DANIEL N. LEWIS, A00
HOME: New York City
LATEST JOB: Director of new media communications for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street and several other educational television programs
OLD JOBS: Vice president of business development for Wikia, Inc.; associate attorney with Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
DRAWN TO SESAME WORKSHOP BY: His two boys, four-year-old Ethan and two-year-old Alex. “If you saw how many Sesame Street toys they have, you’d just assume that I work here. As of January, you’d be right.”
FASCINATING NEW COLLEAGUES: Muppets! “My favorite is Grover. His kind of pure-hearted oblivious-ness is rare.”
EXCITING NEW PROJECT: The Sesame Street Twitter account. “The characters were already tweeting before I started, so from day one, I’ve been able to feel the overwhelming love—honestly, there’s no other word for it—that everyone seems to have for them.”
SPORTS INTERESTS: “I’m a huge Mets fan. Huge. And I can talk about fantasy football all day.”
BLOG HE RECOMMENDS: Secondavenuesagas.com, about New York City’s transit system.
HIS IDEA OF A GOOD READ: Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, the best-sellers by “rogue economist” Steven D. Leavitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner; Permission Marketing, by Seth Godin, E82, about what’s next for advertising; Blink or anything else by Malcolm Gladwell.
DEFINING TRAITS: Loves fun, loves a challenge, finds that the two have a way of going together. And takes humbling realizations in stride, which has served him well as a dad: “Everything I thought was right turned out to be wrong.”
REMEMBERS WHEN: Elmo was a “new” character. “To me, he still is.”
HIS EDUCATION: B.A., Tufts (economics); J.D., Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
DICK WERBY, A57
HOME: Carlsbad, California
PROFESSION: Entrepreneur, with ventures including real estate deals, T-shirt shops, car rentals, manufacturing (tape, labels, and envelopes), and an office supply store
STROKE OF GENIUS: Inventing and patenting the ubiquitous packing list envelope, the stick-on pouch that “has been used by everyone who ships or receives packages”
STROKE OF GENIUS II: Inventing the four-color process used to make printed shoelaces. It was licensed to the likes of Disney and the NFL, and printed shoelaces became a fad, with over 18 million pairs sold. “People used to go through our trash hoping to find a clue to our process. In 1980, when printed shoelaces were running hot, I drove my 1954 Rolls to the New York International Gift Fair and used it as a display filled with laces. We sold hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth at that show alone.”
OBSESSION: Cars. “I have a significant collection of miniatures and have owned several real vehicles that are collectors’ items”—including that 1954 Rolls Royce. His 1966 Sunbeam Alpine won best of class at last year’s San Diego British Car Day.
STROKE OF LUCK: Happening to have called his office supply store Staples Plus. “We sold the name to the Staples chain for Southern California and made more from that one transaction than we did in the entire four years the store had been in business.”
DERIVES INSTANT GRATIFICATION FROM: Sharing his business savvy with the next generation. “I am a volunteer counselor with SCORE, an organization that provides free mentoring and training for people with small businesses, and have advised more than nine hundred clients over the past four years.” He also teaches a course on how to start a business.
DEFINING TRAITS: Zest for life, creative drive, an eye for opportunity, a steadfast refusal to take no for an answer. And a conviction that “small business is the very heart and soul of America.”
PRIDE AND JOY: His “three great, well-adjusted, successful children and five wonderful grandchildren”
ROAD NOT TAKEN: “I’ve long had a secret desire to produce movies and TV shows. Maybe it isn’t too late.”
HIS EDUCATION: B.A., Tufts (economics)