggestions. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be suggesting processes to move forward on by-laws and governance, and we’d like to invite everyone to join the conversation early in the game. As we post, please use the comments section or drop by town halls to ask questions and contribute. If you can’t join in (for whatever reason), please trust your fellow One/Thousand members who did.

A new name

The people have spoken!

Over the past week, 606 members of our community voted on their choice for a new name. Thank you to everyone who participated and took the time to voice concerns, questions and opinions. The final results were selected according to the Single Transferable Vote method. After months of work and a week of deliberation, the community has chosen a name that represents who we are — we are a thousand ideas, a thousand people, a thousand friendships…We are One/Thousand:

One/Thousand is a mobile society of remarkable young people. We cook up molecular gastronomy, perform pop sonatas, build social empires, and craft radical policy. We bridge geographies and disciplines, designing opportunities for meaningful conversation, collaboration, and discovery. We are bound by our curiosity and creativity, and a value system that emphasizes kindness and integrity as much as ambition and accomplishment. The world is our lab, and altruism is our currency. With over 900 members in 40 cities on 5 continents, we’re connecting tomorrow’s global leaders today.

Our next step is to improve on this first brand story as well as design a visual identity. Together with the name, these should represent our narrative. We’re still working on the timeline and deliverables for this, and will communicate it all in the next few days.

In this process, we’ll continue to incorporate feedback as we go so please don’t hesitate to leave comments. What do you think is missing from this name? What does this name not evoke that you’d like to find in the visual identity and tone of voice?

You can see the detailed results of the vote in the following pdf:

Voting Method Explained

While voting for our new name, you may have noticed that the poll asked for you to rank your preferences, rather than simply vote for your preferred name. Recognizing the importance people feel around their naming preferences, we wanted to ensure that member’s full preferences were considered when deciding a name. As a result, the board decided to use something called Instant-runoff Voting (IRV), also known as preferential voting. IRV takes into account more than a voter’s top choice. Most importantly, IRV ensures that the our winning name of three options has the support of most voters.

In IRV, the winning candidate must secure a majority of votes. If no majority is present, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and those individuals who voted for the eliminated candidate then have their second choice represented – they essentially get to recast their vote with the reduced field of options. In this manner, IRV simulates a runoff election, but without requiring multiple rounds of voting. The least popular choice is eliminated and the vote is “instantly” rerun with the two remaining candidates, based on voters’ preferences.

In our case, it turned out that the name with the most votes under IRV also had the most number of #1 votes, although the margin was considerably smaller when second choices were factored in. Rerunning the vote with the top two options ensured that the winner secured a majority of the vote.

You can read more about Instant-runoff Voting on Wikipedia. Or you can watch a cartoon explanation.