Stefanie Syman
Digital Media Expert and Yogi

In 1995, Stefanie Syman co-founded FEED (formerly, one of the first web media sites and an award-winning independent web magazine. For the next six years, she acted as a co-editor and co-publisher of the magazine. In 2000, Syman was part of the creative team that founded, a content and community site focused on pop culture, and just five years later, as Editorial Director, she helped launch, a site focused on healthy living and sustainability. Recently, as the Head of Strategy and Business Development for Atavist, Syman helped bring its mobile publishing tools to market – signing key customers including TED, Dartmouth, The Wall Street Journal, and The Paris Review, among others and establishing a partnership with The Pearson Foundation to launch The Digital Storymakers Award.


Syman has also been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for more than fifteen years, an experience that influenced the writing of The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, where she tells the surprising story of yoga’s transformation from centuries-old spiritual discipline to a multi-million dollar American industry.


As a pioneer in digital media as well as an expert on yoga, Syman has been featured as a panelist and speaker at numerous events – as well as acting as an occasional commentator on live TV. Recently, she spoke at the Books in Browsers conference, and has also been featured in two documentary films, Yoga, Inc. and Ashtanga, NY.

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The Subtle Body
The Story of Yoga in America
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

In The Subtle Body, Stefanie Syman tells the surprising story of yoga’s transformation from a centuries-old spiritual discipline to a multibillion-dollar American industry.

From Heathens to Hackers – The Surprising Parallels Between Yoga and the Internet: This talk will explore how Americans assimilate new ideas – whether it’s a centuries old spiritual technology (ie: yoga) or modern-day technological advances like the Internet or 3D printers. The strikingly similar patterns of assimilation around yoga and the web can help us better adapt to new technologies and take advantage of them.
Nonlinear Leadership for the Digital Age (or How to Fail Productively): This talk will spotlight leaders whose side projects, hobbies, and out and out flops have eventually yielded their biggest successes. Using anecdotes from her own life as well as those from renown entrepreneurs, Syman will show how the oddest and most seemingly circuitous paths can have a deep and discernible trajectory, as well as how to better exploit the bends in the road.
The Rise (and Fall) of the Entrepreneurial Class: The last several years have seen the emergence of two powerful trends: crowd-funding and the digital cloud. Together, this means that it is easier than ever to start a business whether it be a company focused on all-digital publishing, or one that manufactures home goods and clothing. This talk will cover how these historic forces create more opportunity than ever, but will also serve as a counterpoint to much of the press which uncritically romanticizes entrepreneurs.