May 12, 2015

Founder’s Club Hosts Cesar Kuriyama


From one creative person to another, let’s be honest with how difficult the creative world is. Thanks to the Founders Club, I had the pleasure of listening to the path taken by Cesar Kuriyama in his journey to become an entrepreneur. He is an inspiration to all of us seeking happiness in our creative practice.


Kuriyama graduated from Pratt in 2004 with a focus on animation. He told us that while in school he “wanted to do everything.” This curiosity led him to take classes in film, photo and graphic design. His varied interests helped him to become a great problem solver, which is an important skill set to have, and everything he learned ended up being an inspiration for him.


While working as an animator, Kuriyama kept looking for projects to fulfill his creative needs. He was also into watching TED Talks and came across one by Stefan Sagmeister which motivated him to make a change. Sagmeister is a successful designer who thrives by taking a year off every seven years to fuel his creativity. All the work he produces in the six years after his time off is inspired by that year where he is not working. Kuriyama took this philosophy and planned out the logistics so that he could take a year off and use it for his inspiration as a creative. To do so, he had to save half a years’ worth of salary in preparation.

On his 30th birthday, Kuriyama took the year off. He started to realize that he had an obsession with time within the first weeks of that year. He said that remembering specific events is always difficult, especially when they jumble together. In the year that he took off, he recognized that he wanted to remember every day. To do this, all he needed was a high definition camera and a way for it to be so easy that he would do it everyday. In other words, his phone.

While recording his daily activities, he noticed that TED was holding auditions for TED Talks and thought that recording every second of every day could be an idea worth spreading. As a man who uses regret as a motivating factor, he did not want to pass this opportunity. Kuriyama applied for the auditions and ended up speaking about filming his journey and what he learned from it.

While recording, he learned two very important lessons. The first was that he lived a better life after keeping a recorded diary because he wanted to do something memorable each day. Secondly, he learned that after taking the year off he felt like he had accomplished an unbelievable amount in all aspects of his life. In regards to his work he was inspired and working on the app. In his personal life, Kuriyama got to see his family overcome difficult obstacles. The footage that changed his life was also always there to reflect back on.  

Kuriyama’s documentation of his journey began as an art project until he realized that he wanted to do it forever and share it with everyone else. To pursue this idea, he developed an app that collects one second of every day. While thinking about this project, he found himself with a shortage of money to finish the idea. By publishing his prototype on Kickstarter he found that the public loved his idea and supported it.

His Kickstarter was such a success that it was featured on the front page of Reddit. This recognition gave Kuriyama the opportunity to finish his app, called 1 Second Everyday. Now the app has a growing fanbase, and was used in the movie Chef.

The way in which Kuriyama used an artistic project to jump-start a business just so that he can share what he learned with the public is very unique and inspiring.  As Pratt students we are always concerned with what we are working on and at times we can feel lost in the work we are producing. Cesar Kuriyama gives us a way to solve problems when questions arise and to take everything we learn and apply it to solving problems.

To learn more from Cesar Kuriyama and about his story, check out his TED Talk and website!

Written by: Jil Berenblum
Image by: Brynna Tucker


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