MIKE X BIO
THIS IS THE OFFICIAL BIO PAGE OF MICHAEL X FRANZINI
I am now dedicating myself to the mission of helping people live extraordinary lives.
My time is divided among online content creation, speaking engagements, writing and entrepreneurial ventures.
I also work with a limited number of individuals and organizations in an advisory role.
MY PRIMARY CAREER—UNTIL SEPTEMBER, 2020
I’ve spent most of the past quarter century creating ad campaigns to promote worthy causes.
These mainly consisted of 30-second TV spots, and about half were for MTV. Topics ranged from AIDS to The Holocaust.
These spots have had a cumulative total of around 150 billion views.
(I also created quite a few marketing campaigns for corporate clients, such as Walmart, Google and Panasonic.)
See TV spots and other videos we created at x-up.video.
MY OTHER CAREERS
For several years, I was a research scientist, working on AI at Carnegie Mellon.
Then, a marketing consultant, leader of a nonprofit, founder of a beverage company, a widely published photographer, and an advertising creative director.
TWO EMMY AWARDS AND IMPOSTOR SYNDROME
This is not a humble brag. It’s just a statement of fact. I’ve got two of these statues, and I’m in recovery from impostor syndrome.
I used to be embarrassed to bring these up. I’d say, “they’re not real Emmies... they’re for TV commercials!”
Well, I’ve come to accept that they are real. They’re given out by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and they weigh only a pound less than the average newborn (just like the ones The Simpsons has—all 34 of them).
SOME THINGS I'VE DONE
We orchestrated a first-of-its kind Global Online Town Hall hosted by Al Gore. The event took place simultaneously in 15 cities, with a room full of several hundred young people in each location—all linked using a brand new technology platform. Also included Dean Kamen and astronaut Sally Ride.
Bill and Melinda Gates called us 3 weeks before they were to appear on Oprah, and they needed a platform to engage viewers with their mission to fix America’s schools. We delivered. Oprah used our content to expand to two episodes with the Gates. Our work became a 3-year $5M campaign.
We minted a quarter of a million coins that resemble pennies and used street teams to sneak them into circulation in NYC. The URL iKnow.tv was on the coins. This was one element of a guerrilla campaign driving young people to get tested for HIV. The campaign received massive earned media.
Billionaire philanthropist Tim Gill gave us a $1M budget to “move the needle” in ultra-conservative Colorado Springs on public opinion regarding one question: whether people are born gay or choose to be gay. We created a puppy named Norman who’s just like every other puppy, except he was born different; instead of barking, he moos.
Working with MTV, we conducted street interviews in 4 cities across the U.S., asking teens what the Holocaust was. The results were so shocking that the network agreed to dedicate $50M of airtime to a campaign to make the Holocaust relevant to young Americans today. We produced it.
WE INTRODUCED THIS POWERFUL NEW SUPPLEMENT TO AMERICA IN JANUARY, 2021
Sulforaphane is one of the most beneficial supplements you can take. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that it supports healthy aging, improves cognitive function, boosts immunity and supports heart health. Our product, BROQ, is in a league of its own—as the most potent sulforaphane supplement on the planet.
We launched a line of premium beverages based on guayusa, an herb from South America that simultaneously energizes and calms you. The Wall Street Journal dedicated half of the front page of the business section to us.
THE STORY OF YOUTH CULTURE IN AMERICA
PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS
I photographed and interviewed 100 teens from all 50 states. Our team spent six months assembling a group that represents a true cross section of American youth culture: encompassing every kind of kid, from mainstream to fringe, in every kind of place, from urban to rural and isolated. Received a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly.
• Worked with Elton John and Mary J Blige on a unique HIV prevention campaign. x-up.com/elton
• Worked with will.i.am on a project to promote STEM learning. x-up.com/will-i-am
• Interviewed teens worldwide for U.S. education campaign. x-up.com/camm
• Conducted a bold social experiment on passive bystanders. x-up.com/rock-the-vote
• Created a book of babies from 50 states for Johnson & Johnson. x-up.com/johnsons-baby
• Created a nationwide movement to promote affordable homes for all Americans. home-one.org
• Board member & strategic advisor for company applying AI to national security. homeland.ai
• Board member & strategic advisor for company that creates AI training data. sigma.ai
I’m also an abstract oil painter, a competitive folkstyle wrestler, and I race BMX.